Doogie White, best known as vocalist with Rainbow and The Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer in a band?
I have always enjoyed singing from when I was a wee lad. Good voices always got me but I found my joy in rock music when I heard Come Taste the Band. But at 15 the voice is still finding its way after having broken.
I think I sing because I was too busy climbing trees and crashing bikes or playing football to learn guitar.
I always forget to mention John Sloman and I loved what he could do. Overland, Stevie Doherty, there were loads who influenced me
Apart from Michael Schenker and Rainbow, have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any other notable bands?
I auditioned twice for Iron Maiden when Bruce left in ‘93. I was first and last in. I never mentioned it, as I never got the gig, but Steve Harris mentioned me in a Maiden book and I have been answering questions about it ever since. I recently found my Foreigner audition tape, three songs they sent out with just Lou’s lead vocals missing. It’s okay, I never got a call and Kelly does an amazing job. I couldn’t do Nazareth, as a Scotsman it was beyond me mentally, Dan was a national treasure. There are others who asked but they are friends and I value their friendship more than I wanted the gig.
You have appeared on a great number of albums over the years. Do you have a favourite and why?
It’s hard to say. Stranger in Us All was the most important, and then it’s usually the most recent one which in this case is Alcatrazz’s Take no Prisoners.
How was it for you singing alongside Graham Bonnet, Rob McAuley and Gary Barden in Michael Schenker Fest?
When Michael put Temple of Rock on hold he said he was going to work with the MSG singers. They did some big shows in Japan and other places. After he signed with a new record company he asked me if I would come in and write with him and sing in the line-up. We had a great time and we all got along famously. I guess we all just left our egos at home as one should when it’s not your name on the billboard. We backed each other up and I named us the “Schenketts”. We were men of a certain age who lunched.
Working alongside Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow, how was it for you and did you want it to continue beyond your original tenure?
For me it was the best of times. We did spend a lot of time together as a band, rehearsals, writing, recording touring. We got on well, worked well, and played magically. But it’s Ritchie. You know your time is limited so one has to be the best possible always. I was disappointed not to do another album but his heart was elsewhere. I gave him 6 songs at what was our last show. I gave the 6 to Steen when the Rainbow faded away. He tore my half-arsed ideas apart used his skills as a writer and producer and added them into something very special and that was “Human Stain”.
Do you have any plans to release another solo album?
I only do solo albums when I have nothing else to do. So I have only done one, ‘As Yet Untitled’. I treat every album I work on as my own as I put in as much work to the songs as ever. I did a great album with Emil Norberg under the name Long Shadows Dawn during lock down. I have been checking though my hard drives recently and I have about 250 songs. There’s acoustic, piano, ballads, AOR, dark and heavy and others more eclectic. So maybe one day I will have a go at something different. But as Ronnie Dio said to me years ago, “Once you’re known for this kinda music you can’t really step out of the box”.
It’s not like I am Bowie or Gabriel now is it!
You seem to hook up with eccentric guitarists, Schenker, Blackmore and Malmsteen. Is this something you enjoy and seek out or is it a challenge to yourself?
They all asked me to join. And yes it is a challenge to work with such revered and astonishing players. They all have their eccentricities but you don’t get to the top of your game by not following your own path.
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
I guess others may have allergies or rituals. I don’t do anything but sing. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I know you may not believe me, I don’t talk much. For me talking in clubs or bars or when it’s just talking to stop the noise in the head is something that ruins my voice. I did 19 shows in 21 days in 10 different countries last year. So I try to sleep, drink plenty of water, and know the songs and where to place my voice. In 2001 I had throat surgery on a ruptured vocal fold, it took 8 months to really heal. But in that I time Steen Mogensen and I wrote and recorded Human Stain by Cornerstone. Then I joined up with Yngwie. So I was really disciplined and its served me well for twenty odd years.
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
Love the shows. Gotta love it or don’t bother. Sure sometimes if you’re tired or grumpy you might feel you don’t want to be in club in a town in a country. It was tough coming back after lockdown. But when that intro music starts…BOOM!!
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
I just wait to be asked, or if I hear someone is looking. I don’t go hunting for other’s jobs. That’s just bad manners, but there are some who do that.
You appear to be very busy. What do you like to do on your downtime?
My wife always has a Doogie Do List. I work my way through that.
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your time in Rainbow or any of your other projects that could see the light of day?
Well the new Alcatrazz album “Take No Prisoners” is just out and we always over write and pick the tunes that work well together. So we have 4 from that and 4 from the previous one “V”. From Rainbow there is ‘Pagan Love Song’, ‘Wrong Side of Morning’, ‘Ask God for That’, plus 8 and 16 track recordings of ‘Stand and Fight’, two different versions of ‘Black Masquerade’ with different melodies and lyrics and a couple of jammed things.
Is there a chance we could see you performing in the UK again soon?
I am playing Winterstorm in Troon in November with friends. Winterstorm is a cracking festival.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you can share?
Not really. Waiting on tour dates for Alcatrazz. I am going to do some shows with Rowan Robertson (ex Dio) at the end of the year.
Interview by Stuart Dryden