Wild Turkey Interview


Wild Turkey Interview

Wild Turkey is: Bassist Glenn Cornick, vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins, lead guitarist Lewis, rhythm guitarist Jon Blackmore, and drummer Jeff Jones.

An English band, they are now on their first tour of the United States with Black Sabbath. Sometimes they are third billing, sometimes second, but as Glenn Cornick put, “no one ever plays below them.” Sincerely hoping not to be taken as bullshit, they won’t be staying there long.

Cornick was of the founding members of Jethro Tull. His plodding, thumping bass work can be caught on This WasStand Up and Benefit. Strangely enough, Cornick split from the group very shortly after the group gained “superstardom.”

Cornick took to the road to find some musicians that would form a band with him. He found them, and for a year now they have been playing small clubs, and colleges in England and gaining quite a following. A couple of weeks ago they released their first album, Battle Hymn, on the Chrysalis label – MS 2070.

Well, Saturday night, March 18th, Wild Turkey played on the bill with Yes and Black Sabbath. The following interview with Glenn Cornick took place in the backstage dressing room of the San Diego Sports Arena.

Did you see performing as a chore?

No. Not at all really. The band likes to do concerts quite alot. It’s the audience that make it either a chore or a good time.

What did you think of the San Diego audience?

Quite riotous. They’re very young too. It’s quite a new thing for the band. For the past year or so we have been playing the clubs and pubs in England. We have a lot of folky numbers that we wanted to do, but couldn’t because of the audience.

Jeff Jones: Quite riotous.

What do you see as the main, most apparent differences between English and American audiences?

Well, the audiences in America are stoned, while the audiences in England are drunk.

Which audience to you prefer to play for?

A straight audience.

Jeff Jones: A straight audience definitely.

Yeah, really. It’s always much more inspiring to play for a straight audience that comes to hear music and doesn’t come to be seen by his friends, you know. There’s alot less people in England. I think the largest place in all of England seats less than 5,000.

Manager: 4,900.

Yeah, 4900. That’s not very much.

How long have you been on tour?

About three weeks.

Have you seen much that you already weren’t familiar with after the Jethro Tull gig?

Well, we’ve enjoyed alot more of the familiar things. (laughter)

Does your stage act compliment your album, or does your album compliment your live performance?

Our stage act compliments our album. I mean, the album is the main item…we’ve been playing alot of small clubs across England and have been mostly improving with that, but right now the album is our major item.

Would you want to classify your music?

It’s hard really to classify us. We’ve got alot of acoustic stuff and a lot of hard stuff. We’re a multi-directional band.

Are you evolving toward any particular goal?

A question like that is very difficult to answer. The group, in my mind, won’t know until we’ve gotten there. For a long time, the main goal was just to get a band going. But in terms of goals, it’s difficult to say until we reach it.

The biography sent by the record company says you left Jethro Tull to find musical identity…

That’s bullshit. I left Jethro Tull for social reasons, you know.

Well, the reason I ask is because some of your music, several cuts on Battle Hymn sound an awful lot like Jethro Tull material.

Yeah, well Ian was a great person and I didn’t leave to find musical identity. But the reasons were social.

Were you with Jethro Tull for Aqualung?

No. I left before it. Aqualung, to me, was nothing but an album to educate the new band. It was more of an introduction the new album, which is fantastic.

When will it be released?

It’s been released for three weeks in England.

So it’s a good album, huh?

Oh yeah. It’s great.

Let’s talk about Battle Hymn. Did it result as expected?

Yeah. We had been rehearsing and such for a while. We knew very much what we wanted to do and we went in and did it.

Why didn’t you make a solo album?

Well…it’s be kind of hard for a bass player who doesn’t sing to do a solo album. (laughter)

I’ll have to agree with you…

Jeff Jones: Unless you had an album full of bass runs. (laughter)

Does the idea of superstardom appeal to you?

Well, it depends if you do it on your own. For instance, the Grand Funk were made…

Jon Blackmore: Their new stuff is alright. Well, now they’re okay but when they first became famous they were manufactured. I don’t see how they can live with themselves knowing they were made like that.

Do you see self-fulfillment as a major necessity in your playing music?

Well the self part isn’t the only thing. Jethro didn’t make me rich, but I’m certainly not poor. Personally, though, self-fulfillment is a large part of it.

What do you think should be the purpose of first albums?

First albums should always try their best to expose a large part of the band or person or whatever. They should acquaint the audience with the band and all of it’s aspects.

Where would the ideal atmosphere for your music be?

My favorite place is a theatre, where the acoustics are specifically for music and the audience comes to hear the music.

What do you think of mixing politics and music?

I don’t believe in using music to preach. I feel if politics and music are mixed, one is eventually going to win out, and overcome the other.

What about …

I know what you’re going to ask… “What about “Battle Hymn?” “Battle Hymn” is an anti-war song. It makes a statement. It’s not against the Vietnam war or anything, but about war in general. Do you see the difference between making a statement and preaching? Battle Hymn was written under a circumstance where I was feeling quite strongly about war.

What was the particular circumstance?

Oh, just a lump of things.

In America, music, especially contemporary music, is big business. How about in England?

Well, for one thing, the audiences are much smaller because there’s fewer people. The market is alot smaller. Alot of times, playing in assorted clubs we didn’t even get paid after we’d been promised.

Do you think music belongs to the performers or the promoters?

I think it belongs to the ones who make it.

It seems these days that one almost must be a dazzling showman before gaining wide exposure?

Well, it’s up to the artist really. If they want to do it, and can do it, go ahead.

Do you think it will get to the point where the theatrics will over shadow the music?

I don’t believe it’s changing very much. I think showmanship’s been there and it always will be there. It’s always been like that. I can’t see where it’s changed that much.

Do you have anything planned for the next album?

Probably, everybody has ideas. The band hasn’t gotten around to talking it over yet.

How long was Battle Hymn in the making?

You mean the actual physical recording?


I think about three weeks including mixing. Not very long.

You had a good idea of what you wanted to do I take it?

We had everything worked out. You know… we’re not one of those bands that just goes into a studio and kind of plays around until we come up with something. That’s just not the way we work. For some people it works, For us, it doesn’t.

Do you see a live album in the groups future?

Not for a long time. Ah…maybe in three years… I think live albums make good fourth or fifth albums. It’s something to develop towards. A group’s got to be really popular. Everybody’s seen them and got to have dug them on stage, and a lot of time too, before they’ll all accept a live album. A live recording is a kind of souvenir of live shows the people have seen. You get much more pleasure out of it if you’ve actually seen the group. Then you buy the album and you kind of sit there and remember what the show was like, you know, a kind of nostalgia trip.

Promoter: What happened to all the beer, Glenn? You drink it all?

I did my best.

Promoter: Mind if I ask a question?

What is it?

Promoter: What prompted your leaving Jethro Tull?

Uhhh… lack of beer (laughter) That’s true… it’s particularly true. Just a liking of drinking on my own. That’s why I left.

Promoter: What do you think of Ian Anderson?

I think he’s a genius. Also one of the most together people around.

Do you share alot of his philosophies?


I read that he holds a lot of off beat theories. Once he said the best education a child could have would be watching the Johnny Carson show.

I don’t understand that. I really don’t. I probably don’t share most of his philosophies.

Does he have alot of strong political beliefs?

He didn’t make them very apparent.

Are you influences by many others besides Jethro Tull?


Promoter: Did you have alot of influence on Tull?

Uughh, did I?

Promoter: It sounded to me from your playing that you had a lot of influence on Tull.

Well, I had alot of influence on the bass playing in Tull (laughter). Just in the bass playing really,. Ian had a knack for writing songs that suited everybody.

Promoter: Is it more like Ian Anderson and his band or does everyone work together well?

Everybody worked together well when I was with them. But 90% of the ideas were Ian’s. Because Ian has fucking good ideas. He had such good ideas that everybody let him use them.

Did you find the rest of the band frustrated?

No… I was never frustrated until I, until maybe after I left. I thought well, maybe I had been. I was never aware of it until afterwards.

Do you write much of Wild Turkey’s material?

I wrote about four songs on Battle Hymn… and I had never written before. I never missed it… I never realized I’d wanted to do it until I left Jethro. It wasn’t a thing of … oh shit. I’m being held back!! Once I was free of it… I opened up.

Promoter: Who produced your album?

I can’t remember… he’s not very good though. He’s the guy who produces Black Sabbath. What’s his name?
Manager: Rodger Bain.
Rodger Bain.

Do you listen to alot of music?

I listen to a little music alot. You know, I just got three or four albums that I play alot.

What are they?

They don’t reflect what I play alot. I listen to the Grateful Dead just about all the time. Just one album, really, and I never stop playing it.

Which album is it?

The Live/Dead. The earlier live Dead with “Dark Star.” I don’t mean the new one. I don’t really think that has much influence on me, though, it’s basically a jamming album. We’re basically not a jamming band. We do a little bit of jamming in England, but not to that great of a degree to where we’ll play two or three songs in two hours. I don’t think we’ll ever be like that.

I’ve noticed that many artist’s favorite artists are those that have nothing to share with them. Alice Cooper’s favorite artist for instance, is Laura Nyro.


Eli and the Thirteenth Confession he thought was the greatest album ever made.

That’s a beautiful album. That was my favorite for a long time. I don’t find myself influenced by anything I listen to, really. That’s because I agree with you. I don’t listen to stuff that’s in the same category as the music we play.

What do you think of autobiographical music, like James Taylor’s for instance?

I’ve never considered it as a separate entity from any other type of music. I think it’s nice for everybody to be able to understand what you’re singing about. IF you’re not careful though, you find yourself writing things that are too autobiographical. Then it would become so personal that three people would understand it, then that’s fine. You know. It’s no better or no worse than anything else.

Do you like doing interviews?

It depends on what kind of questions people ask. If people ask interesting questions, it’s great fun. It people ask silly questions, I get pissed off.

What would you define as a silly question?

Well, the main thing that upsets me is when people haven’t heard the album, they know nothing about the group, never seen me on stage, and they tell me, “Alright now, tell me what your group’s all about.” Then it’s a complete waste of time cause I can spend two hours trying to explain to them what it would take 15 minutes of listening to us to find out. I think that’s my main objection to doing interviews.

One thing that surprised me is that before I came in, I thought that you would be quite tired of discussing Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson. But you seem quite willing to talk about it.

Well, I’ve been asked why I left Jethro Tull about two-and-a-half million times. I think things like that you have work out stock lines for.

I see you as more intellectual than many in your business. Was there ever a time when you didn’t want to be a musician, or have you always wanted to be a musician?

Oh yeah! I was first in a band so I could avoid going to a University. I don’t know what that says about your theory about me, but … (laughter) it seemed a good way to get out of being stuck in a rut and going to a University. I’ve never wanted to do that. I also wanted to be a musician ’cause I used to see all these guys on TV getting gold records and wearing blue mohair suits, having red Fender guitars. That’s why I first started too. The interest in music came after I’d done it for two years. I did it for kind of flash reasons at first, then after I’d gone through that I actually started to enjoy music for it’s own sake. I was completely in the wrong, doing it that way but… it wasn’t an ego trip, it was the glamour. I was only fifteen then, this was during the days where all the groups used to have matching red Fender guitars and wearing mohair suits and doing foot-steps – getting gold records on TV and I used to think Wow! That’s more fun than being in school.

At what point in your career did you realize you had to have some other pull besides the glamour?

Well, I never realized. I had to have another goal, it just developed to actually enjoying playing music. My tastes began to get a bit more respectable… and responsible.

Did you start out playing bass?

No. I started out playing guitar but I couldn’t get a job as a rhythm player. That was the day when everyone wanted to be a rhythm guitarist ’cause that was the easiest thing to play. There weren’t many bass players around so I bought a bass… ’cause it seemed my only way to get into blue mohair suits and red guitars (laughter).

How long do you think the group’ll stay together?

As long as possible. I don’t know. It depends on so many factors. I certainly didn’t consider it a temporary set. I’m pretty committed to it. I want it to keep on going till it’s done everything it can do. Once it’s achieved everything that it can possibly do then I suppose things will split up. But, I hope that will be a long time away. You’ve always got to have something that you’re striving for, and once you’ve done everything, there’s no point in keeping at it for old time’s sake. That’s gonna be a few years away, though.

So when you reach your goal, you’ll just retire?

No. I’ll try and find something else to do in music. God knows what, but there must be something else. I mean… I can’t do anything else besides music. My whole life style is completely adapted to rushing around America on two-month tours, and living in Holiday Inns. I don’t think I’m capable of sitting home and not doing very much.

Do you think you’ll ever revert back to playing rhythm guitar?

No. I’m satisfied. Bass is all I play except a little piano.

Jon Blackmore: Very little (laughter).

I always wanted to be a pianist but I never really got it together. I don’t imagine I ever will.

Jon Blackmore: He’s trying hard though.

Yeah, it’d be nice to be a piano player but I don’t know how I can.

Do you find tours monotonous?

I don’t, but I don’t now about anybody else. Actually I thrive on them.

Do you think you’ll ever be going the AM route?

It depends what you mean by the AM scene. If you mean are we going to be a teenybopper band…no.

Will you ever go into the studio with the intent of …

Making a hit single. Yeah, we’ve done it once. The office wouldn’t release it though (nervous laughter). I approve of singles as long as you don’t have to cheapen your music by doing it. I think it’s quite a challenge to do a commercial single but still retain integrity while doing it. I think probably for this band, singles if we ever did have hit singles… it would be after we had hit albums.

Blackmore: See, I think the thing is… I think anyways, not sure, if you make a single, whatever direction you make a first single that is the direction people will judge you by…

Yeah, that’s very true.

Blackmore: You might notice that Black Sabbath, alright, play “Paranoid” every set, but as the second to the last number. A song we all know. Say Sabbath, when they started making an album with more than one direction on it. But then released a single, alright, now you can’t very easily have more than one direction on a single, alright? If you got a band that’s got about six directions, and then release a single with only one direction, and the single breaks before the album, you end up getting stuck into a position where if you play the stuff from the album, the promoter gets pissed off ’cause that isn’t necessarily 90% of the single.

Cornick: A single can be a very limiting influence on people’s careers. Sabbath is okay though cause all the stuff they’re doing on stage is the same anyway.

Blackmore: We got a thing that’s folky on the album called “Gentle Rain.” Now say, we released that as a single and that made really good as a single. Well you can imagine us doing our set with a piano…

I mean the set with a piano…I mean the cut involves a piano and an acoustic guitar and that’s about all. It’s nothing like our stage act. Now if that had been a hit single and we played the set we played tonight, the promoter would have gotten pissed off.

The kids just expect whatever is on the single, they expect that from the show. You see bands that have had one hit single and been accepted by the teenybopper audience. Maybe teenyboppers have accepted a single and it’s been a really big hit. You know you’ll never get the other kids, the kind of underground freaks to accept the group, ’cause the group’s been accepted by the teenyboppers. I’ve seen that so many times. You know if a group gets a name as an AM band, the freaks would never go and see them just because they’ve got this idea of AM-teenybopper, a lightweight music band. I presume it’s the same in the States, the hit singles, you know, cut off from alot of people. I think once in a while with a good strong hit album behind you, you can do anything ’cause people will accept you on the strength of one album. It’s a very touchy thing to start with a hit single.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  March 30, 1972  – April 13, 1972