Deep Purple Rainbow
There have been almost as many players in the British rock band Rainbow as there are colors in a rainbow. But no matter what colors, a rainbow is still a rainbow. And no matter who is playing, Rainbow is still Rainbow — or at least as long as Ritchie Blackmore, its sometimes dictatorial creator, is at the helm.
As long as the basic character of the band remains consistent, the changes don't matter," said bass player Roger Glover, who has been with Blackmore since the days his group was called Deep Purple. "Even if I left, Ritchie's character dominates the band and as long as he is in it, it will still be Rainbow."
Rainbow, which performed at the Convention Center last Saturday, has undergone a dozen or so personnel changes in its six-year history and is currently on its third lead singer. The first housecleaning took place after Blackmore split from Deep Purple to do what originally was intended to be a solo project in 1975. For the album he used members of Elf, a New York band that had opened for Deep Purple on several tours. What started as a studio venture turned into a road venture and the musicians Blackmore had for the record were not the musicians he wanted for the road.
"You can't just say there have been so many lineup changes and leave it at that," expressed Glover, who first joined Blackmore with Deep Purple in 1970. "There have been some changes for very good reasons. Lately it hasn't been just because Ritchie wanted them out or couldn't get along with them. It's Ritchie's band. He sets the tone and character of the band. Some people find it unacceptable, and they want to leave."
Wasn't Really Rainbow
The latest to depart since Rainbow's last album, "Down To Earth," were lead vocalist Graham Bonnet, who had replaced Ronnie James Dio (now with Black Sabbath), and drummer Cozy Powell. "Cozy left for no other reason than the fact that he had been in the band for five years and had gone as far as he could," said Glover. "He had a lot of other music in his system that couldn't come out in Rainbow. And while I happen to think Graham's a great singer when he has the right direction, I think his direction wasn't really Rainbow. I think he felt that way. too."
Replacing Powell for the new "Difficult To Cure" album and tour were drummer Bob Rondinelli and vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, former lead singer for Fandango. Glover claims Turner is more of a career singer than Bonnet. He takes voice lessons and is into the technique of singing. "Joe grew up in black areas and picked up a lot of that blues scat, which after all is the basis of rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll is not pop — melodic stuff, which is what Graham was into Joe's not into melody; he's into 'feel', and that's better for this band."
Initially, Glover was disturbed by Rainbow's merry-go-round roster. He has changed his mind. "It's actually not such a had thing because it keeps the band very fresh," reasoned Glover, who did a magnificent job in the production of the new LP. "The first 2 ½ years with Purple were great — everybody was friendly and the music flowed freely — but then a period of stagnation set in after we became successful. Everything became money-oriented and it killed the band's creativity. "This way I think we can avoid that jaded period because the band remains fresh."
In published articles, Blackmore has been depicted as egotistical, belligerent and difficult to work with. He is quite demanding and abhors incompetence. But Glover says he is often misunderstood. "He is moody, there's no doubt about that," admitted Glover. "There are days when I don't approach him and we hardly say a word to each other. But there are days when he is very receptive and very friendly."
Obviously, by his lasting relationship with Blackmore, Glover knows how to cope with Ritchie's moodiness. "There are times when he annoys me and I go over and tell him so, but I've learned not to let a stupid little thing get in the way of a career. What good is it going to do him or me if I leave the group? So, I just forget it. Either you work with someone or you don't and if you work with someone you have to accept the good points and the bad points. He has to accept my bad points, too."
The Indianapolis News - April 25, 1981