NEW! Doogie White (2021)
It’ll Be All White on the Night!
For those not in the know, Doogie White started his career in his native Scotland in 1984 by fronting the Scottish hard rock band La Paz, paying his dues, and making a couple of records that instantly showcased his big, powerful voice.
After auditioning for the lead vocalist slot in Iron Maiden and touring Japan in 1991 with Praying Mantis, White recorded a demo tape that eventually ended up in the hands of Ritchie Blackmore, who, in 1994, hired White to be Rainbow’s lead singer.
White remained in Rainbow until 1997 with the band releasing 1995’s Stranger in Us All album that featured Doogie as lead vocalist. A live CD/DVD, entitled Black Masquerade, recorded in 1995, was released in 2013.
White went on to join Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force in 2001 and recorded two albums (Attack!! and Unleash the Fury) before leaving the band in 2008 and joining UK metal band Tank, with whom he recorded two albums.
Doogie joined up with another legendary guitarist, Michael Schenker, in 2011 and recorded two albums under the moniker Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock.
He is currently the lead vocalist in longtime UK hard rock band, Alcatrazz, when he took over from the band’s founding singer, Graham Bonnet, in 2020.
Indeed, Alcatrazz released its first single, Turn of the Wheel, with Doogie on vocals, in June 2021 and the band has a new album, V, coming out in October.
Chatting recently with the man himself Doogie White, we talked about all his musical projects, old and new, about his time off during lockdown, and, oh yeah, penguins!
As Yet Untitled:
Your only solo album thus far, As Yet Untitled is being re-released this year as an expanded 2CD edition, complete with bonus tracks, so after nearly a decade, why was now the right time for this to happen for you? - I got the rights back and the idea just worked for me during the pandemic. The re-release of the album has been very well received in all quarters I wanted to give the listener a little view into my world.
So from the opening song to the closer it’s a journey with little nods to music that has been close to my heart since I was 15. I tried to vary the styles to keep it interesting and also because then I could experiment with my vocals.
It has all the highs and dynamics that you would expect but with a twist. I like that. It is a hard rocking classic album. I like to over record just in case when it comes to getting a running order you find one is not quite right.
Tell us more about the two bonus tracks that now complete the original album – were they also recorded back in 2011 and did you tinker with them both now before including them? - Both songs were recorded in the same sessions as the rest of the album. I like to over record because you just never know. Dishing the Dirt with Mick Tucker led to me joining TANK for 2 albums (War Machine and War Nation) it should have probably made the initial release.
Small Town Saturday Night is a homage to the old rock club and the people I spend many happy weekend with when I was younger. We dreamt of getting out and away somewhere rather than working in the Steelworks like our fathers.
Back then, was the plan always to name the album As Yet Untitled? … and did you have other titles that were also running close to being chosen at the time? - Oh yes, I had the title since I was young. I had 3 titles. Sounds and Kerrang always had a story that so and so was in the studio recording a new album as yet untitled. I thought mmm I will call my first solo album that.
The second CD here in this reissue is a solid 12-track of known rock tracks that you and your esteemed musician friends have tackled head on, so how did that all come together? - Every tribute album was done so quickly. I would get a call on a Monday asking if I wanted to sing 3 songs on a UFO, Maiden, Yes tribute and went in at lunch time on the Friday and was home by dinner time.
It was just a huge production line that actually was lots of fun and the records sounded damn good. I don’t remember doing the Stones, or Rod Stewart or Thin Lizzy and a couple of others. I had never heard them till they appeared on the second (bonus) CD!
Did it ever cross your mind to kill two birds with one stone and simply reissue the solo album with the bonus tracks separately to releasing a brand new album of rock covers? - Never crossed my mind. I think it’s a value for money package.
You are now the new lead singer of Alcatrazz, a band very famous for its original lead singer, Graham Bonnet – how did that all come about? Did you have to audition? - I did not audition. I hope they don’t live to regret THAT. I was just finishing writing and recording an album for Frontiers. The project is Long Shadows Dawn [Editor: see more on the band below] and the album is Isle of Wrath with Emil Norgren as co writer, guitarist, producer. It’s super hot and exciting.
Then Alcatrazz contacted me. Musically we hit it off right away. That’s when I knew it was gonna be great. Graham is a dear friend of mine and he was the one who asked me to meet him in Edinburgh and have a coffee where he told me he hated the music he was playing with Alcatrazz and wanted to go back to the Graham Bonnet Band where he could play music he sometimes liked.
I suggested he should do just that. “At 73 and being a legend, go out and play what you want to, maybe that will make you happy”. I did not think he would quit the band and I certainly did not think I would be asked to step up to the microphone. Life can be funny sometimes. But he and I have been friends for 20 something years and remain so.
I just watched the new video for the first single from the new album, Turn Of The Wheel, and the track most definitely has that old school Alcatrazz sound to it, albeit a little harder these days, and your vocals also have a tinge of Graham’s vocal arc to them too. Was that a purposeful thing to do on your part, to maybe accommodate your vocals, somewhat, to Graham’s for that “classic” Alcatrazz sound, perhaps? - I am glad the song and video have been positively accepted. I got some magical music from the band that allowed me just to do MY thing. I have never owned an Alcatrazz album and only know the songs I have been asked to sing live.
Indeed, has Graham given you his seal of approval for being his vocal replacement yet? - I really don’t know. Graham is a pal and I want him to be happy. I would be surprised if he did not want the same for me. We are both cool with it.
Interestingly, you once said that whilst in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow that singing the Rainbow tracks that Graham had made famous was not easy, due to his vocal range, but now you have taken over all his vocals in Alcatrazz! One assumes that as you made the Rainbow ones your own, you’ll do the same for the Alcatrazz library also, correct? - Rainbow were in Kansas and Ritchie said “I quite fancy doing All Night Long tonight” and I said “Really? We’ve never rehearsed it...” and he said “Doesn’t matter, you know it” and he started playing it. I can still hear them laughing at me trying to do it.
So I need to find a different way to approach these songs, because he’s got such a unique voice, as soon as he comes on you go “Ah, that’s Graham Bonnet”. He’s just brilliant.
I’ve sung Graham songs with Schenker and with Malmsteen, so you do find your own voice for it. There’s no point trying to replicate what Graham does, because you can’t!
Long Shadows Dawn:
Another new project for you is LSD with Emil Norberg and bears the fruit of the full-length album Isle of Wrath next month. What can you tell us about how you two initially came together and decided to write and record this new album? - The record label who have LSD and I had been dancing around each other for years. We could never agree until Emil came on the scene. He is a mighty fine writer and player and I wanted to challenge myself against a younger metal dude and see what we could come up with.
And who came up with the band name (and what were other suggestions that were in the running?) - From a very young age I had 3 titles for either bands or album. LONG SHADOWS DAWN was one of those. I just thought it would be funny to have thousands screaming out LSD LSD LSD!
The album is chock full of ‘70s and ‘80s-sounding rock epics that range from the harder edged to the more AOR tinged, but do you personally have a comfort level of rock at which to sing within? - It’s new. It’s exciting to me. So at this moment I cannot discriminate from the dark and the light. Working with Emil’s stunning music I wanted and was free to write what I needed to. There are tales of loneliness, isolation, lost love and further.
And, if I may dare ask, where exactly is this Isle of Wrath located (and is it on the UKs Green List, perhaps?!) - Isle of Wrath is where I am living in the UK. Brexit has polarized the country. It’s not good for the music industry and it has opened doors that should have remained shut.
Is Long Shadows Dawn a band that could also tour anytime soon? - The success or otherwise of the album is now, completely under the control of the record company. Emil and I have written and recorded a stunning album we are very happy with it. It’s now out of our hands.
Doogie The Juggler!:
Seriously man, being that you are in so many bands, bouncing from one gig to another (metaphorically and soon, hopefully, physically), how do you keep them all straight with which band needs what from you and so forth?! - I guess you interview lots of people. I work with Schenker or whoever for 6 months in any given year. That leaves 6 months to do other things. I do my solo band WHITE NOISE shows. I work, write, record and do other things for the other 6.
I don’t see any issue. The music industry is not what it was 20 years ago. I see what I do, in the current climate as that of an actor who may have Bond movies as his most recognizable role but works with others and puts the same passion and energy into every “Project” worked on.
I was with Ritchie for 3 years. Yngwie for 7. Schenker for 9. Tank for 4.
I really like to work and keep busy. I could just sit at home and eat fruit but why would I? There is a huge world out there and I want to play, wander and take great joy from the opportunities to play music for people who want to come and hear me sing.
Fun Five - Getting To Know Doogie:
Were you always nicknamed “Doogie” growing up, or being that your real name is Douglas, was it ever “Dougie”? - It’s Doogie because when I was doing interviews people would call me Duggy like buggy, I guess because of Douglas. So it’s Doogie, like “Don’t blame it on the sunshine, Don’t blame it ……”
During the year of Lockdown, what did you find out about yourself … and is there a new skill that you acquired? - I wrote and recorded 2 albums. I contributed to a few more. I moved house got a new rescue pet from a kill home, went back to playing tennis and golf.
Will La Paz ever record and tour again? - La Paz is now in permanent retirement. We got back together for fun and good reasons. Made some money to support a children’s charity in Mexico. All the lads have busy lives and writing and recording takes time and energy. We had fun. Nothing to prove.
Oh, and in doing research for this interview today, I noticed your website hasn’t been updated since 2013/14! Have you abandoned it altogether at this point, or is there another one being created as we speak? - It’s just another thing that slipped past me. I should get on to it sooner rather than later.
In closing, and yes, we ask all those we interview this question – as we are putting together a children’s book for charity - we here at Exclusive Magazine love penguins (the flightless bird), so we were wondering if you also did, and if you have any fun stories about either meeting one, or having a soft toy versions growing up? - When I was a child the penguins leapt out of their pen into the polar bear enclosure at Edinburgh zoo!
But that’s not for children to imagine!
However I did sing a part on an outstanding album by SACKTRICK called “Penguins on the Moon.” There we so many ridiculously talented people on the album and the story in the songs was beautifully executed.
We recorded it in the mid to late 90’s. One of the singers went on to rejoin an up and coming metal band called Iron Maiden. Well worth having a copy in your collection.
Doogie, thank you for your time here today talking with us, and if you had to leave the fans with a reason to buy your newly-expanded, 2CD solo album As Yet Untitled, what would you say to encourage them to do so? - I need new tyres for the Aston and nail clippers for the rescue pet. Please contribute to this by buying the album!
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Ritchie Blackmore & Doogie White - Acoustic
Rainbow - Still I’m Sad (Live 1995)
Michael Schenker Group / U.F.O. / Doogie White - Dr. Dr. (Live in London, 2010)
Official Frontiers Music Srl Website