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No chain of events can shackle him down

Graham Bonnet appeared on the Vintage Rock Pod(cast), talking about his illustrious career, starting all the way from back in the 60s. Almost half of the conversation dealt with his days in Rainbow. That segment starts at about 7’15” into the podcast, however, we encourage you to listen to the whole 50+ minutes thing — it is quite entertaining.

BraveWords helpfully transcribes the “hair story” bit. And as you can imagine, Graham’s story differs from Ritchie’s version significantly:

VRP: The famous haircut thing, the very famous video of Ritchie talking about the haircut and having you locked in a room, and you snuck out to go and get your hair cut. And then he was raging with you, and that’s one of the reasons he fired you and all this sort of stuff. And I know you’ve rubbished it over the years, but can you tell us a little bit more about that famous story?

Graham Bonnet: Yeah, he’s embellished that story a bit. He’s adding to it every time I hear it, I’m surprised that story is still travelling along after all these years. What actually happened was we were in, I can’t remember, maybe in Scotland, I think, actually. And I was with my ex-wife, and my hair was getting like this, like it is now. [indicates to his current hair length] I’ve been off the road for so long. We go back on the road in a month. But I didn’t have my hair cut when I was off the road. And you could see I’ve got a fucking ponytail back there.

Anyway, so I was walking around the city with her — I think it was Edinburgh, and my hair was quite a long of fist. And I said to her, ‘I’m going to get a haircut while you go and shop.’ So I went to get a haircut and that was it. That’s all I did. And there was no guard on the door or anything like that. In fact, I saw our road manager, let’s say about three months ago, and we were talking to him and laughing about that story. He said, ‘I wasn’t put on the door to guard you.’

I know, but isn’t it a great story? So I just had my haircut. So I walk out on stage that night. Richie hadn’t seen me all day. We never saw each other all day. It was always just showtime, that’s when we all saw each other. And I sort of come on last. They’re doing the intro to song called ‘Eyes Of The World’, the intro song. And I come running on, and he looks at me and goes… flabbergasted. And he disappeared. He went behind the amps, went behind the stack and didn’t come out. And he played there all night.

And next day, Ritchie called a meeting. He said, ‘I want to see everybody in my room.’ We all went to his room in the Holiday Inn somewhere, and we walk in and, what is it? What’s the matter? We thought it was something really serious. And he looks at me, and he goes, ‘It’s Graham’s hair.’ And everybody burst out laughing — ‘What? You called a meeting about that?’ and Cozy just said, ‘oh for f*cks sake.’ You can imagine what he said, give me a fucking break. And everybody else said, ‘what about his hair?’ [Ritchie:] ‘Well, he had it cut. I thought he was being mean to me. I thought he’s insulting me by having his hair cut because I’m always saying his hair is too short.’

And he always did you always say, ‘well, your hairs a bit short.’ And because everybody else in the band had longish hair. It wasn’t long long. It was longish. And so that was the meeting. I just thought he was a complete fool, but Ritchie, bless him. As I said, every time I’ve seen that interview or another interview, he brings that up. And it’s magical, because I didn’t know what I did that day, but he’s telling me what I did. Guard on the door and I went out the window. And then what happened? I’m waiting for something. Hit by a car. He always adds a little bit. But I think it’s good. Just going out the window is good enough because we’re like seven floors up, so, you know, of course, you know.

VRP: Tie the bedsheets together. Yeah, that’s it.

Graham Bonnet: Fucking parachute, you know. But it’s Richie, bless him. I know, I know. After that, I know. He loves me, I love him, too, you know. And after that, everything calmed down. It was okay.

VRP: And you mentioned in there that you love Ritchie, and he loves you. He’s got a reputation, obviously, as being one of the greatest guitarists of all time. But as well as being someone that can be difficult at times, that’s probably a nice way of putting it. So what were your memories of working with Richie? What’s your relationship like with him?

Graham Bonnet: Well, that was the most difficult thing I had, was a haircut.

Thanks to BraveWords for the info and the quotes.

14 Comments to “No chain of events can shackle him down”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Typically Graham: He forgot that following Rainbow and his solo album Line-Up, he joined MSG and had his little (or large, I wasn‘t there) exposure incident there before he founded Alcatrazz with the remnants of New England (a US AOR band) and an ex-Alice Cooper drummer.

    That he now describes Gary Shea (b) and Jimmy Waldo (keyb) as really not good enough musicians for him leaves a wry taste in one‘s mouth and should be taken with a generous pinch of salt: Until a few years ago he still toured with them as Alcatrazz – maybe his musical appreciation suffered after they, well, not exactly killed the king, but sent him into exile, continuing with Doogie White.

    I never really believed that lore about Graham climbing out of the window to get a haircut. When Graham joined Rainbow in 1979, the image world of hard rock was already changing from the mid seventies and Punk and New Wave had left their mark: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Loverboy and Accept already had (or would soon have) short-haired singers, if anything Graham was even a bit of a trendsetter. Had it really been THAT important to Blackmore, nothing would have kept him from putting an obligation of an image change into Graham‘s contract (or – dare I say it – order him to wear a wig, not exactly unheard of with Rainbow). Not that Ritchie was in the most credible position to criticize anybody‘s amount or length of REAL hair if you know what I mean …

  2. 2
    Gregster says:

    LOL !

    It’s quite a funny incident I think, but sometimes errors(?) like getting a hair-cut can lead to a lesson learned…It’s quite a shame that we only received the 1 x recording with GB, ( Though there are a couple of old live releases floating around I think, Monsters-of-Rock etc etc ), as he was a surprisingly good replacement for RJD imo, & likely surprised many people at the time at just how well he can sing.

    Perhaps a solution for GB at this stage for closure, is to attend a Blackmore’s Night gig wearing a Deep Purple T-shirt ?…

    Peace !

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Since Graham talks so much about Jon Lord in the studio during the Line-Up sessions, I thought I’d post this here, the promo “live” material which was shot at the time and features Jon extensively visually on audio tracks where he did NOT play.


    Conventional wisdom has it that Jon only played organ on the Young/Moody-penned number Don’t Stand In The Open, but he must have spent additional time in the studio filming the ballad I’m A Lover plus That’s The Way That It Is and Anthony Boy (which audibly features Rick Parfitt playing the telltale rhythm guitar though he is nowhere to be seen in the vid which only features Micky Moody). Now these are not live recordings, not even “live-in-the-studio” recordings, everyone is miming to the unchanged album tracks.

    In the same way, Jon was featured in the Night Games official vid


    though he did not play on the recorded version (all those thirds in the organ chords – Jon used thirds only very sparingly when he played organ because he found them “too sweet-sounding” on that particular instrument) and wasn’t even featured in the Top Of The Pops performance at the time.


    Basically, Cozy and Graham are the only guys you see in these vids that are also actually featured playing/singing the audio tracks. It really isn’t all that different from what DC did when he filmed Still Of The Night with a bunch of musicians that had all NOT had a hand in recording the music they mimed to.

    My point being: Jon bringing alcohol to those “sessions”, as Graham recounts, probably had to do with the fact that nothing was being recorded music-wise, with everyone just miming to pre-recorded tracks. And of course being on a film set can get dreary quickly, you sit around and wait. That is not to claim that good ole Jon was above having a drink or two once in a while. It was DC who said that in the mid seventies Jon’s Courvoisier*** consumption was testimonial advertising-worthy.

    ***It might have been Rémy Martin, I’m not sure, the interview with DC was in 1976/77, at a time when there was a small war of words between Jon and David about who had drunk more in Mk IV days because Jon had hinted in an interview that “too much drink” had impacted on DC’s live performance as well.

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    @ 2 – that would be a comical & an interesting (if not dangerous) thing for Bonnet to do, classic. @ 3- there are a few photos from the MK 4 era where all band members look completely smashed & i would be hesitant to say alcohol may have only been a part of it. Cheers.

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    #drunkMkIV: Those notorious Japan tour pics where they all had a sake (or five!) too many! But Mk IV had after all an album title to live up to: Come Taste The Band. And even that came from drunken stupor because Tommy had messed up the lyrics singing this song here (at 00:52):


    Incidentally, the promo packs to journalists with CTTB came with a piccolo bottle of red wine at the time, which of course invited the nasty comment in German music monthly SOUNDS that “the bottled rotgut is as undrinkable as the music is unlistenable”. Mk IV sure didn’t have it easy.

    And to make matters worse, the German edition of CTTB had initially a misprinted inner gatefold sleeve (remember those?): They had accidentally used the photos from the Machine Head inner gatefold sleeve. Probably worth a fortune now.

  6. 6
    Georgivs says:


    Here is a nice picture of David and Jon. Looks like it was a “more drunken that thou” contest between them back then:

  7. 7
    Gregster says:

    LOL !

    Nothing wrong with having-a-few & enjoying yourself ! I’m not sure how we got to discussing the DP Mk-IV, but what an awesome band that was, & it was very-nice to taste, again & again & again, even 48 years later !

    Long live the memory & music of Mk-IV DP & Tommy !

    Peace !

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “I’m not sure how we got to discussing the DP Mk-IV …“

    I am. Look no further than MacGregor, that evil force of thread derailment. He‘s the culprit. He always is.

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    I know I am terrible for mentioning those older bands constantly, talk about living in the past. Speaking of older classic rock bands, we haven’t summoned the one that Uwe dreads being drooled over for a while now, he he he. Although he has conjured them up plenty of times in the past also. Who is going to name them this time. You know the one, they lasted about ten years 1969 to 1979. Cheers.

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    What nonsense are you talking, Herr MacGregor, that band is still going strong!


  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    @ 10 – oh my I did click on that link with extreme hesitation, ha ha ha. We need some sort of filtration device here to halt those sort of video links. Cheers.


  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Don’t be unfair, Herr MacGregor, yes, the Gretas are derivative, but so were their role models and a zillion (chiefly American) bands following them. But they do it well and their heart seems to be in it.

    I’ve seen them live, they deliver if that type of Zepstasy verging on the cartoonish is your thing.

  13. 13
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    I just attended the Graham Bonnet show at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, Ill. I was blown away at how well he belted out those tunes. Seriously! Gotta hand it to him. He sounded as good if not better than back when he originally did the MSG, Alcatrazz, Rainbow stuff. If you get a chance to see him…. DO IT!!!

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Graham puts so much power into his vocal cords you sometimes fear he is going to tear them apart live! You can see his throat muscles working throughout.

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