A Very Candid Conversation with Chuck Burgi
Jeff Cramer did recently another of his well known candid conversations. In the past he did for example these extended interviews with ex-Rainbow members Joe Lynn Turner, Greg Smith and Craig Gruber. This time he was talking with Chuck Burgi who played drums in Rainbow in 1983-1984 and 1995-1996.
Chuck Burgi has the gig of a lifetime. Since the 1970s, Chuck has maintained an impressive music career. Since 2005, he is the current drummer for the piano man (along side Rainbow colleague David Rosenthal), Billy Joel. He has also played with other big names such as Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, Diana Ross, and Meat Loaf.
Here are some excerpts of the interview with Chuck who was talking about Rainbow, Red Dawn, Meatloaf, Blue Oyster Cult, Billy Joel and many others.
JC: I've interviewed several people who’ve played with Ritchie, and I've heard a lot of stories about him. What’s your story?
CB: Oh my God, Ritchie’s a legend. I just think he is the quirkiest, weirdest Englishman I've ever met. You know, I didn't get along with him in the studio. I had my own ways of working and he kept fucking with me. But when we went on the road, it was nothing but fun. So you know, I personally have nothing but good things to say about Ritchie. Suffice it to say, once we hit the road, it was nothing but fun. And he was a soccer player, and I loved soccer back then. We played all the time. We played, worked out, dribbled the ball, so it was really fun, and I got along with Ritchie. He was one of my heroes.
JC: It seems like a good deal of band members were both in Blue Oyster Cult and the 95–96 incarnation of Rainbow.
CB: Huh. Well, I will say something really wacky. John O’Reilly was the drummer on Rainbow’s Stranger in Us All. For some reason, Ritchie didn't want to take him on tour even though he did a great job on the album. So I left Blue Oyster Cult and joined Rainbow, and John came in and joined Blue Oyster Cult. So while I was with Ritchie, John O'Reilly was with Blue Oyster Cult. So that's the kind of glue there.
JC: Ritchie then eventually formed Blackmore's Night very shortly after that Rainbow lineup. While you were in Rainbow, was there any hints that Blackmore’s Night would happen?
CB: Absolutely. I'll take you way back to Deep Purple. You know, one of the reasons why they parted ways, as far as my understanding goes, is ’cause Ritchie was pushing to get Candy back then to sing background with Deep Purple. So when I was getting ready to tour with Rainbow, Ritchie said, "Candy's gonna sing on a couple of these songs. She'll sing off stage." When I joined the band, they had a great manager, a guy named Joe Boyland. He did 38 Special and a bunch of other bands. But halfway through the tour, Ritchie fired Joe, and then he said, "Candy's mom is going to manage." So I saw the writing on the wall with that, and coupled with the fact that he really wanted her to start singing with the band. I think his patience with rock and roll had ran out, and he wanted to go in another direction, and more power to him.
Recently, Ritchie put Rainbow back together. You know, I saw some of the latest incarnation of Rainbow, and I was underwhelmed. But you know, I understand that he was thrown a good deal of money to put that type of thing back together, and he was also being pressured to bring in people who had been in Rainbow, and he didn't want any of that. And you know what, for an old guy who was very set in his ways and very opinionated, that was his choice, that's what he wanted. When I saw him play live, it wasn't what I thought he should be doing, but again, he's Ritchie, no one can tell him nothing. So, I didn't think it was bad; I just thought, "You know, like why are you doing this?" He didn't even seem to be into it.
© Jeff Cramer's Blogspot - June 4, 2020
The full interview can be found on Jeff Cramer's Blogspot