Jay Nanda of Alamo True Metal conducted an interview with veteran British rock vocalist Graham Bonnet (ALCATRAZZ, RAINBOW, IMPELLITTERI) prior to his March 31 performance at Vibes Event Center in San Antonio, Texas, as part of MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how he came to join MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST:
Graham: "Well, it was basically a phone call, I think. We've done a few gigs over the past 62 years. We've played in Japan with Michael, with my band, the GRAHAM BONNET BAND. We did some gigs in Japan, so, this is kind of like, the third leg of this tour. We've been in different countries, but we've added one more singer, which is Doogie White to this ensemble. So, it's been quite an experience to kind of get all of these guys onstage, especially when we're playing smaller places. It's been a bit of, like, 'Get out of the damn way!' It's really good to have all the singers who have been on all the albums because all the albums are so different. We're all good friends, so we're having a good time, I think, on most nights. But the traveling has been somewhat grueling. As I said, this is why I'm wearing these things [points to sunglasses], I have bags under my eyes for three weeks. It's very grueling, but everybody's standing the test of time. Everybody has the cold, but it's good. As far as the audience is concerned, we all look so healthy and so happy, every time we do a gig, they'll come back and say, 'Wow, you guys were good tonight.' And it has been very good. We all carry each other. If one's a little bit sick, don't worry about it, we'll do it."
On reconciling with Schenker, who fired Bonnet from MSG (MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP) after Bonnet "exposed himself" while drunk during a 1982 concert in Sheffield, England:
Graham: "Michael got in touch with me. That's how it came about. I thought, 'Really? You want to do a gig with me? The guy that did one song onstage with you in England, took his pants…' Well, the whole thing: my pants split, my penis came out, etcetera, etcetera, I started swearing at the crowd. I said, 'You really want to work with me after all these years?' It was great fun to go onstage with him and sing the first song and get through a whole song instead of part of a song. And, he smiled across at me and I said, 'I did it! I finally did it!' He said to me after, 'We finally actually played onstage together.' I think Michael's enjoyed me being around. We kind of laugh about how things went up before. That was a long time ago. I've now been sober for about, 15 years. Michael, too. He's cleaned up. I think everybody's doing that because if we don't, we're going to die. We're not 16 years old anymore or 20 years old. You have to look after your body when you get past 194 [years old] like I am. So, we're cleaned up. That's all I can say."
On the recent passing of his former IMPELLITTERI bandmate, drummer Pat Torpey, who died at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson's disease:
Graham: "Pat was a great organizer of the band. I remember when Chris [Impellitteri] would be struggling with his arrangements and Pat would say, 'Hold on a minute! Let's edit that down a bit. Pay attention to me. Pay attention.' He was great in rehearsals. A great drummer and what a great loss. A really, really nice guy, bless his heart. We all miss him."
"Resurrection", the new album from MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST was released March 2 via Nuclear Blast. The disc, which was produced by Michael Voss-Schön, was recorded in four different locations over a five-month period and features guest appearances by METALLICA's Kirk Hammett, Wayne Findlay and Voss-Schön along with contributions from the three original MSG singers — Gary Barden, Bonnet and Robin McAuley — plus Doogie White, who plays with Michael in MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK. Also appearing on the album are musicians Steve Mann (guitars, keyboards), Ted McKenna (drums) and Chris Glen (bass).