M A R T I N T U R N E R
Born in Torquay on October 1st 1947, Wishbone Ash's founding member Martin Turner began playing guitar at the age of fourteen, before switching to bass. Together with his brother Glenn he formed his first band the Torinoes in 1963. The Torinoes soon built up a respectable reputation in their local area, playing covers of the hits of the day. By 1966 the band had evolved into the Empty Vessels and Glenn and Martin were joined by drummer Steve Upton. In 1969 the band turned professional and relocated to London.
Following Glenn' s departure, Martin and Steve - under the auspices of manager Miles Copeland - auditioned for new musicians. Ted Turner and Andy Powell were recruited and Wishbone Ash was born.hroughout the classic first decade of Wishbone Ash's career, Martin stamped his identity on each Wishbone Ash album with his distinctive upfront bass style, as well as being the principal vocalist and songwriter within the band. Disagreements over group policy and musical direction led to Martin and the band parting company in 1980. "I thought the band were doing really well and breaking new ground," says Martin, "but the band felt they needed to change things. I disagreed with their analysis. I thought it was wrong and it was proven to be wrong."
Throughout the eighties, Martin pursued a career in record production, but continued to write and record - forming a new band the Wolf Gang - although recordings from this period were not released at the time. 1987 saw the reformation of the original Wishbone Ash and Martin returning as bassist, vocalist and producer for a trio of acclaimed albums for the IRS label.
1991 saw the remnants of the original Wishbone Ash line-up making the decision to continue without the band’s founding member Martin Turner. Ted Turner would also part company with the band shortly after, thus truly ending the “classic” era of Wishbone Ash. Martin Turner, however, remained an integral part of the Wishbone Ash set-up, maintaining awareness and appreciation of the classic marks of the band through his work in the remastering and remixing of the band’s back catalogue. Indeed, hardly a year has passed without Martin being involved in a Wishbone Ash project of some form be it through studio work or live appearance.
1996 saw the release of Martin’s debut solo album, Walking The Reeperbahn (a collection of recordings spanning the period 1980-96), which contained many of the melodic qualities associated with the classic Wishbone Ash line-ups. In addition he recorded with his friend, the late Roy Hollingworth (In The Flesh album) and also, between 1998-2006, toured and recorded with respected blues/rock band The Blue Bishops, for whom he also produced the 2002 album Deep.
But Wishbone Ash remained Martin's first love and 2005 saw Martin Turner taking his Wishbone-related activity one stage further with his long awaited return to the live arena and the formation of a new touring band, carrying forward the best-loved elements associated with the definitive marks of Wishbone Ash, fronted by the unique talents of the band’s founding member.
2014 sees Martin Turner working on new material as well as continuing to perform the classic works of Wishbone Ash.
photos: John Price