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Sounds like a punk group, Rainbow

Graham Bonnet spoke to the Antihero Magazine, promoting a new Alcatrazz album — their first studio offering since 1986. The conversation also ventured into the Rainbow theme.

ANTIHERO: I read quite some time ago that you said hard rock music wasn’t something that came naturally to you as a vocalist.

Graham Bonnet: Yeah.

ANTIHERO: Here you are in 2020, 41 years after that Rainbow album that you released with them and you’re still doing it.

Graham Bonnet: I know. I’m stuck in that style of music. I never, ever thought I’d be in a band like Rainbow, which is basically Deep Purple-ish. Then I got a call and I was asked to come over to audition for the band. And I went over. I learnt the song called Mistreated. I didn’t know Rainbow from…I didn’t know who the hell they were, no idea, sounds like a punk group, Rainbow.

So anyway, I did the audition and they gave me the job basically that very day I went over and sang for them. I was very happy that it did happen because it changed my life completely. I had a new look at some different kind of music that I’d never played before, never dreamed of playing before. ] rock songs and stuff when I was a kid in my band because like you do when you’re a kid, you play in pubs and do other stuff. That’s what I was doing, so I knew what to do, I think. But I learned a lot from Roger and from everybody in that band because the musicianship was just incredible. I just stood back in amazement when they started to play this Mistreated song. It was just wow. The sound was just incredible and the keyboard player, Don, what an amazing player. Ritchie, say no more, Roger, fucking great bass player, and of course, Cozy Powell. That was the best band I’ve ever seen in rehearsal. At that time I was just blown away. So I had to take the job even though I thought I was wrong

I went back home to London. At that time, that’s where I was living. I had to say to my manager, “I’m not right for this, these guys have got long hair and Spandex and whatever, I look totally wrong. But they’ve given me the job, what do I do?” He said “You better do it because I think it would be good for you..” Because I found out later I lost a lot of fucking money from playing in that band. I didn’t see very much at all. When I spoke to Ronnie, he asked me if I was paid anything from Rainbow like at the end of the year. I said “No, I didn’t.” Sad”I was really ripped off ” I said I think that’s what happened to me. I don’t like telling tales out of school and all that, but it’s just very, very disappointing and one of the reasons I left the band. I just thought, hang on, something’s wrong here.

Read more in Antihero Magazine.

The new Alcatrazz record is called Born Innocent and is due out on July 31. Along with Graham, founding members Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo are handling bass and keyboards respectively. Berklee college graduate and professor (“head of metal guitar” no less) Joe Stump is on guitar duties, with Mark Benquechea on drums rounding the lineup. There are also guest contributions to the album from Steve Vai, Chris Impellitari, and late Bob Kulick.


Thanks to Blabbermouth for the info.

17 Comments to “Sounds like a punk group, Rainbow”:

  1. 1
    Mark Bartlett says:

    Saw Graham Bonnet on his last 2 tours and he still delivers the goods.

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Actually, Bonnet’s utterly naive (und hence fearless) approach to Rainbow, their image, legacy and audience worked to his und Rainbow’s benefit. He was authentic on stage. I remember seeing him on the Down To Earth tour in Frankfurt and like anyone reared on RJD, I was aghast initially, but Bonnet won me over by the time they had finished their first song (Eyes of the World).

    I’ve followed his career ever since. His singing – to this day – is a physical spectacle.

    JLT, a fine singer, was never a match in my eyes; Bonnet was laddish and hilarious as a front man, JLT cringy, there is a difference you know …

  3. 3
    aireight says:

    This lineup always struck me as a supergroup. Interesting that they didn’t get paid much.

  4. 4
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    Great Line up!! Down to Earth is my favorite Rainbow album(Rising comes 2nd and the first album 3rd).

  5. 5
    Pieter van der Velde wzn says:

    I’m surprised Graham was zo impressed by the Rainbow members. In his time with the Marbles he must have dealt with the Bee Gees. No amateurs these brothers Gibb, no matter what you think of their music. I’ve seen Graham in Rotterdam with Rainbow and recently in Amsterdam with Michael Schenker and he hasn’t change one bit.

  6. 6
    Buttockss says:

    Saw Alcatraz at Great Adventure Park in Jackson New Jersey in 1983. They opened up for Ted Nugent, To my surprise they weren’t on the bill. What a surprise it was for a 17 year old punk kid to experence the awsomeness of a guitar player named yngwie malmstein.

  7. 7
    Buttockss says:

    @2, Ritchie never liked Bonnet’s stage apperence, most of all his short hair, but man what a voice…….baby blue!

  8. 8
    Marcus Streets says:

    While Dio is pobviously the original and best voice and lyricist for Rainbow, I thought Graham was a great replacement.

    From what I have heard his is possibly the best band doing Rainbow covers, the only opposition coming from Don.

    Now if Don and Graham could team up …

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Ritchie is – and always has been – a miser. Probably comes from being a single child (and never getting decently paid on all those Joe Meek sessions)!

  10. 10
    David says:

    # 4 had some good picks. My top three would be “Long Live Rock-n-Roll”, ” Down To Earth” and “Straight Between The Eyes.”
    Favorite Alcatrazz album is “Disturbing The Peace.”
    I too saw Alcatrazz in 1984 at the Tower in Philly. They opened for Ted Nugent. Both were friggin’ awsome. Those were the days.

  11. 11
    FrankW says:

    I think Rainbow would not have been going on with their success in Europe in the early 80’s, if after the great Mr Ronnie James Dio there had not come Mr Graham Bonnet! The album Down to Earth was an important step when the classic heavy/hard rock was trying to survive and it had to reach new forms. -Graham Bonnet’s voice was so excellent, hard and impressive that I had never heard before, like shouting straight out from his lugns! In those days the best singer for me was Mr David Coverdale -and still is. Nothing bad still with Ian Gillan or Ronnie James Dio.

    But Iam wondering a little bit Mr Richie Blackmore’s attitudes. GB’s hair-look and profile were very suitable those days for a hard rock singer. It was cool!Those hippie style Rainbow(1975-1979) outlooks felt maybe old fashioned for the record buying youngsters.There were just luckily the punk- new wave rock area starting to lose their power (sorry me).And they had brought with in that shorter hairstyle! So what did GB’s outlook and hair belong to RB’s troubles? Graham Bonnet was a great singer and frontline man for the great guitar-man Richie Blackmore. Also it is truth that watching the pics from the Deep Purple periods MK3 and MK4, and even from MK2, and the Rainbow 1979-1983 season one can notice there was loss of hair with at least three members involved with DP family.

    -But so what? Luckily we don t play and sing rock music with the hair but with the hands and the body! And luckily a great rock band and a rock giant need not to be a like teen idol! -You can be a working rock star having a great carrier even at your 70’s!That is great!Long live rock n roll!😀👏🎶

  12. 12
    uwe hornung says:

    Re looks, Blackmore was already a bit out of touch in 1979, living too long in America I guess. At that time a lot of pronounced heavy metal and hard rock bands already had short hair singers to set them apart from the (long-haired) rest of the band, think of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden with Di’Anno or even AC/DC with Bon Scott.

    Visually, there was nothing wrong with the Down To Earth line up. Ignoring Don’s (to this day not very profound!) dress sense, they looked fine and Bonnet was actually more a focal point than Dio. You looked at them and automatically thought “oh, this guy must be the singer”.

    JLT never had an arresting stage presence for me.

    Ritchie got his hair weave around 1978, the fact that Graham cut his hair voluntarily (and that it grew back too all by itself) must have grated with him. Nature can be cruel that way, you know. : – )

  13. 13
    Micke says:

    @ 7 Maybe Ritchie found out that Bonnet thought Raibow was a punk band.. oh oh end of Graham..

  14. 14
    Buttockss says:

    @ 13…. or maybe a LGBTQ band.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think Graham’s memory is a bit shaky here, I clearly remember an interview some years back where he said: “I had never heard of Rainbow, from the name I thought they were a folk band, you know “The Rainbows”, ha ha ha!”

    No self-respecting punk band on earth would have called itself “Rainbow” in the late 70ies, that was as hippie a name as you could get.

    I remember the press blurb when the Rainbow debut came out, “not just deep purple, but all colors of music” or some such like. The guy who wrote this must have listened to never a note of either DP or Ritchie’s outfit. Stormbringer was probably the musically most varied album of DP ever (with maybe the exception of Purpendicular), in comparison Rainbow should have been called Ritchie Blackmore’s One Trick Pony.

    ; – )

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    @14 … “You caught me there!”


  17. 17
    Buttockss says:

    @ 16…LO🤣L! 😆😂.

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