Former RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE singer Joe Lynn Turner has once again slammed Ritchie Blackmore for the guitarist's decision to go out and perform classic DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW material with a new group musicians instead of reforming RAINBOW with a more "authentic" lineup.
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 Madrid, Spain, 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.
Speaking to the "80's Glam Metalcast", Turner — who fronted RAINBOW from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of PURPLE from 1989 until 1992 — said 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.
The singer said (hear audio below): "Most people don't know this true story, because I didn't try to really come out and make people understand it all, because I just said, 'Look, the guy's gonna do what he wants to do.' But I was talking to his 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 real RAINBOW — 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.