Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
It takes a special talent to be asked to sing with not one, not two but three of the most iconic guitarists of the past few decades but when Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker and Yngwie Malmsteen were seeking a new frontman there was only one person to call: Doogie White.
Widely considered one of the best singers in the business, his peerless vocals have appeared on the recordings of a diverse range of artists and his solo material much feted.
A powerhouse onstage, his commanding presence and range has seen the easy going Scottish singer tread the boards at venue all over the globe, sharing stages with some of the best in the business, his CV a who’s who of the cream of rock. A random dip into his discography will unearth a range and vocal power that dazes, bringing his own fireworks to the party and speaks of a seasoned pro who has the chops and experience to hold his own in any company.
We caught up with the much in demand singer as he keeps himself busy at home, working on different projects until the storm passes.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNIhWE1NiRk&w=560&h=315]
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
All is well here. I live in Edinburgh now and it is a fascinating and beautiful city. Life is never dull but is slightly different and my cooking has improved a wee bit.
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
Well I am taking a break from decorating the bathroom to do this interview. Ceiling painting in NOT for the faint hearted. I have just signed a 3-album deal and am busy writing and demoing. 7 songs so far, 4/5 to go.
My solo album “AS YET UNTITLED” is being re-released with a couple of bonus tracks and an extra bonus CD of covers I did ranging from Maiden to T Rex.
It’s the live work I miss. I do love being on the road and getting to see places I have never been or re-visiting places I have. This is the longest time in 20 odd years I have not been flying somewhere to do a show. So, while COVID19 may wipe out civilization, the planet will be saved for the next creatures to crawl out of the sea.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJy0YAMwBKA&w=560&h=315]
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
I have “gone to” a couple of online shows. Larkin Poe who I have admired for a while. I did a festival with them last year in Notodden, Norway. Also, Lera Lynn who was awesome on Jool’s show a few years back.
Very interesting songs and style. Avatarium from Sweden. I have been a fan for a while now. They make a great big noise with wonderful melodies and storytelling lyrics. They were kinda the inspiration lyric wise for The Girl with the Stars in Her Eyes” that was on the 1st Schenker Fest album “Resurrection”. Waiting on DAWES to announce a show.
I recorded 3 or 4 songs for those multiple player videos that everyone seems to be doing. That’s been fun. There are 3 videos still to be edited and then you can enjoy them.
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
That changed a long time ago with Logic, Protools and the like. The days of bands going in and jamming it out have been and gone, for me at least, since the mid 90’s. But it has opened doors to work with talented musicians from far and wide.
That makes it challenging, exciting and interesting. But I loved the old way of working with La Paz and later with Rainbow when we would just go into room, turn up and jam. That’s a whole different vibe and interesting arrangements happen by magic and the look in the guitarists eye.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
Sometimes. In the first month or so almost everyone had great plans for what we could all do just to have fun. I am now sitting with songs I have written with at least 4 people. But I guess it was all like the first throw of love, all exciting and plans were made and then the true nature of what was really going on hit home.
What plans have you had to change this year?
In 2018 I was away from home for 163 days working. In 2019 it was over 100. In 2020 I have done 6 shows. 2 on a big boat. 2 in Germany and 2 in Holland. So, it’s all gone for the moment.
I was supposed to have my 60th birthday in March in Japan with Schenker Fest, then touring and festivals in Europe and the USA and Canada. I had some White Noise shows booked for South America. But all that is gone.
Let’s not forget it’s not just the musicians who are suffering. There are the crew guys, the truckers, busses, lighting engineers, agents, promoters and venues. Not forgetting the long-suffering wives and partners who now have to watch us trying to find things to do. I am lucky that my wife has a weekly “Doogie Do List”
I took all my RAWK clothes and gear and put them in a cage, so I did not have to have them looking at me like a dog that needs to go for a walk. I won’t be needing them for a while and when I do, I know just where they are.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o34ooePv-E&w=560&h=315]
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas recently – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs?
Some are talking about doing 2 shows a day in the same venue in the same town to try and cover the costs of touring. But how do the band and crew travel? You can’t have social distancing on a bus, no matter how luxurious.
You can’t have it on stage unless you have a 40m stage. This will be the only time that those who watch shows through their phones live at gigs can have the last laugh. “Oh, I have a Schenker show from Chicago in 2019, wanna come to my place and watch it in my big TV.”
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
Well Spotify will still make money and pay little to the artists on their platform. People if they want can still buy albums and merch. Record companies will still pay small fees and expect “Back in Black” or “Foreigner 4” for the money. So that’s all still the same.
The live scene has changed maybe for now, maybe forever. The major bands will headline festivals and the others and there will be so, so many others that will be fighting for a spot on the “undercard.” Smaller venues, bars and the like may not make it. Where will the wealth of young talent in the music scene cut their chops? It’s kinda heart-breaking.
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
Who knows…I will have a new album out in 2021. I may get to tour it but I am not holding my breath. It’s not being negative but rather being realistic.
How can people support you during this time?
That’s very kind but there is really no need. Just look after yourselves and have respect for others. Jeez I sound like an old hippy.