Monday, April 19, 2021

RADIOSCOPE RAW Podcast: In 1993, Ike Turner Thought This Press Conference Would Repair His Image (Listen)

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Ike and Tina Turner in 1973 (Corbis/Getty Images)

*In June of 1993, exactly two weeks after the release of the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It” – with its depiction of Ike Turner as a ruthless, wife-beating, drug-addicted husband – the Stratocaster virtuoso and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee held a press conference to tell his side of the story – and it was a hot mess.

Radioscope was in the building for this June 29th spectacle at Manhattan Brewing Company in New York City. The presser was organized by Thaddeus E. “Ted” Watley, a Pennsylvania radio personality/boxing promoter who had worked for a time with Mike Tyson’s management. He told the gathered press that his involvement with Turner came after seeing the movie about the musician’s turbulent marriage to Tina, and believing that his point of view deserved to be heard. Watley signed Turner to a deal that called for the release of Ike’s own biography and biopic, as well as a concert tour – complete with a 12-piece band and some new Ikettes.

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Ike Turner during “Ike Turner Press Conference to Tell His Side of the Story” at Manhattan Brewing Company in New York City, New York, (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Watley also put out the word that they were offering Tina $2.5 million to participate in a one-night-only concert they’d bill as an “Ike vs. Tina Reunion.” Of course, the concert never happened, and Watley, a convicted felon, would be flagged by the SEC three years later for running an investment scam and misappropriating funds through his radio program.

In this episode 14 of Radioscope Raw, you’ll hear Ike Turner’s portion of the press conference unedited and in its entirety for the first time. Ike shares his thoughts about the film, Laurence Fishburne’s portrayal of him, the amount of times he struck Tina with an open vs. closed fist (to him, there is a difference), the film’s pivotal limo scene and much more.

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