Turner, Ike

By Dominick A. Miserandino,
A little bit feisty and bitter, Ike Turner certainly has had a roller coaster of a life. He tells us everything from his feelings on his relationship with Tina, his time in prison, and his sex and drug life.

DM) How are you doing today, Ike?

IT) I'm doing pretty good, working hard and starving to death.

DM) I caught you right before dinner?

IT) No, we just finished. We went to Sizzlers. (Laughs)

DM) So Ike recommends Sizzlers. When you go there, does anybody recognize you?

IT) Everybody. They want autographs and all that stuff. I keep a carload of pictures, man, because that happens every day, everywhere. That's a part of the life.

DM) And you like that part of the life, it sounds like.

IT) It comes along with the territory, whether I like it or don't like it, I have to do it. You know what I mean?

DM) The overall question that I wanted to ask is about your life. It seems that there have been two sides of you portrayed by the media. One is reflecting you as one of the original leaders of rock and roll. You were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for playing on the first rock and roll record, "Rocket 88."

IT) Yep, the first rock and roll record in history.

DM) And then there is this other side, the side that's reflected in the movie, "What's Love Got to Do With It."

IT) (Interrupting) Well, if you believe movies, man, then you'll believe anything.

DM) That's why I wanted to go to the source and find out who the true "Ike" is.

IT) I never saw the movie until six weeks ago.

DM) Really?

IT) No, I haven't. That movie is nowhere close to me, because there's two things you can't justify to me. You can't justify an adult selling a kid drugs, and you can't justify a man raping a woman. And when they portrayed me in that movie as raping Tina, man, that's the biggest bunch of s--- in the world. And the next thing about it, they showed where Tina had a baby, and they led you to believe that the baby she had was mine, but it wasn't.

DM) Really?

IT) No, it wasn't. It belonged to the saxophone player, Raymond Hill. And that's my oldest son, Greg's real father. And then after she had the baby, they had the guy go in the room and tell her, "Hey, you got to get up and go to work." A woman just had a baby, man, how cold can you f------ be?

DM) You must have been pretty upset by the movie to have waited until only six weeks ago to see it.

IT) That's why I saw it. I have an attorney, man, who is going to sue Disney for it. See, what happened, back during my "druggie days," I signed a contract with Walt Disney, giving them permission. This lawyer lied to me. I thought I was giving them permission for somebody to play me in the movie, and that I wouldn't sue them for somebody else being Ike Turner in the movie. I didn't care. If Tina didn't want to do it with me, that's okay. I didn't find out until I got sober and clean, coming out of jail, when I was trying to find out how I was going to start back with my career. Only then did I find out that I had signed away my rights to sue them, and they could portray me any way that they wanted to.

DM) When was this that you became sober again?

IT) I've been clean since 1989. In that year, I went to jail, and I haven't touched drugs since then. I'm going on 11 years clean.

DM) And you had no interest in seeing the movie before this?

IT) No, man, because I heard how it dogged me and all that kind of crap. Man, and you know I'm not saying that I've been a good father either, I've done a lot of wrong things, right. But you can't undo things. Everybody's done wrong. I'm not talking about anybody, I'm talking about Ike right now. I've done a lot of wrong things, real right. You know? All I can do is apologize to the people that I may have done wrong. But I'm not the dude that you see in that movie. Nowhere close. Not at all.

DM) You admit you've done some things wrong, though.

IT) Haven't you? Before you start talking about my laundry, clean yours. That's how I feel about it, man. When I saw that movie, man, it's really embarrassing, for somebody to be that insensitive and cold. And that's not me. So, I'm going to go on to the next subject, or is this the end of the conversation? I don't harp on that. I don't even deal in that no more. I've got a book out called Taking Back My Name. If you want to find out about Ike, then you buy that book. And then we have a movie; Eddie Griffin was supposed to play me in my movie, so now we're talking to Samuel Jackson. It will be one of the two.

DM) For people who haven't heard of the book yet, how would you summarize it?

IT) The book tells you my life, from when I was a kid. The good and the bad, the "etceteras, etceteras." One minute you're laughing at it, and one minute you're crying. It's a real good book. And one reaction I get from everybody is, they say they've never read a book as honest as this one. And that book is every bit of me. It was "no holds barred." Whether it was good for me, I told like it was.

DM) You were saying before that looking back on your life, there were some things you are proud of, and some things you aren't so proud of. What are some of those things that you're proud of?

IT) I don't know. A lot of people say, "How does it feel to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" I don't feel nothing, I was just doing something I like doing. And the next thing about it was the worst thing I've done in my life. I don't know, I am human just like everybody else, so I don't go around remembering this or that , but I do know... whatever it was... if I thought that you stole something from me, that's terrible; if I think it, that's wrong, because I'm supposed to know it before I think it... that's dirt to me.
And I don't put dirt inside of Ike. And if I did... there were times when I didn't think like this. And if I thought in my mind and I found it out to be different, I would say, "Man, I'm really sorry," and you'd say, "Sorry about what?", I'd say, "Well, I'm embarrassed to tell you, I won't tell you about what." But I'd get it out of me.

DM) It sounds like what you're saying is, it's very frustrating when people focus on this one side that was shown in the movie.

IT) (Pauses) Well, I told you I was finished with that, man, and I meant that, man. I'm not going to sit here and debate on that with you. I went through it briefly with you. If you like to talk about what I'm doing and what I'm going to do, it's okay.

DM) Well, I was bringing it up to get a sense of perspective and insight into your philosophy of life. Lately, you've been making a comeback. A part of me was wondering if that was due to your philosophy.

IT) Man, I say this: I have a very, very positive life that I'm very proud of now. I don't know, man. I'm really proud of myself and my accomplishments since I've been out of jail. I've come a long way. One year I made three-quarters of a million dollars, off the "Shoop" song with Salt-N-Pepa. I've been doing okay, man. I came out of jail with nothing. I came out of jail with $240, which is what they give you when they release you. And today I'm fine.

DM) So what happened to you that started you to turn your life around?

IT) I don't know, man. I went to jail, and I said, "Lord, if you can get me four days without doing cocaine, I would never look back." I never could get the four days in because I would lie to myself and say, "Hey, John Doe is coming over and he's going to want some. And this girl is coming over and she's going to want some." And I would go buy some. That was the alibi for me to go do it. And I never could get the three to five days free. And when I went to jail, I was so scared, man, from seeing that movie, "Scared Straight." I was so damn scared, man. I didn't do any drugs.

Then the police asked me to be a trustee in jail, and some girl came down and put $25 on the books for me, because I didn't have any money. And when I got that $25, I went to the store in jail and bought three bars of candy at 50 cents each. And I was on the way back to my cell, and some inmates were lined up, and there was a guy who had been in that line for six to eight hours. One of those guys on line asked, "Hey Ike, give me one those bars of candy." And I said, "No way, I just got it." He said, "I'll give you a dollar for it." I said, "Okay, you got it." I spent $1.50 and I made $1.50. I went to the store and I bought eight more bars and then came back and sold them. Then I started doing that. I started selling cigarettes, candy and coffee, and I was making $500 a day when I was in jail. In seven months I saved $13,000. That's also in my book, man.

DM I didn't think you were allowed to keep money when you were in jail?

IT) You're always supposed to keep $40, but I would get the police to put it on the books for me--until my cellmate started getting jealous of me. I wish I could remember his name. He was a big star, a singer. And he started getting jealous of me because I was a trustee and he wasn't. So he went and told the lieutenant that I was selling blues, which are the clothes inmates wear in jail. All the blues were like new because I would give the guys some extra, and they would give me new blues. Then I would put them under my mattress while I slept, and they would have creases in them and it would look like they came from the cleaners. Anyway, this guy told the lieutenant that I was selling blues and that I was selling drugs and all of this bullsh-- too. The lieutenant called me into the booth to ask what was doing. I told him that I sell coffee cans and the cigarettes. I had The Crips, The Bloods and the Spanish people selling for me in their modules. You've got to spread it around, right?

DM) So it sounds like you've had a number of adventures in your life.

IT) You want some adventures, read that book. You'll see that I started sex when I was six years old.

DM) Are you serious?

IT) Yes, I did. The woman was 45 or 50 years old, the woman's namewas Miss Boozie. She used to put me on top of her and show me how to move. All this is in my book, man.

DM) So the people who buy your book can learn how you had sex at six years old.

IT) Well, today they call it child molesting. To me, I was just having fun. And to me... I'm going back to that subject now, to "Ike and Tina," fortune and fame came too fast and I just couldn't handle it.

DM) What do you mean?

IT) All at once, money was coming from everywhere, everybody knows you, you're super popular. Girls pulling at you everywhere from every angle. People smiling at you with phony smiles. Then I was introduced to drugs, cocaine, that's all I ever done. Then I started having a lot of cocaine around me and that drew even more phony people around me. It all came too fast, man, and I didn't know how to handle it. What I would say is, this interview is not about everybody else, but in my opinion if this kind of stuff came up on anybody, I think they would do the same thing or worse.


Join Our Newsletter

Popular Threads