Eddie Turner refuses to be put in a musical box, and likewise in a wooden box. Having played music and stopped, re-discovered the sound of his soul and now passionately puts it out on display at every performance.
This is what attracted me to him, there is something of a joy of life emanating from him. So, I was like a giddy child when we sat down and rapped about life, love and the universe awhile back.
Another very interesting artist who shares more than their music with us, only on Blues411.
B411: Your genetic background reads like the United Nations, what effect has this had on your musical sensibilities ?
ET: Yes indeed, there are many different people in my background and that’s why I am here today. Cuban/Latin music I listened to that a lot as a kid. I’d go to parties with my Aunt and I was nine/ten years old and it was great – they would be playing all this Latin music.
Then you had the Beatles and rock music on the radio that was great – while at home you hear Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole. It was so cool to hear different music from all these people in your family.. My uncle was totally into CTI Jazz, he really started me on moving away from the pop music scene.
He was showing me George Benson and Jimmy Smith – so here I am thirteen fourteen years old and you really want to be cool, so ya never admit that you listen to the Beatles so you say you listen to John Coltrane.
B411: Yes, of course you do, but you really did do that.
ET: Yes. It was really funny I was in high school and I got my butt on the talent committee, you remember those teen dances…
B411: Yeh, right.
ET: So who did I go hire – Phil Upchurch! Needless to say they threw me off that committee pretty damn fast. But it was really cool. I was digging Phil, he IS a incredibly good guitar player (and I still can’t figure out why he hasn’t gotten his due) so anyway I’m digging Phil and he had this saxophone player named Duke and they are just jamming away. So, I’ll never forget this, Duke puts the sax down and picks up the bagpipes. OK and he’s blowing these incredible solos —
B411: On the bagpipes?
ET: Yes, on the bagpipes! At a teen dance in the whitest community on the North Side of Chicago. Okay so that’s my history of being twisted and it hasn’t changed.
ET: I played with Otis on the first five CD’s (including White African and Respect The Dead), Kenny Passarelli and me. Kenny has been my producer for my three releases – we have maintained a relationship. It was really good, and I always thank him because I never would have started playing music again if it hadn’t been for Otis and Kenny. I would have been content being a realtor having a real job, making real money and paying taxes every year.
B411: I dunno, I am having a hard time picturing you as a realtor, did you wear the Century 21 yellow blazer hah hah -
ET: F*^k no ! I wasn’t going there. We used to call it Rock & Roll Real Estate in Denver. I was doing great, life was good, we were independent contractors. So everything became a write off, if you breathe you can write it off.
B411: Yeh so keep breathing !
ET: Absolutely. I did that for like twenty something odd years and then I got really sick. It was really bad so when I got well it was one of those ‘come to Jesus’ moments. I had been playing with Otis and I got well, and once you realize that you almost died you decide what it is you really want to do before you die. I decided I want to play music more so that’s what I did.
B411: Good for you man, I hear ya. We are about the same age, and I think that it is something we all are going thru at some level. That’s how I wound up here, I decided with these remaining year s that I want to be part of you folks, the Blues community, it’s like my tribe.
ET: Yes, yeh exactly, same deal, it is cool thing. When we were at the Blues Music Awards and we see the graphic of those who have died last/that year, ya look at them and you say really it’s about time. It’s not that many of them were young, and most of them have lived a good life (as far as we know) and they have reached the age where death is imminent, any time after seventy five it could be your time any day…My dad died when he was seventy-two, my mom lived till ninety eight. So give me eighty-five and I’ll be happy. But what I saw at the awards that night was how many people died that were within one to two years of ME. So all of a sudden you look at that and when it comes to how you are going to spend the rest of your life – when you see people your age dying with moderate frequency – you say I may have less time than I think, and then you get after it.
And here I sit I want to play music – at least if I go out doing that somebody can say he played great. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
B411: Yeh there will be someone asking someone if they saw you play and how good you were, sure. As Americans we have that puritanical work ethic that we work work work, and save up to die.
ET: Exactly, they don’t have that in Europe. They kinda grow up work hard but when they get thru the day they try to enjoy each day. They are not immediately planning on six in the morning, they try to enjoy seven at night. Which is pretty cool. I try to take that outlook.
To learn more about Eddie and his music visit: http://www.eddiedevilboy.com/ and Facebook and MySpace.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: Leslie K. Joseph and artist.