Rock Band Playing to New Audience

When rock'n'roll came alive in the mid-1950's , its sound was unique. No musicians before this time had ever utilized their instruments and voices the way innovators Buddy Holly, Bill Hailey and Chuck Berry did. As this new form of music began to progress, so did its creators. Soon rock'n'rollers were singing along with the Everly Brothers, dancing to the Beatles and shouting for the Rolling Stones.

Out of this progressive era came an even more distinguishable sound - heavy metal. This new form of music depended on diving beat, heavy guitar and screaming vocals. One of the major forces of the heavy metal world at this time was the British group Deep Purple.

Today, Deep Purple's guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover have joined together with singer Joe Lynn Turner, drummer Chuck Burgi and keyboardist David Rosenthal to form a new group - Rainbow - and an even more distinct sound.

"Rainbow's music has a hard edge but it's not heavy metal, " said Turner in a recent phone interview. "It's music with integrity, a class sound instead of screaming vengeance."

The five-man band will share its music with Albuquerque rock fans Sunday when it joins Blue Oyster Cult and Dokken in concert in Tingley Coliseum. Turner said that in concert, some of Blackmore and Glover's past influences surface. "On stage we have a heavy metal-type act." Turner explained. "We're not like Journey or Foreigner. We don't just sing our songs. We're more active than that."

So far, Turner said, Rainbow's tour has been a success. "We've scored well with Blue Oyster Cult fans. It's a big double bill and we don't feel intimidated or awkward playing with such a popular band." Turner said fans can anticipate solo sections, a basic rock format and audience participation at Sunday night's concert. "It's a full gamut of real playing and rocking and rolling that balances out and seems to work," he said.

The original Rainbow was formed in 1975 when Blackmore left Deep Purple to pursue a solo career. Since then, the band has released eight albums and gone through numerous member changes.

Today's Rainbow, according to Turner, has the best lineup of musicians ever. "We all feel good about the band now." he said. He lends the band's recent success to the past experience each musician has had working with other bands. "Influence from past experience is seasoning for a band. It makes for a better team, a more rounded musician, a better sound," he said.

With the recent release of Rainbow's album, Bent Out of Shape, the band is beginning to get recognition in the United States. Turner accredits this to the new, younger crowd to which the group now plays. He said Rainbow is in an embryo stage. "We're a new band as far as people are concerned. We have a new sound."

This has not been the case in Europe and Japan, however, he said, Rainbow has a strong following across the oceans, especially in Great Britain, where Blackmore and Glover have their roots. Turner added that Deep Purple had a strong following in Europe and, therefore, when Rainbow's sound reflected that of the heavy metal band, they gained a lot of loyal fans.

Although Rainbow no longer plays in the same vein as Deep Purple, Turner admitted that there are similarities between the two bands. "There's an influence there - a blues base - but it's not the same formula," he said.

Because Turner and his group feel the U.S. music market is more commercial than in other countries, Rainbow's sound has leaned more in that direction. Turner called their music "cooperate rock." An example of the group's willingness to win American fans can be seen in the video of its new song, "Street of Dreams,"

"To exist in this market you have to do videos," Turner said. But he added that the band's first emphasis is on recording music. "It's important to hear a song on the radio because it has a different meaning for each listener," he said, and videos often take that away.

Another chance that has occurred with the new Rainbow is the attention it's now giving to lyrics. Turner, who co-writes the group's songs with Blackmore, is a strong believer in meaningful songs. "Lyrics are very important. Trite junk doesn't mean anything. I want to tell some sort of story through my songs."

Johanna King, New Mexico Daily Lobo - November 18,1983