Roger Glover

Rainbow's Bassist Wants To Rock Forever

The Rolling Stones in concert at 60? Doing what songs - "Creaking Jack Flash," "Time Isn't on My Side," "Grandmother's Little Helper"? Could be, says Roger Glover, the bassist for Rainbow, which headlines next Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. Stanley Theater card. For unlike Rod Stewart, who turned 37 in January and foresees himself rocking and rolling no more than about three more years, Glover, who'll reach that age in November, plans to continue "until I read some kind of rulebook that tells me. I can't. I love the music, and that's what keeps me going. I don't consider age a handicap.

"The example I use is when Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey were starting their big bands. They didn't know how far they'd go and they're still at it, the ones who are still living. "Rock is a phenomenon that has begun in the last 30 years, and no one really knows where it's going to go. I can envision the Rolling Stones going onstage when they're all 60 years of age. It might sound a little weird, but who knows?"

Obviously, no one. And, just as obviously, longevity depends on audience acceptance. And Rainbow has it, at least for now. They've sold 6 million albums worldwide. Ritchie Blackmore regularly wins or finishes near the top in reader polls for best guitarist. "All Night Long," "I Surrender" and "Since You've Been Gone," one of Pittsburgh's favorite numbers, have been hits. Blackmore credits their success to his goal of "educating the rock 'n' roll music audience about classical music and having them listen to certain quiet parts that we play and then getting on to the party at the end."

Glover, his long-time partner in both Rainbow and Deep Purple, disagrees somewhat. "I'm interested in classical music, certainly, but I wouldn't go so far as to say we educate people as much as we entertain people," he says. "I think rock as a musical force has to include music. It doesn't have to be three chords and screaming - does that make sense?" Indeed it does. And to expose as many people as possible to something more than three chords and screaming, Rainbow has been on the road since May 6 and will be on tour in this country, Japan and Europe until shortly before Christmas.

Why such a load? "The important thing for us is to break the American market," Glover says bluntly. "That's the reason we're concentrating on the States. We're hitting everywhere we can the Boy Scouts, club meetings, bar mitz-vahs." Wherever Rainbow, which also includes singer Joe Lynn Turner, drummer Bob Rondinelli and new keyboardist David Rosenthal, plays and whatever Rainbow plays, Glover's used to it. His career has had three distinct parts: Deep Purple, a solo artist-producer and Rainbow. And each has had its own rewards.

"The most cataclysmic thing that happened to me in my life was joining Deep Purple when it became successful," he says. "The rewards were what most people would think of money, material things. "And in the early days it was a great band to be in. There was a lot of contentment, a lot of satisfaction. It did turn sour a little bit, which is why I left. "Just being a man in a band didn't seem to be enough," he continues.

He wanted "more creativity and more input. That's what you find in the studio. It's a different lifestyle in its own way, but it's just as exciting." After six years as a record producer, however, "I was itching to get back on the stage again. It's in the blood once you've been a performer. Applause is like a drug. The taste for applause never leaves you. "In Rainbow, I'm fulfilling all three of my previous aims: playing, (song)writing and producing."

Pete Bishop
The Pittsburgh Press - June 22, 1982