How Turner forced Bonamassa to sing
Joe Lynn Turner has taken credit for coaching blues star Joe Bonamassa into his singing role.
The former Rainbow vocalist, who later performed with Yngwie Malmsteen and Deep Purple, hired the young guitarist to appear on his 2000 solo release Holy Man – but reveals Bonamassa was too scared to approach a microphone.
Turner tells Geeks of Doom: “Not many people realise this now he’s huge: Joe was on my solo albums. He was 16, I think.
“I had to kick his ass to sing. I was like, ‘Come on,’ like a coach, you know. I was like, ‘You’ve got the tone, you’ve got the blues, you’ve got the soul. You got it! Just keep singing.’
“I said, ‘It’s like a muscle: you flex it, you work at it.’ Now he’s singing like a champ. It’s unbelievable – I remember the days he was afraid to sing.”
Turner says he’s discussed the possibility of making an album with his former colleague. He reports: “We had written a lot of songs that we never put out on a record, titles like As Far As You Can Get.
“It’s kind of like a cat in the bag right now because I’m doing a couple of other projects. All this has to be cleared with Joe, of course. But it’s something to think about because it’s such a great idea.”
Turner recorded three albums with Rainbow between 1981 and 1984, although his first outing, Difficult To Cure, saw him working with material and recordings prepared for previous frontman Graham Bonnet. After Bent Out of Shape founder Ritchie Blackmore split the band to return to Deep Purple. A decade later he created a new lineup, with Scotsman Doogie White at the mic, and released Stranger in Us All in 1995.
But Turner says the final release was a shock: “Ritchie had said to me, ‘I don’t like to get too close to people,’ and I said, ‘I know this will come to an end at some point.’ But I think there were evil forces at work beneath this.
“I was surprised at ‘The Stranger In Your Ass’ or whatever it is, because he had promised to do three Rainbow albums. I thought it would have been brilliant: just three, done, except for the EPs and all that other crap that would have rounded out the trilogy.
“But in getting friendly with Doogie, he told me Ritchie kept saying: ‘Sing it like Joe Lynn Turner – sing it like Joe Lynn Turner would sing it!’”