INTERVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA
Scot Doogie White is currently the singer of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force. He also has another band called Cornerstone and in addition he’s doing several projects here and there. In the past he has s been the singer of the legendary Rainbow and once he almost joined Iron Maiden and … Read the rest and learn!
Metal-Rules: This is the first time you’re at Sweden Rock Festival. Did you know anything about the festival beforehand?
Doogie White: I knew that it’s a very popular festival, I have a lot of friends who come over here every year. So to be playing here with Yngwie [Malmsteen] is going to be great.
Metal-Rules: Have you had a chance to see any other bands here?
Doogie White: I watched Kim Mitchell and would like to see Dio, but I don’t know if that’s possible as we have to fly from Copenhagen to Italy for a show tomorrow.
FURY OF YNGWIE MALMSTEEN
Metal-Rules: The new Yngwie Malmsteen album UNLEASH THE FURY I think it’s already out in Japan?
Doogie White: Yes, and for the rest of the world, the album will be released on the 4th of July, which is Independence Day [in the United States of America], and Yngwie thought that would be a good day to “unleash the fucking fury”.
Metal-Rules: I already bought the Japanese version of the album ?
Doogie White: That?s great. I actually have seen a lot of people who have bought that version. First I asked from people ?Where you have get it?? ?laughs?
Metal-Rules: Copy of mine cost something like 35 dollars or something but package and booklet are fine and usually different than on regular version. There are quite many songs on that Japanese CD. Are some of the tracks just bonus for this release or something else?
Doogie White: As far as I know there will be the same songs on all releases but to be honest I don?t know for sure because I haven?t seen the regular version yet. Actually I don?t even know if there is any extra material left from this recording session but there might be something?
Metal-Rules: Congratulations by the way, you’ve now appeared on two Yngwie albums in a row. ATTACK was your first one, how is the new one compared that one?
Doogie White: Yeah I’m a winner. Two in the row already! “laughs”. I think Yngwie was more confident in what I was capable of producing in studio and I think that this time around he wrote more for my style of singing, because he doesn’t want collaboration, I’m told what to sing and I sing it, that’s how it is. He does all the melodies and he plays them on the guitar and puts them down and then I just go in and sing it. But he gave be a little bit more license just to interpret it slightly more which is why it sounds less forced than ATTACK did, because he was obviously writing ATTACK with a definite singer in mind, when ever it was Jorn Lande or Mark Boals, where as this one seems to be more in my register, but there’s still some of that stratospheric operatic kind of thing that he likes.
Metal-Rules.com: How do you like the production of the new album overall?
Doogie White: Well I’m the wrong guy to answer for that because I mostly listen to the songs and melodies but what you think if I say that WAR TO END ALL WARS album sounds very good!? “laughs”
Metal-Rules.com “laughs” Okay. I know what you mean. There was something really wrong with the production or mixing of that album. When Yngwie was doing promo for ATTACK in Finland I asked about that from him and he said that someone really destroyed that album in the studio. But still there are some really good songs on that album too?
Doogie White: There you see I’m the wrong guy to ask about those things “laughs”. Still I must say that I really like the way how the drums sound on this new record. But really I’m not a producer type of guy. To be honest I don?t listen old Yngwie albums too much. I usually only listen to the songs which I have to learn for the tours. I don’t even listen albums I?ve done by myself. When you spend a lot of time in studio then the last thing you want to hear is your own record you know? “laughs”
Metal-Rules: About the previous singers in Yngwie’s band, is there any stuff that’s difficult for you to sing?
Doogie White: I think that they’re all very different and that’s what makes it difficult, because if you take Goran Edman, he’s not at all like Jeff Scott Soto or Mark Boals or even Graham Bonnet, the stuff with Alcatrazz. So what you try to do is learn the songs and find your own path to sing then and that takes time.
Metal-Rules: Are you allowed to change the way you sing the old songs?
Doogie White: Yeah, but I’m finding my way with them now. Obviously there’s a rhythm and a melody that go with them but you just have to try and find your way of singing them, the way that Bruce [Dickinson] sings, you know, the Paul Di’Anno stuff… or the way that Blaze sang the Bruce stuff… [laughter] You know, you can add some of your own stuff but you can’t go too far from the original stuff?
THE BLAZING MEN OF IRON
Metal-Rules: You auditioned for Iron Maiden after Bruce Dickinson left back in the early 90s. How was it?
Doogie White: Long time ago, man… 1993 I think it was, November or something, certainly coming up to christmas, because they ruined my christmas when they gave the job to Blaze [Bayley]. [laughter] But the thing is, I didn’t get the job with Maiden, and they went for a definite sound with Blaze, and if I had gotten the job I never would have gotten the gig with Rainbow. Working with [Ritchie] Blackmore was really a passion for me, it was really exciting, it didn’t go on as long as I would have wanted, but he had other plans. Had we done another album, who known what would have happened. Some of the stuff that ended up on the Cornerstone album was actually stuff that I wrote for the next Rainbow album.
Metal-Rules: Do you remember which songs you played with Maiden in the audition?
Doogie White: They had two live albums out at the time, and it was all of them… “Be Quick or Be Dead”, “From Here to Eternity”, “Can I Play with Madness”, “Iron Maiden”, “The Clairvoyant”… I did 22 songs with them, TWICE.
Metal-Rules: How much did you practice for that gig?
Doogie White: This was funny, I was gonna go to Scotland on Saturday morning and Dickie Bell who was their tour manager at the time turned up at my door on a friday night with a tape and the lyrics and said you’ll be singing at one o’clock on Monday for Iron Maiden. And that was because Blaze couldn’t make it, because Blaze was doing something else. So I went in and sang on the Monday and they felt that it was unfair that I’d had such sort notice and they though that I had done well enough to warrant another come back, so I went back and sang it again ten days later, so I was better prepared the second time than I was the first time. I knew the stuff, like you probably know “Kashmir” from Led Zeppelin but you couldn’t get up and sing it, you know.
Metal-Rules: Did they recorded those sessions?
Doogie White: Well, somebody told me they taped the second sessions, but I’ve never heard them. I don’t know if it’s just someone?s imagination or fact but that’s what I’ve heard?
Metal-Rules.com: That tape would be very interesting to hear. It would a nice part for your collection too, right? “laughs”
Doogie White: Well you do know the answer for that, right? “laughs”
FLY OVER THE RAINBOW…
Metal-Rules: You did one album STRANGER IN US ALL with Rainbow.Did you mentioned earlier that you had actually already had plans for another Rainbow album?
Doogie White: Yeah, he [Ritchie Blackmore] said to me that we’re gonna do another album, once he had finished. He was gonna do the first Blackmore’s Night album and tour with that and then at the end of 1997 going into 1998 we were gonna go back into studio and start to work again. So when we played Esbjerg on the west coast of Denmark, which was the very last show we ever played, I gave him a tape with half a dozen ideas on it, and we have never spoken since. That was it… it was over.Then some years later I gave that tape for Steen [Morgensen] and then some of those ideas were later used for Cornerstone?s ?Human Stain? album.
Metal-Rules: So after the Esbjerg show in Denmark that was it?
Doogie White: Yes, the European gigs that were announced for Eastern Europe, Greece and these kind of places, were cancelled, I don’t know why. And because it [Esbjerg] turned out to be a single show a couple of members of the band asked for more money and of course Ritchie [Blackmore] didn’t like that. You know, all those one-off shows, you get paid for the one show, but you’re away from home for a week. He told me if I didn’t like the situation I could fuck off, so I did. I just went home and phoned Carol [Stevens, Candice Night's mother and the current manager of Blackmore's Night and at the time Rainbow] and said that there are certain things we need to resolve and if I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, you can consider that my resignation, and I never heard from them again. So that’s just how that went.
Doogie live in Finland with Rainbow in 1995
Metal-Rules: Whatever happened to drummer John O’Reilly, because he played on the record, but not on the tour?
Doogie White: John had an unfortunate soccer accident. John was an american, so he wasn’t really a good football player, but he was good in goals, because he used to play american football, so he could catch a ball. But he cought it and landed and cracked a rib during rehearsals, so he had to be replaced.
Metal-Rules: Then you got ex- Rainbow drummer Chuck [Burgi] playing on tour, right?
Doogie White: Yes we had. Chuck, what a brilliant drummer.
Metal-Rules: I haven’t heard a single word about him since he left Rainbow. Do you know what he’s been up to since then?
Doogie White: Chuck left Rainbow to go and join Enrique Inglesias and he was he’s musical director for a number of years and now Chuck and Greg Smith are working on Broadway in New York in a musical dance thing that is using the music of Billy Joel, I don’t know what the show’s called, but it’s a 100$ a ticket. So Chuck’s in it, Greg’s in it, [David] Rosenthal programmed some of the keyboards and is playing in Billy Joel’s band.
TURNING A NEW CORNER…
Metal-Rules: Right now, which is your main focus, Yngwie or Cornerstone?
Doogie White: You know, because of the nature of the business now… I’m very lucky to be working with both Yngwie and Cornerstone, and I have time for both of these because I don’t write with Yngwie so it only takes me four weeks to record the album and then I’ll have five months off, I don’t do any promotion or interviews for the album, I get a setlist of songs that I’ve got to learn, I spend two weeks learning then and then I go to rehearsals for a week and then I’m on the road for two months and then I’m back home. What am I gonna do? I start writing Cornerstone songs or work on another project, so there’s plenty of room for everything. In this business, unless you are Yngwie or unless you are Ritchie Blackmore or Sammy Hagar or whatever, unless you have that sort of solid fanbase of people following you that are gonna buy your records, you need to have more than one thing on the go. And it’s not because your showing any less interest or respect or concern for anything… shit man, I can’t sit around for six months and not do anything, you known go and play golf with whoever or tennis with Yngwie, I don’t have the luxury to do that, I like to work.
Metal-Rules: The Cornerstone guys live closeby in Denmark, are you going to see any of them while you’re here now?
Doogie White: I had a day off in Copenhagen last week and we went down to the studio and put down vocals for three tracks, because we want to have a new album ready for March or April next year. We’re up to about nine songs now, we want to get 15 or 16 and just get the best 12. We also have a live album coming out from the tour that we did in January/February this year. It will be the complete [live] set plus some bonus DVD footage, which I haven’t seen yet. The artwork is very good too.
SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
Metal-Rules: There’s also another DVD coming out with you on it, the ‘M3 – Classic Whitesnake’ thing.
Doogie White: The M3 thing, I haven’t seen that either. That was held up because Bernie [Marsden] and Micky [Moody] added some bonus footage, it was supposed to come out at the end of May, but I guess it’s been held up till July aswell. In February there was also the DVD ‘White Noise’ which I did in Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which was just a collection of songs I wrote with Ritchie Blackmore when I was in Rainbow plus some new things with the band Mostly Autumn. Then of course there’s the Liesegang/White album I did with Bill Liesegang. Do you need any more…? [laughter]
Metal-Rules: That album [Liesegang] really sounds like vintage Rainbow, I was amazed when I heard it.
Doogie White: What we tried to do with it… we didn’t really have a plan and we started writing in 2001, but with my schedule and Bill’s schedule it only got finished this time last year. So you get songs like ‘Snake Eyes’ which is very sort of Whitesnakey or Rainbowesque thing, it’s called ‘Snake Eyes’ because it’s got a lot of those double entendre lyrics that [David] Coverdale likes so much. We did the thing is sections, maybe like three songs at a time, and that’s why it’s a very definite sounding album.
Metal-Rules: For me it’s sounds like a kind of ’70s album?
Doogie White: Yeah, but there’s some bluesy stuff and also stuff like ‘The Ballad of Babel John’ which is not a ballad at all, and ‘New Addiction’ which is more Garbage than Garbage are doing nowadays. It’s a good mix, but it has those classic rock nods that people will expect from me.
Metal-Rules: Have you any plans to ever play those songs live?
Doogie White: We’ve been invited to Vienna to do some stuff some time in December, but just acoustically, so that’ll be interesting. I really don?t know how it?s gonna work when we don?t have a keyboard player or another guitar player it?s going to be just Bill and me. We might to do something more in the future but it?s up to my schedule with Yngwie and at the moment I don?t know too much about his plans for the rest of the year.
Metal-Rules: What the situation with you and Sack Trick? Have you already finished that KISS covers album SHEEP IN KISS MAKEUP?
Doogie White: Well, the Kiss covers album is done, it’s out, they actually have a label for it and it’s really very good!
Metal-Rules: I got some promotional copies of that album from Chris [Dale] some years ago and it sounded really weird ?laughs? but very interesting. There was only four tracks on that CD because those were the only finished tracks back then so this album has taken quite some time to get finished?
Doogie White: Well that?s because everybody in that band has so many other things going on all the time you know? Sack Trick has always been a labour of love for Chris and then Alex [Dickson] who did mixing and production for that album, if he was away two months or something then nothing happens during that period but I?m glad it?s finally ready and it sounds completely crazy as Sack Trick always does “laughs”
Metal-Rules: There are some really obscure versions like that THE ELDER -medley which actually is a medley of all songs from THE ELDER album “laughs”
Doogie White: Actually I did the vocals for THE ELDER something like 2 or 3 years ago. On one part, which is “Just A Boy”, I scream and growl like a maniac it?s total craziness. Whenever they come up with a mad scheme and call me and I’m available, then of course we’ll do it.
Metal-Rules.com: How often you do something together with Sack Trick? Because I remember when I spoke with Chris and he then said that sometimes you do a tour, sometimes you do a new record sometimes you might not to do anything in years?
Doogie White: That’s right. I’ll show up when they give me a call and I have time to do something with them. I did the vocals for THE ELDER something like two and a half years ago and that’s the way how Sack Trick works “laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Chris also mentioned that there are possible plans for Sack Trick DVD at some point. So you know about that?
Doogie White: Well I don’t know for sure. You know, Chris is a kind of person who might do whatever comes in his mind so something might come out or then not, probably there will be something but what it will include, I have no idea?
Metal-Rules: Ok. Then tell us a little about the Chain project?
Doogie White: That again was a long time ago aswell. That was inbetween Midnight Blue and Rainbow. We would work during the week writing songs and then we’d record them at the weekend. That’s why that album is also very varied. Lyrically I think it’s probably the best that I’ve done, there was a lot of… “medication” going on. I like the lyrics, but I don’t think the production is that great, but it was recorded on an 8-track reel-to-reel and it was only supposed to be a demo, but the Japanese absolutely loved it and that’s how it came to be released.
Metal-Rules: Actually it?s not a bad album after all in my opinion?
Doogie White: It’s an interesting album I agree. There are some really good songs on it and one of those was called “Single Life” and then there was another called “Streets Cry Freedom” which had some really weird lyrics on it “laughs”
Metal-Rules: Besides all the bands and projects you have running all the time do you still have plans to actually release a solo album someday?
Doogie White: You know, I’ve recorded nine song for a solo album and the guy that was engineering it for me run away to Germany, he split with his girlfriend… let me just explain this to you. I spent three months doing this shit with this guy and it’s all done with ProTools and he didn’t finalize the mixes, he fucked off to Germany, I’ve never seen him since and I can’t finalize it and sitting on nine tracks, I mean I have the tapes, but he never labeled anything so I have like 96 disks that are all over the place that are going to cost as much money just to look through and edit as it would to just go back in and record it again. So he’s not my favorite person at the moment.
Metal-Rules.com: What a great guy he was then “laughs”
Doogie White: Really nice guy?
Metal-Rules.com: Do you still that it (solo) album will be released someday?
Doogie White: Well I’ve got Liesegang album out, new Malmsteen coming, Cornerstone album came out in spring and we are starting to work the next one soon then I have M3 DVD coming soon and then i have Sack Trick and the list goes on and on. I think that’s enough for now but someday a solo album will see a light of day for sure.
Metal-Rules: How did you end up doing the song on the Praying Mantis album THE JOURNEY GOES ON?
Doogie White: Well, I sang with Praying Mantis on a tour in 1990 in Japan, the singer that they had at the time, was another scottish lad and he got a job in the West End singing in a musical theatre, so they didn’t have anybody, so I had to learn 17 songs like in 11 days and went over and toured with them. And then when the last singer left, they phoned me up and said I’d do it because I just wanted to sing on the same album as John Sloman because he’s a hero of mine, he’s great.
Metal-Rules: Well, I guess we’ve taken enough of your time. Thanx and have a good gig with Yngwie today !
Doogie White: Listen, it’s been a pleasure, man.