Greg Smith, the bass player for the 1990s incarnation of Rainbow, was interviewed for Eternal Terror webzine out in Norway. Much of the interview revolved around Rainbow proper and Over the Rainbow project, as well as Greg’s work with Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, and his stint on Broadway with Billy Joel’s musical Movin’ Out.
“Stranger in Us All” by Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow happens to be one of my all-time favorite albums. How do you feel about that album nowadays? Do you think it has stood the test of time well?
Thanks. I’m glad it’s one of your favorites! I certainly do think it’s stood the test of time. I think back fondly of the time doing pre-production and of the actual recording. It was the last time I did an album “old school”, meaning everyone together in the studio hashing out the tunes from beginning to end then recording it. I was in the studio from January 1995 to April 1995. Ritchie was mostly a pleasure to be around as were the rest of the band. We had many laughs, drank much wine and beer, and became very close. Doogie recently gave me some audio tapes of some of the jamming we did at the studio as well as a recording of the first time I came down to play with the band in September1994. Priceless stuff!
There are so many legendary tales and stories involving pranks and jokes played by Ritchie floating around. I was wondering if you were ever a victim of one of those or if you outsmarted him or simply steered clear of him?
By the time I joined Rainbow, I had already played with Alice Cooper, so Ritchie thought of me as a professional. I never let him know I was a fan. I had already toured and recorded with his ex-bandmates Joe Lynn Turner, Dave Rosenthal, and Chuck Burgi. I’d heard all their stories, so I was prepared for his potential pranks! He tried pranking me once when I first started with the band in pre-production. He rented a mansion in the Hudson Valley that we rehearsed at. He put his dirty soccer clothes in my pillowcase. I just thought it was a bumpy pillow. I didn’t smell any body odor or sweat. He asked me the next morning how I slept. I told him I slept great. Another time he put this huge industrial vacuum cleaner in my room. I thought the cleaners had left it or something. Turns out he had it on a remote control. About 4:30 AM he clicks it on from his room. He’d thought he’d be able to play that prank on me all night. I just unplugged it from the wall. His remote no longer worked. Again, he asked me how I’d slept. I again told him great! He wasn’t getting a rise out of me so he then moved on to easier prey!
Coincidentally, Greg’s attitude towards making living as a musician is exactly the same as another bass player that from time to time gets coverage here on THS — Roger Glover:
You have been recording and performing music for quite a few years now, so I was wondering; is it ever not fun to be a working musician? Where do you find the inspiration to keep going?
The inspiration for me is I still love it as much as I did when I was a teenager. I always tell people that when I’m on tour, I get paid for the long days of travel and for being away from my family. The playing is free! The only time it was ever “not fun” was the very, very short amount of time I played in a wedding band. It was depressing. You’d be treated like crap by waiters and kitchen staff. Not at all fun. That felt like work and I never want playing to FEEL like work.
Read more in Eternal Terror.
Thanks to Jens Nepper for the info.