Marko Syrjälä of Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with legendary hard rock singer Graham Bonnet (RAINBOW, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, ALCATRAZZ, IMPELLITTERI). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal-Rules.com: You've done recently some shows under the name ALCATRAZZ with completely new lineup and if I've understood right everybody haven't been too pleased about it… What's the situation with this case now?
Bonnet: "What happened was our old bass player and keyboard player were very angry because I didn't ask them if we should do it again. For all I knew they weren't even in the music business anymore. I hadn't heard from them for 10-15 years and I had never seen anything on any website about them and as soon as I put up this thing about reforming ALCATRAZZ…I made sure everyone knew it wasn't the same members. Everybody knew about it, I wasn't going to say it was with Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai and whoever else. So I made sure that everybody knew it was a completely different band but we played the old ALCATRAZZ music. All of a sudden I get an email from the other guys from the band that were semi-threatening saying, 'We were going to do this way before you planned it.' I told them I had seen nothing about it and nobody else knew about them starting a new ALCATRAZZ thing. So I said, 'Where? I've seen nothing about this.' They told me they had this plan and it was just complete lie. But because I did this they said they are going to get a lawyer and get every penny I had, which isn't a lot so they're welcome to it, they can take my $10. [laughs] Now they're coming out of the woodwork because they're angry with me. The band I have now with the guys from Los Angeles are a much better band, they are a better ALCATRAZZ, if there is such a thing. We made a point of calling it ALCATRAZZ Featuring Graham Bonnet, so it made it not just ALCATRAZZ. So I get a phone call from Gary Shea, the original bass player, saying 'Graham, just drop the name.' 'Why?' 'Because we were ALCATRAZZ' So they put up a video on YouTube saying they are the real ALCATRAZZ and we're just a mock ALCATRAZZ and said all these terrible things about us, just complete untruths. We did very well in Japan, we played 24 gigs and I knew it was good and the people who saw us told us it was fucking good. The Japanese fans who were expecting the old ALCTATRAZZ knew it was a different lineup and they really respected how we played and they thought it was great."
Metal-Rules.com: During all these years have you been in contact with Yngwie?
Bonnet: "Yeah about four years ago, he called me and we were going to do a show in Japan, just one show to do some songs from the album we were both on. And this was going to be for a hell of a lot of money, I mean It was like a million U.S. dollars for one show! I said, 'What?? Are you sure??' His wife, who is his kind of manager, said 'Oh, no, he doesn't need this and he doesn't need to be with your band anymore.' She said it's not enough money because he can make a million dollars for just walking down the street! [laughs] She said that, Yngwie never said that. He told me it would be fun and he wanted to do it. So that was nixed by his wife because she's on this high horse and hey, money doesn't last forever, his bills are bigger than mine. He needs, everybody needs to keep working or else you could lose everything."
Metal-Rules.com: I met him last year and I asked him about doing some shows with ALCATRAZZ again and he said that everything is possible?
Bonnet: "Exactly! I would play again with him any day. We are not enemies. We came in and met like all families do, we fight and we get fed up with each other and you see each other every day and it's like what can we do to make the day interesting, I know, let's have a fight! That's all gone now, it's water under the bridge, way yesterday. He and I can speak just like this and it's no big deal. He's got a great career for himself and he's done very well and I'm proud of it. And he deserves it because he's one of the best guitar players in the fucking world! We were very lucky to have him in our band when we formed. He has never lost it, as far as I know."
Read the entire interview at Metal-Rules.com.