Roger Glover

Rainbow Bassist Wears Producer Hat, Too

One of the hardest things for writers to do is edit their own copy. You're too close to the subject, too close to your own creativity, to spot every ambiguity, every non sequitur, every typographical or grammatical error. It's sort of like... well, producing your own record, especially when you not only perform the music but have co-written the bulk of it as well. Yet that's exactly what bassist Roger Glover does for Rainbow, which headlines tonight's 7:30Stanley Theater concert (Pat Travers opens). He realizes there's "a degree of difficulty" involved.

"I was aware of it before I joined the band, and I discussed it with the band," he says. "I asked if they would be happy having the bassplayer suddenly jump up and start telling people what to do. "Being aware of the difficulty is the best way to avoid it. I don't take myself seriously as a bass player. That part of my job comes very easily. When the bass playing is recorded, I forget about it and slip very easily into the producer persona."

Of course, criticizing and "editing" the men you play with could lead to squabbles. Could, nothing it does. Yet Glover thinks such disagreements are "very necessary; it's the only way you can state your opinion."

"Squabbles are the result of friction, and friction is what drives you forward. Rock 'n' roll is not easy-listening music and that friction is what makes you a little bit aggressive. And I think you have to be a little bit aggressive to be a rock 'n' roll performer."

That's more than borne out in the music Rainbow plays from rockers with sturdy beats and catchy melodies ("I Surrender" and "Since You've Been Gone," which is very popular here) to rowdy, feral numbers like "Magic," "Spotlight Kid" and "Can't Happen Here," all highlighted by Ritchie Blackmore's incendiary guitar lines.

That's the kind of music Deep Purple, which Blackmore helped found in '68 and which Glover joined two years later, played. How does Glover compare the Deep Purple and Rainbow experiences?

"There are a lot of differences, although the music might not sound all that different," he says. "Then I was a younger person and was still searching for who I was and to a certain extent not finding it. There were many doubts, the same phase of life everyone goes through.

"I didn't appreciate all the good things that were happening to me: the concerts, the audiences, the places you go, the interesting people you meet. Being in a big-name band is a wonderful experience, and I probably took it too lightly.

"Now I'm 35 years old, I've had a lot of experiences in my life, I've found myself and I think I enjoy it more. Now I'm not particularly concerned with what people think of me. I'm more sure of myself."

But not so sure that he and the four other Rainbow members were averse to playing a handful of club dates the first such dates he'd played in a decade before starting this tour on which they headline alternate shows with guitarist Pat Travers and his band.

"We have a new lead singer (Joe Lynn Turner) and drummer (Bob Rondinelli). A singer and a drummer are two very drastic changes, so therefore, although we had done extensive rehearsals, we felt we should have some performing experience before going out on the road," Glover explains.

"Just having dry rehearsals, it's a little bit shaky going out on a large-scale tour. Some dates were very enjoyable, but some were a little primitive: the dressing room facilities, the small stages."

That "investment" evidently was a wise one, for the Rainbow-Travers tour has been an "excellent but a very rigorous tour, the most rigorous I've been on in 10 years," Glover says. "So many dates are so close together. Frequently there are six dates in a row before we get a day off."

How does a 35-year-old keep in shape for such a grind? "You don't, really," he says. "You try to eat regularly, not too many late nights. You're always thinking about the next day. People think life in a rock 'n' roll band is one big party there are the high times, but a lot of it is complete boredom."

Pete Bishop
The Pittsburgh Press - April 30, 1981