Intervju med Joe Lynn Turner.
För någon vecka sedan drog konstellationen Legends of Rock genom Stockholm och jag fick mig en liten pratstund med bl a Joe Lynn Turner.
Joe är en glad och kort liten man som berättade att han nu har mer att göra än någonsin. Jag frågade aldrig om hans hår, men nog måste han kunna hitta något roligare att sätta på huvudet, eller?
Hur som haver, Joe har ett nytt projekt på gång för Frontiers, han tycker att Glenn Hughes twittrar en massa trams och att Justin Bieber är på väg att bli galen.
Was there any certain event or a song you heard that made you go, ”Singing, that´s what I wanna do!”?
JLT: Originally I´m a guitar player and then I sang background vocals. I was in a local band and the singer got sick, probably from drinking and throwing up, and somebody had to step up to the stage and finish the set and when I did, many girls came up to the stage, so I went “Oh, this is it!”. Honestly, I figured out that I could sing right about then. My father said “Well, if you´re gonna build a house, you need a hammer!”, so I went to lessons and it took me six teachers to find the right one and the right one was Martin Lawrence, whose son now teaches the same technique and I believe Steve Augeri has the same teacher. It´s amazing and that´s how I started singing. It was an accident. I like to call it a perfect mistake.
Touring and travelling as much as you do, how do you keep your voice in shape?
JLT: It´s tough. This is the toughest job in the band besides the drummer. It´s a very personal instrument and I´ve got books and all kinds of vocal rescues and different sprays and things like that, but it´s still very tough, because if you´re giving it your all one night, which you´re supposed to do every night, but you´ve really got nothing left and you do it four nights in a row. I know this tour is gonna be one of the toughest tours I´ve ever done, not just with Legends. I start here, then I do three in a row in Russia, then over to Berlin and then two in Bulgaria and then Turkey. It´s gonna be really tough, so the only thing we can do is try to diva ourselves. Someone once told me that singers need four hours alone before the performance and I understand completely. It´s a whole warm up thing, because you gotta keep everything loose and ready to go. As a guitarist, I know I can play the guitar half drunk and upside down and tired from the road, but with your voice, if you didn´t sleep last night, you´re a mess. That´s why I don´t do that much alcohol or anything. I´m really a health nut and I´ve got about ten pounds of vitamins in my bag. I´m serious! It´s the only thing that keeps you going.
Have there ever been times when you´ve gotten scared that something´s happened to your voice?
JLT: Oh, every day. There are other times when you totally freak out because you´ve got no “middle” and that happens when you grind the chords together and it creates a phlegm and that phlegm ceases them and that part of your throat won´t work and you sound like this (makes a hoarse sound) and you´ve gotta go on and there´s all these people counting on you. You can warm up with one or two songs and try to help it out, but sometimes towards the end of the set, you just don´t have it so you have to sing other things and it´s a shame. It´s a tough job and it´s a personal job. You´re singing about heartbreak and you´ve got to live it over and over again, so not only is it physically and technically challenging, it´s emotionally challenging. I have a book right now by a wonderful singer and a friend of mine, her name is Jennifer Hamady and she has a book called “Learning how to sing” and I take it with me because she reminds us that if the emotional problems that happen during the day will affect your singing. Singers don´t realize this. There are two categories. There are vocalists and there are singers and that´s a big separation. To be a real singer, this is a scary business and I´m still learning how to calm my mind.
Was it more fun back in the 70´s and the 80´s? Is it still as much fun now?
JLT: For me it´s still fun, but the travelling is really boring. If I could just beam myself to places like in Star Trek, it would be great. (laughs) I was in Japan and South Korea and then a month in Las Vegas. I was totally jetlagged in Japan and Korea and then in Vegas I was jetlagged half of the time and then when I finally got adjusted, I had to go to New York for two days and I had a lot of things to do there and now I´m here and I´m absolutely backwards, upside down. I have no idea.
There´s gotta be days when you wake up and have no idea of where you are?
JLT: Absolutely. I didn´t know where I was today. They were ringing the phones for these interviews and it was part of my dream and then it hit me subconsciously “You´ve got interviews to do!”, so I jumped up and just went “Where am I?”. I was in Japan back in the late 80´s and I´ll never forget this. I woke up, probably in a sake and jetlag stupor and I had no idea at all. I heard these Japanese businessmen talking and it was like space language and it took me about a half hour to figure things out. It was like “How did I get here? Ah, drinking on the plane, yeah that´s what happened.”. (laughs)
I just talked to Bobby Kimball who said he´s working more now than he´s ever done. Is it the same for you?
JLT: Yeah, I´m working more now than they´ve ever done. (laughs) I´ve got at least another 25 dates ahead of me and I´m so thankful that I can still do this.
What projects do you have going right now?
JLT: Oh, I´ve got plenty going. It´s just that most people don´t know about it. Bobby (Kimball) and I just did “Raiding the rock vaults” in Vegas which was a shitload of fun. I´ve got a band with me, Tony Franklin, Carmine Appice and Bruce Kulick. We´re starting a band and Frontiers wants us to do a record and we´re negotiating now. I was talking to Bruce in Vegas and he´s got some great ideas. I´m writing soundtracks for movies. I just did a thing in Korea. I did not know that Korea is the largest distribution of entertainment in all of Asia. They wanted me to write a theme, a love song, and it´s called “Forever”. It´s a beautiful love song for this drama and it´s supposed to be one of the biggest dramas to date and a big TV hit. It sounds great and we had Pat Thrall mix it. My good friend Pat. I was in Vegas and I said “Pat, I can´t think of anyone better than you to do this.” And he said “Gimme that thing!” and he just tore into it, so I´m very excited about that. Then I´ve got a rock opera with Robert DeNiro´s people and we´re dealing with this guy Kyle, who´s gonna write the book and his agent is a prick. I can´t put it any other way. I´ve got a lot of things going and I´m gonna do a movie in Russia with Glenn Hughes, Dee Snider, Harvey Keitel and Darryl Hannah. A Pusjkin movie or something. It´s a big movie and we´re gonna do that in August.
Speaking of Glenn Hughes. Any plans of doing something more with him?
JLT: Glenn is really angry now with Joe Bonamassa, so I gotta let him get over all that. (laughs) “Hey Glenn, you wanna start a band? Fuck off!”. He´s got something going and he always rallies back and he tweets. Every time he cuts his toenails… but Glenn is super great and I adore Glenn. He´s my brother, a brother from another mother. I wish we would have done a third album, just to put the icing on the cake. Put it to bed. But he wanted a solo career and I said ok.
Looking back on your career, do you feel there´s one album or a specific song where you feel you really nailed it?
JLT: According to most people… for a singer or songwriter to say “This is the one.”… it´s like my children. They´re all my children and even the little funny ones, the ones that didn´t come out right, but there is one that always comes to mind. Ricky Medlocke from Lynyrd Skynyrd said “There´s no greater song or vocal performance in rock and roll than “Street of dreams” and I think Richie (Blackmore) agreed and quite a few other people. I don´t why? Everybody says the music is just right and the lyrics are just metaphysically romantic. It´s just a moment in time that was captured and it doesn´t sound like anyone else, ever or ever will. I don´t know. For me, I can´t say, but I can say that other people think it´s “Street of dreams”. I have many stories on different songs. “Jealous lover” was a great moment when Richie just threw this riff at me and said “You´ve got 10 minutes to write the song!”. I had a fight with my girlfriend, who then became my first wife and I just banged it right out. The first verse was about her and my situation and then the second verse was about her and the third verse was about the audience being jealous lovers, because they all are you know! (laughs) Love me or hate me, love me or hate me. (laughs) There are so many cornerstones.
After all these years in the business and the things you´ve done, do you still feel that you´re looking for challenges?
JLT: In a way. For example, that Korean thing was a challenge. I´m sitting there at a Korean barbeque one night with a big guitar company and this guy comes up to me and goes “I´m this big producer of all the music on this TV program and we´ve got a great big drama coming out and we´d like you to write the song.”. I said “Ok. When?” and he said “Now.”. He drove me about 15 minutes away to a music studio and I picked up a guitar and he sat on keyboards and I just banged down some things and my wife reminded me of a chorus that I had that she thought was pretty. I put that together and wrote some lyrics and then my wife looked at me and said “That´s pitiful.”. She´s my biggest critic and my biggest fan and I said “Honey, it´s just TV.”. She said “I don´t care what it is. It´s Joe Lynn Turner and it better be great!”, so then I dug in and came up with a simple lyric but endearing. It works and Pat Thrall mixed it and talk about a challenge! We did that in 36 hours. It came out great.
It´s gotta be so cool.
You write something and then a bit later people all over the world can listen to it and sing along to it.
JLT: Yeah. Pat Thrall´s wife manages the Palms studio and she was crying. So challenges, yes constantly. I have tons of songs written, but not really recorded. There are so many challenges out there. I´m getting older and I don´t wanna shake my ass on stage too much longer. It´s pathetic isn´t it, but as long as you can do it and do it well… but my wife says “I´ll tell you when to stop.”.
Final thing. Justin Bieber´s in town. How do you feel about a thing like that? Making it through a You Tube clip.
JLT: God bless him! I think he´s getting a little crazy now and doing silly things and he´s being exposed as the arrested development kid that he is, but that´s what happens to all of us. There´s a point in our lives when we become arrested development because rockers never grow up. We have maids taking care of our lives and people falling all over so you don´t grow up really. He´s reaching out now with all these crazy things, but it´s part of the business, this teen fad stuff. Look at The Beatles or Michael Jackson! Hats off but you´re not gonna last long and I don´t think he´s gonna be in a time capsule. That´s my main point. Things that define the era, shoot that up in a time capsule, but I don´t think Justin Bieber does. I don´t believe he´s a great artist like Jackson. He´s a manufactured, cute little kid who is now going looney tunes. We´ve all been there, when we lose it. You start believing your own press. Richie taught me that; “Never believe your own press!”. I was like “What? It says I´m gay.” and he said “You´re not gay! You´re fucking all their wives.”. It was quite funny to know that. Richie said “Never let them rattle your cage!”, which I totally agree with. You have to have armour and balls of steel. You have to take a lot of arrows, man. Facebook and all that give complete imbeciles power. And tweets are getting out of hand. In the hands of some of us (Glenn Hughes), whom we love (laughs), we don´t need to know what you ate this morning. That´s TMI, too much information. (laughs)