Graham Bonnet found out later on that he lost a lot of money from playing in Rainbow
Alcatrazz and former Rainbow lead vocalist Graham Bonnet was recently interviewed by media journalist Mark Dean for Antihero Magazine. Bonnet joined Rainbow in 1979 as Ronnie James Dio‘s replacement and he handled the lead vocals on the group’s fourth album Down To Earth, which was released in July 1979.
It was noted to Bonnet that he is still playing rock n’ roll 41 years later after the release of Down To Earth to which he replied (with slight edits): “I know. I’m stuck in that style of music. I never, ever thought I’d be in a band like Rainbow, which is basically Deep Purple-ish. Then I got a call and I was asked to come over to audition for the band. And I went over. I learnt the
song called “Mistreated.” I didn’t know Rainbow from… I didn’t know who the hell they were, no idea, sounds like a punk group, Rainbow.
So anyway, I did the audition and they gave me the job basically that very day I went over and sang for them. I was very happy that it did happen because it changed my life completely. I had a new look at some different kind of music that I’d never played before, never dreamed of playing before. Rock songs and stuff when I was a kid in my band because like you do when you’re a kid, you play in pubs and do other stuff. That’s what I was doing, so I knew what to do, I think. But I learned a lot from Roger and from everybody in that band because the musicianship was just incredible. I just stood back in amazement when they started to play this “Mistreated” song. It was just wow. The sound was just incredible and the keyboard player, Don, what an amazing player. Ritchie, say no more, Roger, fucking great bass player, and of course, Cozy Powell. That was the best band I’ve ever seen in rehearsal. At that time I was just blown away. So I had to take the job even though I thought I was wrong
I went back home to London. At that time, that’s where I was living. I had to say to my manager, “I’m not right for this, these guys have got long hair and spandex and whatever, I look totally wrong. But they’ve given me the job, what do I do?” He said “You better do it because I think it would be good for you..” Because I found out later I lost a lot of fucking money from playing in that band. I didn’t see very much at all. When I spoke to Ronnie, he asked me if I was paid anything from Rainbow like at the end of the year. I said “No, I didn’t.” Sad. ”I was really ripped off.” I said I think that’s what happened to me. I don’t like telling tales out of school and all that, but it’s just very, very disappointing and one of the reasons I left the band. I just thought, hang on, something’s wrong here.”
In terms of the most important life lesson that he learned during his music career, Bonnet advised:
“In one sense, don’t trust anybody and never be a friend of your manager, that’s another thing. Never make a friend of anybody who’s into those circles because they will let you down. That’s said about Ronnie and me with the Rainbow thing. I believed every fucking word they said to me. That is one of the main things. If you go into the music business now I think the music business is pretty dead at the moment because everybody’s not doing anything. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be before we actually are able to play live anywhere.
I would say to any kid really think about it. I know everybody likes to sing and play guitar and all that stuff, but it’s a dangerous rip-off world and you’ll be ripped off royally like I was from the age of 18, when I was with the management organisation years ago. I was promised everything I wanted and kept completely in the dark. Never asked me how much did I make this year? Oh, the song at number three in the chart, what do we get from that? What did we earn from that? Literally nothing.
My cousin and I were in the Marbles back in 1958. We were so green, it was sad because you had two young boys being taken for a freaking ride. So that’s what I can say, be very, very careful. There are lots of lying, good actors out there who pretend to be what they’re really not. I’ve met millions of them over the years. So beware!”
You can read the rest of the interview with Graham Bonnet by media journalist Mark Dean at Antihero Magazine‘s website.
Rainbow‘s “Since You’ve Been Gone” video (from Down To Earth album):