Watch: JOE LYNN TURNER Performs In Saint Petersburg, Russia
September 26, 2022
Fan-filmed video of Joe Lynn Turner's September 24 concert at Jagger in Saint Petersburg, Russia can be seen below.
The former RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE frontman broke with most international artists who canceled their live appearances in Russia in response to the global condemnation against the Kremlin and its president, Vladimir Putin, over the war in Ukraine. In addition, major record labels suspended their operations in the country, while streaming services like Spotify pulled out of the market.
Last month, Turner apparently threw his support behind Roger Waters over comments the PINK FLOYD co-founder made about Russia. Waters blasted U.S. president Joe Biden for "fueling the fire in the Ukraine" amid Russia's ongoing invasion of the country, and asked in an interview with CNN's Michael Smerconish, "Why won't the United States of America encourage [Volodymyr] Zelensky, [Ukraine's] president, to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war?" After Smerconish responded that Waters got it "reversed" and was "blaming the party that got invaded," Waters fired back, saying it was about the "action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border."
A short time later, Turner took to his official Facebook page to share a video of Smerconish's interview with Waters, and he included the following message: "Roger Waters speaks TRUTH to power! Thank you Roger. Someone has to say it..."
This was not the first time Joe had publicly taken a political stance. Back in 2015, the singer made headlines when it was revealed that he joined a list of Western celebrities who publicly expressed support for and defended Vladimir Putin, whose image had suffered greatly because of Moscow's aggressive foreign policy.
Two years later, Turner said that his opinion of the Russian president had remained unchanged. "He still is [telling the truth]," the singer told Kraig Casebier's "American Barber In Prague"in a 2017 interview. "Honest to God, I got a lot of crap for [saying] that [before]. But it's true, and he still is, whether you like him or not. He may be a gangster, but he's a good gangster. And I say there are good gangsters.
"There were gangsters in my family, in the Mafia, and they were good people," he explained. "They were the safest neighborhoods, and they protected everyone on the block, and they took care of a lot of people. And they actually donated their time, money to good causes. If somebody didn't have enough bread or food, they'd buy it for 'em. I mean, it depends on what kind of gangster you are. The politicans are bad gangsters; they can't even cover up their crimes."
Joe went on to lament the state of American politics and denounced the culture of extreme political correctness, which he believed had gone too far.
"I think America's lost its way," he said. "We've lost God, we've lost a lot of things that made that country great. And I'm sorry to say, being an American — Italian-American, and holding an American passport… I have had uncles… and my father did military service for twelve overseas stripes — the whole thing. And I went to Iraq for the troops, so anybody that wants to challenge that, c'mon, bring it on, because I think I know a few more things than you. But I think that we've lost a lot in our values of America. We can't even speak freely anymore. There's more freedom in Russia; I can tell you that. I've done a lot of time there and still will. People don't understand what Russia is [in America]."
According to Turner, his country's demonization of Russia is rooted in the fact that "America always needs a big, bad wolf. We need to hate somebody, because of the military industrial complex," he said. "So we need to hate somebody all the time [and] create a war. There's no need for it, really. If we can just straighten out the economy and get the Fed out of there, I think the people would have a chance. But right now, I pray for them — I really do. Because I just think they've got it all wrong."
As if sensing the criticism that would likely follow his comments, Turner preemptively defended himself by saying: "I said Putin was telling the truth, 'cause he is telling the truth. I got subpoenaed by my own government, okay? So all these naysayers and these haters who are gonna see this about me and stuff, you guys have no clue. 30 percent of the American people have passports, so 70 percent of you are isolated and know dick about it — you have been nowhere and done nothing. Excuse me, but that's what you should have been told a long time ago."
The now-71-year-old singer went on to explain that he was "subpoenaed" by the U.S. government after he played "three charity shows" in Russian-annexed Crimea, which he called a "wartorn country." "The people had a great time [and] we had sellout houses," he said.
Turner also expressed his belief that too many of today's artists were afraid to discuss social issues in their music, preferring instead to stick to the generic, trivial topics that the rock genre has always been synonymous with.
"If you believe in one faction, the problem is if you say it today and you're not politically correct, you're gonna catch a lot of hell from people that don't wanna work with you because you're not politically correct," Joe said. "So the world has become falsely politically correct, shall I say. And that's not the way music should be. Music used to be rebellious, used to be something that we could step out of the norm and live for, as far as heroically, but now everybody's starting to get in line: 'Don't say this,' and, 'Don't say that about this.' So you try to do it in your writing, but it sometimes falls on deaf ears, because they're not used to hearing… 'Oh, we don't wanna hear about that.' 'We don't wanna know about that.' "
He added: "It's very unfortunate that the generations of today don't wanna know about being a rebel and having an alternative to what they're being indoctrinated with."
Turner is married to Maya Kozyreva, a lawyer from Minsk, the capital of Belarus, which has supported Russia throughout its invasion of Ukraine. "She is my greatest asset in life. She's my angel," he told Guitar World in 2012.
Joe was the singer of RAINBOW between 1980 and 1984 and he sang on the 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.
1990 saw Turner reunited with RAINBOW leader Ritchie Blackmore in a reformed DEEP PURPLE for the "Slaves And Masters" album.
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