A staple in glam/hard rock history, Erik Turner has been shredding with Warrant since the band’s formation. His powerful riffs, heavy sound, and remarkable technique are recognizable to any guitar enthusiast.
UberProAudio caught up with Erik this week and asked him about his rig, upcoming gigs, and life with Warrant for the past 25 years.
UberProAudio: Tell us about the gear you’re using, Erik. What’s your current set up? Why do you like it?
Erik Turner: At this stage in the game we (WARRANT) are doing weekend warrior / fly dates. We send the promoter a backline rider that they supply for us as part of deal when they book the band for a show. For awhile I was bringing my Hughes n Kettner switchblade head. Then I brought my Line6/Bogner head for a few shows. But lately I have been using backline provided Marshall 900's with my pedal board. Most of the time the Marshalls sound pretty good on there own, but I have pedals for a little extra tone. I have my Boss Tuner, BBE Power Supply, BBE Grande Boost, BBE Green, Guyatone Delay and Chorus plus an X Wire wireless system.
When we do some local gigs I will use one of my JMP 79 Marshalls (mod by: Mike Morin) and a new Marshall Kerry King head I just got for my birthday from a very cool Mofo Mr. Sanchez. I will run them in true stereo through two old Marshall 4x12 slant cabs with vintage 30's I have had forever. I have a couple Peavey HP Specials I have been playing the last year that I love, killer guitars! I picked up a 74 Cherry Burst Gibson LP Custom about 6 months ago that I'm dying to take in the studio soon!
UberProAudio: About a year ago, you mentioned taking music-reading lessons in an interview. How’s that coming along, and how has it helped your music?
ET: It was fun. I just got so busy and kept having to ask my teacher to change my schedule from week to week and then I didn't have time to practice, so I stopped wasting his time and mine even though he was getting paid for his time!
UberProAudio: Your gig with Wild West Guitars -- How’d you become involved? How long ago? What does it offer a musician? Give us the scoop.
ET: The ultimate gear head candy store from Heaven! Ha! It is dangerous working there, even a few days a week. I want to buy so much cool gear that comes and goes through the shop. It's Joey's fault that I work there; he suggested I contact Jim Lovinggood, the old manager there and a good friend of ours, about working there, Joey thought it would be good for all involved. That led to a meeting with the owner Mark Herbert who was cool enough to bring me in with my crazy schedule and now I'm a guitar and amp pimp by day and a rocker on the weekends.
UberProAudio: You’re a true Renaissance Man – music, art, marketing, and design. How do those mix together, and how have they helped you grow as an artist?
ET: If I am inspired to do something or an opportunity finds me and if it is legal and mostly safe, I just go for it, even if I have know idea how to do it at first. Jump in the deep end and swim, bitch!
UberProAudio: As a performer and songwriter, what inspires you? Walk us through the process of writing a hit.
ET: I have never written a hit. I started and stuck with a band that has had a handful of hits and memorable songs that have kept us working for 25 years, that's a blessing! Of course it would have been much easier quitting a long time ago, but I love this band for better or worse. I'm inspired by other bands (GnR Chinese Democracy right now), but mostly by the other musicians in Warrant. Writing and recording our last studio CD Born Again was a great experience and I can't wait to do another one soon... I hope! The production stands strong and the boys did a damn fine job. Pat Regan produced and engineered the CD. That boy knows how to get a killer tone!
UberProAudio: What sort of sound/vibe do Warrant fans have to look forward to with Robert Mason on vocals? What’s similarities/differences are there compared to rocking with Jani Lane?
ET: Mr. Roberto is a total pro and an amazing singer. Jani did an amazing job singing these songs when we recorded them many moons ago, now Robert has the tall task & pleasure of singing them live. Please go to our website (WarrantRocks.com) and check out some clips of us live with Robert, board tape feed to video, no mixing magic, he kills it! The four us original Down Boys are stoked to have him on our team. He's our new star quarter back and we are going to the fucking super bowl! We will always do our best to stick with the Warrant melodic hard rock hooks that we are known for, nothing worse for a fan than buying a pizza, get it home, open the box and you find a cheeseburger?
UberProAudio: How’s the set list shaping up for the Rocklahoma and Rock Gone Wild concerts this summer? And tell us more about those upcoming shows.
ET: It is pretty much all about the first two CD’s with a little Dog Eat Dog thrown in. Those are the songs we are famous for and those are the songs we are going to play live. We have been rotating and mixing the set list a bit here and there though, so you never know what you might hear from deep into the CD’s. We have been lucky enough to be invited back for a 3rd year to Rocklahoma. A great event to be a part of, amazing production and line up every year! This will be our first time playing Rock Gone Wild and can’t wait to go there and get loud! The line up looks great there too, I can’t wait to see Saxon!
UberProAudio: Any other summer tour dates yet for Warrant’s “Weekend Warriors?”
ET: Shows keep popping up here and there so check our sight for tour dates every now and then… we might be playing in your town sometime soon.
UberProAudio: What sort of gear does Warrant plan on using during the summer concerts? Amps, guitars, speakers, the works.
ET: See my first answer of the interview for my gear. Joey brings his Hughes and Kettner Tri-Amp to every gig. That’s his baby and it screams live and loud! Steven plays Pearl drums. Jerry and Joey have lots of different basses and guitars and are always bringing different stuff out. We all use Dean Markley strings, InTuneGP.com and MyStarSound.com cables, they are the best!
UberProAudio: Any plans for a new Warrant album in the future? Perhaps one introducing Mason on vocals?
ET: Yes, the new ideas and song writing has officially begun. We will get in the studio once we have enough material that we are all excited about for a new Warrant CD or at least a mini CD… ha!
UberProAudio: You mentioned that guitarists Jimmy Page and Joe Perry influenced your music. Describe opening up for both of them back in the day.
ET: Well, we only played one show with Aerosmith, and I never had the chance to meet Joe. A few of the guys met Steven and said he was very cool. We played one show with Page and Plant. I stood right next to Jimmy’s guitar boat and watch the show from there. 80,000 people in Switzerland, fucking amazing, 22 Zep songs, wow. For what ever reason I wasn’t interested in finding Page and meeting him that day. A couple other guys in the band did go to their dressing room and say hello if I remember correctly. I did meet Robert Plant one late night at Barney’s Beanery, he was very cool and we talked about some mutual friends for about 15 minutes.
UberProAudio: When you’re not jamming out heavy rock riffs, what else do you enjoy playing? And what’s your setup look like for other genres of music?
ET: I just love to play loud hard rock and the occasional ballad acoustic song. I listen to all kinds of stuff, don’t tell anybody, but I even watch American Idol. That Adam kid is a Rock Star in the making or I guess he has arrived with 30 million viewers each week! It will be cool to watch his career and see what kind of artistic choices he makes, should be great.
UberProAudio: Imagine your final gig. What guitar are you shredding with, what amp are you using, and what song do you end on?
ET: I would rather not imagine that. Good question though! I wish I knew where I was going to die… I would be sure and never go there!
ET: Rock God Bless all you gear head music fans, you make the rocking world go round, not all those big bottom girls!
Photos courtesy of Erik Turner
Interview by Alex M. Cole. Alex is an award-winning journalist and music fan.