Tony Carey rips into Rainbow after “A Fine, Fine Day”, just before “The First Day of Summer”

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 1, 1984

By Steve Newton

The memories of his days in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow are not joyous ones for Tony Carey. The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist was a member of the band for three years, and performed on the Rainbow Rising and Live on Stage albums before leaving in disgust in 1978. His reasons?

“There were a number of them,” recalls the bitter-sounding Carey on the line from Tulsa, Oklahoma, “the most important being that heavy metal has no attraction to me at all. The lyrics, and the crowd it attracts, the people in the group–none of that was any fun for me.

“I was 21 when I joined the group, and the next youngest member was 31. And it was almost a generation gap between myself and the singer (Ronnie James Dio).

“The reason I was in the group in the first place was because I thought it would be a good career move for me, just to break into the music business. But in a lot of metal bands–no, let me narrow that down–in Rainbow people tend to get hurt, either physically or emotionally. They’re a weird operation. The people in the organization are ice-cold, and they have no compunction about rolling right over anybody that gets in their way.”

“I take a slightly more humanitarian view of the world.”

On his recently released album Some Tough City, Tony Carey uses that view to good effect, capturing the fading hopes of modern life in tales from the outer limits of personal optimism. The title track tells of a struggling existence in the barrio of East L.A., while “Tinseltown” was written after Carey read about the fall of one of California’s biggest rock stars. (He wouldn’t say which one, only that he was the one that got busted for cocaine in Texas.)

Wild eyes starin’ out from a wasted face/Like a cry for help just a little too late/You saw the writing on the wall/You can’t believe how far you fall/in Tinseltown

The sharks just loved you when you hit the scene/You were a walkin’ talkin’ hustler’s dream/Nothin’ changes but the names/One more ace shot down in flames/in Tinseltown

“I try to present my characters the way John Steinbeck presented his,” says Carey, who also counts Sinclair Lewis, Hemingway, and James Jones among his literary influences.

“He depicts losers in a compassionate, non-judgemental type of fashion. Like in Cannery Row, where Doc is the biggest loser you’ve ever seen in your life. But losers in the sense that they’re non-achievers, or under-achievers, and they’re happy about it. It’s no sin to them; it’s no crime. There’s nobody tapping them on the shoulder.”

Although his inspiration for many of the songs on Some Tough City came from a one-month visit to Los Angeles, the album was actually recorded in Frankfurt, West Germany, where Carey has lived for the past six years.

So how did the California-born musician end up in Frankfurt?

“I had just left Rainbow, and my first marriage was falling apart, and it was a confused, where-am-I-going-now time in my life. I was 23 and I felt 53, and I was just too worn out from the whole Los Angeles music business scene. I figured, ‘Let’s get out of town for a while’, and the only place I could think of where I could still get along and relate to the city–western fashion–looked to be Europe.”

Since settling in Germany, Carey has written over 300 songs, recorded three albums of electronic music, and had a European hit with the self-described “samurai disco” of Yellow Power. North American audiences are aware of Tony via his solo hit “I Won’t Be Home Tonight” and Planet P’s “Why Me”, the video of which is an MTV staple.

He also met his current wife in Germany, and his producer for Some Tough City, Peter Pauke. With the album holding its own in the Billboard Top 100–due largely to the success of the first single “A Fine, Fine Day”–the move to Germany seems to have been a good one for Carey’s personal and professional life as well. He’s just made a video for the next single from Some Tough City, “The First Day of Summer”. As Carey points out, the song takes a more optimistic view than a lot of the songs on the record.

“The gist of the song isn’t necessarily about the first day of summer–it’s about when something goes well in your life, for a change. How nice it feels. When you win 5,000 dollars in a lottery, or [and here he chuckles joyously] when your wife gets pregnant! “The whole world knows your name and nothing feels the same.”

To hear the full audio of my 1984 interview with Tony Carey subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
Jeff Healey, 1988
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1996
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Edgar Winter, 2005
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Randy Hansen, 2001
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

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