Tag Archives: Deep Purple

Kaasin – Fired Up

As expected with the associations guitarist Jo Henning Kaasin has [see bio below], this has a definite Deep Purple / Rainbow influence. The lead off track “We Are One” is pretty close to Rainbow’s “Spotlight Kid”, with that opening riff, and fast tempo; good song, very familiar. Elsewhere it’s a good set of guitar rockers, and strong vocals from Jan Thore Grefstad [who’s recorded albums with Highland Glory and Saint Daemon]. He suits this Purple/Rainbow direction quite well. Love the variety of tunes here, from the heavy epic “Revelation” [pretty cool organ in there too], to more ’80s type rockers like “Chain Of Love” and “Carry On”, to the album’s lone acoustic ballad “Shades Of Yesterday”, possibly the best cut here [great guitar break and vocal].

Debut album from hardrock band KAASIN.
KAASIN was founded by guitarist, Jo Henning Kaasin, who, in the past has collaborated with with Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple/Rainbow), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Sabbath), Doogie White (Rainbow/Michael Schenker), and Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake), Kaasin was a founding member, guitarist and songwriter with Come Taste The Band, who began as a Deep Purple tribute band, and released their lone album of original material in 2019, which featured guest appearances from JL Turner and Doogie White. CTTB was put on ice in January 2020 and JH Kaasin, then went on to form his own band, simply called KAASIN. He recruited his cousin, Staale Kaasin from Spider and 2020 Vision, to handle bass. The band also features the Norwegian singer, Jan Thore Grefstad, known for his incredible vocal duties with SAINT Deamon, Highland Glory and TNT. KAASIN also includes Benjamin Dehli on Hammond organ/analog synth and Chris Brush on drums.

KAASIN released two singles “Runaway Train” and “Revelation” on Streampeak Music in 2020. Both have been a great success, streaming in thousands on Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, and other download/streaming services. “Runaway Train” also went Top 10 on rock radio stations in France, the UK, Sweden and Norway.
KAASIN released a third single, “Hidden” on Pride & Joy Music in July 2021, (i.e.the first single from the upcoming album, Fired Up).

The CD version of this release contains last year’s two digital singles, “Runaway Train” and “Revelation” as bonus tracks.
KAASIN – Melodic hardrock in the tradition of the great bands from the seventies and early eighties.

Track list: 1. We Are One, 2. Hidden, 3. The Smoking Gun, 4. Carry On, 5. Shades Of Yesterday, 6. Walking
Downwards, 7. Chain Of Love, 8. Wrong, 9. Inside Out, 10. Revelation (CD bonus track), 11. Runaway Train (CD
bonus track)

Recorded and engineered in JUKE JOINT STUDIO, Notodden – Norway and at DEHLI MUSIKK, Bø in Telemark. Produced by Benjamin Dehli, Halvor Halvorsen & KAASIN


http://www.facebook.com/kaasinmusic
http://www.instagram.com/kaasin_music

*For fans of: Come Taste The Band, Rainbow, Deep Purple…

KJ, 10/’21

Stefan Berggren – These Are The Times : Interview

After years of recording with bands such as Snakes In Paradise and Razorback, as well as playing alongside Whitesnake alumni in The Company Of Snakes & M3, as well as The Don Airey Band, Swedish singer/songwriter/guitarist and producer Stefan Berggren has just released his 2nd solo album in 5 years. These Are The Times is a solid collection of blues rock songs, including the first track released “Wild Flowers” [featuring Don Airey of Deep Purple], “Superman”, the heavier “Burning Burning”, as well as lighter moments “Lost At Sea” and the country-sounding “New York” [complete with fiddle]. Love the title track as well, which is closer to old Whitesnake or Purple. Well worth checking out.

Below is my recent exchange with Stefan, discussing his new album, his other more recent projects, his time in New York and the late Lee Kerslake, *Also check out the links below!

First, how have you been doing during CoVid lockdowns? Keeping busy with new projects or non-music stuff?

I been working hard  on my solo album; I am so happy that I made it. There is always a sense of achievement when it’s finished. I decided already in 2019 that I was going to work on new original material the whole 2020. So the pandemic has been good for that.  But there’s absolutely nothing to do, no gigs. I believe I had the last gig on earth. My band played the last gig November 23, 2020.

(2) Stefan Berggren – Stranger In A Strangeland (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube [from 2016’s Stranger In A Strangeland]


Last time we connected was upon release of the album you did with Lee Kerslake. These Are The Times is your 2nd solo album since then, and you also did another Snakes In Paradise album[?] in 2018 [first one in 16 years]. Can you talk briefly about these 2 albums?


My first solo album Stranger in a Strangeland was ready before BKB. I put that [solo album] on hold when I met Lee, because we wrote some good songs together and we knew Lee’s time was limited. I am very proud of the BKB album. Afterwards, Lee became more and more ill so I decided to focus on my solo album. I had Bernie Marsden over to Stockholm a couple of times; he laid down guitars on 2 tracks – “Coming Home” and “Long Gone Down The Road.” All of the guests on the album are friends, musos I met along the road and enjoyed playing with — Neil Murray from Company Of Snakes and M3 played bass on one song. Snakes In Paradise did one gig at Rock Weekend in Stockholm, as the Promotor gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse 🙂 After the show I sent a song to Serafino at Frontiers; he liked what he heard and offered a deal immediately. It was a difficult and complicated recording as we all live very far apart. We might do one last album with Snakes In Paradise and do some farewell gigs for our fans. Our old songs have taken a life of their own.

May be an image of Stefan Berggren, standing, musical instrument and outerwear
rom Stefan Berggren Music Page, [fb]



When was the new album written & recorded? 

I started to record These Are The Times in 2018, so it was written and recorded  between autumn 2018-2020. The reason it has taken time is I played  gigs all over, all the time – to pay the bills 🙂

Grand Jam is your own studio / recording company !? Have you worked [produced ] many other acts?


Yes, I had my own studio since the ’90s. But now I mostly produce my own stuff; there is no time for anything else, really.

(2) STEFAN BERGGREN – Wild Flowers Feat Don Airey (Official Music Video) – YouTube

You’ve worked with Don Airey in the past. He adds a lot of sound to the lead off track “Wild Flowers“.  Can you tell me how that particular track came together, with Don?


I was thinking of having the Don guesting on my album as we played many shows together. He always plays like a beast, so “Wild Flowers” was a perfect fit for him. It turned out so well. I almost did just a keyboard and vocal mix, without bass and drums.. We’ll see 🙂 

One track that stands out is “New York“, as it’s such a different sounding track here – very almost blue-grass or country sounding. Can you tell me a bit about how that song came about and the ideas or influences that went in to it? 

I did a rock opera with Corky Laing (Mountain) in New York, ”Playing God” was it’s name. We played it at Kaye Playhouse, on Park Avenue. I stayed for 3 weeks in New York both in Green Port, Long Island &  at the hotel – The New Yorker. The lyrics are about my experiences and observations I had, for example – sitting on a bench in Central Park watching people on their way – walking or jogging, (while having a drinky). New York is special, everyone wants to be a star. Stephen Bentley-Klein plays fantastic fiddle on it, to get the Pogues & Bob Dylan vibes. Believe me I played plenty of Irish bars to be able to do it authentic 🙂

There is a lot of good blues based rock on These Are The Times.  Can you talk a bit about your own sound / direction as a solo artist, where as many years ago you’d started with ‘metal’ acts like Razorback and One Cent, and have covered a lot of musical ground over the years with various recordings and live bands.

I always try to capture the sound that is going on around me. But sometimes I just had to pay the bills. I never sing a song that  I don’t like – that’s a rule I have. Nowadays I just play my own Root Rock. And what’s relevant for me.
As for my sound – I use analog hardware gear such as my Rupert Neve5060 a analog 24/2 mixer as mothership. Plus Neve 1073dpx Neve 8801 and universal audio 6176 plus neve master buss processor, Polar stereo VCA compressor. Real drums, Fender, Martin & Gibson guitars and Neuman mics m149, a vintage 1969 u87 plus more .😎 cool stuff gives a warm, fat sound.

Any antidotes or inspirations on some of the riffs, recordings, or lyrics? 

Little Angel – I see myself driving a old Cadillac through America.
Superman – Just good blues > Pomma bass & Johannes Nordell kills it  on the drums. Very groovy. I play a Les Paul.  
These Are The Times – was written before the pandemic; 2019 was a great year for me, I was in a good flow. Now with the vaccine I’m hoping for better days. So it’s starting to be a high time with the release of the album.  Joakim Svalberg (Opeth) plays fantastic  keys!
Happy – I was in a good mood, on a sunny day 😎

(2) SNAKES IN PARADISE “Pretending Hearts” – YouTube

This album also has a vinyl edition. Curious if you’re much of a collector and what you prefer to listen to at home? 

I got my old vinyl collection and Stig Carlsson (genius) vintage speakers – it sounds great! These days I put on an old vinyl album when I’m cooking or having  a glass of wine. Right now I’m listening to Queen Innuendo, then maybe Rick Rubin’s albums with Johnny Cash – Fantastic sounds!

Regarding The Sun Has Gone Hazy album you did with Lee Kerslake – I thought it was a really good album, but deserved more attention than it got.  I am curious what might be leftover from those recordings [songs, edits, video]  And if you might consider getting it reissued with anything extra, possibly even on vinyl?  


Thanks! I think it would be great on vinyl, but it is really expensive to print vinyl. I have some leftover takes and ideas, picture films. If I can sell pre-orders to cover the cost, it could be a good idea. The sound on The Sun Has Gone Hazy is big, fat and warm, just the way I like it. Both Lee and I were very happy with it.

(3) LEE KERSLAKE & STEFAN BERGGREN “As Time Goes By – YouTube


Did you have much contact with Lee in later years or hear any of his solo project?

Yeah ,a couple of months before he died, Lee had heard I was really ill with Covid 19 (double sided pneumonia), So he phoned me up and was worried. We had long nice chat. so it was a good closure. It hit me hard when he died. We spent a couple a years playing and writing together. I am proud to call him my buddy. He had to do his solo album, I liked it a lot! “Port And A Brandy” and “You’ve Got A Friend” are my favorites.


Also, I gotta ask – you performed 2 shows fronting Uriah Heep a few years back. How did your name come up for that and how did you like that show? Any favorite Heep tracks you particularly enjoyed doing? 

Heep played on the same bill I did with Don Airey at Bilzen Rock in Belguim. They watched the gig from the side and liked the voice. The opportunity came up when Bernie had to have an operation. They snooped around and asked if I was a cool dude; they all said I was a keeper. I did 2 shows with them. Rosenheim, Germany, and one in  Sibiu, Transylvania. Great Band and chaps! My favorite songs are “Bird Of Prey”, “July Morning”, “Easy Livin'” and “Sunrise.”

Stefan Berggren Music Page updated their website address.
from Stefan Berggren Music Page [fb]

 
What other projects do you have in the works? Any band or solo things being written or recorded in the near future? With Covid restricting live shows, would you consider doing a live webcast [?] performance of some of the new album to promote it? 

I was hoping doing shows this summer with these songs; we’ll see. In the worst case scenario I may go live on Facebook 😉 There will be gigs, it’s just a matter of time. My focus right now is with my solo band; I’ve got some heavy boys playing – watch out! If the right offer comes along I am willing to jump on the train. I will put in time to promote the album, slow but steady.

Stefan Berggren – Official webpage

(3) STEFAN BERGGREN TV – YouTube

(3) Stefan Berggren Music Page | Facebook

(3) Stefan Berggren Is My Guest, Vocalist, Guitarist, Whitesnake Affiliated, Snakes In Paradise and Solo – YouTube

Stefan Berggren Interview (travellersintime.com) [my 2014 interview with Stefan upon release of The Sun Has Gone Hazy album.

KJJ, 03/21

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