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Playing Hammond through eight walls

Tony Carey appeared on the VintageRock Podcast to talk about his experience of being in Rainbow.

We explore the making of the iconic album ‘Rainbow Rising’ at Music Land Studios in Munich, while Tony gives us a rare glimpse into how the band created their unique sound and the culture within it. Tony goes on to discuss how he was asked to join the band, and the free-form way in which they approached improvisation. He also shares stories about the personalities within the band and the conflicts that ultimately led to his departure.

Thanks to Uwe Hornung for the heads-up.

30 Comments to “Playing Hammond through eight walls”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    A good interview with Tony Carey, as he says it is what it is. Interesting that he wasn’t initially into rock music. Good to hear his memory of the recording of the album & the improvising aspect to it all & the British & American ‘differences’ & of course those devil horns.. I thought for a moment that Rising was going to be mentioned as a iconic ‘occult’ album. Ha ha ha. Get the Ouija board out Ritchie. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I like Tony‘s … let‘s say lack of adoration or outright bemusement for the Rainbow era in his life. With anything he reminisces about it, it becomes clear that he regarded it as an only formative phase in his career and Rainbow‘s music as somewhat juvenile. Which – this will get me beat up here – it was btw, but there is nothing wrong with liking juvenile music all your life, look at me!

    He sees himself as a singer-songwriter foremost these days (for a long time actually), the sword & sorcery imagery of Dio era Rainbow and the whole “faster, louder & darker“ approach of the band (he‘s on record for saying that Cozy played too many songs much too fast live) put a wry smile on his face. At his own gigs (I‘ve seen him twice in recent years) there is a lot of goodnatured banter about his Rainbow era and he says hilarious things like “this is an older song, but, no, I won‘t be playing Stargazer at the piano now“), but he‘s never nasty about the people in Rainbow (he was especially close with Jimmy Bain).

    A very pleasant man and by now a good German speaker (with a lovely American accent, he‘s been a German resident for decades – basically since he left Rainbow – and has repeatedly stated how German health insurance saved his life when he had cardiological issues years back and experienced a touch-and-go surgery), I really like the guy and his more introspective music.


    Interesting to hear him talk about the Wakeman influence, that was a comparison that actually came up quite a bit during his Rainbow tenure, people likened him in concert reviews more often to the flamboyant Yes maestro than Jon Lord though I‘m not aware that he ever ate a curry on stage during Ritchie‘s many solo spots! Of course, he‘s also a proficient bass player and guitarist.

  3. 3
    Gregster says:

    Ha ha…My take is that RB learned the formula-for-success with DP, & tried to take his “followers / fans” on that journey with him, using that formula with the new band.

    Back then, having that 3-minute-max-tune on an album was a must, if some Radio-play was desired…And radio-play sells records, & selling records keeps people in a job. I’m guessing that all-of-this was in the back of RB’s mind, & it was his ship to steer.

    For sure, they’d experiment, improvise & find ideas, but reign them back into easily recognizable music, & with the Rainbow identity in it, & some possibility of finding that 3-minute radio tune.

    Is there any information Uwe about the back-up singers RB used in “LBTE’s”, with Dee Beale & Lyn Robinson ??? They sounded great !

    Peace !

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    So we have been listening to ‘juvenile’ music for the last 45 years or so. I am devastated, truly I am. To think that I have been hoodwinked by that dastardly MAN In Black again & the humility of finding out now after all these years. Not to mention all the other musicians & producers, engineers involved in this scam. This WIL NOT DO! Something must be done & very quickly. It is the MUSIC we are talking about, not the lyrics or certain band members behaviour or the album artwork. I just need to clarify a few things in regards to this scurrilous statement with my Lawyer, because I am not happy & intend to begin legal proceedings. Perhaps some sort of online petition is required or a ‘go fund me’ cash grab. Now that should help with my legal fees, oh sorry & everybody else’s also of course. Cheers.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    I found this 2010 interview with Tony Carey & he speaks rather fondly of his time in Rainbow. The comments start around the 8 minute mark and run until around the 16 minute. He starts the initial interview talking about his cancer operation etc & says
    “I am missing some of my organs now, but not my Hammond” ha ha ha. Good to hear he has a sense of humour after all that drama. Cheers.


  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It’s not all bad, Herr MacGregor, stunted development can be a blessing of sorts too! 😂

    Re Dee & Lin, lieber Gregster,


    all I know is that their incorporation into the Rainbow sound was an idea for which Joe fought against the doubts of Roger and Ritchie. He was mighty pleased when he got his way and thought the result great. He must have realized that strong backing vocals from band members is key with an AOR outfit and that Rainbow was sorely lacking in that department – Roger has a charming voice, but it’s not high enough for AOR backings – he’s no Michael Anthony – and on many Rainbow boots you can hear that his pitch on stage wasn’t always great.

    I guess it was the right thing to do for Rainbow’s music at the time even though I myself frowned on it too back then. But only a couple of years later, Vince Neil picked up on it for the I think Girls, Girls, Girls Tour of Mötley Crüe and it has become a lot more common since then.

    Dee & Lin must be grandmothers now and I hope they have a good life. And the Lin of the 80ies is not the ‘Lady Lynn‘ singing backing vox together with Candice on the more recent Rainbow nostalgia circus in case any of you wondered.

  7. 7
    Buttockss says:

    Tony’s solo material is quite interesting, not hard rock or metal some pop to it in minor hit hit i won’t be home tonight. But pink bubbles double album is a fun listen.

  8. 8
    Gregster says:

    @6…Thanks Uwe !!! There’s so little information about those two ladies, but what a great photo to share. I loved their singing !

    @4 Ha ha ha ! Yes, we’ve all been deceived by the 3-minute radio-laws over the years !

    Peace !

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Great interview by Tony, Herr MacGregor, danke. So it was bladder cancer, not the heart, I stand corrected. Five surgeries? Gulp.

    He wrote this song about the experience:


    I remember a gig where he went into quite a bit of detail and how he said good-bye to one of his three daughters – just in case – before one of the operations, not knowing whether he’d wake up from anesthesia. He’s credible when he says that the whole experience changed his outlook on life and family.

    That’s what I like about Tony, there is some real depth to the man and he’s not afraid to show it. Not a lot of Deep Purple Family members who use a gig to at length praise Germany’s state supported public health insurance scheme, which is funded by taxpayers’ own contributions, but with his history you understand it. It was humbling to hear that from an American because as spoiled Germans we of course love to complain about our “gesetzliche Krankenversicherung” which is far from perfect, but held in high international regard.

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    Yes he has had an interesting musical life Tony Carey & no doubt that sort of health scare has him being more than gracious for still being here no doubt. This more recent interview from a Jon Lord tribute gig of sorts I believe. Cheers.


  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That’s another great interview with Tony, you’re spoiling us, Herr MacGregor! What else is in your pouch?

  12. 12
    Max says:

    Tony Carey is a great player, singer and songwriter in his own right. Some of his solo works suffer a bit from kitschy arrangements for my liking – but hey, it was the 80s. His last offering doesn’t and is very pure and enjoyable. I sure hope there’s more coming. Being presented the Rainbow On Stage-cover to sign at one of his gigs and being told how much we like it by my sons and me he just smiled and said…”well, it was fast”.
    A very nice man indeed.

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    No Uwe that is about it at present, I must be improving with the odd link, finding a few that you haven’t seen yet, he he he. I have learnt more about Carey these last few days than ever before. Not that I have looked much at all except a few years ago you sent a link or two from memory & I was surprised then at how busy he has been all these years. This last interview was a beauty & I never knew he was a Floyd fan, Gilmour & Richard Wright bravo & we have to like his comments about a single note having so much drama in it. He likes it slower rather than faster, music that is, ha ha ha!. Plus his nod to Ray Manzarek from The Doors, great to hear. Also his vodka & coffee intake should keep him on the uptake for a little while. A good interviewer also, no hyped up sensationalism or gossip seeking crap at all, she was good. Cheers.

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    For someone who actually doesn‘t really dig hard or heavy rock (which is perfectly fine, not everyone must share our affliction), Tony is very magnanimous about his stint with Rainbow.

    And that young man cockiness – which reputedly got him fired from Rainbow so often – actually made him stand out. Of all the Rainbow keyboardists (and there were a few, all of them technically good or they wouldn‘t be playing with Deep Purple or Billy Joel today), he had the most charisma on stage and was – with his Native American high cheekbones and all (when he recorded a lot at Frankfurt studios in the early 80ies his nickname was in these politically innocent times very soon “der Indianer“) – the most photogenic. Good musicians they were, neither nerdy David Stone nor a young Don Airey nor ultra-shy David Rosenthal nor Paul Morris (he more than the others though) had any stage presence to speak of while with Rainbow.

    Poor guy, those few moments in time when he was 21 and which led to Rising have become the musical albatross around his neck, but he carries it with grace and wit!

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    He’s also a Status Quo fan who posts in the official Quo forum as Blue Highway (most people there are oblivious of his Rainbow connection or don’t give a wizard’s ass about it). Jimmy Bain turned him into one (a Quo fan, not a wizard, though he is starting to look like one these days!) with his tapes on Rainbow tours – Tony as a California kid had of course not really heard of the mighty Frantic Four before he met Jimmy as they never managed to crack America.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Time, my dearest brethren, healeth all terrestrial wounds:



    When I met Tony in 1984 at my then DJ work place, he – once recognized – wasn’t too keen about Rainbow either, but he graciously signed a Rainbow Rising inner gatefold sleeve I had coincidentally with me and did speak about having met Ronnie and Jimmy just a few months before backstage at a late ’83 gig of Dio in Offenbach on their first German tour and that it had been “fun” to reminisce about old times with them. How much he downplayed his Rainbow membership became, however, evident when his English manager who stood beside him incredulously asked: “YOU WERE IN RAINBOW, YOU NEVER TOLD ME THAT?!” and Tony replied offhandedly: “That was so long ago, I just played keyboards there.”

    Tony’s 80ies fame in Germany was indeed not based on his Rainbow tenure but on his production, solo artist and soundtrack work plus – dare I say – his for Germany exotic Native American look, he had an immediate image with it, always helpful (we don’t have a lot of people in Germany walking the streets with Native American DNA). Here you see him with a German supergroup of sorts:


    The drummer is Bertram Engel from Udo Lindenberg’s Panik Orchester and the Peter Maffay Band. As is the bassist Steffi Stephan, together they were Germany’s most famous rhythm section in the 80ies playing on countless albums. The acoustic guitarist is of course Peter Maffay himself, then and now a singer/songwriter superstar in Germany (Tony and him collaborated for a while, Tony was even in the Peter Maffay Band), and the electric guitarist is Carl Carlton, one of Germany’s most renowned rock guitar session players and also equipped with a Lindenberg/Maffay pedigree plus a solo career of his own.

    I actually realized that Tony Carey was still musically active and living in Germany of all places when one night also as a DJ I looked at a 12″ single by a German disco outfit girl vocal group called The Pinups very much in the Vanity 6/Apollonia 6 vein (any Prince fans out here or is that verboten as as well, can’t you be Deep Purple + Purple Rain as well?):


    To my incredulity I read “Tony Carey” credited as the author of the song ‘New Wave Lover’ and thought “this can’t be a coincidence”.


    Tony will hopefully forgive me for dragging this sin of his youth out into the open 43 years later …

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I must make amends!!! The Pinups, those four fine female musical hopefuls over-endowed with artistic talent, were not German, but apparently Yank …


    The Westcoast pole dancer look should have really tipped me off …


    What is it that the poor Troggs did that their signature song always ends up as light porn/wet dream muzak?


    (This track is actually Purple family related as the guitar is played by no other than Ray Fenwick though he does not appear in the stimulating video.)

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Looking back at that DJ encounter it could have gone either way Uwe, at least he didn’t tell you to eff off or something. I have always thought Carey isn’t that annoyed about his Rainbow days, not that I have looked into it a lot & don’t intend to, especially from way back then when he may have been annoyed about it as a younger man. He moved forward in his endeavours in life in a positive manner as anyone would or should. His English managers line is a classic, Carey was right in following the ”don’t tell them anything they don’t need to know’ agenda! These days he does appear to be very laid back & that is understandable also after that serious health issue & also now as he approaches the twilight of his life. Most people are either pissed off about things in their past or contented in most things they have achieved. Good luck to him. Listening to a few different tracks here & there of his, it is a bit commercial for my ears, however his songs are melodic & writing songs for other people is also a good commercial venture indeed. As for the Pinups group & song we have to love the 1980’s don’t we. It was all so innocent, sort of. Tony Carey also seems to be proud of his native American heritage, good to see. Cheers.

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    The Troggs signature song???????????? Sure they made it a hit but they didn’t write it. Uwe is slipping a little I fear. Apparently that Nancy version was bit of a hit here in Australia. Not that I remember it, thankfully. According to what I have just read about the original it was apparently intended to have that feel to it, you know the suggestive ooh lala thing. Not that we here in Oz would know anything about that. The women glow here & the men plunder don’t forget. Cheers.

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    Sorry that should be Fancy not Nancy, see what happens when Uwe sends a video link. My eyes were all misty & they glazed over looking at that video & I couldn’t see the keyboard properly. Cheers.

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Alas!, Herr MacGregor, after your whopping, yet just public humiliation of my lowly self, I would indeed like to jump into your pouch and hide from the world!


    Himmel, I had no idea Wild Thing wasn’t a Troggs original (though their version was the first one to be internationally successful)!

    For historical accuracy then …

    The first commercial release of the song:


    Chip Taylor wrote it:


    The Troggs version which conquered the charts and is supposed to have followed Chip Taylor’s original demo of the song more faithfully than the earlier released Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones rendition (which I believe attempted more of an early Bob Dylan style):


    PS: Nancy or Fancy, who cares! I know you’re a man easily distracted by your gargantuan urges and impulses, Herr MacGregor, a victim of circumstance …


  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    We have forgiven you for the oversight Uwe, after all most of us do that occasionally. I certainly have quite a few times over the years. I remember when I found out about the Hush song all those decades ago. Me thinking or presuming it was an original Deep Purple song. Over the years I have been surprised at finding out a song so well known by other performers is originally an obscure song from a relatively unknown artist or writer. It all adds to the wonder of popular music I guess. Regarding the Fancy version of Wild Thing I found this rather short interview with the producer Mike Hurst who set that up. A few well known British musicians in that band originally. The only versions I am familiar with are The Troggs of course & Hendrix’s live versions. Well at least from my memory that is, I may have heard that Fancy version out here on the radio or somewhere else as it was a successful charting song here in Oz according to what I have read. I don’t remember hearing it though. Cheers.


  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    So there you have it everyone, as the record producer Mike Hurst said about Fancy’s version of Wild Thing, it is the Americans who like the heavy breathing’. Phew, I was getting a little concerned there for a moment. Come to think of it, didn’t Uwe reside over there around that time? He probably purchased thousands of copies, hence the sales over there & the popularity of that song by Fancy. It is amazing how some things travel full circle eventually. Thanks for the link Uwe & now I do wonder how us innocent Aussies also allegedly liked that song so well. Australia do tend to follow the Yanks though in may ways, for some good & some not so good reasons. Cheers.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    And before anyone from another part of the planet starts getting jealous & wonders why Australia had the pop star to end all pop stars. ‘
    He went to Rio, De Janeiro, my-oh-me-oh I go wild and then I have to do the Samba
    And La Bamba Now I`m not the kind of person
    With a passionate persuasion for dancin`
    Or roma-ancin` etc etc’.

    Now try & beat Peter Allen for stardom..Why did I just think of him & that cursed song, I do not know! Cheers.

  25. 25
    Gregster says:

    @24…OMG…Peter Allen…In this forum of all places ??? I can’t wait for Uwe’s reply lol ! – ( If he takes the bait that is )…

    I won’t mention the BeeGee’s for the sake of Stayin’ Alive…( Great bass riff btw ).

    Peace !

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I had to look this up first, had been unaware of both the song and him (but I had heard of his wife Liza M!).


    It’s not awful if you like me can also fearlessly listen to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, but what I find distracting in Peter Allen’s song is the stiff disco drum beat (in line with the times: 1977) they put underneath the South American polyrhythms as if they were trying to hedge their bets to make this danceable for a disco audience unaccustomed to moving to Latin American music. Doesn’t really go with the rest of the song and kind of grates.

    Did Phil Rudd drum it, say?

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    I had to look this up, found this at discogs; People are saying Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” song is similar, rhythmically. I looked that up & listened, yes it is similar, sort of. I do know of the drummer Jim Keltner, a well known session drummer from the USA. Not familiar with any of the other musicians though. Cheers.
    I Go To Rio
    Backing Vocals – Christie Thompson, Gregory Connell, Jeannie Arnold*
    Bass – Charles Larkey
    Drums – Jim Keltner
    Electric Guitar – Rick Littlefield
    Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – John Jarvis
    Percussion – Alan Estes, Barry Lazarowitz
    Piano – Peter Allen

  28. 28
    sidroman says:

    Love Prince and Apollonia and Purple Rain, both the album and film, not a huge Prince fan but I also love 1999 and Around the World in A Day, but Purple Rain Reigns supreme at least for me.

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Jim Keltner?! I would have expected him of all people to do better. Horrible, he must have only heard a rudimentary guide track when he laid his drums down.

    Same song with a proper drum rhythm, now we’re talking (and movin’ butt)!


  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    The opposite of Phil Rudd, he he he. I did have a listen to Barry Manilow’s, been a long time since I have heard that also but I do remember it. At least those songs are up beat happy tunes. The only problem is if they get into your head, hard to get rid of on the annoying side of things. Cheers.

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