Doogie White denies Rainbow ‘blackmail’ claim
Grateful: White, left, with Blackmore, centre, in 1995
Former Rainbow singer Doogie White has denied claims by Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night that he tried to “stage a mutiny” in the band.
Blackmore shut down his post-Deep Purple rock band in 1997 and turned his attention to Blackmore’s Night, featuring Night, now his wife. In a radio interview last week she said the “fork in the road” came after two members of Rainbow tried to “blackmail” the guitarist for extra wages ahead of a tour.
She told 103.9 WRCN: “Ritchie went to Sweden Rock festival were Rainbow were headlining. On the way there something interesting happened. He got a phone call from a couple of the band members, who apparently were staging a mutiny. They said, ‘If you don’t pay us double the money we’re not coming on tour.’
“Ritchie called the promoters and said, ‘Can I pull out?’ They said, ‘No, you need to show up or you’re going to be sued.’ He was in a horrible situation that some of the band members had put him in.”
Blackmore added: “It wasn’t the drummer and it wasn’t the keyboard player – it was the other two.”
Night continued: “Ritchie was so angry he had to be on stage with these people who had basically blackmailed him.” She said he wrote a new contract to clarify all matters ahead of a year’s worth of touring and presented it to each member of the band shortly after they’d come off stage. “Two of the guys gave the contract back, signed, immediately,” she reported. “Two of the guys went out, got drunk on the plane and didn’t hand the contract in at all.
“About a week later they called up and said, ‘What’s going on with the tour dates?’ That’s when Ritchie said, ‘I’m moving ahead with Blackmore’s Night.’”
Now singer White has responded to the allegations in the hope of setting the record straight. He tells Blabbermouth: “I have to say her version of events came as a surprise to say the least.
“While I am not named specifically, it is implied that I was party to a move within the band to hold Ritchie to some kind of financial ransom at what turned out to be our final show.
“That show was in Denmark, not Sweden Rock as Candy said in the interview, and I recall it rather well. Who wouldn’t, given what followed?
“I remember the night before that concert when Ritchie, Cozy Powell and I sat drinking red wine. If anyone had told me then that the very next night Rainbow would be no more, I would never have believed them.
“I cannot and do not speak for any of my former bandmates. For my part, though, at not point did I ever ask Ritchie, his management or anyone else for more money.
“The notion that I was in a position of sufficient power to ‘blackmail’ Ritchie is pretty funny anyway. It was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, after all.”
White agrees that a new contract was offered to him, and that he didn’t add his signature. “I remember the conversation Ritchie and I had outside his dressing room that night,” he says, “and I remember the reasons why I did not sign that hastily-reworked contract.
“Those reasons are valid today. They have remained private for many years and they will remain so for many more, despite this silliness.”
The singer adds Night is wrong to say he and another band member were drunk on a flight home together, saying he travelled back to the UK on his own.
But he continues to hold Blackmore in high regard, saying: “Ritchie always treated me fairly. I always appreciated that he gave me a big opportunity and took a chance on me.
“Even after I had left the band there were a few occasions when Ritchie stepped in on my behalf when new management would not or could not help on certain matters. I am grateful to him for that.
“The only thing I wanted more of from Ritchie was time – more time to make great music with him.”
White believes Rainbow came to an end simply because the guitarist wanted to move on to his medieval-themed work with Blackmore’s Night. “He seems happy with what he is doing,” the vocalist says. “I am happy with what I am doing. I wish him well and hope he wishes me the same.
“Neither I nor Ritchie will lose any sleep over this – and neither should you.”
Blackmore recently said he wouldn’t attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony next year if Deep Purple are inducted. White recently released a solo album named As Yet Untitled and a record with La Paz, and continues working with Tank.