Former RAINBOW singer Graham Bonnet says that "no one is happier" than he is about Ritchie Blackmore's "return to rock."
Blackmore will perform RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE material at what will probably be four shows next year in Europe. The U.K. concert will take place on Saturday, June 25 at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. The performance will be Blackmore's first U.K. rock show in over 20 years. The two concerts in Germany will take place at the Monsters Of Rock festival on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Freilichtbühne in Loreley and on June 18, 2016 at Festplatz am Viadukt in Bietigheim-Bissingen.
Blackmore will be joined by LORDS OF BLACK singer Ronnie Romero, STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert "Bob" Curiano, ex-BLACKMORE'S NIGHT).
In a new note posted on his Facebook page, Graham wrote: "I've decided to make a public statement in reference to Ritchie Blackmore's return to rock so that nothing I say can be taken out of context.
"I read a piece a few days ago that twisted my words a bit and I want to be clear….. no one is happier than I about Ritchie's return to rock. I'm excited to see the band he has chosen as he has introduced so many amazing musicians to the world and I am sure that this will be no different.
"To this day, I thank Ritchie for giving me a career in an area of music that I might otherwise have missed.
"To be clear, I would be thrilled to play with Ritchie again but in all honesty, if there were ever to be a RAINBOW reunion, the vocalist position would belong to Ronnie James Dio. Unfortunately, Ronnie left us all too soon and that is no longer possible.
"I share in Ritchie's excitement introducing a new band as I also have a new project with a great group of musicians (Conrad, Beth-Ami and Mark) that share in my vision for new music as well as my past catalog that includes RAINBOW, MSG, ALCATRAZ and my solo material. We have tours in the U.K., Australia/New Zealand and other points in Europe from January through August of 2016. In addition, my band will be releasing an album of new material as well as a bonus disk of re-recordings at the beginning of the year. I hope each and everyone of you can make it to one of our shows. I look forward to seeing all of my friends! I promise to keep it in my pants!"
In 1979, Bonnet auditioned for the frontman position in RAINBOW. With his James Dean image, the choice of Bonnet to replace Ronnie James Dio was subject to some questions. However, once the band heard Bonnet sing, they knew they had their man. With Bonnet at the mic, they recorded the "Down To Earth" LP, which became one of RAINBOW's most successful releases.
Graham moved on from RAINBOW in the early '80s to work on his solo career. He also played with MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, recorded several albums with ALCATRAZZ and had a short stint with IMPELLITTERI.