Former Rainbow frontman Joe Lynn Turner has described Ritchie Blackmore’s new incarnation of the outfit as a “covers band.”
And he says both Blackmore and the fans deserve better than what will be delivered at his upcoming return-to-rock shows.
The former Deep Purple guitarist, who quit heavy music in 1997 to form Blackmore’s Night, last year announced a handful of Rainbow shows featuring an all-new lineup.
Turner – who’d stated he was working on reunion plans with the axeman – tells SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk: “I was shocked. I wanted an authentic lineup. I was talking to Bob Daisley, Bobby Rondinelli, Roger Glover, Don Airey. There’s a whole bunch of guys that were really willing to get involved.
“I spent a good year working that out with his manager. Everybody thought I was delusional, and I know I wasn’t delusional at all – they were telling me this was going to happen.
“It made so much sense, especially with the deal that was presented to him.”
The singer discovered he wasn’t going to be part of Blackmore’s plans via a press interview. “I thought it was a classless thing to do,” he says, but adds: “I have no sour grapes about this, so let that be told.
“But I think a man of his status, an icon, really deserves a lot more. I really wish he had done it a different way for the fans – I think the fans deserve better than a cover band.”
Turner says his own plans included a summer festival tour, a DVD, box sets and even at least four new songs alongside new recordings of classic tracks.
“I don’t know what happened,” he continues. “I wish them well. But I’m still shaking my head.”
Meanwhile, Deep Purple have responded to Blackmore’s assertion that they’ve forbidden him from attending their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in April.
Manager Bruce Payne tells Billboard that he “wasn’t banned,” adding: “They just wanted to play with the current band. There’s a difference.”
And singer Ian Gillan has explained that the agreement reached with the Rock Hall is that ex-members Blackmore, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes can take part in the induction, but not the present lineup’s performance.
Gillan says: “Given the circumstances, there is no other acceptable option. There is no slight intended nor any desire to upset anyone. In fact, we would love to perform with Ritchie, David, Glenn et al on Smoke on the Water in the encore jam.
“Let’s all get up there, shake hands, smile for the cameras and get it done with dignity and respect for all the existing and past members of a very special family.”