BONNET On BLACKMORE's Return To Rock: 'I Don't Think It Was A Serious Attempt At Bringing Back RAINBOW'

December 9, 2016

Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with Graham Bonnet. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On forming the GRAHAM BONNET BAND:

"I was kind of getting up a little bit fed up with doing what I was doing. I went down to the Whisky in Hollywood to jam with a band, and it just so happened that two members of the band that I have now were playing that night. We played a couple of BEATLES songs and whatever, a little bit of everything, and it was kind of cool. I just remember turning to Beth-Ami [Heavenstone], our bass player, and saying, 'This is fun. Have you ever thought about doing something else? Would you like to work with me, for instance?' She kind of said, 'Okay,' and so I went over to her house a few times during the… At this point, we were looking for a band, so I said 'Who should we get for a guitar player?,' and she said 'What about using Conrad [Conrado Pesinato], from the band we played with at the Whisky?' I said, 'Ah. I didn't even think of him,' because I was trying to think of people I knew who were probably Brits and living in L.A. or whatever. So anyway, all three of us got together – me, Conrad, and Beth-Ami — and that's how it started. I had probably about nine songs that I had made up and had some arrangements to. I had written a couple of the lyrics, but probably not too many of the nine. I had no band to play, because we were just going out basically and doing old material on the road. I had never thought about recording, because it seemed to be kind of a waste of time [laughs]. We got a deal with Frontiers though, and this gave me kind of a kick up the bum. I thought, 'Cool. Somebody is interested in the music that I'm writing,' so that's kind of how it started. I played the music to the guys in the band and said 'Let's take it from one guitar to making it a band sound,' because we had to reshape them and probably add some more parts to the arrangements to make them rock or whatever. I think there are 11 tracks, but all of the songs that I had we used. All of the songs that I had in my head that I thought would be good for an album like this, we used. It was about three years ago though, yeah. Eventually, we got a drummer who's now Mark Zonder. He's our drummer right now, who's a very progressive type of drummer. We did the album ['The Book', November 2016], which became more than I expected it to be because we've had some great reviews. I'm very pleased about that."

On Ritchie Blackmore assembling a RAINBOW lineup to play select live dates:

"I think he was probably testing the waters to see if RAINBOW's name over the marquee would actually draw a crowd. I don't know what the attendance was for some of these shows, but I know that now he's gone back to doing what he was doing before with his wife [Candice Night] — the BLACKMORE'S NIGHT thing. I haven't listened to that. I can't do it. I can't look at that band he put together and judge it, because I am really not interested. I don't think that it was a serious attempt at bringing back RAINBOW. I think that it was a way for him to probably make some money quickly, and use guys in the band that you've never heard of before. If he had been putting together a so-called reunion or another RAINBOW-type gig, he should've used at least Roger Glover [bass, DEEP PURPLE / ex-RAINBOW] and Don Airey [DEEP PURPLE / ex-RAINBOW] on keyboards, and whomever as a singer. I don't think it would've been me, but whomever it may have been. If it had a couple of the guys from the RAINBOW that I was in, I think it would've drawn more of a crowd and people would have seen it as being a real band, but I saw it almost as a session. People have told me that it was a bit lifeless and limp. Now whether it was that way, I couldn't tell you, but they just said that it wasn't RAINBOW as such."

On former RAINBOW vocalist Joe Lynn Turner talking about RAINBOW reuniting prior to the dates:

"Joe thought that he was going to be chosen. I said to him… This was when Ronnie [James Dio] was still alive, because I did some gigs with Joe a few years ago and Ronnie was still alive. He said that there was probably going to be a RAINBOW reunion thing, and that they were going to ask him to do it because he did more albums, had more hits, or whatever. I said 'Maybe, maybe, but if they're going to put RAINBOW back together, it should be with Ronnie and the other players from when RAINBOW was first formed. Not me, not you, but the other guys that were original members.' So, I wasn't expecting to be asked. I knew I wouldn't be, and I didn't think that he would be. Anyway, I was right. [Laughs] Neither of us were asked to do anything. It was a bit of a shock to him, I think, but I never saw it. I could never imagine being asked to do that because it's old news, and I don't think Ritchie would want to do that again. I don't know. Maybe he would; maybe he would want Joe, or me, or whomever to play with him again, but that would be a serious venture because that would mean money, actually. [Laughs] It means a lot more money than he would probably want to deal with, because he would have to pay players that are a bit more serious than the band he put together. I don't know if they were unknown people, but to me they were unknown, so that means that they were paid less. Anyway, that's what I think. [Laughs]"

Read the entire interview at Metal Forces.

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