Graham Bonnet (born 23 December 1947) is an English rock singer 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, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, and Impellitteri. He is known for his powerful singing voice but is capable of also singing soft melodies. 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'. Bonnet's visual style, considered uncharacteristic of hard rock musicians, has been described as being a cross between Don Johnson in Miami Vice and James Dean.
|Born||23 December 1947|
Skegness, Lincolnshire, England
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, harmonica|
|Associated acts||The Marbles, Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, Blackthorne, Anthem|
Bonnet was born in Skegness, England in 1947. He had his first hit single with duo the Marbles in 1968, with the single "Only One Woman" (Polydor 56 272), which reached Number 5 in the UK Singles Chart. This and its follow-up, “The Walls Fell Down,” were both written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees who had recorded in Australia with Bonnet's bandmate from the Marbles, Trevor Gordon.
Bonnet then quit to do advert jingles. He appeared in the 1974 British comedy film, Three for All as lead singer of 'Billy Beethoven', a fictional band, along with several notable UK comedy personalities and his then partner Adrienne Posta, although his character's lines were limited to only two words.
In 1977, he released an eponymous album, which was certified gold in Australia. The single, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", a cover version of the Bob Dylan song, also reached Number 3 in Australia in November 1977, and the following year the single "Warm Ride", written by the Bee Gees, a leftover from the Saturday Night Fever sessions, reached number two there in August.
In 1979, Bonnet was approached to join UK glam rock band Sweet to replace Brian Connolly. However, he was chosen by Ritchie Blackmore to replace Ronnie James Dio as the vocalist of hard rock band Rainbow. This was something of a musical departure for Bonnet, who had previously identified himself more as an R&B singer. Bonnet would later credit his time in Rainbow and his collaboration with Blackmore, in particular, as fundamentally changing his musical outlook to a more hard rock focus. He sang on the Down to Earth LP, which would become his most successful album. It spawned two hit singles in 1979 and 1980: "Since You Been Gone" and "All Night Long". During Bonnet's time in the band, Rainbow also headlined the inaugural Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park, Castle Donington.
Bonnet's time with Rainbow was short and he left to resume his solo career, releasing the Line-Up album in 1981, handled by producer John Eden. Following on from his time in Rainbow, the album had a markedly more rock-based sound than his previous solo recordings, whilst retaining some of his former R&B influences. For the recording of Line Up Bonnet enlisted several well-known rock musicians including Whitesnake guitarist Mick Moody, Whitesnake and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, Deep Purple and Whitesnake keyboard player Jon Lord, and Status Quo guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. The album reached No. 62 in the UK Albums Chart. The album's lead single, "Night Games", reached No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart, with the follow-up single, "Liar", reaching No. 51. Around this time Bonnet sang on an advertisement for Levi's jeans (the song was entitled "These Eyes"), although his version has never been released.
Tempted by an offer from ex-UFO guitarist Michael Schenker, Bonnet continued his progression to a heavier musical style and joined the Michael Schenker Group (MSG) for the Assault Attack album. However, he was fired from the group after a single concert, at Sheffield Polytechnic (now called Sheffield Hallam University), when he drunkenly exposed himself on stage.
Upon leaving MSG, Bonnet decided to form his own band, drawing inspiration from his days in Rainbow. In 1983, he co-founded Alcatrazz, with Gary Shea (bass), and Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) of the band New England, former Alice Cooper drummer Jan Uvena, and Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. The band's debut album, No Parole from Rock N' Roll, featured a distinctly heavy metal sound, with Bonnet describing the material as the heaviest that he had recorded to date. The band enjoyed moderate success in the United States, and major success in Japan.
The band released three studio albums (No Parole from Rock N' Roll, Disturbing the Peace, with guitarist Steve Vai replacing Malmsteen, and Dangerous Games with Danny Johnson on guitar). Alcatrazz also released a live album, Live Sentence, with material from Yngwie Malmsteen's period in the band. For the Dangerous Games LP, Alcatrazz recorded a remake of Bonnet's hit song "Only One Woman" from his first band The Marbles. In 1987, Alcatrazz appeared on the second series of the BBC TV programme Rock School, with Bonnet providing singing tips. The programme also included clips of Alcatrazz in rehearsal. Later that year, Alcatrazz disbanded, and Bonnet returned to his solo career. In 2009, Bonnet reformed Alcatrazz with three new musicians. Bonnet did not consult with his former bandmates Uvena and Waldo about re-forming the original line-up, and in response they also re-grouped as a separate version of Alcatrazz. Both bands have maintained official pages on MySpace.com.
Bonnet later reformed his version of the band as Alcatrazz featuring Graham Bonnet with guitarist Howie Simon (Jeff Scott Soto Band, Talisman), drummer Glen Sobel (Impellitteri, Beautiful Creatures, Tony MacAlpine), and bassist Tim Luce and toured Japan in May and June 2007—sharing the headline with another ex-Rainbow vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner. Howie Simon revealed in a 2010 interview that it was his suggestion to bring back the Alcatrazz name. They also headlined the BerkRock festival in Berkovitsa, Bulgaria in July 2008 and have played various West Coast US dates including support slots for Y&T. Alcatrazz continued to perform live occasionally until 2014.
In March 2017, three-fifths of the original lineup (Bonnet, Waldo and Shea) reunited for three shows in Japan, which also included Conrado Pesinato and Mark Benquechea on guitar and drums respectively. The performances were recorded for the live album/DVD Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017, which was released on 7 December 2018.
In February 2019, Bonnet confirmed that he had once again resurrected Alcatrazz, with a new lineup featuring himself, Waldo, Benquechea, Beth-Ami Heavenstone, as well as new guitarist Joe Stump. Heavenstone thus briefly became Alcatrazz's first female member, having played bass in The Graham Bonnet Band, where she was Waldo's bandmate. This lineup planned to record a new album together, which would also include contributions from Chris Impellitteri, Bob Kulick, Dario Mollo and former Alcatrazz guitarist Steve Vai. Shea returned to Alcatrazz in January 2020 to replace Heavenstone.
Bonnet's post-Alcatrazz projects have all been short-lived and included Blackthorne (working with ex-Balance guitarist Bob Kulick, brother of Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick), backing vocals for the Danish heavy metal band Pretty Maids' Future World and numerous session work for Forcefield, appearing on To Oz and Back and Let The Wild Run Free. In 1988, Bonnet joined Impellitteri, for their album Stand in Line.
An appearance on Eddie Hardin and Pete York's musical adaptation of Wind in The Willows, performed live in Germany in 1991, saw Bonnet sing on around six of the songs alongside fellow musicians Jon Lord, Don Airey and Ray Fenwick amongst others. Fenwick and Airey also featured heavily on Bonnet's 1991 solo album Here Comes The Night which includes several covers as well as songs credited to his then wife Jo Eime, and another remake of the Marbles' "Only One Woman".
In 1997, he released Underground, a new solo album, which helped re-establish him with his fan base in Japan. 1999's The Day I Went Mad featured guitarist Slash, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell, Bruce Kulick plus guitarist, Mario Parga.
Bonnet contributed lead vocals to the Japanese heavy metal band Anthem's 2000 release Heavy Metal Anthem, which had reworks of classic Anthem tracks. Bonnet rejoined Impellitteri in 2000 for their System X album. Meanwhile, his 1999 Japanese solo album got a UK release in September 2001.
In early 2004, Bonnet joined Italian guitarist Dario Mollo's new project Elektric Zoo, touring Europe during April. Maintaining the Italian connection, the singer also participated in Matteo Filippini's project, Moonstone, featuring on the track "Not Dead Yet".
In 2006, Bonnet contributed vocals to the Welcome to America album by Taz Taylor Band. The band toured the UK in 2007 and Europe in 2008.
He also appeared in the Countdown Spectacular concert series in Australia between August and September 2007. He sang two songs, "Warm Ride" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".
A press release dated 6 November 2008 reported that Bonnet would be contributing vocals for a highlights CD with the metal opera project, Lyraka. The album Lyraka Volume 1 was released on 2 November 2010. It was announced on 17 November 2010, that Bonnet would also be featured on Lyraka Volume 2.
Bonnet currently resides in Los Angeles, California, from where he continues to record and tour extensively. Bonnet toured the UK with Rainbow tribute band Catch the Rainbow starting in March 2014.
He collaborated in the Stardust Reverie Project, a supergroup featuring Zak Stevens and Lynn Meredith among others. Their first album Ancient Rites of the Moon was released in April 2014. He contributed on vocals in one track of the second Stardust Reverie album Proclamation of Shadows, which came out in March 2015.
In 2015, Bonnet formed The Graham Bonnet Band, and toured the UK and Europe, playing songs from throughout his career including Alcatrazz and Rainbow. The band released a two-song E.P. titled My Kingdom Come, (the song "My Kingdom Come", written by Russ Ballard) and announced work on a new studio album to be recorded featuring new compositions and a bonus disc consisting of re-recordings of a number of songs from Bonnet's career. The final line-up of The Graham Bonnet Band was: Graham Bonnet, vocals; Conrad Pesinato, guitars; Beth-Ami Heavenstone, bass; Mark Zonder (Ex-Fates Warning), drums. The band resumed touring towards the end of 2016.
On 4 November 2016, The Graham Bonnet Band released their debut album, The Book. Reviews were positive, with the Real Gone website calling the album "surprisingly good" and also stating that some of the tracks "exceeded expectations by some distance". Heavenstone later joined Bonnet in a refounded Alcatrazz (see above).
In 2016, Bonnet joined Michael Schenker and fellow former MSG singers Gary Barden and Robin McAuley in Michael Schenker Fest, initially for a tour of Japan. This resulted in a CD/DVD Live - Tokyo International Forum Hall. Later tours of Europe and Japan followed. In 2017, with the addition of Temple of Rock singer Doogie White (another former Rainbow vocalist), Michael Schenker Fest recorded the album Resurrection featuring vocal contributions from all 4 singers. This line-up toured the US and Europe in 2018.
Film and television appearancesEdit
- 1975: Three for All (performer)
- 1980: Rainbow – Monsters of Rock, Donington '80 (performer)
- 1985: Rainbow – The Final Cut (performer)
- 2003: Wind in the Willows – A Rock Concert '91 (performer)
- 2006: Rainbow – In Their Own Words (interviewee)
- 2006: Heavy Metal – Louder than Life (interviewee)
- 2015: The Ritchie Blackmore Story (interviewee)
|1965–1967||The Blue Sect||Graham Bonnet
|Graham Bonnet||Roger Sleath||Steve Hardy|
|1967–1968||The Graham Bonnet Set||Graham Bonnet|
|1975||Southern Comfort||Graham Bonnet|
|1979–1980||Rainbow||Graham Bonnet||Ritchie Blackmore||Roger Glover||Cozy Powell||Don Airey|
|02/1982-27 August 1982||Michael Schenker Group||Michael Schenker||Chris Glen||Ted McKenna||Tommy Eyre|
|1983–1984||Alcatrazz||Yngwie Malmsteen||Gary Shea||Jan Uvena||Jimmy Waldo|
|1987||The Party Boys||Kevin Borich
|Alan Lancaster||Paul Christie
|1988||Anthem||Hiroya Fukuda||Naoto Shibata||Takamasa Ohuchi|
|1988||Impellitteri||Chris Impellitteri||Chuck Wright||Pat Torpey||Phil Wolfe|
|1988–1990||Dave Spitz||Stet Howland|
|1989||Forcefield||Ray Fenwick||Mo Foster
|1990||Ray Fenwick||Terry Pack||Don Airey
|1993||Blackthorne||Bob Kulick||Chuck Wright||Frankie Banali||Jimmy Waldo|
|2000–2001||Anthem Featuring Graham Bonnet||Akio Shimizu||Naoto Shibata||Hirotsugu Homma|
|2000–2003||Impellitteri||Chris Impellitteri||James Amelio Pulli||Glen Sobel||Edward Harris Roth|
|2004||Elektric Zoo||Dario Mollo||Guido Block||Roberto Gualdi||Maurizio Belluzzo|
|2006–2008||Taz Taylor Band||Taz Taylor||Dirk Krause||Val Trainor||Bob Miller|
|2006–2009||Alcatrazz (Featuring Graham Bonnet)||Howie Simon||Tim Luce||Glen Sobel|
|2009||Savage Paradise||Mario Parga||Kevin Valentine||Eric Ragno|
|2014–2015||Graham Bonnet Band||Conrado Pesinato||Beth-Ami Heavenstone||Chase Manhattan|
|2016||Mark Zonder||Jimmy Waldo|
|2016–present||Michael Schenker Fest||Gary Barden
|Michael Schenker||Chris Glen||Ted McKenna||Steve Mann|
|2017||Ezoo||Graham Bonnet||Dario Mollo||Dario Patti||Roberto Gualdi||Dario Patti|
|2017||Alcatrazz (Reunion show)||Kurt James||Gary Shea||Mark Benquechea||Jimmy Waldo|
|2017-2019||Graham Bonnet Band||Beth-Ami Heavenstone|
- Prato, Greg "Graham Bonnet Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 23 January 2010
- "Tribute to Trevor Gordon: Archive interview of the Marbles from 1969". Bee Gees Days.
- Dome, Malcolm (9 October 2009). "The Great Rainbow Debate (Part 2): A Boost For Bonnet". Classic Rock Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012.
- Gardiner, Philip (15 September 2011). "Somewhere Over the Rainbow – The Graham Bonnet Interview". Gardiner's World. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014.
- "VETERAN HARD ROCKERS FORM NEW ALL-ACOUSTIC TRIO". Fishman. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014.
- "GRAHAM BONNET Joins Forces With MARIO PARGA in New All-Acoustic Project". Blabbermouth. 22 September 2013.
- Sakis Nikas and Yannis Dolas. "Alcatrazz Featuring Graham Bonnet". RockPages.gr. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
- Galysh, Adrian (3 February 2012). "Interview with vocal legend, Graham Bonnet". Adrian Galysh Blog.
- "Interview with Graham Bonnet (Vocals) (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri)". My Global Mind.
- Marbles, Official Charts, retrieved 23 January 2010
- Kent, David (2007). Australian Top 20 Book 1940–2006. Turramurra, NSW: Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd. ISBN 978-0-646-47665-0.
- Graham Bonnet, Official Charts, retrieved 23 January 2010
- "Rock Music Star - Graham Bonnet". Rock Music Star. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Bonnet, Graham. "Alcatraz featuring Graham Bonnet" (Interview). Interviewed by Rockpages.gr. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
- "ALCATRAZZ To Release 'Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017' In December". Blabbermouth.net. 11 September 2018.
- "GRAHAM BONNET Relaunches ALCATRAZZ With Guitarist JOE STUMP; New Studio Album In The Works". Bravewords.com. 5 February 2019.
- "Graham Bonnet Relaunches Alcatrazz With Guitarist Joe Stump; New Studio Album In The Works". allthatshreds.com. 5 February 2019.
- "GRAHAM BONNET Says STEVE VAI Contributed Material To In-Progress ALCATRAZZ Album". Blabbermouth.net. 30 March 2019.
- "GRAHAM BONNET On Using ALCATRAZZ Moniker Again: 'People Know The Name Of The Band, But They Don't Know Who The Hell I Am'". Blabbermouth.net. 30 June 2019.
- "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – GRAHAM BONNET Featured On 'Lyraka – Music From a Mermaid Empire'". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- "> News > GRAHAM BONNET Featured on Lyraka – Music From A Mermaid Empire". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- "News > GRAHAM BONNET Signs on For Second LYRAKA CD". Bravewords.com. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Real Gone | pop. rock. metal. punk. opinionations. other junk". www.realgonerocks.com. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Greg Prato (2016). The Other Side of Rainbow. Amzn.com. ISBN 9781539838630. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Greg Prato (2017). Shredders!: The Oral History Of Speed Guitar (And More). Amzn.com. ISBN 9781911036210. Retrieved 28 March 2021.