Rainbow Fanclan Legacy Exclusive Interview
Last month Doogie White mailed me and wrote: "I was looking at the site and noticed I have not had a good old rant with you since 2003. Wanna do an interview for 2007?" What a guy eh? Ofcourse I wanted to do an interview! So here's an exclusive interview with the singer of Yngwie Malmsteen and Cornerstone.
Last year you mainly was on the road with Yngwie Malmsteen. How is touring with Yngwie?
Touring is always fun whoever it is with. I love being on the road, in the bus, at the airport, on planes. We always work hard and have very few days off so it really means that I have built up an even better vocal stamina .I get to visit loads of different places. Dont see much but it is still fun. At times we have been doing 9 shows back to back then a day off to eat food other than ham and cheese and pizza.
I saw on your site you did some extreme long soundchecks. What was the reason for that?
I think he just enjoys playing. Its a good warm up for the show. Actually, I dont think 4 hours is quite long enough.
On those soundchecks Yngwie did a lot of Deep Purple/Rainbow tracks. Is he still such a Blackmore fan?
I think that is more to do with our age and backgrounds and the music we grew up on. Its not all we play but it is the most fun cause he does play the shit out of them. The sound checks can last and have done 4 hours on a regular basis. That's 2 shows before the show. Maybe we should start selling tickets. People think I have an easy job with him because of his solo spots but when they witness the intensity of the shows and the sheer power of the soundchecks, because they are shows in their own right they kinda back off a little. Just ask any singer who has toured with us over the last 2 years if he would swop his gig for mine and 9 outta 10 would say "no way, that's intense Dude". And they would be right. It is NOT a gig for the weak or faint hearted.
You're singer for Yngwie for quite some years. Do you have the feelin' to be playing in a real band or is it still Yngwie plus a backing band?
Well of course it depends on what you mean by a "real" band. It is his show and he gets the brighter spotlight and rightly so but he allows me more leaway than he has ever afforded any singer in the past. It could all blow up tomorrow and we could part ways and it would not make a difference. He does what he does and I admire him for that. He has stuck to what he believes in and continues to do so.
When can we expect the new Yngwie album?
I am under threat of a fate worse than death should I say anything on this subject.
Did you do any writing for Yngwie's albums or does he write really everything himself?
He writes it all himself. If he asked me I would be happy to contribute but that not how he see it. There is no doubt that we could write together but whether he would give me the freedom to express my thoughts... well I cant see that happening. Its his "vision" and I just sing my parts... sorry his parts.
Is it easy to work with Yngwie anyway?
Just leave the ego at home and you should be okay. I heard he needs a guitar tech... Fancy the job?
Is there already more news on the Walter Giardino solo cd on which you're supposed to do the vocals?
Walter and I have been trying to get together and do an album for some years. We have written 4 songs but our schedules being such as they are just have not allowed us to take this any further. He is a remarkable player and I first met him many years ago on a Rainbow tour in Argentina. Maybe we will get to work together maybe not. Really if he threw some rough ideas at me and let me run with them then we could nail this shit down and actually do what we have been talkin about for the last 100 years.
How about your solo album. When can we expect that one finally?
Well I can say a little about that. I am writing it now as we speak. I had such a nightmare with the first attempt with mixes not being finalised and the producer buggering off to Germany and leaving me high and dry. Then I joined Steen for the writing of Cornerstones' Human Stain and later that year I joined up with Yngwie so I have not really had the time to sit down and do it all again. Now in 07 I have gathered a fine lineup of friends and bandmates past and present and a few surprises,(no! not him) for the album, great players. I have nine songs completed at this stage and we will start tracking as soon as the new producer is finished with his current responsibilities. There will be 12 songs. I may use re-recorded versions of a couple from the first attempt but what we are writing at the moment is so fresh and exciting that I may just use all new songs.
The new Cornerstone cd has just been released a few days ago. I believe when you started recording this cd it was planned to be released in August last year. Why did it took so long?
It was finished in the summer of 06 and the record company wanted it released late that year but we decided that we would release it in early 07. The last studio album was released late in 03 so in January 04 it was already last years model so it looks like we have not had a studio album out for a while but it is only 2 years and 2 months. I was on tour with Yngwie and I knew he would take the beginning of 07 off to concentrate on the next album Steen has set up his own production company and has built a fantastic studio "STONELAB" where we recorded the album, so it made sense for Cornerstone to delay the release of "Two Tales of One Tomorrow" till this year so we could concentrated on the promotion and tour. Nothing sinister just a sensible business decision.
What in your opinion can the fans expect on this cd?
This is possibly the best album you will hear from us this year. It is all about having fun and hoping to take the listener along with you on the journey. I donít want to keep repeating in fact I refuse to keep repeating what has gone before. Of course there is a limit as to how far you are ALLOWED to step out of the genre you are known for.
The album is stark and vibrant with an edge of danger. The songs are sinister and the lyrics gothic in their approach. So far people have taken to the album and are saying it is the best we have ever done. That is good news for us as we donít chase fashion or trends. We never compromise. If people are liking it for whatever reason, and they mention production and songs and stuff great. But you cant let that guide you on the quest.
Can you tell any interesting stories about the songs on this CD?
There have been a number of high publicity cases over here in the UK in recent years where "famous" people have had their careers ruined by a moment of madness.
It must happen to "ordinary" people like us as well so I thought of what it is like to live like that, knowing if you had made a different choice how your life maybe better or indeed worse in the parallel universe. Depending on the turns we take determines the paths we find ourselves on.
Hence "Two Tales of One Tomorrow". The song its self may or may not be about this desire to be "famous" a "celebrity". Good god WHY? WHY? The desire to be famous should automatically preclude you from having the remotest posibility of being so. It is a disgusting trait and the stench pollutes everyone one of us on TV, in the papers, in magazines, everywhere. Paris!!! please sit down..and put yer knickers on love....
We are having go at charlatens in "Misery". You know those bastards that con people out of money by pretending they can communicate with dead relatives. "Lost" love ones. That take money from the bereaved, the sad the lonely. They sit taking phone calls at £1.50 a minute and feed on peoples fragility. They should be tarred and feathered. Or those who regress you to find out how you became the fucked up miserable sod you have become ...only to find that you are unhappy because you were Cleopatra is a previous life.. Weren't we all dear??
On the other hand we have "We Are The Dead" which is about opening up the door between living and supernatural and not being able to close it again.... Dont have bad dreams now.
The first time I listened to the new cd 'Two Tales of One Tomorrow' I had the feelin' a couple of times like "didn't I heared this also on one of the other studio cd's". Did you guys ran out of ideas and did some recycling or is this just the typical Cornerstone sound?
On the contrary we wrote and recorded 16 songs for the album. I am very sorry if you feel that we are rehashing old ideas or are being typical. I think we have always tried to not stand still, not be complacent and not cheat our audience. We have always tried to bring fresh ideas and a fresh sound to what we do.
"Prey" was the last song we wrote and we had to leave off another track not because it was weaker but because we felt "Prey" sat better with the other songs and fell in with the albums natural flow and groove. Having the same musicians gives the band a consistency in playing. You will find that Rune Brink on keyboards is more prominent on this album than on any other and that was a production choice. It adds a different texture to the sound. And he plays very very well, him and Kasper really had sparks flying between them. Big Al is as solid and as powerfully tasteful a drummer as you could wish for and Steens production and understanding of what makes a good sound is absolutely crucial to the band.
What can people expect on the tour in April?
Well they wont be freezing their asses off like they did on the last tour in January. We will be playing a healthy mix of songs from the new album coupled with tunes from the previous ones and not just the songs we played in 2005. We are trying out several options. Some songs work in a live situation and some dont. So we are rehearsing all the songs and finding which groove and will be exciting and those others that because of their nature dont conform to the live arena.
The only tour for Cornerstone was 2 years ago when you did about a dozen dates in Europe. Why did it took so long to come up with a new tour?
I think we all wanted to take time off after such an exhausting tour and lie on a beach in the sun, drive the new car, marry the young trophy girlfriend, set her up in business. Get divorced, lose the car. Go into rehab. Being in rock n roll is hard sometimes.
Last time you did a live cd, there were also plans for a live dvd at first. Any plans to do a dvd of the up and coming tour?
If this tour is a success then we will tour again later in the year for longer and to places we have not been before like Bulgaria and we will maybe shoot a DVD then. I'd much rather people came to the show and saw the band than sit at home and watch a DVD. Music is about being involved in the moment about the energy and the passion and the vibe. I can see why people would want to watch the California Jam as we did not have the chance to be there but Cornerstone are gonna be on tour and you can be part of that. Dont sit and wait on the DVD and the say "Shit I wish I'd gone to see them live" Buy the album learn the songs and come along and help me out with the singing. Then we can all go and have a beer and think "WOW that was fun" Cause it will be.
On the first Cornerstone tour, you did 'Black Masquerade' live. Any plans to do again a surprise like this on the new tour?
If I tell you it wont be a surprise now will it? You will just have to come along and see.
Last question. This one was posted in the Rainbow Fanclan Forum by High Voltage: I have an interesting and very Unreal question: If a miracle happens and Ritchie invites Doogie to do another band together and at the same time Iron Maiden offer him the lead singer position, which one would Doogie choose?
When the time comes I will let you know but it would not be fair of me to say anything further on the matter as it might be seen as being disruptive to ongoing pursuits or future adventures.
Peace Love and Guitars
© Rainbow Fanclan Legacy 2007
Photos © Katja Piolka