RockTimes welcomes our foreign guests
RockTimes: First of all thank you for taking your time for this interview, Eddie.
Eddie: Not a problem with you.
RockTimes: First I have to ask what your impressions of this tour through France, Belgium, Austria and Germany are after you were here in Germany in October for a flying visit with two concerts?
Eddie: October was fantastic playing in the Harmonie and doing the Rockpalast-show. It was just absolutely incredible.
But now after playing in numerous venues it's even better than it was before. Every single show was extremely well received and the people didn't want to let us off the stage. We did two, three, four encores. We were required to play a one hour set but we've been playing an hour fifteen or twenty, sometimes even an hour and a half set. And then they won't leave us and we just kept playing and playing and playing.
It probably was one of the most remarkable experiences I've had playing music. And playing my own music it's even more outstanding I could have ever thought.
It doesn't matter if France, Belgium or Germany. The reactions have all been unbelievably. So I'm happy and pack up and move over here (Eddie laughs). Get myself a green card (laughs).
RockTimes: From sideman to a remarkable frontman! Could you please give us information how you got things started after having left Otis Taylor and releasing Rise on the NothernBlues label?
Eddie: Well, that came about maybe because things weren't working out well with Otis and I was going to stop playing.
And than I decided that I had to continue playing. Fred from NothernBlues called and Kenny called and they said to me that I should do your own CD. Ok, why not? So I just went in there and I approached it as if it was my first and last CD. I did exactly what I though I wanted to do.
With Kenny's substantial help he was probably… It's a team. Kenny and I are a team. It's not like the Eddie Turner band, really. It's more going like the Kenny Passarelli/Eddie Turner band, especially in the studio.
We put that CD out and Fred distributed it. The response was very good. I got a W.C. Handy 'Best New Artist' nomination for the CD and I was extremely pleased. I started touring a little bit as much as I could. Pretty much being unknown I got shows in the States. But I always knew that I had to come to Europe to play because they are a lot more appreciative, they are a lot more opened.
They would allow me to be myself which is really very important. I didn't want to be a professional cover band. I want to do Eddie-music. So that was really good.
And then that led into The Turner Diaries, another album I really, really like. Again we approached it the same way. Let's do what you wanna do, Eddie, in a blues based format. You write the songs and you rearrange songs that we're gonna cover. And so that album came out and didn't get a nomination which I was hoping it would. But it's even sold better than the first.
At least I knew that people were listening and people were into music were really, really into that CD.
So now Kenny and I are getting ready to go and do the third CD. Hopefully that will be out in fall, but it may not be until next spring. Willi, my manager here in Germany, wants to have me here again and I'll do what he wants.
I hope it's gonna be a great album.
RockTimes: Now that you've mentioned the album "The Turner Diaries", please explain what the song "The Turner Diaries" is about. »… I only know
that which I can see…«:
That's more the science way of looking at things.
Eddie: It's probably a lot more spiritual. It deals with a lot of how I lived my life. Things that I saw through my family when I was a child and growing up and after I left my family. It's got touches of relationship that I had with Jesus. Just how I kind of perceived the world as a scary place.
But the last word is always hope and that's the last word of those lines. Hope is the one important word in all that because there's always hope. Things will change. You never know what the world is going to give you so you hope for the best and a lot of times you can get that hope. Life is not predetermined for you. If it was there wouldn't be hope.
RockTimes: Candy Givens was the lead singer of Zephyr a band you played with. On both Rise and "The Turner Diaries" there are David Givens (guitar) and Anna Givens (vocals). Is there a relationship to them?
Eddie: I've known David for about 20, 25 years when we played for Zephyr. When became time to "Rise" I called them up. They are old friends of mine and they loved to be part of the project. So he came down for the first CD and we really had a good time and when we got to The Turner Diaries I called them again. It's pretty simple(laughs).
RockTimes: Your kind of Blues is contemporary.
Eddie: Very contemporary.
RockTimes: And you're evolving it. Do you think you attract young people to blues music?
Eddie: You know, I think I do. It's this particular show-tour and I've also seen it in the United States: Everyone seems to really like my music. It doesn't matter if they are 17 or 70 years old. They all seem to find something that touches their heart. I try to play with so much emotion as I can to try to reach everyone. So we play festivals with people sitting down and by the middle of the show they are standing up.
We played bars and clubs. We played in a performing art centre and the same thing happened. Everyone comes in, they listen and I think my music lives even when sometimes the content is not that uplifting in the lyrical content. But the music itself lives. I have just an incredible band that helps to deliver that sound.
I think everyone kind of gets into it. And then those that are familiar with the Blues or what I call classic Blues they know it's a Blues man and they think that's interesting! It's not what they thought.
At this age when I was a kid you're like going back to see people like Eric Clapton and see his early stuff. Then you'll find out about Robert Johnson and things like that. So it's an all over that they take. Then they'll find out what it's all about. Hopefully they will be musicians and using that as a basis to create a form of Blues that's even more contemporary than mine. Mine will become Old School-Blues in 5, 10, 20 years. And they'll come up with something that's based down there but even more contemporary. The music continues to evolve forever.
RockTimes: Your drummer, Dan Barnett, I don't know if he's here...
Eddie: No. Actually we have a new drummer for this particular tour. Dan had to go to music-school.
RockTimes: How did you get to know him?
Eddie: Well, I knew his mother. We played in bands years ago.
He's been playing drums since he was 5 or 6 years old. I was looking for a drummer because I like musicians that are expressive and bring their own personality to a table, apposed to the guys who are just in there for the job and play really straight forward.
I believe my music needs more. It needs impact from other people to make it a much better situation.
He's a great drummer. We rehearsed with him a couple of times. I've been through 6 or 7 drummers and I just wasn't happy. And then here's this kid that comes along. He's got his own ideas about everything, listens to his own music stuff that I've never heard about and brings energy into my music. You need that.
RockTimes: Kenny Passarelli produced "Rise" and "The Turner Diaries". He played bass and keyboards on both records and tours with you. From your point of view what does Kenny mean to you as a person and musician of course?
Eddie: As a person he is one of my better friends, if no my best friend. We like to hang out together we talk about things we've got a lot of mutual interests. He's a great person to be around.
As a musician he's a great person to learn form. He is always willing to listen to my ideas which is extremely important. He brings a lot historical perspective in the studio which I didn't have a lot of. He helps me to arrange things. It's much easier for me to explain the vague sound that I'm looking for to Kenny. He can kinda figure out what it is and talk to the engineer about it and then we know how we start to get the sounds that are right here in my head. It's not just straight into the board or to an amp. I'm looking for a certain thing, a certain note. It's the sonic sound of my CDs that helps. It's not just straight in, straight out. We sit there and craft each song, even parts of songs. It's always interesting to listen to it over and over again. You hear things you didn't hear before. Always try to be surprised when you're listening to someone. We just try to make the best albums we can.
RockTimes: Are there days without music?
Eddie: Not since March, 16th (Eddie laughs)! Except for one day we haven't stopped.
In my normal life there are days without music. Sometimes you have to get away from it a bit to get new ideas and clear you head out. That's pretty important. Just try to relax and do something else.
RockTimes: When did you play music in front of an audience for the first time?
Eddie: I was 13 when I was at the High School. I played the battle of the bands. That was really exciting. We won (Eddie laughs)! It was great!
RockTimes: Is there a person who can tell you his opinion about your music? A person who's your corrective?
Eddie: That's Kenny. Kenny does that.
RockTimes: When did you start writing songs? As the project "Rise" started did you have songs?
Eddie: With "Rise" I already had a couple of songs. One song I'd written probably 15 years earlier. I've always written songs since I started playing music. I grew up in the late 60s and back then writing songs was just as important as play them. It was part of a creative time. I always was writing songs and listening to how people structure songs and melodies.
If you write your own songs and you play the solos on top of them no one can tell you you're wrong. I wrote the song and I know how it's supposed to go.
RockTimes: Both albums were recorded at Stepbridge Studios. Tell us something about the work in the studio.
Eddie: We recorded all basic tracks live. We probably never go through a song more than two or three times. If it takes longer than that we know it's the wrong song. Then we play the guitar part with something else or we bring in the keyboard. The basic drums have to feel alright. I think that's what we do. A lot of bands go into the studio and do track by track and not even the same people are in the band or even in the room. We always do those basic track live altogether in the same room. And then we can make adjustments because the song feels good at that point of time. Then we know that we can continue working on the song.
RockTimes: With your melting pot of styles you set a kind of new point to blues music. What 'new' music you listened to in your youth?
Eddie: I listened to everything when I was a child. Top music of the radio which covered everything. Back then before they had special radio stations for one kind of music. You could listen to one radio station and hear Frank Sinatra followed by The Beatles by The Rolling Stones. That really doesn't happen too much anymore.
Then I had an uncle that was pretty much into Jazz. My mother sang Opera. Music was music to me. I just liked to listen to it if it sounded good in my ears. I don't care what it was.
RockTimes: Growing up in Chicago I think you saw many great musicians.
Eddie: Yes, pretty much all the greats. I saw Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker. I saw Cream on their very first tour though America and I saw Hendrix. If it was hip music I saw pretty much everything. Frank Zappa, the Doors, it didn't matter. When they came into my town or close-by I wanted to see them. It was important to take a look at it and see what was going on. Otherwise you just read about it in the newspaper and get no idea what it sounded like.
RockTimes: What does tradition mean to you?
Eddie: Tradition? Tradition is something you stand on. It's something that you go back to and take a look at and see what's it about. You have to understand what they are. And then you probably break it down.
RockTimes: Of course I have to ask you about your plans for the future. What can your fans expect next from Eddie Turner?
Eddie: The next Eddie Turner-CD, as I told you, will come out in spring which gives me more time. I spend a lot of time listening to Cuban Beats. I listened to Bobby 'Blue' Bland for years and I decided to do a kind of Bobby 'Blue' Bland song. Write a song that he might sing now. So I think I come up with something like that. It's Eddie music, across the board. We'll be able to tighten it all together in the end. I think it's going to be really good. The first CD only had like 3 or 4 ideas and a couple of songs. The second CD had about twelve. For the next CD I've got about 30, 35 songs and ideas.
RockTimes: Is there something you would tell your fans here in Europe?
Eddie: I just really want to say thank you. I feel I'm blasted to be over here. I want to thank Willi and Helga because we got them. That's important for me. They're why I've been given this opportunity. Otherwise nobody would know me. You wouldn't be here.
I just want to thank everyone that's out there. I feel blasted that they like my music and enjoy it.
RockTimes: Thank you very much, Eddie.
Eddie: No problem, Joachim. I appreciate you taking time to come and talk to me.
Thanks to Willi Zscharnack (Bluestrain Management) for arranging this interview.
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