Former RAINBOW singer Joe Lynn Turner has defended his recent comments about Ritchie Blackmore's decision to go out and perform the band's classic material with a new group of musicians, saying "the RAINBOW legacy deserved much better treatment and respect than it received."
Blackmore stepped away from his Renaissance-inspired brand of music with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT for the first time in 2016 to perform a handful of shows with a brand-new lineup of the band he had formed after quitting DEEP PURPLE.
The current incarnation of RAINBOW includes singer Ronnie Romero, originally from Chile but now settled in Romania after living in Madrid, Spain for a number of years, as well as STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT drummer David Keith, bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert "Bob" Curiano, ex-BLACKMORE'S NIGHT),and backing singers Candice Night and Lady Lynn.
Earlier in the month, , Turner — who fronted RAINBOW from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of PURPLE from 1989 until 1992 — told the "Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen And Shane McEachern" podcast that he had been in talks with Blackmore for at least a year about a renewed collaboration before he found out from a French newspaper that Ritchie was returning to rock music but excluding Joe from the project.
Asked if he thinks it would be great for RAINBOW to stage a reunion of all the surviving members for a special show or festival appearances, the singer said: "Well, man, I tried to do that already. Before Blackmore did the reunion — you know, that 'reunion'; call it what you want — we were in discussions about having everybody that was in RAINBOW together for an extravaganza. I mean, anybody who was still alive, and even paying tribute to [Ronnie James] Dio and everything, and trying to get 'em all in one place at one time, do a two-and-a-half-hour show at least, an authentic RAINBOW reunion. And it just got squashed down by his management and everything else. I mean, Live Nation showed up. I had a documentary, a 3D documentary, like the GUNS N' ROSES — same guy, Barry Summers, who did that; he's a good friend of mine — and it just fell on deaf ears. And that reunion became — I don't know what it was, really, because it really wasn't a reunion of anything. There was nobody in RAINBOW before who was there. It was BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, really, with a new singer. That was it."
He continued: "There's a lot of people that loved RAINBOW but they were too young to go to the concerts or they never saw them live, and this would have been the chance for those people — and I have a lot of people in my own family like this — that wanted to go see RAINBOW but really see RAINBOW. And that was not it. That was, in my opinion — I've already said it's a cheap imitation, a weak cheap imitation of… I don't know, man. I don't even know what to call it. It was a trainwreck for me. I think he damaged the legacy that way of RAINBOW. 'Cause RAINBOW was a fabulous band from start to finish."
This past Friday (September 16),Romero took to his Instagram to share a concert photo of the most recent RAINBOW lineup, and he included the following message: "There is so much power in our words when we are a 'public person', that we must be careful with what we say…
"I don't know and I don't care what's between The Main Man and some old ex members of the band, what happened or whatever. I'm just a normal guy who one day received the call from one of His idols to sing in the band He always dreamed of to sing… that's it. I'm pretty convinced I did my job well, (same for Jens, Bob and David, wonderful musicians) as all the feedback, appreciation and love I'm still getting in every place I go.
"I know as well you cannot be liked by everybody, but I will not tolerate to somebody to call my work 'cheap'… No Sir.
"Maybe for some guy is time to move on, as He did with other issues in His life, and to be careful to not to despise honest people who is here just working hard, as He does. At the end is all about Music, that's the only thing that counts and matter".
In response to Romero's post, Turner released the following statement via his social media earlier today (Sunday, September 18): "RAINBOW was an Iconic band. All the incarnations throughout the years were unique and exceptional, with one common thread that was running through it all - the highest standards of excellence, integrity and quality that Mr. Blackmore demanded from everyone and especially Himself. I learnt the most valuable lessons that I've carried forth in my own carrier and I will always be grateful to Ritchie for that. Mr. Blackmore set the bar very high for the level of creativity and performance for the whole Industry to follow, aspire and protect. He is a true Professional and Perfectionist.
"I've put blood, sweat and tears into my tenure with RAINBOW... And my opinion of the last 'incarnation' of RAINBOW is well deserved and has never changed. With or Without my personal participation, I believe that this 'reunion' could have and should have been treated with more concern and respect to the Iconic standards that Mr. Blackmore himself had established.
"A Legacy is historically about the significant achievements and accomplishments that should be preserved and treasured. For example, the re-release/re-recording of one of the biggest RAINBOW classics 'I Surrender' was a heartbreaking disappointment... And I think the reasons are more than apparent and obvious for everyone who's heard it...
"My recent interview statement never referenced any individual in particular, that was never my intention. And anyone who feels singled out is either paranoid and insecure about their own self-worth. As most of you have noticed recently, I have totally moved on and I am in the exact place and time that I want to be.
"So, I offer an important advice to those who are personally concerned with this issue - Try moving on yourself out of the shadows of those who perpetrated the originality and creativity necessary to achieve such status.
"Simply put, I believe the RAINBOW legacy deserved much better treatment and respect than it received and so did many loyal, supportive and dedicated fans who wished to see RAINBOW shine with it's brightest colors.
"This will be the last time I address this situation, as it is old, tired and completely irrelevant, being simply a product of the 'yellow press' looking for any dirt they can dig up or shine a spotlight on themselves for personal gain..."
Two and a half years ago, Turner spoke about his failed reunion with Blackmore, telling the "80's Glam Metalcast" that he had been "talking to [Ritchie's] so-called 'management,' 'cause it's his mother-in-law, for a good year. I've got all the e-mails to prove it. We were going back and forth talking about what the reunion of RAINBOW would be. And I wanted an authentic RAINBOW reunion; I wanted to get authentic players. I wanted the realRAINBOW — not just the RAINBOW I was in — but I wanted to bring up Doogie White and Graham Bonnet and I had Bob Daisley. Unfortunately, Jimmy Bain had passed and so on and so forth, but Don Airey… I wanted to make it sort of a RAINBOW extravaganza. There would be a core band, whether it was [Bobby] Rondinelli or [Chuck] Burgi on drums or Dave Rosenthal — I spoke to all of them. I was lining all this up."
He continued: "You may or may not know anything about the Blackmore camp, as we call it, but they're very guarded. And the mother-in-law — the story is I had a spy in that camp, and the story is that she was badmouthing me to Ritchie saying that I wanted to take full control of it all. And that couldn't be further from the truth. I was talking to Live Nation, which we had over a hundred and sixty dates promised, either headlining and/or special guests at all the big festivals. Our label, Universal, was gonna release not only an album but a four-song EP. I had Rock Fuel Media out of L.A., which was gonna do a 3D video of the whole thing. It was just gonna be gigantic and enormous — amazing. And she turned around and just dropped it like a hot potato — didn't even give me any reason why. And I found out in a newspaper called Le Parisien that I wasn't gonna be in the band. So I kind of laughed at it — simply because he said that I didn't know about it. But I said, 'Well, he's making a mistake, but he doesn't know about it.' And I know that's my opinion today."
Turner went on to criticize RAINBOW's current incarnation, saying "the RAINBOW [Ritchie] put together is nostalgic, but it is not RAINBOW. They never did an album, and all they do is these spot dates. And anybody who goes to see them, it's all over YouTube. And that's really all I've gotta say about it. If you ask me, he's cheating the public. And that wasn't my intention. So happily I go along. Ritchie is allowed to do whatever he wants to do, and so I am. And I don't need the hassle. So it's great."
According to Joe, had his idea for a RAINBOW reunion come to fruition, "it would have been unbelievable. And even people who haven't seen RAINBOW before — there's a lot of 'em that love the music and grew up on it — are still coming out and seeing RAINBOW, no matter what configuration he put together," he said. "If you look at 'Live Between The Eyes' or any of our live stuff compared to the stuff he's got on YouTube with this particular aggregation, there's no comparison. None. Our band rocked."
Joe sang on the RAINBOW album "Difficult To Cure", which featured the band's most successful U.K. single, "I Surrender".
During Turner's time with RAINBOW, the band had its first USA chart success and recorded songs that helped define the melodic rock genre.
Joe Lynn Turner photo credit: Agata Nigrovskaya
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Posted by Joe Lynn Turner on Sunday, September 18, 2022