Ex-RAINBOW Singer DOOGIE WHITE On RITCHIE BLACKMORE: 'He Sucks You In, Bleeds You Dry And Then Sets You Free'
April 20, 2023
In a brand new interview with Vintage Rock Pod, former RAINBOW and current ALCATRAZZ singer Doogie White spoke about his time working with legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. He said: "Well, I always got on well with him. It's not my name on the board. It's not me selling the tickets. It's him selling the tickets. I was in a very lucky position. He could have chosen any singer in the world to come and join him. But he chose me. And I'll be eternally grateful for that because it gave me a springboard to do [other things] — not so much with [Michael] Schenker but with Yngwie [Malmsteen] and ALCATRAZZ and things. It gave me a worldwide audience, and I've had a lot of work come from that worldwide audience and because of my collaboration with Ritchie — and, to some extent, Yngwie as well. And so I'll always be grateful to him for that."
Doogie went on to say that he "never really had any run-ins" with Ritchie. "We used to go to Blockbusters together when there was no football on," he said, referencing the throwback movie rental chain Blockbuster. "I used to go down to his house when we weren't doing anything. Go round to his house and we'd sit and watch 'The Princess Bride' or, you know, 'The Appointment' — I mean, just rubbish movies, the two of us walking round going, 'What's this one?' at Blockbusters. But we got on really well. And then one day, he just went [snaps fingers] and it was gone. And it was gone as quick as that.
"We played football the day before the last show in Esbjerg in Denmark," he continued. "We played the show. Nothing was wrong. And then within an hour of us coming off stage, it was all sort of [shaky]... And I went home and just phoned him up and just handed in my resignation. I said, 'Unless I hear from you in 24 hours, I'm not doing it, I'm not doing this anymore.' And that was it. And I've never spoken to him since. But he's always treated me fairly."
According to Doogie, he did have one brief correspondence with Ritchie after his exit from RAINBOW. "I did contact him because I was owed some... We had a publishing agreement for the songs that I'd written, and I provided his management with the evidence that I was due funds, and they wouldn't pay," he explained. "So I just wrote to him directly and said, 'Look, man.' And he went "Okay, there you go.' The check was in the post. So I've always had a great respect for him for that reason."
White said that he is grateful to Blackmore for giving him a break and making it possible for him to have a career in music.
"He's very good at bringing new people in and taking people — not necessarily off the streets, but out of clothing shops, or out of being a coach builder or whatever," White said. "And then he sets you free to do [whatever]. He sucks you in, bleeds you dry and then sets you free, and you can go off and if you can find your wings, you can fly. Some do, some don't. And that's one of his great gifts to the world of rock and roll, is the amount of people who he has given careers to that you would maybe never have had of. And we've all got to be very grateful for that. I mean, David Coverdale could still be selling suits in Redcar. You know, Ronnie Dio could still be trying to get ELF to do something. You know, Graham Bonnet could still be crooning away in Australia. I could still be sleeping on somebody's floor in London. But he gave us all this opportunity to go out there and make something of ourselves. And if you grasped it, you grasped it, and if you didn't, you didn't."
White first came to prominence when he was asked to audition for RAINBOW, subsequently joining the band in 1994 and releasing the album "Stranger In Us All". Since then, he has worked with CORNERSTONE (a band he put together with former ROYAL HUNT member Steen Mogesen),YNGWIE MALMESTEEN'S RISING FORCE, TANK, and, more recently, MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST and ALCATRAZZ. His vocal range is rich and distinctive and he is certainly one of the great rock vocalists of his generation.
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