Thoughtful lyrics, teamwork brighten Rainbow's outlook
'Sooner or later, every English band catches the American bug. With today's overhead and expectations, few big bands reach financial and creative solvency without it. For Rainbow, success American-style has been a long time coming. Formed by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore when he left Deep Purple in 1975, Rainbow has never reproduced its respectable world following in this country.
In six years, the band has toured here once, and then only on the East Coast. Meanwhile, it has become a top draw on its home ground. Three members of its current lineup - Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover (also ex-Deep Purple) and keyboardist Don Airey (ex-Coliseum II) - rate high in British rock polls.
Drummer Bob Rondinelli and singer Joe Lynn Turner are newcomers, replacing Cozy Powell and Graham Bonnet, respectively. Rainbow's opening spot on Tuesday's Pat Travers show at the Coliseum is part of a national tour geared to the release of a new album, Difficult To Cure.
Although Rainbow is nominally Blackmore's band, the album owes as much to Turner's resounding vocals and Glover's well-balanced production. The teamwork also shows up in the writing, with Blackmore and Glover sharing many of the credits. Glover's job is the lyrics, which on Difficult To Cure thoughtfully avoid the hackneyed lewdness of so much hard rock. Two songs, Can't Happen Here and Freedom Fighter, challenge the apathy and anomalies of living amid today's bureaucracy and technology.
Freedom Fighter talks about taking a stand. How does one take a stand these days?
"Taking a stand is saying we refuse to become a number," said Glover. "When the computer at the bank makes a mistake, going in and complaining is leaking a stand."
Another track, Spotlight Kid, tackles the twilight of a jaded star. Midtown Tunnel Vision deals with sex in concise lines. There is a tidy pairing between words and the music, which is tight and economic for the most part - except when Blackmore is doing the old Deep Purple trick of turning classics like Beethoven's Ninth into racy solos.
Difficult To Cure, Glover explained during a phone call, was nearly used as the title of the last Rainbow album, Down To Earth.
"The reason it was called that was it was literally coming down to earth from the more ethereal concepts (of previous albums)," Glover said. Difficult To Cure, according to Glover, originated as "a smutty joke." The instrumental of the same name is probably the album's weakest link.
As a producer, Glover has worked with Nazareth, Rory Gallagher, Status Quo and, most recently, Michael Schenker. will always be more of a producer than a musician," said Glover, "and less of a producer than a writer."
Leaving the womblike world of the studio for Rainbow was hard, he admitted.
"But after six years of being in a studio, I was missing the spotlight It was a question of, was this the right band?"
Although quite a bit of Glover philosophy has evidently gone into the lyrics, Glover is no tub-thumper.
"I don't think lyrics are that important to most people," he said. "I think first and foremost is the sound of the band."
Asked whether the rest of the band shared his views, Glover paused for thought.
"As a matter of fact, I've never asked them," he said. "I don't know. I'm sure they do."
Arizona Republic - March 22, 1981