Just recently Eddie Turner posted photos on Facebook showing deep cuts to his hand and from the emergency room at the hospital. I wanted to check in on him and see how he was doing, but also find out how this effects him and how it would effect other musicians when these almost catastrophic accidents happen.
Some very interesting insights and discussions here. Please send him some healing vibrations and well wishes for a speedy and full recovery.
Blues411: Eddie – many of us recently saw on Facebook (the media master of all things true) photos of your hand looking badly cut, and bandaged, like some slasher movie gone bad.
Now before I ask you what the real story is I must ask if there is any truth to the rumors involving you, the wife of a former or current president of the US, secret service and black ops agents and a once standing plate glass window?
So what is the ‘real deal’?
Eddie Turner: That’s close, I was out with this girl, Cookie, and she tripped me and I fell thru a plate glass window ripped up my hand, knee and knocked out some teeth. I am just a regular mess.
B411: Ahh, no longer a hot mess, just a regular mess, I see. So how did she trip you?
ET: She got caught between my legs.
B411: Oh I see, well that would trip you up for sure. I don’t think I will ask anymore about this, that would be TMI.
B411: I was surprised, because you usually are a guy who takes care of himself.
ET: Yes that’s what surprised me. But that’s the true story. She tripped me I fell thru a plate glass table. Cut my tendons, nerves and blood vessels in my right hand. Punctured my skin, cut my knee and knocked out some teeth. She is a true ‘wire hair terrorist’, Cookie is my dog.
B411: You fell like a ton of bricks.
ET: There’s only so much you can do in that split second between ‘holy and crap’…But Oxycontin is a great drug and as long my doctor keeps them coming I can smile (with whatever teeth I have).
B411: We were going to do this talk yesterday but you were at the dentist? How’d that go?
ET: Yeh, I was at the dentist for like 6 hours. Trying to reconstruct my mouth, and whatever else.
B411: So how did you get to the hospital? I mean, I’m surprised you didn’t pass out.
ET: I was freaking out – you go into that survival mode. You see blood squirting everywhere and you do what the Boy Scouts taught you. Get a towel, wrap it up pretty tightly, get out the cell phone and make the call to a friend to get a ride to the hospital. You never go to the emergency ward, I have friends who are doctors and they say never go to the main door to the emergency ward because they kinda patch you up real quick and then they start the questions about insurance, can you pay, address etc.
They say go to where the ambulances check in, they are used to getting you on a cart and get you into the hospital. That’s exactly what I did, they were kinda shocked that the ambulance wasn’t there but I was. I had my drivers license and insurance card, hell I was dying, they just went right to work. I was really lucky.
Then using my i Phone had the nurse call a good friend of mine, who is a doctor, and then he started the calls to his doctor friends who were around and they found a great hand surgeon, and anesthesiologist. The main guy at the emergency said they would preserve my limbs and not be able to work on my hand for a day or two and then would put it all together.
ET: Then all of a sudden he starts getting phone calls from doctors all over the state saying they are coming in and get the O.R. ready.
The funny thing is these doctors all play harmonica, bass or whatever. They all know the drill and know me or own my CD’s and they were committed to getting me back together. So within one and a half hours I was in surgery. I was so lucky because not many people get that kind of service in the emergency room.
B411; Man that’s incredible.
So it was your right hand?
ET: Yes my right hand, my picking hand. But generally we need both hands – if something happened to my left hand I am a good enough slide player so I could play slide for the rest of my life. Plus we all know that I am a trained operatic singer so I could get away with that.
B411: So you are really fortunate, I am glad. Now do you have insurance and all those paperwork nightmares?
ET: Unlike most musicians I have insurance to cover stuff like this, and a lot of others don’t. That’s one of the things Blues Societies should be doing is to help artists get insurance. If I didn’t have insurance I would still be there today, waiting. That’s one thing I learned early is to get insurance.
B411: I know the Blues Foundation has the HART fund and some others that help musicians with these type of things, but that’s after the fact.
ET: Yeh, but when you need it you don’t have time to ask for it. Insurance is expensive – $600 or so a month, I know there is power in group buying you might be able to get it down some. But maybe the clubs or festivals might pay a little more so the artists can afford insurance. If I didn’t have this, I know I would be looking for the back up plan. The others would not be this lucky they don’t have insurance.
B411: So Eddie, how long is this going to go on? How long are you out of work?
ET: I am going to be in therapy for the next ninety days. My brace and bandages come off in seven weeks or so – then I begin heavy physical training for my hand. This is not like I lost a limb, but this is me and for me this is as bad as it’s gonna get, I hope. You see other people in therapy who have lost a limb and think ‘there but the grace of God go I’.
B411: But from the sound of it – it is really serious.
ET: Yes, deep flesh cuts, tendons – you don’t put a band aid on it. We all think we are invincible but I can’t stress enough that the other artists look into insurance. You are out there touring and the money ain’t all that great, but for situations like this it can save you. Even catastrophic insurance…
B411: Let’s change the pace up a bit, I take it you are not totally depressed, you sound pretty good. What do you do to pass the time? Do you write music, make crank calls?
ET: Actually no I can’t write music at this point, if I have a melody in my head I go to the Mac and sing it into the phone. I’m listening more to music now, different stuff and music in general. Lots of TV and old movies.
B411: In general do you often listen to other folks music, or is this giving you a new opportunity to go back to that and enjoy.
ET: No, I usually don’t listen to music unless I am driving from show to show. I just bough some Asia and YES and Journey and some classical and opera, I mean what the hell I can’t go anywhere and I might even learn something.
B411: More and more artists are producing other artists these days. Have you ever considered that as an alternative or in addition to type of thing? You have a pretty broad scope and knowledge base of music so it would seem somewhat easy to translate that into producing.
ET: Actually I have not, I have a hard enough time dealing with myself, why would I burden someone else with my issues?
I’ve had people say “hey, what do you think” and when I tell them they start to back away. They are standing there but in their minds they are running away.
B411: So having seen the photos on Facebook, I have to ask – how did you tap into your inner Ansel Adams?
ET: Well never let a crisis go to waste, so I took photos. I had the nurse do it. I said, here take some pictures, I can’t look. I knew I would want to see what happened later. So while I was waiting for the drugs to kick in before I went into surgery I looked to see if I had some wi-fi and posted the shit. No one will see it anyway.
It’s funny who knows what goes on out there. More people are following me thru pain that glory right now. Yet let me say I really do appreciate all of you sending me messages and such wishing me well, it does help.
B411: It doesn’t matter just get them in the door and you can control it from there. People do care!
ET: Yeh I say I don’t care what you like but just like something. If you like me to cut my hand well jump on the band wagon and soak it up now, because you won’t see this again for a good long while.
B411: Quick shift to serious, what are your recovery odds for this?
ET: They are saying between seventy and eighty five percent full recovery. Half of it will be relearning how to play the guitar, Everybody does, I ain’t someone special, people do it all the time.
B411: That sounds like a good percentage.
ET: Yes it really is. Like I said, it could have been a whole lot worse. I could have killed myself, if it was another inch over this could have happened. As the doctor said you are alive and your hand is still attached so we go from there.
B411: We have concentrated on your hand since you play the guitar, what did you do to your knee?
ET: It was a four foot sheet of glass that went in all directions. There were shards everywhere – a big one cut my knee about eight inches, they had to clean it and inner stitching and outer stitching, it was a mess. A shard got stuck in my thigh, and it was still in there when I went to the hospital. They pulled it out there.
B411: Yes ya don’t pull out punctures.
ET: Yeah it’s like a cork, don’t pull it till you are ready to drink it.
B411: Now do you get unemployment or assistance?
ET: No I checked, I can’t get anything, if it’s not in your savings you don’t have it. You know, it’s more then just getting to the show and setting up your equipment. Musicians do have homes, they have to pay rent, mortgage and such. Musicians are normal people too, we have jobs but we don’t get paid what we are worth. I wish I had AFLAC then I would get paid something.
Generally speaking the musicians union should be handling stuff like this, but most blues artists are not members of the union. They offer you an insurance policy through a large carrier, which is, at least, something.
All union musicians have a scale that they should be paid, but you don’t get that scale unless you work in an orchestra or in a studio constantly. Most blues musicians are like that sixteen year old kid who gigs for beer and pizza. Many of the clubs do take it seriously but there are others who don’t. The guy that’s getting paid $100 and pizza, allows the guy who plays the weekend and gets $1,500-3,000. Twisted world we live in. Now that I have time to sit and think about it . . .
B411: Very true, looking forward to your next release, It could be a watershed event.
Eddie you sound really positive, and for that I am happy.
ET: All the doctors are saying good and positive things about where I am and what lies ahead. I was thinking since I am going to be down for awhile it might be worth it to get a nip and tuck thing going also. Lose some wrinkles here, tuck it there. Maybe full cosmetic surgery, just add it on to the accident. Get the face done and disappear…
B411: Cool, a whole new face, you could be a ‘new’ artist, there you go. We all wish you the very best recovery possible. Thanks for taking the time to chat me up, and by doing so letting your fans and friends know a little bit more about what goes on in you life and what musicians go through when these things happen. Hopefully others might learn something here, fans, musicians, unions, societies and foundations.
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where Blues Thrive
photos: On stage: Blues411; In hospital courtesy of Eddie Turner.
PS: This photo was just released by Eddie and I wanted to include it