A Conversation With Vocalist Doogie White

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Doogie White has made a career of combining his powerful, unique voice with some of the greatest musicians in rock history. Doogie has fronted Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Michael Schenker’s MSG and Schenker Fest, and now, Alcatrazz. White recently re-released his only solo record, As Yet Untitled, and took some time to talk about the record and his amazing career.

Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Doogie White –

On deciding to re-release As Yet Untitled and the bonus material – I got the rights to the album back and the Covid pandemic. So all my work for the year with Michael Schenker was canceled. I was approached by a record company who said they would like to release it, did I have any bonus tracks? I had two tracks left over from the album the last time, because I always record more than I need, and then we can see how the balance is going to go. So I had my friend Pontus Norgren from HammerFall remastered for me and remix the two bonus tracks. It turns out that the guy who runs the record company, Brian Adams, strangely, not that one, a different guy, a Scottish lad I’ve known and I’ve known for a long time. I hadn’t seen him for years, but back in the late the very late 90s, the early 2000s, there was a whole bunch of us all got together and we did tribute albums to different bands. It was very popular. I mean, a lot of people were doing them back then. So we did them from everybody from Whitesnake through UFO to Nazareth to the Rolling Stones. It turns out that he owns those recordings. So he said, “Why don’t I take some of the tracks that you did on these albums and we’ll put them together on one CD and make that a bonus CD just to boost up the album?” I said, “Why not?” So it came up with a CD. I’s quite interesting actually because there’s a lot of songs that I don’t remember recording. Because it was very much you got a phone call on Friday to say, “Can you come in on Monday and record three Nazareth songs? I want you to do this one, this one, and this one”. So you learned them over the weekend and on Monday morning, started at midday and left at four o’clock in the afternoon. That was the last you ever saw of them. There was a whole bunch of us doing it like that. Paul Di’Anno was involved and I think Gary Bardensung some, we had with Neil Murry from Whitesnake and Black Sabbath playing bass, Bernie Shaw from Uriah Heep, it was just a whole bunch. So that was really the reason why we did it. We changed the front sleeve a wee bit as well just to differentiate it from the original release. So that was it. I actually time to deal with it and get it out because there were no live shows. 1:10

On the two original bonus tracks – Well, “Dishing The Dirt” was left off to keep the peace because we had it because I wrote the song with Mick Tucker (Tank), and Mick already had a song on the album with me. I had written a couple of songs with someone else, and only one of the songs was getting on it. So I had to do a balance just to keep if people are going to be good enough to write with me and to give of their time and energy, then it’s only polite that (I use the track). “Keeping the peace” was probably the wrong phrase. It was doing the right thing. “Small Town Saturday Night” was a tune I wrote a long time ago, a sort of reminiscence of the times when I used to go to the local rock club in the town where I lived. It had live bands on the weekends, but when it didn’t have live bands they had a rock disco if you like, and we all just used to sit there and get drunk and talk about what it would be like to leave. It’s just a true story. I mean, it was just a small town on a Saturday night. I found that when I went back that I remember walking into my old local bar and it was just the same guys sitting on the same barstool, talking the same stories. I suppose that’s true everywhere you go. If you’ve been away for a while, you come back and you expect dramatic changes and there really isn’t. So some of it’s a love song to the bar and all those friends back there. 4:33

“Come Taste The Band”

On his writing process –Someone will send me a piece of music and hopefully not overproduced so that I can get to weave the melodies in and around about what the riffs are and what the the chord changes are. So it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Blackmore album or Schenker album or a solo album, I approach them all as it’s as if it’s the first album I’ve ever done, with the enthusiasm and the joy, because it’s not it’s not a chore. Sometimes songs are difficult to write and then some of them just come so quickly. The first song on (As Yet Untitled), is called “Come Taste The Band” Alex Dixon and I wrote that and two others and recorded it in an afternoon, so it was it was a very fast process. I used it to I used it to start a solo album because I wrote it for my audition tape for Ritchie Blackmore…Ritchie phoned me up and asked me to send him something new because he hadn’t had any material from me for a few years, so he wanted to hear something new. So I didn’t have anything. I was working as a session singer for a two publishing houses in London, singing other people’s songs to pitch to Cher or Tom Jones or whoever it happened to be. So I was doing their tunes, and it was all inappropriate for somebody like Ritchie to hear. So when he called me on the Saturday night, Alex and I got to work on the Monday morning and wrote “Come Taste The Band” in the style of Mark IV. I did the Glenn Hughes part and the David Coverdale parts and he played guitar like Tommy Bolan, because he’s a big Tommy Bolan fan. So when it came to doing the album, I was going to have my brother sing on it because my brother and I used to sing the Coverdale/Hughes parts but he wouldn’t do it. So I had Patti Russo, who was Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” girl for many, many years and was a good friend of mine. She came over and blasted out in one take and just sang all those parts. Then I thought, “Hmm, let’s take it to another extreme”. So I phoned Tony Carey and Tony was the keyboard player on Rainbow Rising, and I phoned Tony up and said, “Listen, can you do me an intro for this tune?” And he did. He played the keyboards all the way through it. It turned out great. It’s a fun track to open the album. It gets that kind of Rainbow/Purple family thing out of the way, which opens the door to do anything else.7:07

“Time Machine”

On joining Rainbow – When I went over to audition for Ritchie, I had a week auditioning with them. I was only supposed to be there three days, but we had so much fun in Long Island in a place called Ronkonkoma. He said, “I’m kind of tired of the Rainbow name, I might call it Rainbow Moon because Moon’s my grandmother’s maiden name”. I was like, “OK”. So the tapes I have, because I taped some of the rehearsals we did from from those days, they have Rainbow Moon written on them. I mean as far as I know, it was always going to be a Rainbow album (as opposed to a Blackmore solo record), but what he did was to differentiate it from anybody else’s Rainbow he called it Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow again. 11:01

“This Flight Tonight”

On working with Yngwie Malmsteen -I knew from the very start up exactly how this was going to go. He said, “Look, I’m going to write absolutely everything and you will just sing what I gave you”, and I said, “OK”, because because he’s an interesting character, I like him. I got on well with him, I enjoyed his company and we had some good laughs together. So it wasn’t really a problem for me because I had another band with Steen Mogensen, who was in a band called Royal Hunt, and the band was called Cornerstone. So I was getting my writing chops and recording my work with Steen through Cornerstone. That was running in parallel with with Yngwie. So it wasn’t a hassle for me. I knew what my role was and I was happy to accept that. I think once you accept that position, you can’t go in and start to demand changes. He decided at that point that that was going to be writing everything. I had to draw the line with him when he singing the melodies, because he would sing me the melodies. I said, “Dont, play on the guitar because I’ll be able to follow”, because his voice wanders. So he would play on the guitar. So he’d be playing da da da da da da (shredding noises) I’m going, “What would I sing over the (shredding)?” That was the only thing that we ever really discussed. I knew what I was being paid to do it and I agreed to do it under those circumstances. So I have no arguments for that at all. 12:24

“The Clairvoyant”

On playing with Michael Schenker –I enjoyed it. I was nine years with Schenker from when we started. I got invited to audition for him and when I went along to a show that he was doing and Chris Glenn, who was the bass player in the band at the time, invited me along and Michael heard me sing and invited me down to write and rehearse. So we did that. What he did was, the first album he said to me I was sitting the sitting in an airport coming home and he said to me, “You and I should really write an album together”, nd I said, “OK”. I had just started getting building work done in my house and the songs started coming in and it was January and the snow was coming down and I had builders knocking down walls and I had to write 10 songs in 12 days for Schenker. They were coming in fast. Bang, bang, bang. I was just sitting there and I managed to get 10 of them done or 11 of them done. I had an idea for one of them, but I wasn’t sure about it. I went over and Michael said, “Just sing what you’ve got”. I sang it, and he went, “That’s exactly what I was looking for”. It was very easy to work with Michael. Out of the three of them, he was, when it came to the live situation, he was the hardest taskmaster because it’s all very disciplined. With Ritchie and Yngwie, there was a lot of going off to other places and then getting a hand signal and he would come back in again. With Michael, if we started at eight o’clock and it was a one hour & fifty show it was a one hour & fifty show. It never went one hour & fifty one, one hour & fifty two. It was a different learning experience for me because of the discipline that was involved in it, so that was a good lesson for me to learn. When we all got together, Michael did the first Schenker Fest stuff without me. They played some big shows in Japan, some festivals in Europe. They phoned me up and said, “Listen, I want to do a Schenker Fest album. Will you help me write it?” I said, “Yeah, of course”. So we got together and everybody got songs to write, we didn’t get to choose, we were just handed songs that Michael thought we could write to. So that’s what we did. We all go on like a house on fire. It was really interesting. It was very brave of Schenker to do that because it could have been a car crash. But the lucky thing is that we know whose name is on the ticket. I mean, that’s always my thing. So oddly, I just leave my ego in a wee bag back with my wife at home and I’ll be back in two months. Because it’s not me that selling the tickets and the four singers all on really well together, with(Graham) Bonnet and with (Robin) McAuly and we had Gary Barden as well and myself. We all just got on like a house on fire and we helped each other out. Sometimes, someone was not quite the way they were supposed to be or I wasn’t quite the way I was supposed to be. But everybody was there giving you your backing every night. It was a long show It was three hours long, 32 songs every night. So it was it was a workout, but it was fun. 15:52

“Turn of the Wheel”

On joining Alcatrazz – When Alcatrazz came over to tour over here in the UK with Joe Stump asthe guitar player, they came up to Edinburgh and I got a phone call saying would I go for a walk with Graham and buy him a coffee and sit and chat. Now, I’ve been friends with Graham for 20 years. He could have called me himself. So I went down and I met them and him and I went and walked around the the the old ruins of Edinburgh, and he said to me, ” I’m not enjoying this. I don’t like this music. I didn’t like it when I was doing it with Yngwie, I didn’t like it when I was doing it with Vai and I don’t like it now”. I said, “What so you want to do?” And he said, “I want to go back to the Graham Bonnet Band where I can at least do songs”. It seems to be the Guitar Hero thing that he doesn’t particularly enjoy. His last Graham Bonnet band albums are really good. I said, “Man, you are a legend, you are still singing great. You are in your early 70s. Go do you want to do go to something that makes you happy”. The next thing I know, I got a phone call from Alcatrazz saying, “Graham’s quit the band, we’ve got a tour lined up, would you would you come in and fill in for him?” The tour dates I knew were going to be canceled anyway because of the pandemic and I said, “Well, listen, I don’t want to just do that. If he’s gone and he’s really gone, let’s write an album together. So I need to backtrack a bit. I had just signed with Frontier’s records and I was working on an album with them called Long Shadows Dawn is the project name. The album is called Isle of Wrath with another Swedish guitar player, a great player called Emile Norbeck. I was just finishing that up when I got a phone call from the Alcatrazz guys. So I was kind of doubling over just as I was coming to the end of Long Shadows Dawn, going into Alcatrazz. Since August last year I’ve written two albums plus sundry other little bits, and they’re both really good albums. It’s difficult to kind of separate them. I hope I got a chance to tour with both with both bands. 20:15

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