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Old Apr-28-2002, 12:59 PM
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JLT/HTP interview...

You Can't Stop Rock 'N Roll - An Interview With Joe Lynn Turner
Interview by Igor Italiani of Metal-Force

His last solo work was a hard-rock "slam dunk" of thunderous proportions, but Joe Lynn Turner seems insatiable these days, as he is already on the starting line with his much-hyped duet with Glenn Hughes, a project that will certainly shake the foundations of the music world... in fact, how many times are you able to find two incredible vocalists on one single album? Looks like rock ‘n’ roll is still alive, after all!

II: Hi Joe. So how are you doing?

JLT: Good! How about yourself?

II: Everything’s OK! Now I’m right here on the computer, so we can start, right?

JLT: Yes, absolutely. Let’s go!

II: OK, we go to the Hughes Turner Project. We start from the great logo on the cover. Who did the work? Do you like it?

JLT: Yes, we really wanted something very strong, we wanted a certain thing, up to date but also retaining the classic feel, because we are not the young kids! Ah, ah... we are still the classic rockers, but I think that Darwin Foye, who actually was the graphic designer who did the logo, well, he kind of visualized in the right way what we were thinking of. So we are very pleased and we think it will make a very good shirt too! Ah, ah, ah...

II: When did you start to think about this incredible duet of you and Glenn on record?

JLT: Well, I tell ya, I don’t think it’s possible for many other artists to do what we have done, because there are always problems of ego, and other stuff regarding lead singers. But Glenn and I, well, we’ve been friends for many, many years; I think more than twenty, and we always wanted to do a record together. We wrote songs in the past, we did some demos but that’s as far as it went, until I asked Glenn to come in Japan for ‘The Holy man’ tour. He agreed and the thing was such a success that I think it was my manager who said: ...Why don’t you guys make a CD? So we looked at each other and said: ...Yeah, we wanna make a CD, but you need money. So we talked to some record companies and they were: ...Terrific, let’s do it! So before we left Japan we knew there was a possibility of doing a record together. And let me tell ya a thing even more personal ...we switched to only one microphone in the studio. You know, we had two microphones, but we said: ...No, that’s cold. We wanted only one and we jumped in and jumped out when we recorded. Sometimes, for example, when we sing Fade Away, we do the harmonies together, almost cheek to cheek, and it was very intimate, so I think that it gave some of the rock songs that "live" feel.

II: Cool. So Joe, the songs came out quickly or it took a lot of time to compose everything?

JLT: Well, we started last April, while I was in LA with Glenn, and we had about 5 or 6 songs ready, we talked about direction, what this album would be like. Then I came home to NY and just worked and worked on my side, while Glenn worked on his side, and we maintained regular contact by e-mail and telephone talks. Then we returned to LA and we immediately felt that this album would become what we thought about, with classic rock, metal funk, ballads. In my opinion it became a mature, solid CD.

II: Among the musicians that took part in the album there is Vince Di Cola, the one who composed the Rocky soundtracks. Can you tell me a little more about this collaboration?

JLT: Well, Vince is an incredible keyboard player. He is a great guy, and we felt very excited when he told us he would be part of this record. His colors and textures, and his knowledge of mellotron and synthesizers is just amazing. He knows what to play, sometimes he just listens to the song in the beginning with guitars and vocals and immediately knows what to put in. In my experience I think he is part genius, because he is not only technically great, he is also sonically great, if you know what I mean.

II: And what about the other members of the project?

JLT: Well, Shane Gaalaas on drums is an amazing guy as well. He is maybe a small guy but very strong, very fit, he is just terrific when he plays. He kicks the **** out of the drums! Brilliant kid, and singing is good too, even if on the record nobody sings back vocals except me and Glenn. You sit with him one time and he gets the song and he’s like: ...Can we go one more time... and BAM! ...he gets better, even when you think he can’t go further he rehearses once again and takes the song to a higher place. JJ Marsh, the main guitar player, is great, too. I think Glenn was absolutely right to pick him up, because I’ve heard what JJ has done on Glenn’s solo album and it’s brilliant, almost in the same vein of Blackmore and Malmsteen. We also put in some guest guitar players which I think are unbelievable too, Paul Gilbert, John Sykes... you know, we even tried to reach Ritchie Blackmore but it was too tough, ah, ah ...I think his mother in law or girlfriend guards him so tight that it’s just too difficult to contact him at the moment.

II: Joe, I really love the whole album, but I think that On The Ledge and Fade Away are the best tracks. Can you tell me something more about those two?

JLT: Well, we realized that On The Ledge and Fade Away would be the most different songs, and I’m glad you picked them because a lot of people pick The Devil’s Road, You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll, etc... you picked two songs that in my opinion are really artistic, that’s what I have to say about those two songs. In my opinion they are very artistic songs, yet they are very unalike, especially Fade Away, which I think has groove, power, softness, quality all melted together in a special mix. Every time I hear the middle part of the song, I tell you, I get chills up my spine.

II: But do you think Fade Away could be a single?

JLT: I love this kind of stuff, but the business world is so short sighted ...they want all the usual crap. They don’t know how to grow, they remain stuck with what is popular at the moment and go on with similar things again and again. If people had a fair chance to hear Fade Away as a single I think they would go: Who the **** is this? What is this piece of music that is inspiring like this!!!.

II: There are already talks about the HTP tour. When it will start, and do you think you’ll come in Europe soon?

JLT: Well, here’s the deal... we will definitely play in Japan in May, and then, well, we discussed with MTM and the promoters in Europe. Basically their advice was to come in late August or September, because most of the people are on vacation in the summer.

II: And there are also a lot of festivals that maybe don’t fit well with your show?

JLT: Yeah, right. They said: There are a lot of festivals, but even they don’t feel that the shows for this record are best-suited for festivals. We want to make the evening a special night, so maybe you’ll have to wait a little, but I promise that we will come!!! We know that everyone is going to the beaches in June and July, we know that someone will go to these crazy festivals, and so we want to wait and prepare something else special when everyone comes back!

II: I know maybe it’s a bit too early, but when do you think you’ll begin working on the project sequel?

JLT: Well, right now it looks good that we will have a sequel. Of course with the record companies everything is money, and they said that if HTP sold well there would be a second CD. So, so far, all the reviews are terrific, everyone is loving the album, so I think that we, well, between you and me, yeah, we will do the second chapter soon.

II: Final question, Joe, considering that you are a great vocalist, can you tell me your beginnings as a singer and if you took some lessons in the past?

JLT: Well, I'll tell you really quickly, what happened to me was quite by accident. I was born a guitar player, background singer, and when the singer in my local band got sick I had to step up to the microphone. Well, next thing I know people are coming to the stage, and they were: Who is this guy singing? ...and I was surprised as well, because I considered my voice only OK, even if I tried very hard. So, when Ritchie Blackmore called me to join Rainbow everything was quite exciting, but I also said to myself: Well, I better take some lessons quickly! So what happened is that I started to take some powerful lessons, I went to a great teacher in NY, the one who also warmed up Pavarotti when he sings in the Big Apple. Well, he has died since then, but his son has carried on the tradition and philosophy with ease. However the main thing that he always told me was that he couldn’t train me to put my soul into the music, he could only teach me a technique; so I learned the technique, and then he added: If you have soul, if you’re capable of delivering songs with emotion, that will be your gift. So I try to sing from the heart, to sing for the fans, ‘cause my fans are what inspire me to go on... they really do!!!

II: OK, Joe. I think it's enough. There’s something else you would like to add to the fans of rock music spread around the world and in Italy?

JLT: Thank you!!! I would really like to say that I think rock ‘n’ roll is slowly coming back, so be prepared! The change is coming! Even the young kids are starting to play rock music again, and I’m really enjoying it! In fact you can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll, that’s it!!! Ah, ah, ah... so that’s the message, HTP will soon be in your city and will play rock ‘n’ roll! Yeah!!! So I’ll see you on tour, we will have a beer together soon! Bye!!!
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