"Music is a gift from God, I want it to heal and bring people together. Love, joy, and excitement."
Eric Turner: The Secret Place of Music
Eric Turner began his musical career with two years of classical piano study. Then, he picked up the guitar and has never put it down since! His first rock band, The Tropics, Florida’s number one show band, was a regional hit in the southwest in the sixties. The Tropics won First place at the International Battle of the Bands in Chicago, Illinois. This lead to Eric’s first big record contract with Columbia Records. Recording at the Columbia Studios in New York City, Eric’s signature guitar work appeared on the Tropics first single, “Time” featured on Dick Clark’s American Band Stand. Many of the bands records were at the top of the charts in Eric’s home state of Florida, and throughout the South. Concert appearances includes shows with The Who, YOUNG RASCALS, JAMES BROWN, YARDBIRDS, ? And The MYSTERIANS, and many others. The Tropics 30 year reunion occurred in May of 1999 at the Saint Petersburg, Florida Coliseum, and some other concerts that year, in Tampa, where thousands had the experience of hearing one of the best guitar players ever to come out of Tampa Florida! (Photo: Eric Turner)
In the seventies, Eric grew to a more progressive form of rock music, and formed his own rock group “BACCHUS” taking his soaring lead guitar into the recording studio, where he made his own brand of music! After many record releases, this band was the opening act on concerts featuring GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, FREE, LYNNRD SKYNNRD, BB KING, CACTUS, The OUTLAWS, REDBONE, and EDGAR WINTER. Bacchus became a three piece group to be reckoned with and were soon asked to open a concert with MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. Including an appearance at the Atlanta Pop Festival, Eric Turner began to achieve success, just by playing his guitar! Upon arriving in California, and after co-writing and recording an album for Atlantic Records with the melodic metal rock group Fortress, Eric began to record the first of fourteen Christian music albums with DARRELL MANSFIELD and DENNY CORRELL. BACCHUS will be released a new album by Guerssen Records, Spain titled “Celebration” (Release Date: February 17th.)
Interview by Michael Limnios
How has the Rock n Roll Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
Rock and Roll is about living for the moment and being in the moment. It shapes you by putting all you have into it. You look at the image, hear the sounds, and live the life. Freedom to be who you want to be and confidence to carry on. Welcome to the party. Peace and love was a great star and mostly the art of music.
How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?
My sound comes from within my heart which has been transformed by the sounds of my heroes like Eric Clapton with Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Keep playing as much as you can and jamming with as many people as you can. Write as many songs as you can Creating ideas and expanding them is a moment by moment process and you use whatever you can find to do it. Recording and putting pen to paper.
How did the idea of "The Topics" and “BACCHUS” come about? What touched you from "the Topics - era"?
The Tropics were fresh out of high school, and we devoted all our time to music. We had a Beatles show, Stones Show, James Brown Show , and a Top 40 Show. We were friends having a wonderful time exploring the music of the day. We were very fortunate to have a manger with a club who took a great deal of interest in us. Rehearsal was about 5 days a week and the management came in to help with ideas every time we rehearsed. Being in the Tropics was fabulous because of the excitement of everyone at the time. Bacchus was the next step in musical evolution for me. We concentrated on original material and sounds; it was about putting ideas together.
"Rock and Roll is about living for the moment and being in the moment. It shapes you by putting all you have into it. You look at the image, hear the sounds, and live the life. Freedom to be who you want to be and confidence to carry on. Welcome to the party. Peace and love was a great star and mostly the art of music." (Photo: Florida's premier 70's hard rock funk & blues band, Bacchus / Charlie Souza on bass; Eric Turner on guitar; and Bill Peterson on drums)
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Meeting band mates like Charlie Souza and sharing music and life. Meetings with record producers and engineers have been so important. Management is so helpful. Roadies like Lane Duble have helped with the gear. Margie Sexton with Gulf Artist Management would always say "Put on a great show because people will remember that".
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
There are so many memories from this life of music. The Tropics toured relentlessly, and we burned up the road going through many vans, RV's, Trucks, and buses. I remember as we were leaving Steve Paul's Scene in New York, Jim Morrison was coming in and we passed them on the stairs. Light My Fire had just come out on the Radio. Having the Allman Brothers open the show in Birmingham was amazing. They were working on their first album at the time. Having Lynyrd Skynyrd open for Bacchus at the forest Inn in Jacksonville was a treat. Bacchus opened for Cactus and Free then we went to record Carry My Load for Johnson Records.
What were the reasons that made the 1960s to be the center of Rock researches and experiments?
The music of the 60's is still played on the radio today. It was so important to the artists and the fans. The art of a musical renaissance took place, So much feeling and depth in the compositions.
How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life? How do you want the music to affect people?
Music is a gift from God, I want it to heal and bring people together. Love, joy, and excitement.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
Keep truckin'. Don't give up. Keep Rockin'. Save something for tomorrow, take care of yourself. God is there.
(Photo: Eric Turner)
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