As the ashes of the DEEP PURPLE and Ritchie Blackmore split continue to settle leaving both parties to pursue their separate goals, the question that is most frequently asked is can one survive without the other? The answer to this question is a definitive, yes! In fact, both entities have had similar success in both the artistic and the commercial arenas. I have had the good fortune to have witnessed both the recent DEEP PURPLE and RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW tours. Both were amazingly well done events, which offered nostalgia as well as a chance to witness the virtuosity of some of rock music's greatest virtuosos. It is with RAINBOW that I found the greater enjoyment this time around and was ever so fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Doogie White. This was the first album and tour that Doogie had done with Ritchie and RAINBOW and I must say that he was absolutely terrific. He could easily cover all the classic material not to mention the selections from the latest CD. STRANGER IN US ALL.
Having been an admirer of RAINBOW's music for quite some time, I was more than a bit excited to have a few minutes alone with Doogie. I found this Scotsman intelligent, witty, and gentlemanly. You can never tell if any given performer will have any longevity when working within the confines of a Ritchie Blackmore project but it is with sincere hope that the next record is also graced with this amazing talent. Time will tell, until then here now is a very brief glimpse inside of RAINBOW provided by the group's latest voice, Doogie White.
MA: This is your first tour with RAINBOW. How did you start off working with Ritchie?
DW: Well I was unemployed at the time and I was, ah Joe Lynn Turner was in DEEP PURPLE, and a friend of mine worked for the record company and he got me pass=s to go along to the show and I made up a tape and I took it along and gave it to Colin Hart who was Ritchie's tour manager and said if Ritchie is ever needing a singer ask him to call me and then three years later he called me out of the blue.
MA: So you just gave him the tape?
DW: Yeah I gave him the tape and Colin had obviously passed it on to him.
MA: Candice, I think I might have read on the internet somewhere, Candice did you pass a tape to Candice?
DW: No I gave it to Colin I never knew Candice.
MA: OK. Your first tour with RAINBOW but its been a very long tour from what I can see.
DW: It's been in three separate stages. We started in Europe and Japan in 1995 and then we did South America and festivals last year and we are doing America and hopefully the Pacific Rim this year.
MA: I notice the set list is ah , it spans , with the exception of early early DEEP PURPLE, it spans Ritchie's entire career. How's that been working out for you being, as a singer?
DW: Yeah that's great. I love it. I love it. I've been a fan of DEEP PURPLE music and RAINBOW music for a long time. They were the very first band that I ever got into ,so it's very natural for me to be singing these songs. I enjoy them all, you know and ah some of the songs that we're doing like TEMPLE OF THE KING and MISTREATED and BURN, they were at my suggestion. Although much later on they actually got brought into the thing.
MA: One song that I noticed omitted from the set list was STONE COLD which in the States was a bigger hit more identifiable with RAINBOW.
MA: Was there a reason for this?
DW: No. We have STONE COLD and STREET OF DREAMS rehearsed. It just depends. I mean the set changes night to night. Sometimes we'll do STREET OF DREAMS, sometimes we'll do SMOKE ON THE WATER, sometimes it's BURN, you know it really varies. It just depends on how the mood takes us.
MA: It keeps it a bit more fresh?
DW: Yeah. Yeah.
MA: I noticed a lot of the members of the band, there seems to be some crossover, you mentioned Joe Lynn Turner, worked on his last solo album. What I found interesting is what supposedly is the Areformation of RAINBOW didn't include any members that had been in RAINBOW with the exception of Ritchie.
DW: Yeah that's right.
MA: Probably a question more for Ritchie but perhaps you would know, was this something that was conscious to him? He wanted fresh people?
DW: Yeah I think he likes to change his players um when he can, because it keeps him fresh. You know and if you look at the sort of way its gone with him throughout his career most people get three albums and then it's goodbye and he either leaves the band or replaces the singer >cause he likes to work with fresh blood because people ... People get jaded working with the same folk you know.
DW: It'd about like a marriage (we both laugh because the interviewers wife is present at the interview)
MA: Well my marriage has been fine.
DW: Absolutely fine of course, of course.(smiles)
MA: This is our anniversary date too.
DW: Really? Congratulations.
MA: So it's work and enjoying our anniversary tonight. Again, there's no problems with any of the songs you have. Singing it seams, I read a bit where somebody, There are always going to be comparisons.
DW: Of course.
MA: To former singers. At a show , I believe it was Buenos Aires, somebody threw a DIO shirt on stage.
MA: And that you came off the cuff and made up lyrics.
MA: I think that brings a certain sense of humor to the band that RAINBOW certainly hasn't been noted for. It's been a very serious type of band. How is it traveling with RAINBOW these days?
DW: It's a lot of fun. I think if I where to take, and it's just down to personalities. I don't get upset when people say Oh we miss Ronnie in the band or Graham or Joe or any of these other guys. You know, if people like to include me in with these people and say that I am doing as good a job then I'm happy. And I think that you've got to take it with a certain degree of levity, because if you don't you wouldn't be able to do your job properly. Rock and roll should be fun it shouldn't be stern. It should be on the edge and it should always contain a certain amount of danger but it should never be depressing. I shouldn't be watching my shoes and I shouldn't always be looking over my shoulders so I don't. I just enjoy myself.
MA: Right. Right. You bring a lot more comparison in particular, at least from the people that I've spoken with, both to Joe Lynn Turner and because of your re-recording of STILL IM SAD to Ronnie James Dio.
MA: What was the impetus behind re-doing STILL IM SAD?
DW: It was, we just messed around with it in the studio one day and recorded it and it just sounded so good we put it on the album. I actually thought because when you do albums for Japan you have to have a bonus track for Japan and I thought that that would have ended up being the bonus track on the Japanese album but it's worked out quite well because lots of it links the first RAINBOW with the latest RAINBOW.
MA: RAINBOW is signed to FUEL RECORDS.
MA: If you will excuse me is a label that I'm not really failure with. Much more smaller distributed by BMG, as in the past being signed to MERCURY/POLYDOR.
MA: What type of deal does the band have?
DW: I can't tell you that because that is, it's Ritchie's deal and that's Ritchie's business. I don't know anything about that.
MA: Do you know that. Do you feel secure in your position in RAINBOW?
DW: Uh... As secure as any of the other singers. (Laughs) It's a bit like walking an a tightrope. I think so long as I do a good job and I give the music and the band the respect that they deserve, then I don't see that there should be a problem. As long as I keep passing him the ball on the soccer field and he gets to score the goals and get the glory then I think I should be O.K.
MA: Do you get to play much soccer?
DW: Well we've all been very sick. You can probably hear that in my voice. We've all,since the first, I'm so spotty it's unbelievable. I just come out in boils, it's very attractive for the girls. (Laughs) We haven't played soccer on this leg of the tour at all because everybody has been so ill and were doing a lot of long drives, you know ten to twelve hours and stuff so with the time that you get there you're fairly exhausted. And your back there for sound check in the afternoon, back to the hotel, a bite to eat, and then it's gig time.
MA: On this tour your playing theaters.
MA: RAINBOW on their last tour -84- obviously sometime ago played much larger venues.
DW: Of course.
MA: Obviously the music business has changed and especially for this brand of music. For me, I guess I can reveal it, I am a RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE fan, for me it's a lot better to be able to hear Ritchie's guitar or a singers voice, or bass players bass, or a drummers drums in a smaller club. How is it for you playing there as opposed to some of the bigger shows that you did say in Brazil?
DW: Yeah. For me it's pretty much the same. I enjoy, I just enjoy playing. I mean, the other night we played to a thousand people and the same intensity goes into the show then if when we played in Japan or the last gig that we played in Copenhagen to 25,000 people. It's the same intensity. You get an atmosphere in a small club that you can't get on a big stage. But it's just a balancing thing , you know. Things that you can get away with in a club, or on a big stage rather, you couldn't get away with in a club, so it's much more intimate. It's much more tight um so I'm just happy. I just enjoy playing so if it moves on, it progresses to doing bigger and larger venues I'm happy with that. You know if we have to do thousand seaters a night I'm happy with that.
MA: How much longer does this leg of the tour go? Finishing up in the U.S.
DW: End of March, end of March I believe.
MA: That's relatively soon. ARIEL seems to be the favorite track that's being pushed forward.
MA: What was the genesis of that song? And is there any other meaning to ARIEL? I just happened to be, my father is a minister, and I happened to be looking at a Bible concordance and seeing that ARIAL was also another name for Jerusalem, and I was wondering is there any tie in.
DW: Um well, The way it came around Ritchie liked to go into the studio and just doodle away and play. And I had a tape recorder, something like this, (picks up my tape recorder), and I taped things and I caught the two riffs of ARIAL and said to him look man these are great riffs and he couldn't remember them so I played them back to him and we put it together. He had a folk song that he had done with Candice called ARIAL and just slowed that folk song and I expanded it and made it into, and you know rocked it up a bit. But that's how that came about. As far as the lyrics go, I don't know, you can read into them what you will. I didn't write them.
MA: Who did write them?
DW: Candice wrote them.
MA: Candice wrote them?
MA: What about the lyrics on the rest of the ah, I know sometimes crediting is a bit deceptive.
MA: Um are you responsible for the lyrics in the majority of the rest of the pieces?
DW: Yes. Yes. Not that one though. (Points to STILL I'M SAD, and laughs)
MA: I know you have to go, so I will let you do that.
DW: O.K. Well listen thanks. I'm sorry I'm sorry we don't have more time man. Enjoy the show.
MA: I appreciate it. Oh, is Chuck in the band still?
DW: No Chuck left, Chuck left.
MA: He's gone. I was wondering. I couldn't get a straight answer from anybody.
DW: Well Chuck left, He was offered extensive touring, and extensive work um that he felt that he couldn't really turn down. He left a week before we were due to start touring. So John Mitchelli jumped in, the stalwart that he is, and uh has done a great job for us. He's a great drummer. He's a very different drummer from Chuck but he's a great drummer none the less.
MA: O.K. thank you very much.
by David L. Wilson 1997