Written by Kevin Tanza on November 12, 2019
We often feel that our struggles get the best out of us and we don’t take the time to sit back and look at the whole forest instead of the tree. This is something that I thought while talking to Turbo, a man who has been suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy since he was very young, but his determination and love for Metal music has motivated him to pursue a career on radio and on the internet to promote the genre he loves and to bring more consciousness to people about the disease he has.
It was one of those interviews that I feel very proud of doing and it was truly an inspiration to talk with Turbo and hear what he had to say about his life and what drives him to keep moving forward. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for taking the time to do this, Turbo. It’s a pleasure to have you here.
My pleasure, Kevin.
For those readers that are not familiar with your story, what can you tell them about you?
Who is Turbo? That’s a lot to get in to haha
But I guess the best way to introduce myself is how I often do it on my show The Asylum on Bullspike Radio. I am Brooklyn’s original, rock ‘n’ rolling rebel.
And how you got into Metal music?
I kind of just gravitated naturally into Rock and Metal. When I first began really getting into music one of the first songs that really caught my ear was Aerosmith’s Love In An Elevator and being a prepubescent disabled guy a song about getting “action” in an elevator seemed like it was written for me haha I mean I tried getting into rap and pop to fit in because being disabled made me an outcast in school, but I just always found myself going to Rock and Metal. Whether it was Aerosmith, The Who, or Queen at the time I felt comfortable. Not to say other genres aren’t any good because good tunes are good tunes and I do have favorites from other genres, but at the end of the day I feel the most comfortable with Rock and Metal.
You have a disability. What can you tell us about it?
My disability is known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s a neurological disorder that affects my whole body physically. Without getting all medical and scientific it essentially breaks down to missing software in my programming haha Because it’s genetic it’s a missing gene that results in the disability, hence why I say there’s software missing. There’s no cure but treatment is being developed as we speak.
How does it affect your everyday life?
Basically, I need assistance with pretty much everything you and everyone else do without question each day. I use a motorized wheelchair to get around and need help with everything from eating to wiping my ass haha. But I try not to let it slow me down too much, but that was easier when I was younger.
You have a website, Turbo. What do you usually do with that website?
Ah, yes, my official online home of TurboRules.com. Essentially it’s just my way of contributing to the world of Rock and Metal with music news, reviews, and I’ve tried to expand to do more, but I’m only one guy so I definitely don’t get as much content on there as I’d like to each day.
You have established a friendship with some familiar faces on the Metal world, such as Accept’s Mark Tornillo and Overkill’s Bobby Blitz, who we had here. How is the experience of working in this type of music?
I still can’t believe I’ve become friends with Mark, Blitz, and other great individuals in the world of Rock and Metal. Not to sound like I’m ripping off the movie Rock Star but I’m a fan deep down and to be friends with guys I spent years listening to and hoping to just meet them is still mind blowing. But what I’ve learned from them and others is so extensive I’d need a book to truly tell it all. But two keys are that you gotta be a fan of what you do to enjoy it and don’t let business get personal. The moment someone tries to combine the two you need to step back and re-evaluate whether that person should stay as business, personal, or ended completely. The last unfortunately happens all too often but such is life and it’s too short for stress.
What have you learned through all these years in the business?
December will mark my tenth year of doing my internet radio show The Asylum and everything I do in Rock and Metal and the biggest thing I’ve learned is you just need to keep rockin’ for as long as you can. This life is short. You can sit and stress everything or fight through. Sure, there are times I’ve wanted to give up, but then I’ll just take a moment and breathe. Then it’s right back to trying to move from Internet Radio to Satellite Radio or FM radio.
And what goals do you have for the foreseeable future?
As I said, to get to Satellite Radio or FM Radio. It’d be nice to earn a paycheck for doing what I love doing. Or to maybe get something on TV. Then I can represent the disabled community to the masses.
For someone on your condition, what do you think are the things that nobody says about it? The ones you think are worth mentioning?
Everyone just assumes that because someone is in a wheelchair that they’re not smart. But that’s just not true. The only difference between someone disabled and someone who isn’t is just the disability. We’re still people who think and deserve equal rights like everyone else.
You and your brother, Josh, created Rock Against Dystrophy in 2009. What can you tell us about it?
My brother Jay Scorpion and I never thought Rock Against Dystrophy would reach where it has when we started it in 2009 as our way of fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with the rock and Metal communities help. It started with all local bands and now each year it’s a combination of local bands along with an All Star jam. It’s just our way of continuing to bring awareness and fundraiser for MDA.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned working on this music?
As I said previously, just need to love what you do, not let things get to personal if it’s business and vice versa, and keep rockin’. Rock and Metal is full of people who found what they love doing a most are lucky enough to do it until their final breath and I’m hoping I’m one of those lucky ones.
What would you like to leave as a legacy with your work?
A legacy? I guess that’s something I should think about since I’m turning 40 in January haha As long as I’m remembered and remembered for rockin’ my life to the fullest then I’d be happy.
Honestly, thank you for taking the time to do this. We wish you the best now and always. Any message for our readers? Where can we follow you on social media?
Thank you for asking me. It’s been a blast. As to any message for your readers, just keep doing your thing. There’s always going to be people or things trying to stop you so you just need to keep those things and people far away and do your thing.
On Twitter I’m @TheRealTurbo
On Instagram I’m @TheOfficialTurbo