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Interview: Blackberry Smoke’s Richard Turner


 Richard-Turner-Blackberry-Smoke (1)

Can you please tell us about your history with Orange?
I always wanted an Orange amp because Black Sabbath was playing them, and they were pretty hard to find in the States back in the day. We also played that NAMM show in Anaheim for Orange’s, I think it was their 40th anniversary, and we met all of the Orange people, and obviously the backline was all Orange, and I told them “I’d like to take this home with me.” and they said “Ok”, and I was like “Oh, that’s very, very nice of you!”, and I’ve been using Orange ever since.

What’s your set up then?
I had an old 15inch cabinet and a 4×10, and the MK3 200 watt head, which I love – it’s never given me any problems. After a while I needed something bigger, so I asked for the 1000 watt Tiny Terror head and an 8×10 cabinet and I’ve been playing them all over the US.

A lot of people that normally wouldn’t listen to country or southern rock still listen to Blackberry Smoke, why do you think that is?
We all come from different backgrounds, back in the day Brit and I were in a metal band called Nihilist, so we’re a band that can play a wide spectrum of music, and it boils down to good versus bad. When people say Blackberry Smoke is a country rock band that turns a lot of people off. I wouldn’t call The Eagles or The Rolling Stones country rock bands, but they both definitely did country rock-ish music at one point or another, outstanding country rock music. They also both did dance and pop music as well, and that’s why they’re both so good and still in business, they just appeal to such a wide variety of people as they instead of sticking a specific genre they stick to playing good music, whether that’s country, rock or something else. Another band like that is Motörhead. It’s a shame that so many bands get tossed around the genre machine and never manages to come out of it.

How is it being in a band that’s known to “always be on tour”?
We played less shows in 2015 than we did in 2014 and the year before that. In 2013 we played 255 shows, and when you tour like that over many years it does become a lot. We’ve started to cut back a bit because everyone’s got small children, except for Brandon. Which we know of, he might be making some children as we speak…

  1. Matthew Conte
    Matthew Conte says:

    Hey All The Awesome People At Orange,…My name is Matthew,but my friends call me Mattyboy or Lil Matty. I just wanna say that I very fond of the products you guys create. Im a Rock n Roller since I was a little kid. My grampa ,Herman,.. who was my first contact with real live music was a jazz musician whos band ” The Original White Way Five” played Vaudville with people who are now considered to be Icons. I still ask my 82yr old mother questions about the people he knew and performed with that were introduced as Uncle or Aunt so&so. So I would listen to him practice the clarinet and the tennor saxaphoneas a boy and developed a love for music and wanted to be able to make an instrument speak the way he could. In 1977 KISS was my favorite band in the whole world. I was only 7yrs old and had all of their records and would play Kiss Alive 2 over & over pretending I was in the band playing to the sold out Madison Square Garden feeling the roar of that crowd. i could sing along with Paul Stanley,playing air guitar on a tennis racket . But I really enjoyed pretending I was Peter Criss playing the giant chrome Pearl drumset he played. That Christmas ,I got a real drumset and by the time I was 8yrs old could play any song by Kiss I chose.In 1978 ,my sister took me to MSG to see KISS , on the Dynasty tour. From that day forward, I knew I wouldnt be a fireman or carpenter like my pop was. I was gonna be a rock Star. Kiss blew my mind. breathing fire and flying up to the rafters when Gene Simmons played God Of Thunder. I was young and didnt realize they had such a tremendous stage show because they had ZERO tallent. That same year I was visiting my cousins during summer recess and my oldest cousin Mike knew I was a fanatic for Kiss was going to change my life for the better by forbiding me to listen to my Kiss records on his stereo. He sat me in his barcolounger chair so I would be very comfy for two hours, and put his personal headphones on me, gave me a bottle of pepsi and began side 1 of Physical Grafitti. pumped directly into my ears with no outside noise, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bohnam showed me how real blues based rock n roll sounded, and what talent was and better yet how an electric guitar played by Jimmy Page could take control of something deep inside me and really cant explain other then immediatly knew what He did with that double neck Gibson was the same thing my grampa did with his tenor sax and clarinete… And that someday, somehow Lil Matty was gonna figure it out too.
    Well alot has happened in the almost 40 yrs since that summer day in Red Hook ,N.Y. I found out that thing dont always go the way you plan them. I also found out that one bad decision can lead to more bad decisions and completely alter life as you knew it.. I dont want to turn this into a sad story, but it has some very sad moments…I never became that Rock & Roll Star like I planed , but I never completely lost the feeling that touched my soul that day listening to Custard Pie and Down By The Seaside through headphones. It was almost spiritual because it was uninterupted bliss, hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time. And 8yrs old is such an impressionable age. Since then Ive listened to alot of different music, Ive obsessed about many different musicians and have been moved deeply by their playing. But sitting here at 2a.m. and remembering and reliving and Sharing one of the most intimate chapters from my life with whoever ends up reading it…complete strangers . I havent told another soul that story , and as I tell it, Im Feeling it very intensely. Im left vulnerable but thats a good thing. I feel a closeness with myself thats healing. A regret that Im regretting slightly less tonight!! And if by chance Jimmy Page is reading this,.. as I see He is a featured Ambassador for Orange Amps…ironicly He was an ambassador for music and all its awesomeness for a young dreamer who many years later finds himself realizing hes doing it….despite the curve balls life pitched him