Interviewer Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Stefan at Zink Music for setting up the interview
Thanks to Frontiers records for the promo pictures of Joe Lynn Turner
The time has now come for me to interview the legendary Joe Lynn Turner about his appearance in the project Sunstorm. Besides the project Sunstorm he’s also participated in another project called the Richie Zito Project. Joe Lynn Turner is certainly a busy man and I was happily surprised when he took the time to talk to me and answering my questions.
Hi Mr. Turner really nice to talk to you again, could you please tell us a bit about the new album with the project Sunstorm?
JLT: The project is called “Sunstorm.” Serafino Perugino and Mario de Riso (Frontiers) used to exchange tapes. Mario gave Serafino a cassette he had from a journalist, with my unreleased second solo album demos…some of these songs were supposed to be on the follow up to “Rescue You.” When Frontiers signed me to a deal, Serafino asked me about releasing these songs and I agreed that it might be a great idea.
Should the Sunstorm album being considered a project album or your solo album?
JLT: The Sunstorm album is a project-album not a solo album. Many different songwriters were involved as were other musicians and Dennis Ward. So…even though I did write some tracks and sing on all of them, it’s not a solo album.
Dennis Ward from Pink Cream 69 has produced and also plays on the album, but besides him how did you choose the musicians you wanted to play with?
JLT: I did not choose the musicians but I think they are all brilliant and I would welcome the chance to work with them again.
How was it to work with the musicians you picked and did you knew anyone since earlier on?
JLT: It was great working with Dennis and the musicians…they did an outstanding job making the songs pretty much the way I envisioned them sounding. I did know Jim Peterik and a couple of the other writers before the Sunstorm project.
One of your label mates Jim Peterik have contributed with material to the album, but many other songwriters besides him have delivered stuff, can you tell us which writers you have worked with?
JLT: I am going to assume your question here is specifically about the Sunstorm project so I will answer it that way J. If I had to list every writer I have worked with on other projects, I would probably be typing for hours ….LOL!
Here’s some notes:
Jack Ponti: Jack Ponti was big in New Jersey, my home state. He played guitar in the band “The Rest,” which also featured Jon Bon Jovi. He’s worked with Skid Row, Alice Cooper, Babylon A.D., Bonfire (who I also worked with) and many more I am forgetting right now.
Laurence Alan Dvoskin: “Larry” was with me in Fandango, the band I was in before Rainbow. Very ecclectic band…not heavy metal at all but we did do some hard rock and bluesy songs…even some that could be categorized as Southern Rock as that genre was huge in the late 70s.
Van Stephenson / Dave Robbins: Have their roots in Black Hawk. I do not know either of them personally but Van apparently developed cancer and passed away a few years ago. There is a tribute to him at one of my fave sites, melodicrock.com:
Jim Peterik: Known early on for his work in “Ides of March” and I covered “Vehicle” on my first “Undercover” album. He co-founded Survivor…a band that had amazing melodic rock songs in the discography. He also wrote many of 38 Special’s songs. He’s written with many other artists.
Dan Huff: Known by melodic rock fans for his work with Giant but has gone on to be a major writer and producer since then.
Jon Astley: Worked with the Who among others.
Marilyn Martin: Most people remember her for her stunning duet with Phil Collins “Separate Lives”
John Parr: Noted for “St. Elmos Fire” and “Naughty Naughty”—huge 80s melodic rock hits
How many of your old songs are featured on the final album and how many are other songwriters material?
JLT: Lisa told me that the promo CDs she received did not include liner notes so she asked Frontiers for this information. I am going to paste it into this document so that you have it because it pretty much answers your question.
A 1 FR CD 302 Keep Tonight Joe Lynn Turner/ Jack Ponti Jolt Music/ASCAP 0.04.03
A 2 FR CD 302 Fame And Fortune Joe Lynn Turner/ Laurence Alan Dvoskin Jolt Music/ASCAP, Cool Guy Music / BMI, Ensign Music / BMI 0.04.01
A 3 FR CD 302 Heart Over Mind Van Stephenson / Dave Robbins Published by Warner – Tamerlane Publishing Corp, WB Music Corp 0.04.13
A 4 FR CD 302 This Is My Heart Jim Peterik Jim Peterik Music ASCAP 0.03.56
A 5 FR CD 302 Strenght Over Time Jim Peterik Jim Peterik Music ASCAP 0.04.31
A 6 FR CD 302 Another You Jim Peterik/ Dick Eastman Jim Peterik Music ASCAP 0.04.56
A 7 FR CD 302 Fist Full Of Heat G. Green / Dann Huff / Van Stephenson Published by Riva Music/Warner –Tamerlane Publishing Corp, Writers House Music Inc 0.04.37
A 8 FR CD 302 Love’s Gone Wrong Joe Lynn Turner/ Laurence Alan Dvoskin Jolt Music/ASCAP, Cool Guy Music / BMI, Ensign Music / BMI 0.03.52
A 9 FR CD 302 Night Moves Jon Astley, Marilyn Martin, John Parr Bogus Global Music / ASCAP 0.05.07
A 10 FR CD 302 Danger Of Love Jim Peterik Jim Peterik Music ASCAP 0.05.08
A 11 FR CD 302 Making Up For Lost Time Jim Peterik / Bill Syniar / Barb Unger Jim Peterik Music ASCAP, Blind Emotion Music/Ascap 0.04.21
A 12 FR CD 302 Arms Of Love Jim Peterik/ David Carl Jim Peterik Music ASCAP 0.04.09
Why did you choose to call the project Sunstorm? What’s the any story behind that name?
JLT: I did not choose the name. It was suggested by Frontiers along with the cover art graphic. Since I am also a Fire Sign (zodiac) and can be a bit of a “sunstorm” myself in terms of my personality…LOL…I thought it fit. Actually, I really do like the name.
What are the lyrics about? Have you written about any special issues in particular? By looking at the title one can see that a lot of the songs are about love, is that correct?
JLT: Yes, you are correct or as I like to sometimes say…”personal politics” LOL! Here are my studio report notes on all the songs.
This was a collaboration with Jack Ponti. We had been writing for other bands (Bonfire, Gorky Park, Baton Rouge) when we came up with this one. It sounded like something I would do so I kept it for myself. Jack has a great imagination and is a very colourful lyricist, I learned a lot from him in that regard. It’s pretty obvious that it’s about a one night stand, although
it’s romantic in it’s content. There must have been a lot of feelings for the significant other!!!
Fame And Fortune
Another song that came out of the writing sessions with Devoskin! I was telling him how I felt about my current situation at the time. I had just came out of Rainbow and was feeling like the game of rock and roll was very transparent and it wasn’t what most people think it is. The lyrics express a
very true feeling that I was living.
Heart Over Mind
When I first heard this song I was totally captured by it’s haunting quality. It’s almost as if your in the mind/heart of the person who lost a lover and their inner struggle to gain strength to go on living: a strong song with a lot of personal meaning.
This Is My Heart
Now who hasn’t felt like this !… a killer rock track is setting the background for an emotional lyric of self reliance and power!… I really lived this one… Very inspirational!… a fav of mine!…. but then they all are!
Strength Over Time
A powerful lyric in a great musical framework!… they don’t get much better than this!… a true sentiment of the wisdom of life experience… and it rocks!
Peterik does it again with this ballad! Sometimes he just says what I’m feeling! I really love the touch of R&B style while still being a straight up hit pop song!!!! One of my fav’s!!!
Fist Full Of Heat
This is a western movie soundtrack title song! It has the story line and color of the genre! Think Young Guns, Blaze of Glory, etc… and it rocks! Cool!
Loves Gone Wrong
I wrote this with my friend Larry Devoskin. He was the keyboard player in Fandango. We gave this song a kind of Latin rock feel, on the original demo I even played timbales!!! The lyric is a struggle with a love that has already been over for some time. I know that most people have had this same feeling a time or two!
This was a bit of a challenge because a female had sang the demo and I thought the lyric fit her persona better than it did a male! But I just switched positions and thought about what it would be like to be in that situation. I guess it worked because I got seriously into the song and it came to life!
Danger Of Love
This was a great song to sing… the lyric is something we can all relate to! And the track is powerful!
Making Up For The Last Time
What a fantastic story!… I know a lot of us have had this happen: love with the same person the second time around! This is a well crafted, well written song! Peterik strikes again!
Arms Of Love
A Jim Peterik gem! Jim and i have been friends for a long time. We’ve written together as well (“Blueprint for the blues” on the “Hurry up and wait” cd). He’s one of the great songwriters of our time!!! It was a pleasure to sing this romantic song, with a great lyric of how it feels to be away from the one you love… a classic!!!
When and where was the album recorded?
JLT: I recorded my parts in my home studio here in Northern New Jersey, USA.
You’re used to produce your albums by yourself, was it hard to let anyone else produce the album?
JLT: Not hard at all! In fact, it was a huge relief! I could focus completely on vocals. Dennis did an amazing job. Although I do like producing it’s sometimes good for myself or any artist to let someone else take those reins for a change.
How was it to work with Dennis Ward, what’s he like as a producer?
JLT: It was fantastic! He was a consummate professional and it all turned out pretty much how I had envisioned it. That says a lot right there!
The bio claims this album to be Joe Lynn Turner’s return to melodic hardrock/rock, is that so do you think?
JLT: I agree only in the sense that this album is melodic rock throughout as compared to most of my solo albums that had some bluesy hard rock and more “metal” songs sprinkled in. However, I disagree in that I have ALWAYS had several melodic rock type songs on all my solo records. So…I never “left” the genre.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Sunstorm plays? And do you think that old fans of Joe Lynn Turner are going to like this?
JLT: I describe it as early to mid 80s-sounding melodic rock as compared to the “hair band” stuff that came out in the late 80s. I have heard that JLT fans who like “Rescue You” love this album. This makes sense since the album I would have put out after “Rescue You” probably would have sounded a lot like this one.
Can we expect more albums from the Sunstorm project? Do you have enough material for another album?
JLT: As for another Sunstorm record…that will be up to the fans and the record company. As for material…I am going through older material right now for possible use on my next solo album and future projects so I think there is enough material in the archives. Certainly we could also involve other writers like we did here with this first album. It does not have to be all my writing.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
JLT: Absolutely and it is great to read the wonderful reviews and fan feedback.
What do you think of the cover art-work? Who’s done it?
JLT: I do not know who did it but I like it! It’s a great graphic!
I think you’re voice are in just as good shape as ever, how do you manage to still sound so good and keep the voice intact?
JLT: Maintain a healthy lifestyle and get plenty of sleep. I also think that doing the session work I do constantly keeps my chops up. It keeps me practicing. The voice is an instrument but you still have to keep practicing but making sure not to over-use it.
You and Jim Peterik wrote some songs to the Deep Purple album SLAVES AND MASTERS that’s unfortunately was rejected, what happened to that material?
JLT: I think Blackmore may have some of it in his archives.
You’re also appearing on the Richie Zito project’s album AVALON where you’re singing “Is He Better Than Me”, how was that and how did you end up on his album?
JLT: I knew him from the past and when asked to be a part of the project I was totally into it! These things are not always as complicated as the journalists and fans make them out to be…LOL! Sometimes an artist just gets asked, likes the song and agrees to do it. By the way, Ritchie is a great producer also!
What do you think of the outcome of Zito’s AVALON album? And do you think that you’re going to work more with Richie Zito in the future?
JLT: To be honest, I have not received my copy of the CD but I did hear the track I was on and it came out great! Sure, I would love to work with Zito again. We have no definite plans though.
Lets talk about you solo albums and career for a while now, your last solo album THE USUAL SUSPECTS came last year, when can we find the next solo album in the stores?
JLT: I am not sure when it will be out but I am working on writing for it right now. Karl Cochran and I just did a writing session earlier today as a matter of fact.
Your next solo album is going to be your 10th is there any plans on releasing anything special for the fans?
JLT: To be real honest 10 is just a number to me. I just keep making music and am glad the fans appreciate it. As for anything special just because it is my 10th, I do not have anything planned at this time. That could change now that you suggested it though LOL!
Last year you also recorded an album with the Japanese artist Akira Kajiyama, what can you tell us about that album?
JLT: It is a collaboration with a great guitarist from Japan who I have worked with on some of my solo records and gigged with in Japan. He is multi-talented and plays all the instruments on the record. I did write the lyrics, melodies and sing the tracks. It’s almost like half a solo album. I prefer that critics and fans to describe it.
Did you do any touring on the last solo album?
JLT: I played some dates in the USA and Japan but we did not launch a full scale tour.
You’re truly a living legend with 30 years in the business and with over 50 albums released, any thoughts of slowing down?
JLT: Not at all! This business keeps me feeling young and music is my life. As long as the fans still respond as positively as they have been I will forge on!
You are really popular in Japan, why is it so do you think?
JLT: Rainbow was very popular in Japan and that was the band that really launched my start as a world-renowned artist. The fans there are very loyal so they have continued to support this genre of music all along. Sure, other genres have become popular such as alternative rock, but, the Japanese fans remain steadfast and I love them for it!
Can you reveal anything on what you’re up to now? Any new album release soon maybe?
JLT: as I said I am working on writing for my next solo album.
When can we looking forward to see Joe Lynn Turner on the stages in Europe again?
JLT: I am not sure. A tour requires a lot of logistics and planning and the situation has to be right and beneficial for all parties involved.
What are the plans for the nearest future for you?
JLT: Right now…finishing the writing for my next solo CD.
Thanks a lot for taking the time talking to me, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans and readers worldwide?
JLT: Thank you for taking the time to interview me as well. Tell the fans without them I would not be inspired to keep making music and that I love them all. Thank you to your website and the fans for their gracious support!
Read the CD review of the Sunstorm here
Read the CD review of the Richie Zito Project look in the “Lets get rocked section”
Read the CD reviews of Joe Lynn Turner solo work here
Read the CD reviews of the Brazen Abbot here
More info about the band