Here comes an interview with the legendary singer Joe Lynn Turner who recently released his 9th solo album. Of course I took the opportunity to ask this legend about his solo album THE USUAL SUSPECT and also about his long career and about his participation in different bands and projects.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frontiers Records for the promo pictures.
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for setting up the interview
Hi, Joe you have an outstanding career to look back on, what has been the funniest band/project to be a part of?
JLT: If you mean fun I try to have as much fun in every project. I am lucky enough to be in the business I love. I am having a blast and living a dream!
When you meet fans what are they most likely to ask you about, your membership in Rainbow, Deep Purple or in any other band? Do you get a lot of mail from fans?
JLT: I get asked about Rainbow and DP the most, Yngwie is a close second and
then HTP and Glenn Hughes. I get a lot of fan mail and fortunately I have a JLT
Response Team to deal with all of that. Lis and Jaqui do a great job!
It seems like you always are working with something, are you a workaholic?
JLT: Yes I am. I like to be working. It keeps me from getting stale and stagnant.
What do you think of your solo albums today? Do you have any favorite amongst them and what do you think of your solo debut from 84 RESCUE ME today?
JLT: Sorry if this sounds like a “stock answer” but it is the truth and I believe in always being honest. I like all of the albums for different reasons. They are like children. I really have no definite favorite. I enjoyed “Rescue You” the songs are excellent. I would have toughened up the guitars a bit. I thought the guitar parts were a bit light but I was working with Roy Thomas Baker who was a world class producer. It is hard to fight a guy like that who is such a legend and has had so much success with bands like Queen, The Cars.
What doe?s media think of your solo albums, what kind of reaction have you got?
JLT: The media seems to really like this new one, “The Usual Suspects,” better than many. I am getting consistently good reviews and that is great to see.
Do you have any idea how many albums you?ve sung on through the years?
JLT: Over 50. Go to my website, joelynnturner.com and navigate to Discography. There is a popup window that will list most all of them. It was pretty up to date last I checked.
Have you been out touring on your older solo albums? If so when and where?
JLT: I toured the USA with “Rescue you.” But since I left Deep Purple most of my touring has been done in Japan and Europe.
Where in the world have you gained the most success?
JLT: That is hard to say because it comes and goes in waves. I would say I have been consistently successful in Japan from the Rainbow days right through now. I have had a lot of success in Europe recently…over the last 5 years…more so than in the 90s.
What members are involved in JLT all-star band today?
JLT: The lineup varies and I do not want to forget any names . Karl Cochran is playing on all my upcoming dates in the states. The rest of the cast of musicians may change depending on who is available. I am fortunate to have so many world class musicians as friends who enjoy playing out with me.
You have recently released your 9th solo album called THE USUAL SUSPECT, are you happy with the album or do you feel that you should have done anything different on it now that you look back?
JLT: I am very happy with it and I really do not think I would have done anything different.
Why the title THE USUAL SUSPECT, does it mean anything special?
For those who may not know, “The Usual Suspects” is the title for a Kevin Spacey movie but that really is not where the album title came from. My collaborators and I have always referred to each other as ?the usual suspects.? That is what my manager, Mark Wexler and I have always called everyone who plays on this album. The musicians on this record are people who have always been there for me, happy to help out and devote their time. We all toured together as the “JLT All Star Band” in the 1990s and they all have played on one or more of my albums in the past.
Can you play any instrument or you stick to being a vocalist?
JLT: I have always been a guitarist and play guitar on some songs at my shows and on many songs with The Hit Squad.
Who has written the music and lyrics on the album?
Chris Marksbury, who I worked with on “JLT? returned with some great material. My dear friend and producer, Bob Held contributed. An old friend, who I worked with in the past, Vick Le Car, wrote some songs and I also collaborated with my fellow Hit Squad buddy, Ricky Byrd, who worked with Joan Jett and other artists.
What are the lyrics about? It seems to me like they are a lot about love, is that correct?
JLT: Yes, they are a lot about love and what I call personal politics. I have pasted some notes on each track from my Studio Report into this interview. It may help you gain insight into the songs.
True story. The rise and fall of an individual. Someone who went from prominence to anonymity.
What Can I Do
Wrote with Ricky Byrd. Rocky, blues, uptempo. It?s a ?have fun? kind of number. About a guy screwing up with his girl, what he can do to get her back. Jerry Lee Lewis piano styling.
About temptation. How many times you keep repeating bad behavior and patterns. You know it doesn?t really serve you in a positive way but you do it anyway.
It?s been around for two years but did not fit the other albums. Mid tempo. Asoulful Street of Dreams type song. Rhythm and Blues tinged with harmonies. About someone who has missed out on love. Begging the question are you ready to be really loved?
Rest of My Life
Having a fantasy about loving someone and then finding someone who fulfills your fantasy. Melodic. Big chorus.
Uptempo rocker. A road song about a guy who gives up everything, including love, for his music. His mistress is his music.
Political situation. People who really make money on the misery of man or at the expense of others. Dark, heavy, moody.
Into The Fire
Not seeing the truth. Afraid to take chances. Afraid to open your mind. You have to get into the fire and be burned by the truth sometimes.
About a back talking bitch of a woman. Her words just cut you to the bone, like a jacknife.
Ball and Chain
About something or anyone that drags you down. In this case it was about a disease but we did not really describe that when we wrote it. It can mean many things to many people.
Live and Love Again
It is about someone still searching for that love. After a broken love affair they are still searching and asking themselves if they will ever find true love?
Power of Love
Anyone or any place where there is a struggling against the odds to make things work and the incredible power that love has to beat those odds.
How long has it taken to record the album and where did you record it?
JLT: If you are talking only about the recording process I do not know how lone exactly but about 6-8 weeks. We took our time. We recorded at Al Petrelli and Karl Cochran’s home studios. When we needed a big studio for drums we went to Bear Tracks in Suffern, New York. That?s the same studio Rainbow recorded part
of “Bent Out of Shape” and where I mixed “Rescue You” at back in the 1980s. We also used Paul Morris?s home studio. It?s really amazing now with the technology that you can record in such intimate places. I actually laid down most of the vocal tracks and keyboards in my own home.
You have brought along some very famous people with you on THE USUAL SUSPECT like Al Pitrelli and Karl Cochran, do you know them from before?
JLT: They are 2 of the “usual suspects” and I have known them for years. They toured with me as part of the “JLT ALL STARS” in the 90s. Plus, I have collaborated with both of them consistently through the years.
What are the thoughts behind the cover?
JLT: It is supposed to convey some mystery. It’s actually some gangsters walking through a subway. The people I worked with on the CD are close friends…the way some gangsters are I guess so the image fits the title.
In the bio area the album is listed as ?hardrock?, how would you define what kind of music you play?
JLT: I would rather have the fans and journalists define my sound. But it seems the definition that people most like to use is “melodic rock.”
Is also says in the bio that you recorded all of the vocals in your home, do you have a studio at home? What was recorded first, the vocals or the music?
JLT: The music is recorded first. Yes, I recorded the vocals in my home and I do have a small home studio. It was very intimate and comfortable.
Have you read any reviews on the album yet? How has media responded on the album?
JLT: Blackmore was wise when he said some thing like “never believe a good review because than you have to believe all the bad ones.” I really do not read my own reviews often. But I hear the reviews have been mostly very positive.
Are there any plans on going out on the road now that the album is out?
JLT: There is talk about a European tour this Fall and then I will also probably go back to Japan. I have no definite dates and venues, yet, so it is a bit pre-mature to talk about it but let’s hope we can make a tour happen.
For how long have you been on Frontiers records?
JLT: This is my first release with them.
Are you happy with the job Frontiers have done with promoting the new album?
JLT: Absolutely! Their staff and the people they hire to help with promo have done an amazing job. I thank them all for their hard work and support.
Is THE USUAL SUSPECTS going to be released worldwide? If so do you have any release date in the U.S. for example?
JLT: It’s been out since late February in Japan and Europe. We are selling the CD through my website store to USA and Canada. As for an official USA release, we are still talking to interested labels.
You and Bob Held have produced the album together, how does it work to produce yourself?
JLT: Bob and I have a very synergistic relationship. There are no struggles. He offers his thoughts and I offer mine. It is a positive exchange. I do like to co-produce because I have enough experience and I do like to have some control over how my songs sound.
Beside you solo career how many bands are you involved in at the moment?
JLT: Bandwise…Brazen Abbot, Hit Squad. There is talk of a Mothers Army reunion. The Hughes Turner Project was also a huge success.
Is there any plans on when your next solo album is gonna come?
JLT: No definite date yet.
What about Hughes-Turner Project (HTP), are you going to release any more albums under that name?
JLT: I would love to do another HTP record but right now Glenn and I are focused on the multitude of other projects we are involved with including our recent solo efforts.
How is it to work with Glenn ?The voice of rock? Hughes?
JLT: Amazing! Glenn is brilliant! He pushes me and gets great work out of me also and for that I admire him.
How was HTP born and where did you get the idea to co-operate with Glenn?
JLT: Glenn and I have been friends for a long time. When I did a tour in Japan for my Holy Man album, Glenn played bass and also did some vocals plus a few songs of his own. Then my manager and the Japanese record label agreed that we should do something together. I think we pushed each other, which made the whole thing an incredible self-growth process, spiritually and mentally. We knew we wanted to work together but we had no idea that the quality that would come out of it would be so great. We had tremendous success with 3
albums??HTP?, ?HTP2?, and the ?Live in Tokyo? disc. And, touring Japan and Europe twice in 3 years was also amazing. It was great to re-connect with the fans.
You are also one of the front men of Nikolo Kotzev?s band Brazen Abbot that recently released a live album and a DVD, when can we expect another studio album from Brazen Abbot?
JLT: The new album, ?My Resurrection,? should be out any day now if not already by the time this interview is out.
Many fans and people overall see you as a living legend, how does that feel and what do you think of that?
JLT: Well thank you for saying those kind words. I really do not consider myself a legend. Most legends are dead (haha). I am so glad you like the music. It’s all about integrity and I try to remain authentic.
What are the plans for Joe Lynn Turner for the rest of the year?
JLT: I am doing live dates in the USA, a couple different projects for different labels. I will join Akira Kajiyama and collaborate on his upcoming album.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
JLT: I greatly appreciate all your support over the years and your steadfast loyalty. I love you all! Peace!
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
JLT: Thanks to you Anders
CD Review of THE USUAL SUSPECTS here
Read the CD-review on the Brazen Abbot here
More info about the band.