HAVING fronted two legendary hard rock acts - Deep Purple and Rainbow - Joe Lynn Turner has been treading the boards long enough for his music to evolve into “classic rock”.
“We get very young people, as well as the older classic rockers (at shows),” he said, speaking from his home just outside New York City.
“Classic rock wasn't really classic rock until some odd years ago, because it was just rock - hard rock, melodic hard rock, call it what you will.
“There was never all these divisions - heavy metal, death metal. There's so many divisions now.
“But it’s great to see so many young people at the shows.”
Turner, 65, will make his first trip to Australia “in years” as part of the ‘Legend Voices of Rock’ tour.
The jaunt will feature Turner touring alongside ex-Toto singer Bobby Kimball and Mark Gable of the Choirboys.
Each of the vocalists will perform chart-topping hits from their respective careers.
“We have one core band (between us), and I'm told they're excellent musicians,” Turner said.
“I think we do about 40 to 45-minute sets each, so everybody gets a nice cross-section of our material.”
During Turner's career he has collaborated with the likes of Billy Joel, Cher, Taylor Dane, Yngwie Malmsteen and Jimmy Barnes.
However, in the world of heavy rock he's revered for stints singing for Deep Purple and Rainbow.
Turner said performing material from both bands - including songs he didn’t originally appear on - was integral to giving fans what they wanted.
“Everybody said, ‘look, you sang for both bands, so can we kind of split the set about 50/50, and take care of the people who like the Rainbow stuff and the Deep Purple stuff?’” he said of the Australian shows.
Being faithful to the original versions of much-loved material is a key focus.
“When I was with the bands, they were pretty lenient, (but) at the same time they said, ‘please just respect the original, and then make it your own’.
“I don't like to go too off the mark, out of respect for the writers and the people that are listening to the song.
“The point is to give a very sincere rendition of the song, and that's what you have to do.”
Throughout our conversation Turner maintained his friendly demeanour. However, he delivered some harsh words for former Purple and Rainbow band-mate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
The oft-reclusive Blackmore recently re-started Rainbow, performing with an entirely new line-up minus Turner and other former personnel.
“I had worked with Ritchie's manager for over a year trying to put something together that was authentic," Turner said.
“When I say authentic, I mean authentic line-up, regardless of who was still around, who wasn't.
“We were going to have people that actually were in Rainbow... And they just pulled out at the last minute really and put this thing together."
Turner said this was “not so (much) disappointing as it was shocking”.
“Why would anyone of his (Blackmore's) iconic nature want to come out and not be as good as he can be?” he said.
“Because obviously the reviews haven't been that good. And that's not for me to say - that's what people are saying. It's obvious that it's just not living up to snuff.
“So it’s a shame that they didn't see the vision that they should have put an authentic Rainbow together, because all the fans feel disrespected in a way.
“They were hoping that they would get a chance to see at least some cast of Rainbow members, all in one place, all at one time. And that just didn't happen.”
The ‘Legend Voices of Rock’ will perform at WIN Entertainment Centre on Monday, October 2.
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