Jimmy Bain: Bottoms Up!
by Martin Popoff
Yes indeed, Scottish-Canadian-American bass legend Jimmy Bain has seen the rise, having toured and written through the classic years of both Rainbow and Dio. And he's most definitely seen the fall, having spent much of his productive years and the hazy '90s "falling foul to the demon drugs" intimating that "I did everything, but heroin was my drug of choice." Now one year clean and as personable and articulate as ever, Bain is set to resume a career too long on the sidelines, likely seeing active duty as part of Dio's new Magica album, as well as shopping his personal project The Key, featuring Tracy G. and a drummer who is now (he thinks) working with David Lee Roth.
HardRadio got a bit of a career retrospective from this talented metal legend, a bassist, keyboardist, and singer, who - don't forget - co-wrote fully 17 tracks from Dio's first four albums. In addition to the Dio records, Bain was on the first three Rainbow albums, did two records with Brian Robertson as Wild Horses, was integral to the overlooked WWIII project, worked on both of Phil Lynott's solo albums, played uncredited bass on Scorpions' Love At First Sting, and worked with Kate Bush, John Cale, Gary Moore as well as contributing to another 25 or so records throughout the rock world. To commemorate the man's return, HardRadio gathered Mr. Bain to recount a few tales from his blessed metal past. Enjoy!
On joining Rainbow...
"It's actually a crazy story. When I was living in London I was living with a couple of roadies who were also Scottish. One of them, named Fergie, worked with Jethro Tull and the other one worked with Ritchie. He was with a band called Badfinger before that. Ritchie decided to leave Deep Purple and planned to put the Rainbow together, and he did it with Ronnie and the guys from Elf. But he didn't really like the bass player at all so he was going to be the first to get replaced. So I got a call from this guy Fergie, from LA, and I was in London, it was about 3:00 in the morning on a Wednesday. And he said 'Ritchie's looking for a bass player blah blah blah,' and the next minute he hands the phone to Ritchie and he talks to me for about an hour. And he basically asked me when I was playing next. And I said, at the weekend. We had a residency at the Marquee for about six Sunday nights. So he said, 'well, I'll come over and check you out.' And I was going, 'yeah, sure, sure.' You think there's no way that's going to happen. On the Sunday when I went down to the bar, just down from the Marquee, I walked in and there was Blackmore and Ronnie Dio, and their manager and Fergie, and a couple of other people that had flown over from L.A. to check me out. So with my band unfortunately, the two guitar players couldn't play a note, and the drummer, you know, he just drank too much Guinness or something like that. The band just completely sucked, you now? And I thought, 'oh, there we go, there's my big chance to get into something good.' But then Ritchie took me aside after. I was apologizing because the band really didn't play very well, and he said, 'well, they made you look really good.' And a couple of weeks later I was in L.A. and I had gotten the gig with Rainbow. And then later he threw out most of the other guys in the band and replaced them with Cozy and Tony Carey, and then we went and did Rainbow Rising."
The Jimmy Bain Story Page 2