'Joe Lynn Turner'
Frontman of 'Over The Rainbow' & formerly of Rainbow, Deep Purple Yngwie Malmsteen
that took place early February
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan
your main influences as a vocalist who have you been impressed with
JLT: Going way back I would have to say Motown and R and B singers.
I used to sing gospel in a church that was primarily patronized by black
people and these were my friends. I was Catholic but after Mass, I would
go sing with them. It was one of my earlier influences. One of my first
bands was 'Fillet of Soul' and old soul and Rhythm and Blues music has
probably influenced my singing style more than any genre. If you want
to talk musical influences in general, Hendrix was the biggest influence
and then there were the Big Three in "my book": Led Zep, Black
Sabbath and Deep Purple.
As for who has impressed me lately...Daughtery, Matchbox 20, Nickelback
to name a few.
What does it mean to you personally to be able to front 'Over The Rainbow'?
JLT: It's a great honor in a sense that Rainbow had so many great vocalists:
Dio, Graham, Doogie. They were all top notch. I feel honored and also
a lot of proud sentiment. I think this music is music that the fans
desperately want to hear again, done live, by some of the people who
were a part of making it in the first place. Being a part of this "union" of past Rainbow members, combined with the son of the founding member
of the band is part of rock and roll history.
What are looking forward to with regards to touring
with the band and for what reasons?
JLT: Making this great music again, live, and seeing the fans enjoy
it, is the obvious answer but it is also the camaraderie. I am looking
forward hanging with these guys again also looking forward to really
presenting a great show. We are working hard to create medleys of several
songs that will please the fans yet we also want the setlist to be succinct
enough and powerful enough to make the best representation. One thing
I want to go on record as saying is that our main goal is not to "ape"
the Rainbow of the past in any incarnation. Jurgen is not going to imitate
Ritchie and I will not imitate Dio. We will play these songs our way...that
is why the band is called "Over The Rainbow."
How long is the set and how is it structured - is it from one phase
to another or mixed around?
JLT: No we are not doing a chronological set. We are focusing more on
great pacing with less regard to what era the songs are from. I guess
you could say it will be like a "salad" with the eras all
mixed up. Remember...this is not a Broadway show...this is rock band
of ex-members of Rainbow doing Rainbow songs and bringing new twists
to some older material to revive it as well.
What effects and lighting are you planning to
take? Are there any plan to use the Rainbow that the band was famous
JLT: I wish we could use some of the iconic stuff you refer to but it
would be an expensive proposition for these first several tour dates.
If and when the band really succeeds financially, we might be able to
do something along the lines of a major stage set.
What would you say were the main highlights for
you during the recording and touring the albums 'Straight Between The
Eyes' and 'Difficult to Cure' and why?
JLT: Playing San Antonio and doing a full length video on the SBTE tour
was incredible. For me, personally, playing Madison Square Garden (which
is right outside of my hometown) was the ultimate message that I had
arrived. I had gone there and seen so many shows as teenager. It was
seeing Grand Funk and Mark Farner at MSG that ultimately helped me decide
to become a rock musician.
As for "Difficult to Cure," that tour was my whole introduction
into the International scene. It was my chance to see the world and
it was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Both Blackmore and
Glover mentored me during that time and I learned a lot from them.
What do you miss most about being in Rainbow?
JLT: I miss the great collaborative environment for songwriting with
Blackmore, Glover and all of the guys I worked with. I also miss the
major world tours where we would be on the road for months at a time,
playing gigantic arenas. As you mentioned, the elaborate stage settings
and lights enhanced the music and experience even more.
What are the coolest road stories you can talk
about in the Rainbow days?
JLT: One night in Japan during my early days with the band I had come
back after a little "partying," very tired and climbed into
my hotel bed. It was very "slimy" feeling but smelled pleasant
so I relaxed and dozed off. I later realized that Ritchie had "shampooed
The other members of Rainbow also liked to superglue the door locks
of unsuspecting victims and I had to deal with this on a few occasions.
There are so many stories I could write a book!
Who came up with the idea of putting the band together and how did you
go about deciding on the members?
JLT: It started with my meeting up with Jurgen because I thought that
without him it would not be as authentic of a project. We picked the
members based on personality and lifestyle situations... no bad habits...no
drug addicts or alcoholics. We wanted consummate professionals with
cooperative attitudes and a strong professionality.
How long has it taken to get the band together
and were there any main concerns early on, if so what and how were they
smoothed out and rectified?
JLT: I had to meet with Jurgen in Germany, first. That took a bit of
coordination. Once he accepted this idea, we were able to get the rest
of the band together within about a month after that.
Are there particular songs you are looking forward
to singing, which ones and for what reasons?
JLT: I have sang a lot of them before but have never done "Tarot
Woman." That will be new. I have done "Kill The King"
and "Stargazer." I have heard Graham and Ronnie do these songs
very well but I will interpret them my own way.
What is your key to keeping your voice strong
and in good shape?
JLT: Lots of sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthy. I do get a lot
of practice because I do a ton of session work that many fans never
read about or know about. This keeps my skills up and because I sing
different styles in sessions, I am not limited to one style.
What are your favourite microphones and other on-stage equipment for
JLT: It all depends. Sometimes I bring my own but I often use what is
available through the contracted sound company. If it is an industrialized
wireless mic as long as it does not pick up RF or lose quality through
the system, I can work with it just fine. The Shure SM57/58 are always
great and dependable. I don't require special high end mics and feel
that they do not always have enough "beef" to their sound.
What has been the response so far from people
with regard to the band getting together and also as yourself fronting
JLT: It's been GREAT, very overwhelming in a positive way.
What have been the most memorable times of working
and socialising so far with Bassist, Greg Smith & Drummer, Bobby
JLT: LOL there are so many memories... always is with those great guys.
I am looking forward to making more on the road with Over The Rainbow.
What is Greg referring to as he talks about you
all nearly being arrested twice on your 1994 Tour - care to enlighten
on that one?
JLT: We got crazy at a casino one time and another time Karl was messing
around joking about a bomb threat at an airport in Upstate New York
and we got pulled aside and harassed for that.
Apart from the albums you are the lead vocalist
for, which other Rainbow albums or songs from them have become firm
personal favourites and why?
JLT: This is my honest answer...there are no favorites. They are all
unique and special in their own way. I look forward to singing a wide
variety with Over The Rainbow. That is also what makes this band so
much fun and challenging.
What is the funniest thing you have ever read about yourself?
JLT: That I am gay!! LOL!! That is by far the most rediculous, yet,
finniest thing I have heard. I am SO FAR from gay it's crazy. I guess
the fact that I am more refined looking, polished in appearance and
have good grooming habits that some people might have that incorrect
impression...LOL! Very funny.
What venues & countries would you like 'Over
The Rainbow' to play and why?
JLT: We would love to do a world tour. We have talked with some industry
people in Europe about some dates but because it is all in the negotiating
stages, I cannot say much at this time. We would like to get something
going in the USA, obviously and also Canada. South America would be
wonderful as long as the business situation was right. We have a lot
of fans there and they are great.
What would you like to say to the fans out there?
JLT: Thank you for your loyal support. Your support is what motivates
me to keep going and your encouragement is what helped lead to the formation
of Over The Rainbow.
Is there anything else you would like to talk
about that I haven't covered in any of the questions above? - feel free
to talk about anything you would like to.
JLT: I just finished laying down vocals for the second "Sunstorm"
record. It's due out later this Spring. It's slated to be entitled "House
A big thankyou for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer
JLT: You are very welcome and thank you for your support!
Big Thank You to Lisa Walker for setting up the Interview