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Down to Earth Graham

Graham Bonnet; image courtesy of grahambonnetband.com

Graham Bonnet recently spoke to Metal Forces Magazine, which resulted in an interview that plenty demostrates his no-nonsense attitude. He spoke at length about his current eponymous band (his guitar player Conrado Pesinato has quite a number of very big shoes to fill), his days in Alcatrazz, his connection to Ronnie James Dio, his plans, and much more. He also offered his take on the most recent incarnation of Rainbow:

I think [Blackmore] 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 – 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.

Joe [Lynn Turner] thought that he was going to be chosen. I said to him… This was when Ronnie 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).

If Ritchie asked me to play with him tomorrow, I’d play with him tomorrow. For like a one-off, of course I would because he gave me a new career, so to speak. I went into a direction I never thought I would be going in, compared to the stuff that I had done before. Man, of course I would.

I’m sure Joe Lynn Turner would, too, but it’s a matter of who it would be. I just think that that was a money venture, I really do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking Ritchie for that. We all need to make money, and that’s why we’re all out playing live now. We don’t sell records any more; people are downloading music, and it’s not like it used to be. We’re all getting older and worried what the hell we’re all gonna do if the music business for this kind of music just crashes, so we’re getting in there while we may.

Read the rest of the interview on Metal Forces.

Graham Bonnet Band upcoming tour dates:

6th: Ayers Event Center, Corpus Christi, TX
7th: Cadillac Bar, San Antonio, TX
8th: Trees (Elm St), Dallas, TX
20th: Malones, Santa Ana CA
28th: Rockbar Theater, Reno, NV

8th: Circus, Helsinki, FINLAND
9th: Klubi, Tampere, FINLAND
10th: House Of Rock, Kouvola, FINLAND
11th: Rock The Night, Aubiere, FRANCE

13th: Umeda Club Quattro, Osaka, JAPAN
14th: Club Quattro, Nagoya, JAPAN
16th: Tsutaya O-East, Tokyo, JAPAN

15th: Club Destroyer, Sundsvall, SWEDEN
21st: Madam Felle, Bergen, NORWAY
22nd: Hard Rock Cafe, Oslo, NORWAY

The band is now comprised of:
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Conrad Pesinato – Guitars
Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Mark Zonder – Drums

Thanks to Blabbermouth for the info.

10 Comments to “Down to Earth Graham”:

  1. 1
    Rob Carr says:

    Bonnet is 100% correct – the Rainbow “reunion” was nothing more than quick & easy cash for Blackmore……”lifeless” and “limp” don’t begin to describe the pathetic performances by that band……sad, really.

  2. 2
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    The Rainbow gigs in 2016 were about keeping the trademark Rainbow band/brand/copyright current, to protect it from others that would poach the valuable Rainbow name for their own purposes. It’s a savage industry. Yes, it was about the money, but it was also about the memories & fun & everything else that goes along with it. Be happy.

  3. 3
    Thomas Kämmerling says:

    Do not underestimate the joy of the music.

  4. 4
    Rob Carr says:

    Agree, and if the fans enjoyed it, that’s great. But as a musician and a Rainbow fan since the first album…….a terrible (to me) let-down.

  5. 5
    Albertz says:

    By far the worst live singer Rainbow ever had & not just from an image point of view. A phenomenal studio range but SO uncontrolled in live arena IMHO.

  6. 6
    kraatzy says:


  7. 7
    Alan says:

    Rob @1

    I anticipate you did not see the Birmingham show last june as it was most
    certainly not lifeless or limp.

    In fact it was a great show fully appreciated by the sold out crowd

  8. 8
    errolarias says:

    This Bonnet’s comments are very good. Very Accurate . This part is an inmense truth : “We don’t sell records any more; people are downloading music, and it’s not like it used to be. We’re all getting older and worried what the hell we’re all gonna do if the music business for this kind of music just crashes, so we’re getting in there while we may.”

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    Rob Carr @ 1 – Bonnet thinks it was for cash, he doesn’t know, he just thinks that! Gee, I am sure Blackers must have made truckloads from those 3 gigs, Maybe there is a pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow! Comical. Cheers.

  10. 10
    francis says:

    hello, what saddens me is that joe lynn turner or graham bonnet haven’t done anything really exciting in recent years but as they say in France: “criticism is easy but art is difficult”

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