Diagnosed when he was three years old, Joe Lynn Turner has openly spoken about his journey with alopecia, the general medical term for hair loss, and how, from a young age, he had to deal with “emotional and psychological damage from cruel bullying at school.” Today, he presents his natural likeness publicly for the first time.
Joe, who recently signed with Mascot Label Group, has emotionally spoken of his journey when announcing the 28 October release of his album Belly Of The Beast.
Having first worn a wig at 14 years old, he continued to wear a hairpiece throughout his career until he finally decided to go without it. “In a way, it’s a blessing and a curse,” Joe says. “I have nothing to prove, and I can wear a wig—or not. I am free to do what I want. I’m a grown man, and I’m getting to be an older man. Many men in this business eventually come to the decision to continue to wear hair or shave their head which is very fashionable today.
“Either way, it takes a lot of personal courage. Assholes in high school trying to kick me around made me stronger and gave me the necessary motivation and strength to rise above the rest. Anger and pain are a great tool. If applied correctly, it could develop you to become the best version of yourself. Instead of running away, I was hiding in plain sight.”
Belly Of The Beast is Joe’s eleventh full-length album. “Belly Of The Beast is a phrase we’ve heard over and over again in history,” Joe says. “You can trace the cults and corruption all over the world back to prophecies in the Bible. It feels like it’s coming to fruition these days. When you look at the book of Revelation, there it is. I’ve always dipped into esoteric knowledge, Hermeticism, Occultism, Bible research, and Eclectic philosophy. I’ve been fascinated with the discovery of hidden mysteries.
“We are in a true spiritual war right now. It’s Good versus Evil. We’ve all got an Angel on one shoulder and a Devil on the other. We’re in the Belly of the Beast, trapped in the System, and there’s no way out of it. The album addresses this.”
For Belly Of The Beast, Joe has joined with iconic producer and songwriter Peter Tägtgren [Hypocrisy, PAIN, Lindemann], a relationship formed when, in 2017, he initially met Peter after performing at his brother’s private birthday party. The first track they collaborated on was Don’t Fear The Dark.
“It happened completely by accident, but some of the best things happen by accident,” Joe says. “I was not very familiar with Peter’s bands Pain and Hypocrisy, but when we met, I loved his personality, and I felt like we had chemistry together. On the writing side, you have to change and grow to mature. I had this in me. As far as pushing into a heavy vein, Peter said, I adapted my voice, which is the truth. It’s still me, though. I kept it dirty, gritty, and Metal.”
The lead track, Belly Of The beast, finds Joe leading the line with a barrage of airtight guitars and pummeling double bass. “It’s all about the ritual and the Serpent God of Fear, which is Lucifer,” Joe says, “who creates the spell upon Mankind. If you believe in good, you must believe in evil. It’s the Yin and Yang of life. They must co-exist. It’s simple physics. This track had an evil flavour, so upon listening, the storyline was obvious to me. Peter sprang the double-time chorus on me, and we went for it.”
A five-decade career in Heavy Metal has seen Joe work with Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow and Deep Purple, while collaboration with Yngwie Malmsteen for his project Rising Force saw the album Odyssey mark the highest chart position for the guitarist going gold in Sweden.
With a track this good as Belly Of The Beast, it does leave you excited for the whole album. “Rock ‘n’ Roll is about entertainment, of course,” Joe says, “but I hope you hear the message as well. It seems like everyone has sold their souls to major corporations. Once people are rich and popular, they become a part of the establishment. Where are the rebels? Who’s going to say, ‘Fuck you! We aren’t going to take this shit?’ I am.”
Alopecia can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of ageing. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.
For help and support, visit https://www.alopecia.org.uk