Prior to his performance with MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST at the British festival Hard Rock Hell on November 8, vocalist Graham Bonnet (ALCATRAZZ, RAINBOW, GRAHAM BONNET BAND) spoke with Heavy TV. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his ongoing touring with his solo band:
Graham: "It's going very well. We're playing every shed you can imagine, every club, every festival we can do with the GRAHAM BONNET BAND, which may have a name change coming up very soon, which I won't tell you about just now... but it's doing good. We have our second album that's out, and it's doing really well. It's called 'Meanwhile, Back In The Garage', and I hope that a few folks will have a listen to it, because if they liked anything I've done in the past with ALCATRAZZ [or] with RAINBOW, they'll definitely like this. I'm proud of it. Hopefully it's more up-to-date and isn't too 1980s, but it's very hard to bring this kind of music into 2018 because it is what it is. If you go too far away from that direction, people will go, 'What the fuck is that?' You can't do rap or something. [But] I think the band I have right now is really good, and I'm really proud of them."
On striving for a more modern sound:
Graham: "It's basically within the instrumentation, if the band sounds kind of modern. That's really all I'm going for. I've always been a sucker for harmony. I always put harmony in everything... I really like unusual harmonies, sort of discordant jazz harmonies and things, to put along with hard rock stuff, because it works really well. As far as lyrics and melody goes, I think I've taken the melody lines a little bit further. The lyrics [are] always about real stuff, real life. If something happens on TV, I like to be like a reporter... always reporting, I think, is the way to go, instead of fantasy."
On bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone's role in encouraging him to start the GRAHAM BONNET BAND:
Graham: "She and I are kind of, like, together. We've been together for four years. We started the band together because she suggested that I get back on the road again not playing with pick-up bands from different countries — if I'm playing in Finland, play with a Finnish band, et cetera. To have a band that's actually there every day and knows exactly what I'm going to do — when I'm going to fart, when I'm going to throw up, whatever. It's nice to have sort of a family. We're doing good. We have a great drummer; she's a great bass player; and we have a great guitar player right now; and we have Jimmy Waldo, who's the keyboard player from ALCATRAZZ [and] who is now a member too... We almost started out doing an acoustic thing, and then someone said, 'I don't think you're going to get away with that somehow' — bass, two acoustic guitars, but still singing heavy rock stuff, but without a drummer and keyboard player. It didn't work, so we re-thunk. I had to, really. I'm proud of what's going on now. It's really good."
On who he'd love to work with:
Graham: "Jeff Lynne. I was asked to join ELO when ELO first started back in 1970-something. I went to meet up with Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. I turned the job down. They played me all these tracks, and I went, 'What the hell is that?' It was all these cellos going on. There were no songs, but I heard all the tracks. They said to me, 'Do you want the job?' I said, 'I don't know. I'm not sure.' I went back home to my girlfriend at that time. She said, 'You're going on the road? You'll meet all these girls,' blah blah blah... I didn't do it. I turned it down because of my girlfriend. Whether that was a good move at the time, I don't know. I don't know what would have happened."
On his upcoming plans:
Graham: "We're going back to Spain to do about five gigs, and then we go home to start recording another album. I have some things to do personally. I'm going to be going home and meeting a boy that is my son I've never met. He's 50. His brothers and sisters, my other kids, don't know him yet. He lives in in Canada. That's what I'll be doing when we'll have this time off. It's going to be very strange, but at the same time, very emotional. I'm really excited about it. The funny thing is, this man was a fan of RAINBOW and of ALCATRAZZ, and he didn't know I was his dad. That's the interesting part."
The GRAHAM BONNET BAND released its new album, "Meanwhile, Back In The Garage", on July 13 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc offers 13 new songs where Bonnet lays down his inimitable vocals over a selection of tunes full of great hooks and melodies. It includes a bonus live DVD captured at a "Live From Daryl's House" performance in early 2018.