Joe Lynn Turner on Taking Off His Wig & Working with Yngwie Malmsteen During the Odyssey Album: “He was like a trainwreck” – 2022
Metal Edge: Joe Lynn Turner talked to us about his heavy new album, (not) wearing a wig and his wild odyssey with Yngwie Malmsteen. You can read the entire interview @ this location.
An excerpt from the interview can be found below.
During the course of your career, did the fact that you wear a wig ever become an issue with any artist or band you worked with?
Joe Lynn Turner:
It was an open secret. I wasn’t trying to hide it by wearing a wig, they didn’t care if it was a wig or not as long as it looked good, which I thought it did and which is why I wanted it. But I just decided it was time. It’s like a wine, no wine is good before its time. I’m older now and I can deal with that, but you still have to be courageous to do something like this. Plus, it’s a time for truth, for people to accept themselves, to motivate and inspire people no matter what the challenge is.
Graham Bonnet is an absolute hero because he was spot on, he came right out, he scolded the business side of it and all of their false pretensions because he was a subject of all of that too with Blackmore where his hair was too short, etc. Because we all had to wear a uniform. And today they’re still wearing uniforms, with the chains, the gear and the get ups, and the hair.
Earlier we were discussing the esoteric subject matter on your new album. I first came across your interest in these kind of topics after hearing your work with Yngwie Malmsteen on his Odyssey album, with songs such as “Déjà Vu” and ‘Crystal Ball.” How did you come to be part of that project?
Jim Lewis from Polygram had phoned me up and said, “Look, we want you to do with Yngwie what you did with Rainbow.” Which was to make Yngwie commercial but still keep the hard edge. And Jim knew I had the songwriting abilities and all. So I went out to California and met Yngwie, and he was like a trainwreck. I figured out psychologically I needed a whip and a chair like a lion tamer to find a way in so that he would welcome me. I guess because we partied heavy for three days and talked a lot, that sort of convinced him I was worthy.
Soon after that, I went back to New York to get some clothes and pack some stuff, and when I returned, Yngwie was in the hospital from a car accident. So instead of abandoning ship or anything I stayed in L.A. because with the Johansson brothers [keyboardist Jens Johansson and drummer Anders Johannson] I was the “elder” in the band. At one point we were going to have Bob Daisley and Eric Singer in the band, but Yngwie was rebelling against that because he wanted his Swedish guys in the band who were amazing players, yet there was a lot going on.
I was the one taking care of him in the hospital. I was getting wire transfers of $80,000 from Polygram to keep him in ICU to save his life, otherwise they were going to send him down to the county hospital. On top of that, he had a manager who spoke in the third person, had a Rolls-Royce and carried around cocaine and a .44 Magnum.
So I stayed there and took Yngwie’s tracks, and I just wrote to them and Odyssey became a very successful album. It had accomplished what we needed; it was commercial but at the same time it retained his identity, and I think he plays brilliantly on it, regardless of what people may say. But then he started to butt heads with me and there was no way I could stay in the band anymore, so I moved on.
You can read the entire interview @ this location.