Tag Archives: Classic Rock

Uriah Heep – In Canada, 2018!

It’s been since the fall of 1993 when I last saw Uriah Heep in Ontario, tho they played some shows in western Canada the following year, and 2 shows in British Columbia in 2001. At the time the band had yet to sign a new record deal, 1995’s brilliant Sea Of Light album was still a dream away, their last album – Different World suffered on a small label, and did not get a release over here [til mid 90s in the US, on Griffin Records] and the latest UH related release was The Lansdowne Tapes, and Ken Hensley’s From Time To Time. The first round of remastered CDs had not been conceived yet. Back then the band was part of the Total Recall Tour, with Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult, and Wishbone Ash. They played a 45 minute set of material pre 1976, as well as 1 ‘new’ song – Words In The Distance.

The band’s 6 shows in February of 2018 are long overdue. On their last tour of the US, I attended a show in Akron, Ohio [about 5 hrs drive], as did a number of other fans from Toronto and the Niagara areas. Someone asked singer Bernie Shaw [after the show] why the band hadn’t come north of the border, and he replied ‘they couldn’t get arrested in Canada!’. huh!… Bernie’s Canadian btw. Regardless the band is finally coming here.
*Updated North American Tour dates for 2018:
heep 2018
http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/livedates.php

They’re also recording a new album titled “Living The Dream” early in the new year, to be released next September.
https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/uriah-heep-living-the-dream
It’s been over 3 years since the band’s last album – Outsider, and during the time the band has toured extensively, including a number of songs from that album in their live show. http://www.frontiers.it/news/10978
Mick Box & Bernie Shaw have also been part of the Rock Meets Classic Tour in Europe [a few singers and players from various bands, performing with a full orchestra]. And most recently Phil Lanzon has released his first solo album – “If You Think I’m Crazy”. https://outsiderrock.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/phil-lanzon-if-you-think-im-crazy-interview/
Shaw also appears on Alan Simon’s Excalibur IV project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4rRmUpT3xs

So far 6 Canadian shows have been announced [hopefully more to come]
February :
06 & 08 – Ottawa, Ontario – Brass Monkey 
09 – Quebec City, Palais Montcalm
10 – Montreal, PQ – Corona Theatre
11 – London, Ontario – London Music Hall
12 – Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix Concert Theater [sold out]
and although not in Canada –
March 02 – Westland, Michigan – The Token Lounge [about an hour from Windsor, Ontario]

Heep’s Canadian Connections

*Singer Bernie Shaw is from British Columbia, and moved to the UK in the late 70s to pursue his musical career. He debuted on the first Grand Prix LP [along with Phil Lanzon], and went on to record with Praying Mantis [Stratus] . He joined Heep at the end of 1986, and has been there ever since. He also recorded a few tracks with Canadian guitarist Dale Collins, while on vacay in Canada in 1997, which was released as the “Picking Locks” EP [CD]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK-SCyFkzXU

*Prior to Shaw though, the band had another Canadian in the ranks. Keyboard player Gregg Dechert had been in a London, Ontario based band named Pulsar, along with a Welsh singer named John Sloman. When that band broke up and Sloman had to return to the UK, he joined Uriah Heep. Following an album and UK / European tour, Dechert was flown over to audition for and replace Ken Hensley. Dechert’s time in the band was long enough to record an album’s worth of material – which never got released, as well as play on the single “Think It Over”, and do a UK tour. His time in Heep would lead to being part of David Gilmour’s 1984 solo band, as well as a few other projects, and a brief stint in Bad Company.

He would also be apart of the Heepsteria tribute project years later, with the late Rob Seagrove, covering “July Morning”.

*When Ken Hensley left Heep, he formed Shotgun [who did 1 UK tour], and the guitarist was Canadian Derek O’Neil, from Ottawa – who had previously been in the band Fury [whom supported Heep on their 1977 UK tour]. He also was part of Blazer Blazer, who had a single in the UK – “Cecil Be Devine”. Iron Maiden would cover a song he co-wrote as part of the Marshall-Fury Band – “Juanita”. He later relocated to California, and sadly passed away in 2007.
https://www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20070521/281930243551706

*For the last several years Mick Box has been using and endorsing guitars by Toronto based company Carparelli Guitars. http://www.carparelliguitars.com/index.php/endorsees?start=8

Looking forward to the 2018!

KJJ, 11/17

 

Joe Lynn Turner Speaks : 1999

This is an interview I did with JLT from 1999, upon the release of the Rainbow remastered CDs. Joe was a lot of fun to talk to, informative, talkative, and entertaining. A great singer, who was the 3rd singer Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – from 1981 til 84 when Blackmore broke up the band to return to Deep Purple.  In recent years JLT has seen the release of such band projects as Rated X [2014] and Sunstorm [2016], as well as a few excellent live sets – one of his solo band from Boston 1985 [titled Street Of Dreams], and another of Rainbow , from Boston 1981. Joe has kept in the rock news as well the last few years in regards to Blackmore’s return to rock, and his Not choosing Joe to front his new version of the band.

 

 

Pre Fandango days – local bands? any recordings?
We did all home studio stuff, recordings. I mean, we’d gone into studios and
stuff but it was all on a local level. The one band that i would say took notoriety was
a band called “Ezra”. It was a very heavy band, we did Deep Purple covers and
originals like them. I played guitar at this point, and i also did singing. We did like
Highway Star, Rat-Bat Blues, – you name it. We also did stuff by like Flash, Children
of The Universe, and Yes, and all that kind of stuff, so it was a heck of a lot of stuff
for me to cut as a guitar player. My chops were a whole lot better in those days. This
Ezra thing, we did quite well on a local level, which sort of prompted us to go a little
further. I got kinda stuck in a Hard-Rock…got fed up with all that; meaning – as a
musician you really want to expand and i love all kinds of music, so when the
opportunity came around to start this band “Fandango” I was more than ready
because at that point the Eagles were big and things like that , Poco, Marshall
Tucker, so it was kind of a 5 part harmony – double guitar – Allman Brothers type of
thing, and we played locally and (again) became very successful locally – filling up
the clubs, high schools and what have you. There was a big following in the Tri-State
area – New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, and Pennsylvania too. And from
there we recognized by some A & R guys and got signed to RCA Records.

You Guys Did a lot of different types of stuff…

Very eclectic type of stuff!

You did 4 albums!?

We did 4 albums, we had pockets in the US where we were being played a lot
on the radio stations and actually could fill some clubs and things like that. So we
had pockets where we were successful, not to any measure where we went to any
super-notoriety or anything. We had a lot of great writers, and everybody at this
point was very hungry and young, so we weren’t very aware of what shouldn’t be
done and what should, and there was a lot of arguing, and a lot of hammering about
you know – you want your own voice to be heard. And eventually that became the
demise of the band, aside from the fact that we got robbed on tour! We were on tour
with Wet Willie, Allman Brothers, and Marshall Tucker — this big shed-fest, and we
were playing the Chicago Fest as a matter of fact — the Beach Boys, Billy Joel –
whole bunch of people were out there at this concert, and that night when we got to
the hotel – of course the band all went out and the roadies were playing cards and
the truck was parked up against the wall, the roater was taken out for safety
precautions, and it was pissin’ down rain. To make a long story short, these guys
knew exactly what to do, these thieves, and they stole our truck. So about 80
Thousand dollars worth of equipment was gone; it went right into Canada! And then
from Canada alot of the stuff – road cases, guitars, clothes, everything – ended up in
like Japan, Germany — it all got air-lifted some place else and sent out.

Was that the nail in the coffin?
Yeah, it really was. But we tried to recover from that. RCA was very helpful,
they gave us like 30 or 40 Grand to try and get back on our feet, and we were kind of
emotionally wiped out because me and the other guitar player Rickey Blakemore –
we had like wicker covered Marshall cabinets, our own home racks and things, so
we were left to foot petals and strange guitars, and strange drum sets …

A lot of personal stuff!?
Yeah, a lot of personal stuff, the stuff in the road cases. The wind got knocked
out of us, and it was very hard to recover. In a nut-shell that’s what I’d have to say.
But we went out after and tried to do the tour, and we tried to make that last
“Cadillac” record, but at that point there was sort of a venom inside the band as well
because the 2 main writers were screaming for writing, me and the bass player who
also wrote good songs – we wanted to write; so now everybody’s taking a chance
and doing some writing and the albums became even more eclectic — which meant
they were all over the place. It was a very talented band, group of guys, good strong
song writing, but there was not one identity of the band. The band’s identity was that
whole eclecticity, you know ‘who are they? you can’t put your finger on it’

Did anyone in either of those bands (Ezra or Fandango) go on to anything else of
bigger success?
No, not really. They all made aspirational attempts, but nobody really cracked it
except me and I think that brought on a lot of resentment, and I mean – I’m friends
with them today but I don’t see them. And Rick died, Rick was in a car crash. In fact
my daughter’s named after his fiancée who died with him. It was a real Romeo &
Juliet story. He was up at the Renaissance there in New York state and some guy on
medication, 80 years old, lost control, fell asleep – whatever and jumped over the
divider and his car happened to be in the way, and it took them both out.

What year was that?
I’d say it was about ’83. Oh, you asked me if anyone had gone on further – he
actually played with Kim Larson in Gasoline Alley in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kim
Larson had a really big following in Scandinavia and Europe at the time, he was kind
of a David Johanson – looking character. The whole project was called “Gasoline
Alley” and I know Rickey had been touring with them, so he did at least get a taste of
what it might be like to do something on record.

Were some of the songs on your solo album not credited to him?
Because we had written them then, I mean “The Game of Rock n Roll” for
example – that was such an old song, and I still think it’s a timeless song. Regardless
of whether you like this version or not, the whole lyrical tongue and cheek
campiness of rock stars, ya know – “you got a manager, and a shiny car, a heavy
weight lawyer, and a bodyguard…………..” and all this kind of stuff, and it was kind of
cool. We had written a bunch of stuff, but that one was certainly perfect for “Hurry
Up And Wait” because Hurry Up And Wait has kind of got a tongue and cheek
attitude about the whole thing anyway. I mean it’s got some really great stuff on it,
commercial rock, but it just seems to fit, and it was a good tribute to do that.

How did you, being from the States, New Jersey — hook up with Ritchie
Blackmore?
Interesting story. Fandango was over, I was living down in the West Village of
New York City with a lot of the other bohemians, and living very poorly of course,
with a couple of roommates and sleeping on a mattress of the floor – that kind of
thing. I was playing guitar and singing still, I would do anything – sing, play –
whatever you wanted me to do! So I would go to a lot of auditions, and I realized that
I wasn’t getting the gigs because every time I’d be in the back line playing rhythm
guitar, or even lead guitar, or singing background – I kinda had a charisma I guess,
and I would out-shine these artists that these A & R guys were trying to promote, so
I was never getting the gigs. So I was like, “what the hell is it with this? I can’t get a
gig!” So I was getting pretty down hearted and pissed-off, rightfully so. I said to
myself 2 weeks previous to Ritchie’s phone-call that “I’ve really got to be my own
man; the only way I’m going to do this is to take the ball of wax in my own hands,
and be my own lead singer, or guitar player, writer, – whatever.” Never mind this
trying to join a situation or get higher or whatever! So, I get a phone-call one day
towards the evening. I’d just come in from another disgusting day of walking around
New York trying to find work and hook up things. This guy named Barry Ambrosio is
on the phone and introduces himself, and I Don’t him, but he says “I know you from
Fandango” and he started asking me 1001 questions, and I said “what do you work
for the IRS or something? Like what’s up with you?” And he said “No, I’m actually
sitting next to Ritchie Blackmore, I’m a friend of his and HE would like to speak to
you.” So, I was like slack-jawed, and went well “put him on!” And he comes on and
says “Hello mate….” and I said “Hello mate yourself, I’m a big fan of yours”, and he
says “well I’m a big fan of yours!”, and I said “Really”. And he says “I’ve listened to
all your Fandango records”, I said “Great, thanks”. And he says “We’re looking for a
new lead singer for Rainbow, are you familiar with Rainbow?” And I said “Well, I got
the first album that Dio did, and I like that”. But there was so many other bands that hit the wall at that time, bigger bands, that my tastes not changed, but Rainbow kind
of got buried with their first album. I was familiar with some of the other stuff, but i
wasn’t learning it off by heart or anything. So he says “we’d like you to come out and
try and have a singing'”. And I says “well where and when do i got to be…..” and he
says “Today!” and I’m like “Now? I don’t have a car, so I’ll have to take the train” And
he said he was out on Long Island, and the train service runs out to Long Island,
New York. So I figured out a schedule and called him back at the studio he was at –
which happened to be Kingdom Sound. I got the next train out there, got out there,
they picked me up at the station, brought me in straight to the microphone. I was
nursing a cold at the time, I had a head cold, and I didn’t care; I had to push through
this and my voice teacher at the time always taught me to sing above a cold. So I
started doing backgrounds and stuff to tracks like “Surrender” and what not. And
then I noticed they were wiping off Graham Bonnet’s tracks, and I was like “what’s
up with this?” And I’d started to do a few leads, and they said can you improvise?
And they’d play a track and said “just mumble something over this, sing some
bluesy hard rock over this” And then Ritchie came out with a couple of Heinekins in
his hand and said “you got the gig if you want it”. So I kinda figured since I was
working out here for the last 6 hours you know , and they were doing a lot of talking
back and forth behind the glass and I was standing out there like a goldfish in a bowl
worrying what’s going on.
Who was making the decision?
It was Roger Glover, he, the manager, Ritchie’s ex-wife Amy.
So he comes out with the Heinekins, he clinks me one, and we decide right there
that I’m in the band. They didn’t even let me go home they got a hotel room for me
and put me in a hotel that night. I called my girlfriend and said “look I won’t be
coming home, looks like I got a big gig, I’m freaking out, I’m excited, and they’re
keeping me in the hotel, here’s the number…..” And I started right in the studio the
next morning on the “Difficult To Cure” tracks. And the rest is really history, that’s
how it all started!
When you joined the band, the band had done a lot of heavier stuff prior to………..
Yeah they were a bit more..I’d like to call it “dungeons and dragons”.
Starting with the “Down To Earth” album and the albums that you were on…….
The Down To Earth album was a bit more commercial. They had the Russ
Ballard thing going on..
How did you feel about those (Russ Ballard) tunes?
I love them! I think Russ Ballard happens to be a great great writer! And I won’t
even get into, by disparaging him by saying that “I Surrender” – the way it came out –
I had an influence in that, but he would absolutely not accept any re-writes or
polishing. He said “you can do what you want to it – but I’m keeping my publishing!”
So Ritchie looked at me and I looked at him and said “f**k it – we’ll just do it!” I mean
I needed a break, i was in no position to argue. But I had re-written certain things and melodies, but overall – it’s his song! Somewhere there’s a demo of him singing
it, and you get the idea – “oh yeah, it’s much better now!” ha ha. Anyway, I loved the
Russ Ballard stuff, I thought he was a great writer with Argent and all that, I had no
problem with him. But it was that Rainbow was actually making a concerted attempt
and a concentrated effort to try and get this commerciality – not blatant
commerciality, but a melodic hard-rock form. I was at the right place at the right time
because that’s my instincts; my instincts are hard-rock and melodic. I’m not a
screamer, that’s just distasteful. I’m a Paul Rodgers fan, Glenn Hughes fan – I love
singing, when people can emote and really sell a lyric in a story, so I guess that’s
where the perfect marriage was coming from, and we just tried to follow suit.

And the last few albums there was even more keyboards……..
Yeah, there you go! With David Rosenthal, Ritchie wanted a bit more color to it.
He gave everybody a piece to stretch out with like synthesizer solos, the B-3 solos
and what-have-you. The band sort of went through a metamorphosis, and obviously
commerciality wasn’t bad because we were doing very well. I know we pissed off a
lot of the hard core dungeons and dragons fans because we weren’t writing about
castles and monsters and medieval kings and all that stuff, but we were doing a lot
of super-natural spiritual stuff. We were doing a lot of stuff that borderline on
séances and the other side of this life.
Now when you guys wrote together – you, Roger, and Ritchie, – did you do the
lyrics mainly??
What Ritchie would do is he would grab say Bob Rondinelli on drums with his
Taurus blue pedals, and they would go into the rehearsal place for a couple of hours
and just jam on all kinds of riffs; and then Ritchie would hand me this 2 hour tape
(ha ha ha) and go “alright – write some songs!”. And nothing would be necessarily
cohesive, in fact I can remember “Street Of Dreams” – which was a later song of
course, but they were all like that; I remember putting 3 or 4 different pieces together
and showing him how these 3 pieces of music went together and how they make up
the song because he’d write all the pieces but they would all be in different formats
and arrangements.
You guys went through a few personnel changes as far as keyboard players and
drummers. Was Cozy Powell ever in the band with you?
JLT: Cozy got out of the band just as I got in the band, and that’s when Rondinelli
came in. I did know Cozy very well, he came over to my house in New Jersey after I
got married, and we had dinner and we were talking about being in Blue Murder and
a whole bunch of other things, and of course John Sykes wouldn’t hear of it because
I’d gone out with his girlfriend earlier and it was becoming very incestuous. But he
(Cozy) was a fine fine man, and I think my quote when asked was ‘we lost a prince in
the industry’. Because Cozy, not only was a world-class drummer, but he was also a
fine guy, and you don’t find many of those; you find usually egotistical assholes!

Highlights as far as Rainbow goes – favorite tracks? shows?

Well Madison Square Garden of course because it’s my hometown! Bodkin of
course – because it’s Budokan! And then we played even larger stadiums where
there was 80 thousand people – ‘Summerfests’ and things like that! But as far as the
more memorable shows – my first show we played in Kolmar, France, and it was a
warm-up gig. It was an outdoor gig, a shed with a roof, and it was my first gig, and i
was scared shit. During Long Live Rock N Roll Ritchie and the guys gave me a piece
where I got out to the audience and started them clapping and singing and all this,
and of course they be French speaking they were trying to do the best they could,
and to make a long story short, I started getting bits of food thrown at me and I was
getting really irritated during this Long Live Rock n Roll part and I got really pissed
off with the lights and all I didn’t know where it was coming from, and I said “ah –
F**k off!” and as I threw the mic down I looked and the spotlight had just caught
somebody in the pit and there was Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of the band – they
had the food trays from backstage Hospitality and they were throwing baloney at me
and pretzels and chips – and it was them! Ha ha ha ha. So I felt like a complete idiot
(ha ha). And this was my first introduction to like “you better learn to take a joke!” In
other words you can’t take your self too seriously! And that’s something that I think
is probably the greatest thing that Blackmore has ever taught me. Whether or not he
subscribes to it anymore – I’m not too sure, because sometimes I find he pretends to
take himself seriously to intimidate people, but I know better – that “it’s all a laugh” –
as he used to put it. But those are the moments that i remember vividly because they
were major embarrassing or learning moments, and they were cornerstones of what
I’ve learnt and became today.

Favorite Rainbow songs??
They’re like my children, it’s very difficult to love one more than another. ……
There’s some special ones like Stone Cold, Drinking With The Devil, Street Of
Dreams, Can’t Let You Go, Jealous Lover…
there’s so many that were so cool and so good, we really had a run of luck, and
when I say luck I mean we do get lucky when the chemistry’s really happening, and
our chemistry was really high for a couple of years, and we wrote some really
impactful stuff. But otherwise it’s really tough, because each one of these songs is
sort of like a biography, or it reminds me of a place in my life – where I was at the
time, and if anybody wants my biography when I’m gone just listen to my records,
and it’s all about what I’ve lived through, and it’s all based on truth.

Now the band broke up when the Deep Purple thing was ………
Yeah that was………

Were you a little bitter or what?No, I’ll tell you what I’m bitter about. The manager actually put me and Ritchie
against each other on a trip back from Japan once. He came to me and said “Oh we
want to put back together Deep Purple and everyone’s into it and everyone wants to
do this, and you now have a lucrative solo deal with Elektra Records and you’re
going to do really good and blah blah blah…and then we can always put Rainbow
back together.” OK, this is the manager’s words in a nutshell. And I’m like “Man, no problem. You mean Ritchie really wants to do it?” – “Yeah” – OK then what the hell
am I going to say, because without Ritchie – there’s no Rainbow! So I said “yeah, and
I do have my contract with Elektra and I’m excited about doing a solo deal, and also I
feel very important by helping one of my favorite bands in the world – Deep Purple,
get back together!” I felt very instrumental, and I sort of had a smile on my face. Well
what happened was he went over to Ritchie and said “Joe just wants to do a solo
deal, he so full of ego now.” And Ritchie was really disappointed because he wanted
to keep Rainbow together, and I never knew that until last January. I found out
through a mutual friend of ours. And I’ve said this in the press and I want him to
know that we were duped, in a word ‘duped!’ And he (the manager) played both
sides against the middle for monetary gains, and there we were. So I was bitter
about what the manager did.

Any hard feelings a few years ago when Ritchie put the band back together
without you?
Not at all! In fact those guys were playing with me first – they were my band. I
can document that, they were in the Joe Lynn Turner All-Star band playing around.
We played for a couple of years before Ritchie picked them up, and of course he did
the right thing. They came to me out of respect and said “hey would it be OK if we
joined Rainbow?”, and I said “first of all I’m not your father! and I don’t own you, but
I really appreciate you guys coming to me with this kind of respect, but go for it – be
blessed my child, but BE warned! All that glitter ain’t gold, he’s a tough cookie
sometimes, so just wear your helmets!” And sure enough they came back later on
and told me some absolute horror stories! Ha ha ha ha. So, I had no problem at all. I
was pretty much flattered that he would steel my band, ha ha. But I wanted those
guys to get notoriety as well.
So there was no plan for you to get into Rainbow?
No, I don’t think he even considered me because he wanted all new blood.
That’s one of the famous Vampire-Blackmore things — he needs new blood to
generate. After the fiasco we had been through with Purple and everything. He and I
were the only 2 that still stood fast, and he wanted me in that band. He took a 2
million dollar deal from BMG to get Gillan back in the band, because there was no
way he wanted Gillan back in the band. This is obviously another story……. What
happened was I got pushed out. The only bitterness I have about that — and I’ve seen
all the guys several times, I’ve seen them 2 nights at the Hard Rock & House Of
Blues, hung with them back stage, hugged, and all that crap. I harbor no ill feelings,
but everybody knows where the body’s buried, everybody knows what they did – and
if they can live with that — fine! I’m a big enough man to forgive — not forget, but to
forgive! And I really felt I got back-stabbed!
How did you feel about the album you did “Slaves & Masters”??
Slaves & Masters was a great product. We got crap out of it; it was “Deep
Rainbow”, and all this kind of shit! What the hell do you expect ? — we got 3 people
from Rainbow and 4 people from Purple, so now what? You got me singing lead, so
the color and face of the band’s going to sound like Rainbow, but I’ll tell you this,
and little did I know that that was one of Ritchie’s favorite albums, I read it in articles,and he’s told me, and then I read it in print and I know anything he says in print he wants out there! So he said that was actually one of this favorite records. And to
make a long story short, we got a lot of shit from the Deep Purple Fan Club, Simon
Robinson and all these guys. Here’s what I want to say, and I’ve been saying it, so
the last laugh is mine — Look at them now! They sound like the Gillan Band meets
the Dixie Dregs! It doesn’t sound like Deep F**kin’ Purple!! We had at least – with
“Wicked Ways” and a bunch of different songs, we sounded like Purple! We had the
Purplesque attitude, but we also had some Rainbow styles because how far can you
take these musicians out of their environment? We are what we are! So it’s got to
sound like that, but it still sounds – to me, closer to the truth of Deep Purple rather
than what’s been coming out lately! It sounds like some avant-garde — I don’t know
what the hell that is!! And I think it (Slaves & Masters) was a far better album,
although people would argue, than “The Battle Rages On”. I didn’t like that album.

jlt dp

Did you do the demos for The Battle Rages On?
Yes – in a word! And I just heard that they are on some bootleg, I believe you
can get it from Lost Horizons, Chris McLaughlin – this guy in Japan, and I know him,
and I’m going to e-mail and call his ass and ask “what the f**k is goin on with this?” –
because I want those!

Did you write anything on that?
Yes. When I heard The Battle Rages On, I heard diluted tracks of what we were
writing. We had some very strong material because at that point Ritchie was very
concerned. We brought in Jim Peterik of Survivor, and he was writing with us, and
we had some really cool stuff! We had this one called “Lost In The Machine” — which
was f**kin’ heavy. We had another called “The Stroke of Midnight”, another called
“Little Miss Promiscuous”. We were just ripping it up with social statements, and all
that kind of stuff. And we were sort of becoming like an angst band, but with a
commercial attitude, and a lot of great music! But the other guys were just …you
know – “Oh – the 25th Year reunion, we can’t survive without Ian Gillan.” And then
when BMG came in and slid in the 2 million bucks to Ritchie to give him a solo deal
just to get Gillan back in, he said “sure!” And i can’t blame a guy for that kind of
dough going over his head! So the cruelest thing, and what I am pissed off about is
the fact that they said I couldn’t sing! Now that’s a lie, because I could sing, I never
lost my voice. I read an article of Ritchie’s and he said “somebody had to be the goat
— somebody had to take the fall, and it was Joe. They sacrificed him. And he said
“those 3 guys really made it rough for him. God knows Joe had his own problems at
that time…..” because I was wrestling with my own inner-demons and I had a bit of a
drug habit – I’m not going to powder it at all, and I am completely back. But what I’m
trying to say is that they were giving me that psychological trauma. Here I am in one
of the most legendary bands in the world, and all I’m getting is shit from the inside! It
was pretty tough stuff. I needed a permanent couch attached to my back, I needed a
psychiatrist or something, because I couldn’t deal with the betrayal and the back-
stabbing and the nice to your face and then kick you in the ass. And I couldn’t
believe these guys. Ritchie was not a part of that — it was the other 3.

Do you still have a friendly bond with Ritchie?

Oh yeah. We don’t call each other all the time, but every once in a while we’ll
call and say “let’s go out to dinner”, and we never do. But some of our good mutual
friends are always passing along “hellos” from him and Candy. Everybody’s so busy
that we never do get together, but I’d like to make a point of it possibly at the end of
the summer or fall to just get together with him and say “hey – for old times sake
let’s have a few beers!”. And I would (to answer a question you didn’t ask!) …I’d love
do a Rainbow reunion because # 1 – I think the fans deserve it! and #2 – I think we
can really create some great music together again — if Ritchie is of the mind that he
really wants to do another hard-rock album. Right now, I happen to know that Ritchie
has always been a minstrel man; he’s always been a medieval – renaissance type of
guy. He told me he was born out of time, and he’s always felt these other lives, and
so on and so forth. So this does not surprise me – what he’s doing. And everybody’s
like “what the hell’s he doin? Has he lost his mind?”, but actually he’s found his
mind and he’s found his soul. He loves this kind of stuff. There was a German band
that he would take a tape of on tour with him, and play it for me all the time, and I he
would go follow them around like a groupie when we were off tour; and he would go
to these castles. Now he’s doing the same thing with his “Blackmore’s Night” thing.
So he’s happy, and the rest of yous can piss-off if you don’t like it!

You worked with Yngwie Malmsteen. Tell me, did Bob Daisley play on
“Odyssey”??
Originally it was supposed to be me, Bob Daisley, Eric Singer on drums,
Yngwie, and Jens Johanssen on keyboards. We had meetings, we had rehearsals,
the shit was sounding great, and then Yngwie freaked out and couldn’t take the egos
or whatever — couldn’t take Bob being of notoriety, me being of notoriety, because
what Jim Lewis at Polgram was trying to do (who’s still his manager by the way) was
bring us up to “super-star” status. It all looked good on paper, but Yngwie,
psychologically and emotionally couldn’t handle it – in my opinion (not only my
opinion – but everybody else’s opinion!), and he really just flubbed it, and then he
got in that terrible accident, and the whole bottom just dropped out. Because I was
with Bob and Eric for a couple of months, trying to put things together, and yes Bob
did eventually end up playing on a couple of tracks, but it was nothing that it was
supposed to have started out to have been. He got Anders Johanssen back and
went back to what Yngwie felt was comfortable. But regardless of any of that, the
Odyssey record still happens to be – in my opinion , one of the best works he’s ever
done. And I think people have testimonials to that. So I say it still stands the test of
time, and it was a sparkling light in his career, and I think he’s been trying to chase
that ever since really. But none of the records come up to snuff like that.

In latter years you’ve done a lot of ‘tribute’ stuff, you’ve got a new solo thing
out…..
Yeah I did some tributes for a while. It was fun to do Cream, ‘Purple — he
Friends from New York Purple – which was really outrageous, left-field stuff with
TMC Stevens! Did an AC/DC tribute – that was fun, and I love doing different stuff
because it’s always a challenge. Then I got serious again and started to do some
solo records and some “undercover” stuff – which i really loved doing.

And the Mother’s Army stuff!?

Ohh – this last one I love! I love them all, but i think the band’s got a real sound
and real style. And with this “Fire On the Moon” – I think we’ve really captured
something.
The only thing is a lot of the stuff you do now is Japan-only releases!?
Yes. A lot of it’s import , you’re right! And certain things in Europe like USG has
released “Planet Earth” and things like that. But oddly enough (I’ve got to tell you)
we’re doing 10 out of 10s as far as the reviews in Europe; they’re were going “best
hard-rock album of the year” …”Incredible lyrically”….”the music has got this and
that….” , and JVC in Japan dropped us! So right now we are label-less. We wrote 6
more songs, we turned them in , 6 which we love – the same style as Fire On The
Moon, if not better, so we know it had nothing to do with that. The whole thing in
Japan is just upside-down and ass-backwards right now with their economy and all.
So we’re kind of grateful that we got dropped by JVC, because they weren’t treating
us right, they never really promoted the records, never took any time out for us, or
anything like that. And I really think this band could be a mainstream, really
something to wrecked with if somebody got a hold of it with the right publicity.

What are you doing currently??
My next major project is to go with Nikolo Kotsev of Brazon Abbott. I just had
dinner with Glenn Hughes here in New York 2 weeks ago, who’d finished his tracks,
and we are doing a 2 CD set of a rock-opera about Nostradamus! It’s major – it’s
f**king brilliant! I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but i believe Doogie White’s
on it, and there’s going to be a cast of very notable people – women as well, and this
is an opera – a rock opera on Nostradamus right in time for the millennium, with his
whole life. It’s been one hell of a project for me to write on. I’ve heard the Glenn
tracks and he sang great, it’s just coming out phenomenal! So that is what I do at the
end of July. I also do a small festival over there in Mannheim – where Nicko lives,
we’re going to do a small outdoor festival – one night. And then I also did a Heaven &
Earth project with Stuart Smith, the guitarist, and now it looks like there’s a couple of
sheds up there in British Columbia, and he’s got Paul Rodger’s manager Chris
Crawford helping him out, so they’re threatening there’s a slight tour coming down
in August, a couple of festivals, and some clubs all the way down to LA, but I’ve yet
to see this materialize. And concurrently I’m starting a web business for musicians,
which is going to be a complete full sight to help aspiring and professional
musicians, but mostly the undiscovered talent that’s out there. We are going to be
like an MP3 sight, but in the meantime we’re going to try and help the musicians.
We’re going to have data banks for legal advice – because musicians end up on the
wrong side of contracts all the time! We’re going to help some kid with some advice,
where to go, what to do – whatever he needs!? Classifieds, employment rosters. It’s
a full range site “musiciansask.com”, and we’re right now in meetings to try and 5 to
7 $million to try and fund this thing, because there’s no site out there like this that
actually helps the musician. What we’re talking about is having a home-page for the
band, a bio, picture, a couple of MP3 downloads, you know – trying to get the band’s
exposure, single artists – whatever. Put people in touch with people internationally,
you know if you’ve got the music and they’ve got the lyrics. We’re going to have
bulletin boards. And this was all thought of by a group of musicians with notable
credibility who really want to help musicians because we’re the most kicked around artists in the world, you know they take our money, they steal our songs…One of our
slogans is “it’s our music – let’s take it back!” We’re sick of the A & R f**king people,
the big 3, and the big goofball record companies signing all these like Rickey Martin
and shoving these little Spice Girl shit down our throats, we’re sick of all the angst
and 4-chord wonders out there, that sea of talentless people — we really want to see
some music come back. And I think this thing is going to fly.

Favorite singers?
Paul Rodgers, Glenn Hughes, and there’s a couple of unsung heroes I admire
like Kelly Keeling, then Paul Carrack. I love Robert Plant, and I’m just sort of bringing
up where my butt comes from. What nails me is a singer that can do that soulful
thing and basically still rock.

Any rare / unreleased Rainbow tracks you remember?
JLT: Just some demos, nothing for release.

You released 2 albums of cover songs — why??
Pony Canyon and I had an idea to do this. I like remakes, and some of these are
my favorite songs. The C.D.s were well received.

Did Ezra play any Uriah Heep songs? Did you consider any Heep songs for either
of your covers’ albums?
Ezra played the popular Heep songs of the day. Yeah, it might be a good idea to
cover some Heep songs.

Any memories of touring with YJM in Russia?
Plenty of them. Cold, Cold, Cold! We were there for 5 weeks. A lot of technical
difficulties. Great audience response! Made me appreciate home sweet home.

Who was the ‘King Of Dreams’?
Real smooth dancer refers to Ritchie, the rest is a parody of myself.

Have you heard all the Rainbow remasters yet?
Yes, they sound great. I’m so glad they re-did these. And on VH1 they’ve been
playing the shit out of us, because down here it’s “the bad boys of rock” all month
and they’ve been playing “Stone Cold” and things like that, so my phone’s been
wringing off the hook. It’s kind of funny to see it all come back for a week.
I would also like to mention that I got a great web-site joelynnturner.com, and it’s
brand new; we’ve revamped the whole site, and there’s all kinds of new features and
a lot of cool links, and e-mail so everybody can e-mail me there.

KJJ, July ’99

BLUE OYSTER CULT : Classics – without the cowbell!

‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ was Blue Oyster Cult’s first and biggest hit in 1976, after 3 albums. The song became etched in American pop culture in 2000 when a skit was made of it on Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken; having fun with the recording of the cowbell [which in turn inspired the song “More Cowbell” by Blue Coupe!]. BOC fans know the band was one of the best from the US in the ‘70s, originally signed by Columbia in hopes to be a response to the heavy bands on Warner Bros at the time – mainly Black Sabbath, but BOC were never simply a heavy ‘metal’ band, loads of variety, rockers, ballads, with 5 guys that all wrote and could sing lead. They had their own themes and stories in the songs and albums [see my interview with Albert Bouchard], a cool symbol [an idea taken on by other bands], noted for their lazer show in the ‘70s, but to us fans – a string of classic albums from ’72 to 81!  The band’s output [and quality of] declined when [drummer] Albert Bouchard left, and then [bassist] Joe Bouchard a few years later. Main singer [and guitarist] Eric Bloom and lead guitarist [and often lead singer] Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser still tour with BOC today. The Bouchards have an excellent little band [and a few cool band and solo albums] called ‘Blue Coupe’ [along with Dennis Dunaway of the original Alice Cooper group]. There was no one else like the original Blue Oyster Cult. So, here’s my recommended list of BOC classics, more so for those thinking they were just the band with the cowbell song!

RIP Allen Lanier, Sandy Pearlman, Sam Judd.

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/bouchardinterview.html

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/Bouchard2012.html

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/Bouchard2013.html

 

boc6251

Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll                              

From the first album in 1972. The band’s first great rocker, an anthem and permanent live favorite, penned by Donald Roeser and Al Bouchard. Those first 3 albums were in a class of their own.

Wings Wetted Down

Not exactly sure what this eerie tale is about, vampires[!?] , but always loved this from Tyranny & Mutation, penned by Albert and Joe Bouchard. A dark heavy riff, playing around piano / acoustic verses, cool lengthy solo, and heavy chorus.

Hot Rails To Hell

From the second album, one of Joe Bouchard’s biggest contributed tracks in BOC. A classic early rocker; Joe drives this song with the bass, and it’s a killer. Fast paced, heavy on the guitars…BOC was not so smooth sounding early on, made to be played loud.

Career Of Evil

The opening cut to Secret Treaties, penned by Al Bouchard with Patti Smith. such an energetic track. Based mainly on Allen Lanier’s organ sound. creepy, gothic stuff about doing anything imaginable wrong to somebody. – “I choose to steal what you choose to show, And you know I will not apologize.”

Astronomy

Epic from the Secret Treaties in 1974; written by Albert & Joe Bouchard with Sandy Pearlman. Originally composed on piano and keys, so eerie and cool. Not exactly sure what this all about [some interesting discussion at > www.songfacts.com] . I like the various versions [the Some Enchanted Evening live version and the 1988 Imaginos re-do],but the original is my fave BOC track. – “it’s the nexus of the crisis, and the origins of storms”.

Al Bouchard – “Pearlman was always reading every kind of esoteric book imaginable so that had a lot to do with our subject matter.”

Flaming Telepaths

I think I grew to love this dark rocker because it leads in to “Astronomy” on the album, and since there no break between the songs, I always play[ed] them together! Cool and rare synth & piano solo, followed by a classic Buck Dharma solo. Co penned by Donald Roeser, Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman, and Eric Bloom. …”and the jokes on you” …. I really gotta figure out these stories in the songs…

This Ain’t The Summer of Love

The lead off track from Agents of Fortune – such a strong album [see ETI, Morning Final, Debbie Denise..]. Great guitar chugging intro and then band crashing in; a short, powerful rocker! Co-written by Al Bouchard, Murray Krugman and Don Waller, but given a fitting vocal from Eric Bloom. Lizzy Borden did a decent cover of this.

Sinful Love

A classic rocker from Agents of Fortune, penned by Al Bouchard [who also sang it] along with Helen Wheels. Love the chorus and harmonies, great lyrics – “I love you like sin – but I won’t be your pigeon”.

Searchin’ For Celine

A classic Allen Lanier penned track. kicking off with piano, a bit of funk and lots of changes, melody, and a great vocal from Eric Bloom. Love this one; very different!

R.U. Ready to Rock

One thing BOC almost always managed to do was have kick ass rockers open each album side. This song was written with the live show in mind; great riff and intro, short and to the point! Written by Al Bouchard and Sandy Pearlman.

I Love The Night

BOC did so many different tunes, and some classic ballads, such as this haunting one from Spectres.Also penned and written by Buck Dharma. Great melody and harmonies. – “the day is ok and the sun can be fun…”

The Vigil

From 1979’s Mirrors. This had some great songs, but the production was a bit too tidy, attempting to perhaps pull some radio friendly tunes!? But “The Vigil” [co-written by Donald and Sandra Roeser] stands out as a late in the game BOC epic; lots of changes, lots of guitars, harmonies, and big production. One of Buck’s best!

Divine Wind

Written by Donald Roeser for Cultosaurus Erectus, as a reaction to the Iran hostage situation. Great vocal from Eric Bloom, a slower paced, guitar heavy, dark classic. Produced by legendary heavy producer Martin Birch [Sabbath, Deep Purple, Maiden..] to bring the band back from the aor approach of Mirrors. – “If he really thinks we’re the devil, then let’s send em to Hell.”

Joan Crawford

From Fire Of Unknown Origin, the last to feature the original line up. Love the classical piano intro and then the band stepping in. great lyrics, with humor, very theatrical. The band even shot a video for this song in ’81.

Al Bouchard – That song was inspired by the book “Mommy Dearest” and also the behavior of my ex-wife one day while David Roter, Jack Rigg and I were trying to record a demo. Joe wrote the intro but Allen played it.

Burnin For You

The band’s other top 40 hit, and probably 2nd best known song, from Fire Of Unknown Origin. Penned by Richard Meltzer with Buck Dharma, who sang it. A more mainstream rocker about the rock n roll life. – “Burn out the day, burn out the night.”

*Drop me a note and let me know what ya think! BOC fans – feel free to add in omissions and insight. [thanks]

Here’s a few more BOC links for you…

http://www.hotrails.co.uk

http://joebouchard.com

http://blueoystercult.com

www.albertbouchard.net

http://www.buckdharma.com

http://www.ericbloom.net

www.martinpopoff.com/html/Boc.html

KJJ- 09/16