CANADIAN KEYBOARDIST DAVID STONE JOINED RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW IN 1977 TO REPLACE TONY CAREY. DAVID PLAYED ON THE SUCCESFULL ‘LONG LIVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL’-ALBUM AND THE SUBSEQUENT TOUR. AFTER LEAVING RAINBOW HE DID A LOT OF SESSION WORK. THEN IT WENT QUIET FOR A VERY LONG TIME UNTIL 2020 WHEN JOINING THE MONTREAL-BASED HARD ROCK/PROGRESSIVE METAL BAND ARAPACIS FOR THE ALBUM ‘PARADOX OF DENIAL’. MUSICOPHILIA.NL CONTACTED DAVID FOR A LOOK BACK AT HIS RAINBOW-PERIOD AND FURTHER.
As a Rainbow-fan it’s an privilege to ask you some questions. Don Airey and Doogie White already preceded you a couple of years ago. First of all: how are you?
“I am 67 years old and my health is remarkably well. I’m a happy man relatively speaking and thanks for asking.”
At what age and how did you started playing music?
“My father was a world-class classical pianist, I started at the Royal Conservatory of music when I was five years old.”
In what kind of bands or what sort of music did you play before you joined Rainbow?
“By the time I joined Rainbow, I actually moved on musically to more modern approaches. I’ve always liked 60s and 70s Motown, and Stevie Wonder was always a hero to me. I loved bands from the progressive rock catagory like Genesis, Kansas, and especially Yes. Rainbow felt like a bit of a throwback.”
How did you and up with Rainbow and what do you remember about the rehearsals? It must have been a big boys game.
“I was barely 24 years old, but I was doing well in Canada. An album I recorded in Canada got airplay in Los Angeles: ‘Symphonic Slam’ by Symphonic Slam.“
“According to Colin Hart, who was Rainbow’s manager at that time, Ritchie Blackmore heard my playing on the radio and asked that they should search me out. I got a phone call from the studio I was working, saying that Colin was looking for me. He offered to fly me down with a return first class ticket to come for an audition. It all started like that.”
The rumour has it that you and Tony Carey, who left Rainbow after the ‘Rising’-album and tour, both played keyboard on the ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’-album. What is the truth behind it all?
“I’m not quite sure about that. The keyboards other than on ‘Gates Of Babylon’ were a minor afterthought. But I especially enjoyed my time in France recording the backing tracks and overdubs for that epic. Producer Martin Birch, drummer Cozy Powell and I spent a great week. It was so creative. I just wish we had taken the same approach to more of the music, obviously.”
I can imagine that it must be the time of your life to play in Blackmore’s ‘best of the best’-band. Did you left Rainbow straight after the 1977 tour or was it later? And why did you left or did you have to leave?
“I did not leave Rainbow untill the late fall of 1978. Singer Ronnie James Dio was gone, bassit Bob Daisley was gone, Cozy Powell went to Clive Chaman. It was not gelling at all, it was very depressing. I actually would hang out with Ronnie and play his acoustic guitar. I missed Ronnie and his wife Wendy. Then I got a great offer from Canada to record and join a legendary band that played much more progressive music. So I left and no one seem to care anyway.”
What’s the most important thing you learned in playing with Ritchie Blackmore?
“Ritchie was somehow spontaneous. I would have to be ready to take a solo literally by myself. Sometimes to start a song, sometimes in the middle of one. I had to be ready to go at a moments notice. That’s what I learned.”
What did you do after Rainbow?
“I recorded with Max Webster on his ‘Universal Juveniles’-album. I recorded with the late B.B. Gabor, Jerry Doucette, and Prism. Then I walked away and moved to Vancouver Island and had a son. I stayed below the radar. Until about seven years ago, when I decided to give it another shot.“
What made you decide to give it another shot?
“Seven years ago I quit drinking and doing drugs. I recorded and toured the United States for four years with Hambone Wilson. Now I’ve been working under my own name in Vancouver, recording and gigging in a great studio called Pineapple Sound. They have a Steinway model D grand piano and a beautiful Hammond setup that I own along with an excellent Nord and Yamaha motif, and the VST library. I am extremely happy and comfortable in my later years. Wish me luck, Michel.”
Of course I do. Or else I wouldn’t be a true Rainbow-fan, wouldn’t I? So how do you look back at your career?
“Looking back there are a few tracks that I have done that I am very proud of. On ‘Universal Juveniles’-album it’s the track ‘In The World Of Giants’ where I played with Kim Mitchell. The whole album ‘Symphonic Slam’ by Symphonic Slam is fantastic. I adore ‘Hunger Poverty Misery’ by B.B. Gabor also. For all those tracks I wrote the music and was allowed to have the same creative freedom like I had on Rainbow’s ‘Gates Of Babylon’. When I listen too close to the edge, I still hear genius. It’s just one man’s opinion. Ha!Ha!Ha!”
Thanks for your time and answers, mr. Stone.
“It’s nice that you care and I hope that it clears some stuff up to you. It’s my pleasure, and long live rock ‘n’ roll.”