Interview with a Pro – Songwriter, Producer, Engineer Twist Turner!
Making a Scene Presents an Interview with a Pro
Songwriter, Drummer, Producer, Engineer
During the course of his 55 year musical career Songwriter, Producer, Drummer Twist Turner has worked with over 40 Grammy winners and or nominees and countless W.C.Handy/BMA winners.
Twist was raised in Seattle and began his musical career playing and recording with the late West coast bluesman/guitar god Isaac Scott.
In 1975 Twist packed his bags and headed for Chicago. Within weeks he was working with all his musical idols. Playing gigs with musicians he had only dreamed about meeting just a few months before. Twist was able to work with Hubert Sumlin several nights a week for nearly 10 years, he got the most prestigious house gig in Chicago at Theresa’s Lounge with the Jr. Wells Blues Band in 1977, and except for a very short stint with Buddy Guy’s band he kept that gig for the better part of 2 years. There was a period of 10 years or so where he never had a weekend off and would work at least 6 gigs a week sometimes more.
Twist has literally worked with the who’s who of blues. He used to joke that it was much easier to name the 1/2 dozen blues artists that he hadn’t worked with than to name the ones he had, and he was probably right.
1984 found Twist restless for a change. He had just recorded a new lp and he felt he needed a change of scenery, so he headed to New Orleans. Let’s just say New Orleans didn’t work out and not wanting to go right back to Chicago, he headed to Seattle for a year or so, fronting his own band Twist Turner and the Turning Point during that time.
By 1986 he’d had enough rain, and decided to give the San Francisco bay area a try. This turned out to be a great move. Twist immediately picked up a ton of gigs. He rekindled his friendship with former Jackie Wilson drummer (now turned vocalist) Andrew Jefferies, began working with artists like Sonny Rhodes, Arkansas (Flooding Down in Texas) Larry Davis, Deacon Jones, Birdlegg and Country Pete McGill, Guitar Gable, Jimmy McCracklin, Freddie Roulette and also one of his favorite guitarists Luther Tucker.
Missing the big city life in 1991 he decided to head back to Chicago. Twist got his gig back with Little Arthur Duncan pretty much right away. He played with him off and on for 31 years till his death in 2008. Following Arthur’s death, Twist began working regularly with Mary Lane’s band and taking the occasional gig with Elmore James Jr.
2012 to early 2017 Twist spent time working in the Bay Area. In early 2017 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, he had 2 major surgeries in April of 2017 and is now cancer free and he has moved back to the Chicago area once again.
Twist has played on over 60 records and DVD’s. He continues to record and produce to this day and always has a project he’s working on. There is an extensive discography on the discography page.
Twist currently released a new CD “Battle of the Blues – Chicago vs Oakland”!