Bachman & Turner are back together

By Peter Lindblad

The original Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Mercury photo

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner have, once again, joined forces.

This time, though, there’s no “Overdrive” attached to the project. It’s just Bachman & Turner, and for now, the plan is to tour the world over, record a new album and launch a new Web site.

Interestingly enough, the whole reunion was sparked by a solo album Bachman began working on in 2008.

“I had different other singers that were going to guest with me on a song or two,” said Bachman at a December press conference. “So I had Neil Young, Paul Rodgers and eventually, I [decided to] send a song to Fred. I sent him a song called ‘Rock ’N’ Roll Is The Only Way Out.’”

Turner’s performance was stunning, and it got Bachman thinking about doing more together.

“The guys from the studio called and said, ‘You won’t believe it! You won’t believe it!’ related Bachman. “And then I got the MP3 back. I didn’t believe it. So I found myself e-mailing him and saying, ‘Fred, that was just unbelievable. Do you wanna do some more songs? Or do you wanna sing on another cut?’ He said, ‘Sure. Why not?’”

Sensing that old magic building again between them, Bachman ditched the solo album, and in somewhat short order, Bachman & Turner were back together.

“I sent it to him, some song, and then he said, ‘I’ve got some songs,’” recalled Bachman. “And the light goes on. ‘Do you wanna do something together? And I’ll give up the solo album deal and we can go back?’ So it was a nice evolution over six, seven, eight months. And to get him on board just seemed like a natural thing to do.”

The way it all went down reminded Bachman of how Bachman-Turner Overdrive, that Canadian hit-making juggernaut that turned out no less than six Top 50 hits in the mid-1970s, including “Let It Ride,” “Takin’ Care Of Business,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” “Roll On Down The Highway” and “Hey You,” was born.

“It’s like a template of what I did earlier,” said Bachman. “I had about eight or nine years with The Guess Who. Then did a solo thing that was Brave Belt. Fred joined and we became Bachman-Turner Overdrive. It’s the exact same template almost to the year or month of eight or nine years of this and that. So I’m really looking forward to a couple of years with Fred touring and playing. We’ve got some incredible gigs and I’m … we’re stunned by all this. This is really great.”

To prepare himself for the rigors of touring, however, Turner had to get healthy. So he lost about 100 pounds.

“I just decided that if I was going to get up on stage and crank for 90 minutes, I wasn’t going to make it unless I really did something,” said Turner, who joined Bachman at the press conference in December.

Though he expressed his shock at their renewed partnership, Turner is, nevertheless, overjoyed by the prospect.

“The nice part is we’ve got new songs, and that’s the kicker,” said Turner. “That’s really what brought me back. I was retired for five years. And I thought, ‘It’s over. This is done. Just enjoy yourself and go fishing,’ you know. I’m surprised to be back here, but it’s like being reborn. It really, really feels good.”

Still, there is the matter of a lawsuit filed by former BTO members Rob Bachman and Blair Thornton over ownership of the band name.

“We’re not even considering it,” said Turner. And Randy adds, “It’s like something that’s going on that we’re not really involved with. So it’s not really a big issue.”

More pressing is the album the pair plan to release in 2010 and their new Web site (http://bachmanandturner.com), which is due to go live March 1. Some of the potential song titles for the new record include: “Rock ’N’ Roll Is The Only Way Out,” “Rollin’ Along,” “See The Light,” “That’s What It Is,” “Repo Man,” and “Moonlight Rider.”

To Randy, getting back with Turner is something that, musically, should be more interesting than anything he could as a solo act.

“That was the great thing about the earlier band,” said Bachman. “And now with Bachman & Turner, the balance of my songs and my voice against his creates a wonderful imbalance that, I think, is more entertaining than all me, me, me or all him, him, him. [It’s] kind of like when you go see The Eagles. There’s a vocalist on one song, and Don Henley sings the next one, Joe Walsh does the next and it’s very interesting. So that’s kind of what we’ve got here.”

So, where are Bachman & Turner in the recording process? As of December, Bachman, who is producing the record, says that he and Turner have about seven or eight songs each for it.

“Now I’ve got to go and put them together, make sure it’s a balanced album — one of his songs, and then one of mine, and then the two of us singing together,” said Bachman. “It should be ready by the middle of January. But what we’re going for is — you’re going to love this — vinyl. Yeah! Big artwork, you know, vinyl artwork. And obviously, CDs, because it’s still an important medium, and the new media card that’ll have our logo on it that you plug into a computer and you just download the music right in there. So, we’re going for all three. And we’ve got some really good promotional items that we’re talking over. Whatever’s out there in the music world, we’re going to go after it.”


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