Mike Eriksson, editor of the Swedish Deep Purple magazine "Deep Purple Forever!", did the following interview with Doogie White in April 1997. It was original published in Swedish in DPF issue #17.
On the evening of April 22 I talked to Rainbow singer Dougie White for about an hour (for issue #17 of the DPF magazine). As usual Dougie was easy-going and had a lot of interesting quotes to offer. Here's a few of the most interesting ones for your reading pleasure.
The first question is probably the one you hear the most right now Dougie, but what happened to Chuck Burgi?
- He got an offer that he really couldn't refuse, but I don't recall the guy's name. So he accepted that offer. I can understand that since Rainbow didn't work that much, especially the last year. John Micelli is, however, a very good replacement. His style is slightly heavier and I think that has been good for the band.
I heard a rumour that Rainbow wanted Eric Singer to join?!
- I know he was asked. I don't know the details. When I arrived to America for the tour John was already in.
How was the US tour then?
- We worked really hard. We did about 30-35 concerts. It was hard work and myself, Greg and Ritchie caught the flu as well, but we kept on working. We can celled only one show because of this and another two got cancelled for other reasons. We cancelled New York because the gear didn't make it in time from San Francisco. We performed for audiences between 750 and 3000 people strong and it was a very good tour for Rainbow. It was nice to get off that tour but now I can't wait to go back and do more shows. I didn't actually see much of America! I had time to see Chicago and Phoenix but the rest is a haze. I missed Toronto. One of the bus trips took 18 hours and I can't sleep on the bus unless I more or less pass out.
Did you have a video on the bus?
- Yes, we watched a lot of old westerns, and also "Tombstone" with Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday. We also saw "The Unforgiven".
So what is next for Rainbow?
- Well, what have you heard?
Well, I'm aware of shows in parts of the former Soviet Union and a show in Denmark as well...
- Really? I didn't know that! I'm always the last person to know about these things!
Well, I can't guarantee that all this is correct although I think it might be...
- The ideal.. if this was Dougie White's Rainbow, if I was in charge, then we would do an album in August/September, have it out by Christmas and then spend six months on the road for it starting in March. I would also like to spend less time in the studio. I would like to do it more "live".
Do you feel that "Stranger In Us All" is slightly overproduced?
- Yes, we spent forever on little details that you can't even hear on the album. I worked long and hard. I've been a member of Rainbow long enough to know what I'm doing now. When we do the next Rainbow album I would like to have monitors in the room rather than having headphones on. I don't like the feeling I get when I work like that. I think Ritchie should do it that way as well, just crank it up very loud in the studio and go for it. It would be nice if the next album is heavier. We have the right drummer for it now.
Have you written anything for the next album?
- I'm sure Ritchie has got ideas but he hasn't presented any to the band as yet. The songs usually change during the recordings anyway. I know that Ritchie likes to write in G or F sharp so I have prepared nine good ideas that I might be able to slip in there somewhere.
Does Ritchie know of this body of work?
- No I haven't told him about it yet.
Maybe you should, I'm sure he would like the dedication.
- The quicker we do the next album the better. I would love to do it tomorrow.
As you know, Ritchie is very keen on "time keeping" when he picks a new drummer. Is he completely satisfied with John?
- Yes, we are glad to have him. After about four or five shows he was just great. He is a big guy. I hope we get to keep him.
How about the live set on the American tour... any changes?
- It was about the same as last year. We did "Kill The King" and "16th Century Greensleeves" on some occasion. We did "All Night Long" but that song is very hard to sing, especially when you are a bit ill. The songs that Graham Bonnet sang originally are the hardest to do because he really went for it when the songs were recorded.
He basically shouted all the time...
- Exactly, and he also overdubbed in the studio quite often and it is almost impossible to repeat.
Any signs of new interest for hard rock in music in America?
- We had fans in all ages at the concerts. The usual 35 year olds as well as a lot of younger kids.
I understand that independent labels in America are signing up hard rock bands right now...
- I heard about that too. You can't keep hard rock down anyway, far too many out there who loves it. I think people are tired of all the depressing music out there. I think that the hard rock style will come back big soon. It would be strange if it didn't.
I have seen pictures of the Rainbow show in Minneapolis on March 7 and somebody obviously smacked a cake into your face on stage. You can't see who actually did it... so what happened?
- It was my birthday but I still don't know who did that. It happened very quickly and then I was busy getting it off...
Was it towards the end of the show?
- No, actually it was around "Mistreated", so it was about three songs into the set! Have you ever tried covering a woman with cream thinking it will taste great to lick it off? Well, it doesn't! It was the same getting a cake in the face.
Anything else happening on the US trek?
- Our tour manager got married during the soundcheck of the second gig in Los Angeles. The band played Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You", ha ha ha, so that night Rainbow was a wedding band! We also recorded one of the shows in Los Angeles for a possible live album and we filmed it as well using three cameras.
Any thoughts on doing a solo album?
- It's hard for me to picture "Dougie White" written on an album. I think I would rather form a band whenever Rainbow is over. I've written 22 tracks for future use with Alex Dickson of the Bruce Dickinson band. The Japanese are releasing an album with demo material that I did between my auditions for Iron Maiden and the rainbow gig... so it must be from 1993/1994... the band was called "Chain" and we spent a little while getting the material in shape for the release. They love stuff like that in Japan. It's a very varied album, funky stuff, hard stuff, acoustic stuff...
We are looking forward to the next Rainbow album...
- I'm a better singer now than I was three years ago and I hope that Rainbow can close in on the new millennium with slightly less metal and a little more thought. "Hunting Humans" was a good track. I'm pleased with the lyrics on that one.
But it's not part of the live set anymore...
- I had a choice between "Mistreated" and "Hunting Humans" and on that day I decided it would be great to do "Mistreated". This does not mean "Hunting Humans" is out forever. I'm just tired of singing love songs, they don't mean anything to me. I'd rather sing about social issues.
I can see that. Ronnie James Dio has done a terrific job doing that the last few years.
- I agree completely, especially on the "Strange Highways" album. That was very good... slightly better than "Angry Machines". Actually I just missed his London show because I didn't know about it! The press in England is bad beyond belief. It doesn't tell you anything anymore. Dio played London and I didn't know! It would have been nice to say hello to him. Paul actually met him in Germany I'm told.
Ronnie rubbed shoulders with Glenn Hughes after his Stockholm concert. Have you heard the new Whitesnake album?
- No, is it good?
I think so, David has gone back to the roots, which is nice.
- Really? That's nice to hear. I listened to his "Northwinds" album the other day. That is a fantastic album. I don't know why, but it was the first album I picked up after the tour. As you know, "Come Taste The Band" was the first Deep Purple album I ever heard. So I've always liked Coverdale a lot.
I'll send you a tape of the new album Dougie. Thanks for a great conversation.
Mike Eriksson, Deep Purple Forever, Sweden April 1997