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Keep Houston Press Free
4

Ike Turner, 1931-2007

So the

Dallas Morning News

is reporting that Ike Turner has died. To me, every day he’s been walking among us on the planet since, oh, about 1973, seemed like a miracle. That dude, at least to hear Andre Williams tell it, made Keith Richards seem like Neddy Flanders.

Here’s what Williams said about rooming with Turner some 30-odd years ago:

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"You know how your mother would have little porcelain elephants or whatever on the kitchen shelves, like salt-and-pepper shakers? Well, every single one of these in Ike's house was full of coke! You could either pick the neck down or move a leg and shake a gram out of it! Full of coke! When I went to work with Ike, I was weighing 185 pounds. At the end I was 85 pounds! I was hemorrhaging, and I was sitting at LaGuardia Airport wiping blood with the tail on my shirt and trying to tuck it back so I could get on the airplane -- to get home, to get well, 'cause I knew I was dyin'. Luckily, I got home, and it took me about nine months to recover from that."

Here’s what we know, or think we know, about Ike Turner. He lived on for decades after that carrying-on with Williams. Before it was all said and done, he spent five decades on the road – save for the two he spent in prison, from 1989 to 1991. He married 14 women and beat up at least one of them, at least to hear Tina tell it. (His name practically equals domestic violence to a generation.) He called his last album Ike Turner’s Final. And his claim to having invented rock and roll is as good as any. He was Rick James before Rick James was born, a huge influence on Jimi Hendrix, and always, always the guy Keith Richards wanted and pretended to be.

Here he is with Tina, positively sizzling on the majestic blues “I Smell Trouble.” – John Nova Lomax

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