Bachman and Turner are back and taking care of business
Bachman and Turner will perform on Thursday at Penn's Peak.
Not long ago, C.F. "Fred" Turner thought he was retired from the music business.
It was then that Turner received a call from Randy Bachman, with whom he teamed up for a string of guitar driven hard rock hits in the 1970's as part of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
That has resulted in an unexpected return for Turner, who is now back together with his former cohort for a new lease on the rock life as Bachman and Turner. The reunited partners are currently on tour, including a visit to Penn's Peak Thursday night.
This is the first time the pair has worked together in two decades.
"We were hoping that this would be kind of where we left off," said Turner, 67, in a phone interview. "We want to keep this going, myself, especially. Randy has kept going, but I retired in 2004, because I thought it was over. To get out and keep doing this, it's great."
According to Turner, Bachman was working on a solo album two years ago on which he was working with different singers, when he came up with a song that he thought would be suited for Turner's vocals.
"That's how Randy tells us, and that's how it came about," said Turner. "He sent me a song, 'Rock'n'Roll's the Only Way Out', and asked me if I would put a vocal on it. I said, why not? When he heard it, it knocked him out, and he put his album on the side. He asked if I had anything else, and I told him I did have a few songs.
"At the time, Randy was also busy with a Guess Who reunion, so he asked if I wanted to do this and if I could wait until he was done with that reunion."
Turner waited for Bachman to finish his tour, and the project became a full-fledged reunion of their own, which will result in a new album from them, which will be released on September 7. Turner wrote four of the songs and co-wrote another with Bachman.
Previews of the songs, including the single, "Rolling Along", reveal a return to the classic BTO sound that resulted in massive hits like "Takin' Care of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet".
"It's like the Lost Album," commented Turner.
Turner said Bachman encouraged him to come out of his retirement for another fling at music.
"In 2004, I had pulled right away from it, but Randy said, you've done this all your life, and you love doing it," he related.
The two had shared a special chemistry, and Turner feels it has continued with this reunion.
"There is something between Randy and me that just happens when we get together," noted Turner. "He can't explain it, and neither can I. The melding creates some great.
"Randy is Mr. 200 Miles Per Hour, and he's always serious about things. With me, not so much. He's a good influence on me."
Bachman first hooked up with Turner in Brave Belt, which formed after Bachman had left The Guess Who. After Turner joined, the band morphed into Bachman-Turner Overdrive, taking its name from the Overdrive trucking magazine.
"Brave Belt III was actually the first BTO album," mentioned Turner.
BTO roared out of its Canadian homeland and became a smash, racking up hits that not only rocked hard but even showcased some different musical styles, such as the jazzy "Looking Out For Number One" and the rollicking "Take It Like a Man", which featured Little Richard on piano.
"That's probably because of our roots back in Winnipeg," explained Turner. "There was so much different music and people played so many different styles, especially Randy. That's one thing that Randy harped on; by the time you got to the third and fourth song on the album, it didn't sound like the same song. There was more diversity."
The Bachman-Turner Overdrive name is tied up in litigation with former members (including Bachman's brother Rob and Blair Thornton), so the duo decided to go out under their own names.
The latest Bachman and Turner configuration includes Bachman's backing band, and they are performing new material as well as the signature BTO hits. In June, they played at the Sweden Rock Festival.
"Randy's used this band for quite a few years, so they've played together," said Turner. "They are wonderful guys to work with.
"It's been terrific, far beyond my expectations, which is very neat. We've decided we'd do this for three years, and if it works out, we'll keep going. I said to Randy, it's your baby. You take it and run with it."
The response on the road so far has been gratifiying. "We've heard that from a lot of people, and it's nice to hear that," he remarked. "It's good for our egos. We're really close to where we want to be. We've kind of gelled back together."
For now, Turner is putting aside his passion for classic cars for another shot with Bachman. To paraphrase a BTO song title, rock is once again his life, and this is his song.
"This is my main dream," he stated. "It is quite amazing. We're having a ball on stage, really having fun. It certainly is a different business, all right. Now it's more about performance than record sales, really. I think we'll be able to keep it going."
Bachman and Turner will perform at Penn's Peak on Thursday, July 29. Doors open at 6 p.m. Opening act is Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real. Tickets are $55 for the Pit (standing room only) and $50 for reserved seating and are available on-line at www.ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets including Boscov's and Gallery of Sound, and at the Penn's Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant. Call (866) 605-7325 for information.