In a revealing conversation with VintageRock Pod, Tony Carey, the iconic Rainbow musician, delved into his extensive career and the evolution of the 1980s music landscape. Carey, known for his candidness, critiqued the glam rock era, specifically targeting bands like Mötley Crüe and Van Halen. He argued that these bands, with their theatricality and emphasis on visuals, diminished the authentic mystique of rock music, a mystique he cherished from the 60s and 70s rock scene.
Carey’s disdain for the glam rock movement was palpable as he reminisced about the authentic rock vibes of bands like Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Grateful Dead, and Fleetwood Mac. These bands, he noted, thrived on their music and mystique rather than flashy MTV visuals.
He also reflected on Rainbow’s journey during the early 80s glam era. Rainbow, which took its name from the famous Rainbow Bar and Grill in West Hollywood, was deeply rooted in the LA music scene, despite its members’ diverse origins. Carey saw the band as part of an earlier wave of rock, distinct from the glam rock bands that dominated the scene later, like Warrant, Poison, Van Halen, and Ratt. He expressed a particular disdain for the shift in image by artists like David Coverdale, who embraced the glam rock aesthetic.
Despite his criticisms of the era, MTV played a significant role in Carey’s career. His project, Planet P Project, gained exposure on the channel, and his hit single ‘A Fine, Fine Day’ rose in popularity during MTV’s early days. In discussing the background of this song in a 2013 interview with Indian Music Mug, Carey described it as a narrative about a criminal figure, ‘Uncle Sonny.’ He attributed its success to a combination of creative songwriting and the timely emergence of MTV. Carey’s career, thus, was both influenced by and stood in contrast to the very elements of the 80s music scene he critiqued.