Hitting rock bottom isn’t what got singer/multi-instrumentalist Rhythm Turner to get sober in September 2015.
“I felt like I had hit rock bottom a number of times before that,” says Turner who was raised in Spring Valley and has been in bands since high school. “I quit drinking a number of times, and then I’d always pick it back up again.”
Turner’s first regular gig was at age 19 when she played drums in the Southern rock-ish Elijah Clark Band. She played roots rock professionally with her father and brother in the early 2000s, and then hooked up with the bluesy Black Market III in 2015, with whom she toured Europe. Now she plays solo or fronts the funky Rhythm and the Method.
She says her career “...has happened in waves,” and that booze has held her back at times. “There were definitely times when alcohol was a problem. I got into fights with people after shows and risked getting DUIs driving home. I lost many friends and loved ones.”
Turner says her early years at Monte Vista High “…were a little bit rough. I got into some trouble hanging out with kids who did illegal stuff. There were a lot of gangs. I think spiritually I have always been a good person, but I definitely deviated from my path due to depression, drugs, and alcohol.”
Turner has recorded an album at BugByte Studios in Grantville due out this summer. She also supports herself with regular bar gigs and by driving for Lyft. “With Lyft, I still feel like I’m working for myself. I can work it around my schedule. It gives me the stability to be more creative.”
Rhythm and the Method "4th Dimension"
But Turner says her now productive, fulfilling life was touch-and-go as recently as December when she finally ended two years of homelessness. “I started living in my truck a few months before I got sober. It was really hard. I used to keep a bottle underneath the seat. For the first three months, when I had the cravings, I had to lock every door and rely on prayers and meditation until after 2 a.m. [when liquor stores closed].”
She says she was rousted a few times by police during her two years of spending overnights in her truck which was parked in Balboa Park, North Park, or by the beach. “I was never given a citation, but that’s only because I knew how to talk to the cops. I think [police harassment of homeless] is a kind of attack on a whole class of people who are in a period of transition.”
Turner tells the Reader that playing in bars nowadays is actually part of her plan. “I think I can be inspiring to people…That people can work in places that serve alcohol and still stay sober while pursuing their passion. People who are in recovery can come to my shows and know I’ll be there with them. That purpose is helping me stay sober…I started to veer towards funk and soul music because it’s more uplifting. My goal is now to have people leave feeling uplifted and happy.”
Rhythm and the Method appears Saturday, May 19 at the De Oro Mine Co. in Spring Valley.