Graham: It’s always great fun here. I think that Japanese fans are the best fans in the world and the most dedicated. I’ve met people on this tour that I’ve known for about 30 something years. They are a great rock n’ roll crowd and always have been. When I first came here with Rainbow in 1980, I was so surprised how into rock music they were. We were having a great time touring in the States, but the members of Rainbow said, “Wait till you get to Japan.” I couldn’t believe it. It was like Beatlemania.1 It’s a completely different world now, but those fans are still here. There are also some really young people who are enjoying the music too, so it keeps it all going. It keeps it in the family. Now, these kids are listening to Mum’s and Dad’s music. It’s always exciting here. We’re looking forward to coming back. It was a bit of a drag2 to come off stage tonight when we did because we only played 45 minutes or so. It was kind of a short set. We were ready to keep on going.
“It was like Beatlemania”
ZERO: Do you plan to come back again soon and play longer?
Graham: Oh yes! Abso-damn-lutely.3 We plan to come back again. This is a new band, so we want to get out there as much as we can. We want to go all over the place and Japan is definitely a really good place for the kind of music we play.
ZERO: How do you feel when you see the audience singing the lyrics to your songs?
Graham: Oh! It’s great. I love that. There’s nothing like4 seeing the audience sing your lyrics. I can give them the microphone and say, give me a rest.
ZERO: What song do you recommend for Japanese fans to learn English?
Graham: Hiroshima Mon Amour. It’s a good song to read. It’s one of the first lyrics I wrote for Alcatraz. It’s one of my favorite songs. It was a terrible thing that happened and I think this song tells a nice story of a terrible, terrible time. If they read this song, Japanese fans will understand how I feel about this tragedy.
“Japanese fans will understand how I feel about this tragedy”
ZERO: You recently released two songs on iTunes. Do you plan to release a full album soon? Graham: We have two tracks on iTunes now. One of them is called `The Mirror Lies.` The other one, `My Kingdom Come` was written by Russ Ballard, who wrote `Since You’ve Been Gone.` They sound pretty cool. It’s the kind of sound people would expect to come from Graham Bonnet and his new band. So, I’m very happy. We have another 9 or 10 songs that we’ll record and arrange when we get back home.
ZERO: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to become a rock star?
Graham: I think it’s much harder now and music is much more disposable now than it used to be. Unfortunately, everything has completely changed. Nobody buys CDs anymore. You can’t rely on recording so much these days. Now you have to go out there and work. That’s what everyone is doing.
I never listen to music at home. I don’t want to be influenced by something else. I want to try and create something new. That’s what kids should think about. Create something new. Don’t copy, be original. Be a Beatle. Be a Beach Boy. Be a Bob Dylan. Be completely original. That’s a hard thing to do because there’s always someone that you’ll follow the style of. I followed the Beatles. You’ve got to strive for an original idea. It’s a difficult thing to do. Try and create your own style. It’s there, but you just have to find it. Good luck.
“Don’t copy, be original”
1. “Beatlemania” refers to the extreme enthusiasm fans had for The Beatles in the 1960s.
2. “A bit of a drag” means that it was a little disappointing.
3. This is a natural way to say “Absolutely.”
4. “There’s nothing like” means that it is extremely good. It’s the best.
Graham Bonnet is an English Rock vocalist and songwriter. He has recorded and performed as a solo artist and as a member of several hard rock and heavy metal bands including Rainbow, the Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, and Impellitteri. Sometimes titled 'the most powerful voice in rock' by his fans, Bonnet is known for his powerful voice and wide vocal range. His singing has been noted as 'very loud' by both his contemporaries and himself, and he claims to be a self-taught singer with 'no discipline for lessons'.