Watch: ROWAN ROBERTSON And DOOGIE WHITE Perform RAINBOW And DIO Classics In Slovakia
December 9, 2023
Guitarist Rowan Robertson (DIO) and singer Doogie White (RAINBOW, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, MICHAEL SCHENKER) have teamed up for a European tour during which they are performing classic RAINBOW and DIO songs. The trek, which sees them backed by Francesco Caporaletti on bass and Alessio Palizzi on drums, kicked off on November 29 in Vilnius, Lithuania and will conclude on December 14 in Verviers, Belgium.
Fan-filmed video of Robertson and White's December 8 concert at Smer Klub 77 in Žilina, Slovakia can be seen below (courtesy of the Milos PavlikYouTube channel).
Five years ago, Rowan said that he "would love" to release songs that were written during the sessions for "Lock Up The Wolves" that didn't make the final record.
Robertson, who was 17 years old when he joined Ronnie James Dio, was asked by The Metal Voice if he would be interested in making the unreleased recordings available to the legendary singer's fans.
"There's two songs which were just done on a boombox in rehearsal," he said. "And I just really would like to get permission from management, 'cause I don't wanna get in trouble. I'd love them to be out there, but I think after Ronnie's gone, he's not here to say, 'Don't play anyone that.' You know what I mean?"
In a 2015 interview, Robertson said that he played the two songs in question — which were apparently titled "Hell Wouldn't Take Her" and "The River Between Us" — for Ronnie's widow and manager Wendy Dio and that she thought the quality wasn't "good enough" to release them.
Rowan was also asked by The Metal Voice for his opinion on the "Dio Returns: The World Tour", which featured a hologram of Ronnie James Dio backed by some of his DIO bandmates.
"I think it's great," the guitarist said. "I think it keeps his memory alive, and I don't see any problem with it at all. I think it's great."
In the late 1980s, Robertson heard that Ronnie James Dio was looking for a new guitarist. He sent a tape to the record company Phonogram. After six months of waiting, he got a reply that stated that at that moment they were not interested in him. At the encouragement of his friend and fellow guitarist Sean Manning (HURRICANE),the tenacious Robertson then contacted the DIO fan club who then asked him to send his demo tape to them.
Robertson got a great response from DIO after receiving the demo through the fan-club channels. In late January or early February 1989, Robertson was flown to Los Angeles for an audition with DIO. He was auditioned twice. Immediately after the second audition, he was invited to join the band. The press release for the addition of Robertson to DIO was sent out on July 18, 1989 and the press was invited to meet the newest DIO guitarist on July 20, 1989 at Oliver's Pub in New York City.
The first DIO album Robertson started working on with DIO was "Lock Up The Wolves". These sessions included Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice and Jens Johansson. The band had already begun writing and recording when Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice were suddenly excused from the band. They were replaced with Teddy Cook and former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright.
"Lock up the Wolves" was released in 1990, and the band embarked on a tour in support of the album.
Robertson stayed with DIO until Ronnie James Dio rejoined BLACK SABBATH in 1991.
In an April 2023 interview with Vintage Rock Pod, Doogie 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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