Vocalist Graham Bonnet (RAINBOW, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, ALCATRAZZ) was recently interviewed by Jason Saulnier. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the GRAHAM BONNET BAND:
Graham: “Me and [bassist] Beth-Ami [Heavenstone] started the band almost five years ago. I think the new members of the band now have really improved the band 100 percent. We now have Mark Benquechea playing drums and Jimmy Waldo from ALCATRAZZ, from my past, so it’s nice to have him in the band. Now we have a new guitar player, Kurt James, who is excellent. We just got off the road and people are just raving about him, how good a player he is. He’s a big improvement to the band, I must say. I just hope the band stays this way and we don’t have any more people leave the band or whatever. Let’s keep it this way for now, I think.”
On the group’s new album, “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage”:
Graham: “It’s important to me that every album that comes out is possibly, if I can make it, better than the one before. That’s what I aim for, but you’re never perfect. There will always be times where you say, ‘God, I wish I’d done that again,’ with vocals and whatever else. I think this one’s not bad. It’s pretty good. I’m pleased with it.”
On the album’s title:
Graham: “It’s sort of a joke in a way, because where I used to rehearse when I was a kid — you know, 14, 15 years old — was in the garage. When I was in a band when I was a teenager, everybody used to rehearse in the garage. They still do, I think, and so do we. That’s what the title is all about. ‘Meanwhile, Back In The Garage’ is a return to the garage, because that’s where I record at home.”
On the barn doors pictured on the album cover:
Graham: “That’s the real garage. That’s where I record. We were thinking, ‘Oh, let’s look around for a really nice bunch of doors for a garage. Where can we find one?’ We looked online, trying to find pictures of different garages, and then somebody said, ‘Well, let me just take a picture of the garage — the one that’s in the backyard right here?’ That’s what we did, and that’s what it is. That’s where it all happened.”
On the album’s ALCATRAZZ-influenced musical style:
Graham: “I can’t really get away from that. It’s going to be there, because I made up the songs in ALCATRAZZ, and these are my songs on these albums too, along with the help from the band. They’re always going to have my stamp on them, because I have to sing them and write the words and the melodies. It’s going to be there — whatever [happened] in the past, there’s going to be a bit of that on future albums. Hopefully, it’s a trademark.”
On how he maintains the strength of his voice:
Graham: “A lot of rehearsals before we go out [on tour], I don’t use a microphone. The band is playing, but I like to see if I can make my voice stronger after it’s been rested for a couple of weeks or whatever. It makes them laugh — ‘We can hear you above our Marshalls!’ It’s kind of funny. It sort of got stronger, and I don’t know why. I thought when you were 40 years old, I was told that that’s when your singing voice is at its best. But I found that I went through a down time at one point in my late forties [where] it wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, but now it got back up there again. All’s good.”
“Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” will be released 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.