Joe Lynn Turner – an artist has to change, or he dies

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Once again Joe Lynn Turner is in Athens, this time to be a part of the imposing concert at the Herodium with a classic orchestra. Obviously, we are not letting this chance to go to waste and we’re going to talk with him. The schedule is tight and the time slot before the last rehearsal is getting smaller and smaller. The tour manager tells us that he still hasn’t been to bed and it’s 6 in the evening! The car is outside waiting for both Joe and Dave Bickler to drive them to the venue, but even for just 5 minutes Turner sits opposite the camera! He’s cool and great to talk to –as always- as he quickly comments on his new solo album, his new direction for his live shows from now on and the famous issue with Frontiers and Sunstorm, as well as the future… of rock’n’roll. Interview: Sakis Nikas Camera: Yiannis Dolas Editing/Post Production: OneManArmy

Rockpages.gr: Let’s talk about the upcoming solo. It’s been a long time coming, man, and we can’t wait for it.

Joe Lynn Tunrer: You know, it’s been a long time and purposely it’s been a long time. I took some time to live life… Because, I was crazy for all those years working really hard and doing different projects here and there for Cleopatra etc. You know, a song here, a song there and writing with Peter Tagtren from Pain/Hypocrisy, and finally we had a chance to do 11 songs and master them and they’re ready to go. Now, we’re dealing with Nuclear Blast, but we’ll see what happens. It’s more heavy, darker… I am using a different voice a lot of times because I wanted to get away from everything, I was doing. An artist has to change, or he dies. So, I’m glad that the time period happened, so it kind of put that in the past and it’s going to bring this into the future and I think a lot of people will be pretty surprised that I have this other voice that I am using…

Rockpages.gr: I’m so glad how you handle the whole situation with Frontiers Records. You brought out some stuff that a lot of people wanted to say. I’m glad that you did that.

Joe Lynn Turner: You know, I tried to be a gentleman. I tried to be as nice as possible. I don’t want to disparage anybody, or say names, or anything like that. The point of the matter is Sunstorm was never a band. It was a project. My project! And when I walked away from the project they should have let that project named die. And that should be it. When they came out with Sunstorm again, it wasn’t Sunstorm! And, I think the fans reacted and erupted, very vehemently against what they were doing. So that was my only issue really. The fact that “can’t you call it another name?” Just call it another name, but I tried to be as gentleman as possible, really I did. Because I had to write two different sort of statements, because apparently people weren’t understanding what was happening on the first statement. The second statement was a little clearer and I said, “look, this is exactly it”. It’s not that I won’t do an AOR record. It’s not anything like that. In fact, we found about 10 cuts that I did in Sweden years ago and they are great AOR songs. So, what we wanna do is to brush them up, maybe put new drums on them, etc, you know, and that’ll get released at some point.

It was just that we had enough of each other – I think Frontiers and I and it was time for me to move on. Really was!

Rockpages.gr: I watched your show in 2019 at Sweden Rock festival and I was blown away by your overall performance. Will we see any similar shows from you? I mean, focusing on your solo stuff?

Joe Lynn Turner: I want to come out and do something new. I’m so tired of doing Rainbow, Deep Purple covers or whatever. Even tonight… I have to do a few. Because, once you’re trapped in that you stay there, you know… I turned down Dio tributes… I think we have enough Dio tributes in the world! Leave Ronnie alone. It’s enough. God bless him. I love him, but at the same time, move on, you know… do something different!

So, this original material… I plan on coming out and playing all this original material. Of course, you’re going to hear people screaming “Surrender”, “Can’t Let You”, maybe some Malmsteen and things like this, because, that’s the way it is… Fans come and they want to see what that moved them. And maybe we’ll do a few, but I’m concentrating on this new record… Start to finish.

Rockpages.gr: You’ve been around in the music business for long. Where do you see the future of rock lies?

Joe Lynn Turner: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve been suspicious, of where it’s going for quite some time now, because… there’s a quote, that a guy said once said: “God made a lot of musicians, but not much music”. And in this case, I have to say, there’s a lack of originality and authenticity. And a lot of the music, everybody seems to want to sound the same or look the same and be a cookie cutter of each other because this is making it. So, “I want to be like them”, or “this is popular, and I want to be like them”… I encourage everyone to be original, be authentic and be yourself. And that’s the way music started. When a song came on the radio you knew exactly who it was by the voice, by the style, the guitar playing… Everything! Now, is kind of meshing into each other. I have nothing against shredding or any of that, but it all sounds that you this guy shredding, that guy. Wow! What band is this? What band is that? So, I think the future of rock’n’ roll has to reorganize itself into more of an original format.

I hope it does… For the sake of the artists, for the sake of the fans, and the music. Because that’s really what we need to reach out for now is: “Give me something from your soul. Give me something that’s really original”. So, I hope it goes there.