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Non-Prog Interviews

Doogie White

Interviewed by Larry Toering
Interview with Doogie White from 2011
MSJ:

How long was the new album in the making, and how did it all come together concerning all of the musician’s parts?

I always had it in mind to do a solo album at some point but as with everything in my world, things get in the way. I recorded an album previously in 1999/2000ish but due to technical issues with the recordings it had to be scrapped. No one I knew could save the work and Steen Mogensen said, "Man, bin it and start again" Then I got involved with Cornerstone and Yngwie and that took up the best part of seven years.

With the exception of a couple of players on the album, I have worked alongside all the people and I just asked if they would like to play on the record and everyone said, “Yes.” Pontus Norgren was the obvious choice for me to produce the album and I knew he could bring it all together. Even when he had his hard drive stolen with the pre mixes I knew that all would work out. Only Blackmore said, “no.” I wanted to do a song he and I wrote that did not make it to SIUA but he could not remember it so we passed on that.

MSJ: Any plans to work in any other capacity with Tony Carey?
Well, Tony called me about a couple of shows in Russia he was going to do for the president or prime minister or something a couple years back. They fell through, but the band Over The Rainbow came out of that wee adventure as soon as Joe Lynn Turner got involved. I was not involved after that. But I just asked him if he would play on the album. He was up for it and recorded the stuff when he was in recovery from his cancer. He starts the album off very well.
MSJ: “Lonely” is one of my favorite tracks. It has a real 80s vibe to it. What was the lyrical inspiration for that track?
If I told you it would only spoil what you take from the song. I think song lyrics, unless very specific, should be left for the listener to interpret. What I can tell you is that when the music was recorded there was no guitar or keyboard solo, so I just sang over it all, as I do. I think perhaps that I referenced some stuff from the Cornell song on Casino Royale cause I am a Bond nut.(and Doctor Who)
MSJ: How about “Come Taste The Band?” I hear it was lying around for a long time. Where did that come from?
Ritchie Blackmore called me up and said he had heard some demos I had done and that he might be interested in me joining his new band. But he wanted to hear some new songs. I had been working as a session singer for various publishing and advertising companies and also for various songwriters but I had nothing that I thought represented the rock side of my voice.

I asked my flat mate Alex Dickson if he could help me out and we wrote “Come Taste The Band” and “Catz” in the same session. “Come Taste The Band” was recorded in the style of MK 4 Deep Purple, the one at the time Ritchie was not in. He got the fun out of it, of course. It’s a great song and more what people would expect from me, so I put it on first. Then all bets are off. It starts the album off very well.
MSJ:

Another killer number is “Sea Of Emotion.” Was that from a personal relationship with anyone in particular?

Another song I wrote with Alex Dickson, I think we all meet someone at certain times who just moves us. So I guess its a combination of some encounters. It’s not specific. But listening to it as I do this, I know who, where, why. I added the other parts of the tales into "Secret Jesus" and "Land of the Deceiver.” All three are one part of a larger story. Don't regret the things you have done. The regrets are the things you did not do.
MSJ: “Living On The Cheap” is a uniquely humorous tune. In fact it's just plain unique. Can you describe what inspired that track?
I had been reading David Niven's books and he and Errol Flynn were "poor" and hanging out in Cuba. It made me think of when I was touring the world first time round, staying in hotels I could not afford to eat in and in some cases not even afford a beer at the bar. So I just thought, “bloody hell, I am ‘living on the cheap in style.’” I wrote the original idea for the next Rainbow album, but it never happened. So when Paul Logue sent me an idea through, I just adapted it. Sherinian mocked as is his want but played very well on the song and added some fantastic parts.
MSJ: How did the gig with Tank come about, as that was just about the last thing I would have expected you to do?
When Ronnie went off to join up with Heaven and Hell and I was out of Malmsteen's band, Craig Goldy and I got in touch and wrote seven or eight songs. The "powers that be" said it should be a different thing, so I had to go back and find a couple of songs for the album.


Mick Tucker and I have mutual friends who suggested we work together. We wrote three or four songs and one made my solo album and one made the Tank album. Mick asked me if I was interested in doing some Tank shows - easy as that. I have taken out the punk elements and am driving it down a more rock route with Tank. The music is the same. I am just bringing my ideas melody wise to the party. Even with the earlier songs (the edgy, punky ones) I just do what I do. No one has complained. People only remember the logo.

MSJ: Demon's Eye as well, another surprise out of left field for me, and another fine choice of guys to work with, being of the Deep Purple another fine choice of guys to work with, being of the Deep Purple tribute variety, and the best out there at that. Did they approach you out of the blue, or did it happen some other way? 
When the phone rings at the weekend at 8 am, it’s usually not good news. The guys called me and said that the proposed show they had with Glenn Hughes was in trouble as Glenn was unwell and did I know any Mk3/4 songs? We played for 3 hours that night with no rehearsal. Then I was asked if they wrote some songs would I sing them. We ended up writing a whole album together. They just have a vibe and passion I like, both in interpretation and in feel. It's comfortable shoes for me and I really enjoy playing with them. I had been asked to do similar things before and since and turned them all down. But these guys really know how to pull it off.
MSJ: You have also worked with Jon Lord recently. Do you have difficulty balancing so many projects, or is there actually a lot of flex time and it just appears to be very much like multi-tasking?
There are 52 weeks a year. I like to work. I don't do all I am asked to. Learning 15 songs for two shows is tedious and takes a lot of time - time that is not paid for.


Yngwie asked me once to learn 45 songs. That's a month of unpaid work just to get up to speed.

However, at times payment can make even the most tedious of situations acceptable. I do dull stuff at times (commercials) so I can do great things at other times. I still have not learned to work smarter not harder.

Jon, of course, was wonderful to work with and to hang out with and I hope we get the chance to do it again in the near future. I know his work and love it so I can just jump in and sing my interpretation of those classics. We had words this morning.

MSJ: How do you feel now about the whole digital music landscape concerning downloads versus physical sales, not to mention all of the free downloading that seems to be hurting, rather than helping the industry at this point?
Blah blah! I don't download. I like the full package. I need the physicality of it. But we just have to accept that that is the way things are now. Brighter people than me have made the argument against it but nothing changes. Horses bolting and all that.

No one has come up with a solution to prevent it. Even when we speak out against illegal downloads the same tired arguments get trotted out. It seems to be mostly about money, "I don't have money to buy what I want" "You have enough money" Blah Blah f***in’ Blah.

But let's be honest about this. It’s theft! I would make them pay for the stuff they stole and if they can’t, then I would delete it all cancel their Internet services until they did. That would stop it overnight. Now that will surely get the masses whining.

Just like those silly buggers who, during the riots in England, picked up a TV or a pair of trainers that the rioters/looters had dropped from their greedy arms. It is still stealing. Don't get me started on bankers or MP's.
MSJ: What's your favorite James Taylor album, and do you have a particularly all time favorite song of his?
Dad Loves his Work - it came out when my heart had been broken for the first, but not last, time. As to a favourite song. I can't pick even one song. He  taps into so many emotions over all his work. When my pet died, I listened to “Mona” and cried my eyes out.
MSJ: Another favorite of yours is David Bowie, do you ever see yourself covering him, and if so, what track would you consider?
Again, staggering work. On the solo album on “Time Machine,” I threw in some backing vocals as a tribute to Bowie and on the Tank album I reference on the last song some Bowie stuff. He's always there, laughing in the wings.
MSJ: Mick Tucker is a fantastic guitarist. What's he like to work with, as opposed to some others?
Tucker is a splendid northern chap. We get on very well and he writes a mean tune and when he fires up the amps and plugs in the Gibson, he rules. Same with Cliff Evans. Two very different players from different musical backgrounds who, when they play together, gel.
MSJ: Let's pretend for a second that you get a call from from Yngwie Malmsteen one day, and he asks you to sing for him again. What would be your first reaction, and your final answer?

I think Yngwie and I took our time together as far as was possible. Let’s face it, he is an awesome player and his comparisons to Ritchie are lazy and misplaced. I learned a lot from them both. I have a great deal of love and respect for Yngwie but some things are best left alone and untouched. So in answer to your question: My first reaction would be.."mmm, What happened to the new guy you rated so highly?" and my final answer would be.."Best not to, big fella.”

MSJ: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Giving pithy answers to questions in interviews
MSJ: Anything on the horizon you want to reveal, upcoming projects or future releases to talk about?
I am working on a new Tank album. Tucker is over today and Cliff on Tuesday. Further than that I cannot say. My world is a fluid thing, I wander, searching. The search goes on. That's how it has always been and how it shall remain.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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