Ike Turner Jr.
Wed Nov 27 18:33:28 EST 1996
Ike Turner Jr. Battles Obscurity
By Mark Egan
LOS ANGELES (Reuter) - He looks, plays and sounds like his father, but after
more than a decade trying to emulate the success of Ike Turner and
stepmother Tina, he still battles obscurity.
"You could be Bill Clinton's son but you still have to be good at what you
do. Having a name just really makes it that much harder ... the expectations
of people," said Ike Turner Jr., letting his words trail off with a shrug of
Like Clinton's brother Roger, Turner has failed to set the music world on
fire playing other people's songs to half-empty cabaret halls.
"All I really need is one hit record," he said. "I've been at it for quite a
Turner seems like he's been getting ready for fame all his life. His
stepmother is still a top star and his father is trying to rebuild his
career after serving a jail term for selling drugs.
At age 5, the young Turner started playing the drums before shifting to the
piano because his stepmother found the drums too loud.
By 13, he took to the road working as a sound engineer on a tour with Ike &
Tina Turner and music legends Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin and Billy Preston.
In 1982 he started "Ike Turner Jr. and The Second Generation."
Now 15 years later, at the age of 37, he has put together a new lineup of
Second Generation in the hope that it will finally take him to the top.
"I'm not in a rush," Turner said.
"I don't make a whole lot of money when I'm on the road, but we get the same
treatment as Tina or Michael Jackson, the same thing. As long as I'm making
a living and I'm able to build this second generation thing," he said.
Turner unveiled his latest lineup, which includes his brother Ronnie on bass
guitar and cousin Jackie on vocals, at Saint Mark's, a club in Venice Beach,
The show started late one night recently as the band and the audience waited
for Turner's famous father to arrive to play a tune or two with his sons.
But, Ike Sr. never did not show up. When the band finally took the stage, it
was as though the audience was back in 1966 watching the Ike and Tina Turner
Revue, Ikettes and all.
The Second Generation offers a pulsing beat, a female lead vocalist, backup
singers and 1960s-style choreographed dance moves.
Not only did they look like the Ike & Tina Revue but the band played the
elders' best-known songs, "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Proud Mary."
The rest of the set, which lasted barely an hour, included Sly Stone and
Marvin Gaye songs, and The Beatles' song "Get Back." Turner, playing on
keyboard, performed three songs he wrote himself, including one entitled "I
Can't Stand It".
Turner said he plans to tour with the band for the next two years in the
hope a break will come.
"Pyramid Power" is the strangely mystical way Turner describes the way he works.
"Pyramid power is a unit. We all work as a unit with me at the top.
Definitely, that's where all the energy comes from."
Turner, who recently moved to Redondo Beach, Calif., from St. Louis, was
reluctant to talk much about life with Ike and Tina. Their stormy 18-year
marriage ended in the summer of 1976.
Tina Turner detailed the beatings and abuse she endured at the hands of her
bandleader husband in her 1986 autobiography, "I, Tina." It was followed by
the biographical 1993 film "What's Love Got to Do With It."
Ike Sr. was sentenced to 18 months in jail in 1991 for selling cocaine and
is now trying to resurrect his career with a new band.
Ike Jr. doesn't see much of either his father or stepmother these days. He
says he hasn't seen Tina in almost five years.
Asked if he had any regrets about his life, he said: "I probably wouldn't
have started traveling and hanging around my father and all them at such a
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