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Fred Turner glad to be out of retirement and back with Randy Bachman

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Fred Turner is glad to be back out of retirement, back in the recording studio and back on the road with good friend Randy Bachman which brings them to the Enmax Centre, Sept. 29 with special guest Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free fame.

Turner hadn’t expected to be back taking care of business again after recording a string of huge hits with Bachman Turner Overdrive in the ’70s and retiring in 2004.Randy Bachman and Fred Turner glad to be back on the road together. Photo by Christy Gatto

“ I did,” said Bachman, who formed Bachman Turner Overdrive after leaving the Guess Who hot on the heels of their breakthrough hit “American Woman.”

“I was working on this jazz project with a lot of different singers. And someone told me I could be a B jazz star, I couldn’t be an A star like George Benson, but they said we’ll give you this amount of money per gig. Then they said, you know what, go back and do what you do best — the CCR roots rock and blues based rock that I can do in my sleep and we’ll add another zero to that number. So thanks to them for the change in career direction,” Bachman continued.

 So he got numerous singers together and thought, on a whim, why not ask Fred Turner to be on the new CD.
“ He said he was going to retire. I said ‘What are you going to do? Learn to do golf or fish?’ He called me up a few weeks later and said ‘I hate golf, and I’m bored sitting around fishing.’ So I sent him the track ‘Rock and Roll is the Only Way Out,’ and he recorded it in a Winnipeg studio,” Bachman said.

“ That’s what Randy asked me. ‘What do you want to retire for, you like what you’re doing? You retire when you don’t like what you’re doing,”” said Fred Turner, who officially ‘retired’ in 2004.
 Long story short, they ended up releasing a new CD together “Bachman and Turner” in 2010, their first CD together in over 20 years.

“Response has been quite good. People are telling us it’s the album we should have released in 1977,” Turner continued adding the new music fits in very well with the classics. A lot of fans can’t tell if they are new songs or obscure tracks from Bachman Turner Overdrive’s heyday.

“I thought it was all over when I was 30. Now, I’m just glad that here I am at age 68 and people still want to hear me,” Turner enthused. He is glad to be back playing with Bachman again.

“When we get together, it’s just very energized. There’s just something that works between us. It’s a good feeling,” Turner said.

 The show includes songs from the new CD as well as tried and true BTO hits like “Lookin’ Out for Number One,” “Hey You,” “You Aint Seen Nothing Yet,” and of course, their signature hit “Takin’ Care of Business.”

“That’s what they are paying their money for,” Turner said.

 He doesn’t mind being pegged a classic rocker.

“ I’m really surprised how many young people really enjoy classic rock. I wouldn’t want to be a young musician today. The most important thing is to have fun playing your music,” he said.

 He said there isn’t as much pressure on Bachman and Turner as there is on young musicians.
“There’s not much pressure. It feels comfortable,” he said.

“Radio still loves to play the classics, but they aren't interested in new music from us,” he said.
Turner was worried about the effect non-stop touring would have on his voice, but found no problems with it.
“I was worried about it, but then I did three days in a row and had no problems,” Turner said.

“We’re already looking 4-5 years in the future because we played the Sturgiss Motorcycle rally last week (Aug 8-14). We’ve been invited back  for the 75th anniversary,” Bachman said.
 “I remember playing the 50th anniversary. We were following Eric Burdon and the Animals. But Eric Burdon was being ornery and didn’t want to play “House of the Riding Sun.” And that’s their anthem,” Bachman recalled.

“And back then it was run by real bikers. Now it’s yuppies and kind of uppity. But then it was real bikers and the head biker came up to me and said ‘Do you know how to play ‘House of the Rising Sun?’ I said ‘ Fred used to sing it in his other band. But we don’t know it.’ He just looked at me and said ‘You’re going to open with it,’ ” Bachman recalled.

“So this year, we brought tears to their eyes. We decided to let Fred start with it solo, just him and his bass. And then we‘d come crashing in with guitars mid-way through. They don’t have chairs, so they sit on their bikes. And they don’t applaud after because that would be too normal. Instead they rev the engines of their Harleys. And listening to that is like being in front of a 21 gun salute that doesn’t end. It’s like a Kumbya for them,” Bachman continued.

 He is enjoying playing with Turner again.
“It’s just been a lot of fun and people can tell we’re having a great time on stage. There’s no point getting back together if you aren’t,” Bachman said.
 Tickets for the show at the Enmax cost between $50, $60 and $110 from the Ticket Centre. Call 403-329-7328. The show begins at 8 p.m.
A version of this story appears in the Sept. 21,2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 September 2011 14:01 )  
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