Q&A; WITH IKE TURNER : ‘I Was the One Who Turned Her Into Tina Turner’


Ike Turner is furious.

The 61-year-old band leader is bitter about the bad rap he says he’s gotten from “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the new movie about his turbulent relationship with former wife and musical partner Tina Turner.

In the film, based on Tina Turner’s 1985 autobiography, “I, Tina,” Ike is depicted as an unfaithful and ill-tempered drug addict who beats Tina repeatedly and at one point, even rapes her.


Ike Turner--an accomplished musician with a 30-year track record who along with his ex-wife was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--hasn’t received this much attention since 1991, when he was released from prison after serving 18 months on cocaine charges.

Upset by the negative portrayal in the movie, Turner has scheduled a press conference next week in Los Angeles to tell his side of the story. That tale will soon be revealed in his own autobiography he plans to title “That’s What Love’s Got to Do With It.” He claims several publishing companies are currently bidding for the book, but will not name the publishers. Turner also says he’s in negotiations with at least one major Hollywood studio to produce a film based on the book.

But most of all, the architect behind the sizzling Ike and Tina Turner Revue says he can’t wait to put the controversy behind him and get back to his musical career. Turner--who has 14 new songs in the can and is out shopping for a record deal--took a break from rehearsing his new 13-piece band in San Marcos to talk to Calendar.

Question: What do you think of Tina’s movie?

Answer: I’m real angry about it. I didn’t go see it and I didn’t read her book either, but from what I hear they’re both full of lies. I guess they needed some drama, they needed to make somebody into the bad guy and this time it was me.

Q: In the movie you are depicted as a physically and mentally abusive tyrant. Do you think of yourself as a violent guy?

A: No. The only time I ever punched Tina with my fist was the last fight we had. I hit her after she kneed me in the chest. Prior to that, our fights, or our little slaps, or whatever they were, were all just about attitude. Me and Tina never fought about other women or about her not keeping house or her not taking care of the kids. It was always because she was looking sad and wouldn’t tell me what was wrong with her. She would take that attitude with her on to the stage and that would really depress me. So after the show, I’d end up slapping her or something. But then we’d be OK.


Q: Do you have any regrets?

A: If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do anything any different. Except maybe for all the girlfriends. But let me tell you something, I’ve done nothing I’m ashamed of. She says I broke her jaw. But it’s not true. You can take an X-ray of it. Her jaw was never wired. I never broke it.

Q: So where do all these ideas come from?

A: At first when we broke up, I thought she was saying all this stuff because back then women’s lib and all that crap was coming up strong. But now I guess it’s like she’s just trying to get back at me for all the hurt she went through. I don’t have no ill feelings toward her. I still love her, but I don’t like her.

Q: Looking back on it, what’s the sweetest memory of your years with Tina?

A: When we were together she was so kind and sweet and understanding. You just don’t know. In those days, she was like a thousand percent in my corner. I mean, if I said to her, “Go shoot that guy!” she’d shoot him without even thinking whether it was right or wrong. We were that tight.

Q: Do you think you deserve more credit for helping Tina attain the success she has now?

A: I know I do. When I met her she was Anna Mae. I was the one who turned her into Tina Turner. I had to tell her how to dress, how to walk and how to talk on stage. I told her how to stand and how to look, the whole thing, man, I mean from the wig down.

Q: What don’t people know about the real Ike Turner?

A: One thing is I’ve always been real bashful. That’s why I never danced. If I walked up and asked a chick to dance with me and she said no, man, I would faint. That’s why I spent all those years building Tina up when I stayed in the background. Rejection is something I always feared.

Q: What about the drug years?

A: Man, it was painful. I lost a lot when I was doing cocaine. I even burned out the membranes in my nose. The pain used to dig up behind my eyeballs. It really hurt. It got so bad that the blood would just drip out my nose.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not making music?

A: I got my own book coming out. And I’m going to make my own movie. I write a new song every day. Man, I’m always doing something creative. I like to design things, like Tina’s clothes, for instance. One time I designed a dress for her with a tail on it, man. I don’t know if they use it in the movie or not, but it sure looked good on her. At home, sometimes I just like to watch TV. I enjoy good detective stories, something that engages your mind. Not violent shows, though. I don’t like to watch too much violence.”