Rainbow: Doogie White Has His Say!
Last week, Geoff Barton, Malcolm Dome and Dave Ling extolled the comparative virtues of Rainbow vocalists Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet and Ronnie James Dio, respectively. But one man was missed out – Doogie White.
The last singer standing, as it were, White spent nearly four years in Rainbow, and was the man exercising his throat on the 1995 album Stranger In Us All. So we thought it only fair to give him his shot in the limelight. Okay, then, Doogie, why does everybody ignore your era of the band?
“I think we got overlooked back in 1995, because the media in the UK were chasing grunge at the time. Nobody wanted to know about us then. We did hardly any interviews, got virtually no reviews for the album, and when we played Hammersmith Odeon one reviewer said we were a ‘chicken in the basket band’. (Guilty as charged – Malcolm Dome.)
“However, while we were overlooked in Britain and America, everywhere else we did really well. I know that the album sold at least 350,000 worldwide, and that was a while back.
“The other reason that album gets ignored – and so do I – is because it came out on BMG, whereas all the rest of the catalogue was on Polydor. So, when Polydor/Universal put together these Rainbow compilations, nothing from Stranger In Us All is included.”
White feels that there’s genuine merit in his sole album with Rainbow.
“I haven’t listened to it for a while, but the songs were strong. It’s just a shame that the production was too slick, too American. When Ritchie Blackmore and I first discussed the album we agreed that it should be pitched somewhere between Burn by Deep Purple and Rising from Rainbow. In the end, Ritchie compromised a little and went for something the American market could appreciate as well.”
So, what is Doogie White’s take on his predecessors? Who does he regard as the master?
“I’m a fan of all three of them. But, like all diehard fans, for me Ronnie’s era is the one. I’d regard Eyes Of The World, from the Down To Earth album, as the last true Rainbow song. No disrespect to Joe, who is a fantastic singer, but a lot of his stuff – such as Street Of Dreams – was fast food compared to the real meat.
“Oddly, the man whose era I found most difficult to capture on stage was Graham Bonnet. I think we only did part of Since You Been Gone in our live set, and nothing else from Down To Earth. He has this ‘roar’, you see. And it’s so hard to do that. If you get it wrong, then you sound horrible. I grew up listening to Ronnie – and others like Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes – so doing the early songs was really right up my street.”
White feels that the chances of a Rainbow reunion are really remote.
“I just don’t think it’s on Ritchie’s radar. But if it did happen, I’m not sure which singer he’d choose. I’d have to join the queue.”
Doogie White is incredibly busy right now. He’s working on new songs with Tank, collaborating with Dio guitarist Craig Goldy on a project and has finished work on his first solo album, which is to be called As Yet Untitled. As for his time in Rainbow…
“It was great fun, and Ritchie lived up to my expectations as a guitarist!”
For further info, go to www.myspace.com/doogiewhite