Tony Carey

Last updated
Tony Carey
Zoller & Konsorten - Flucht nach vorn Tour 2016 at Logo Hamburg 22.jpg
Background information
Born (1953-10-16) October 16, 1953 (age 67)
Watsonville, CA, USA
Origin Turlock, California, United States
Genres Instrumental, rock, space rock, progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal
InstrumentsKeyboards, piano, guitar, bass, vocals
Years active1972–present
Labels ABC, Rocshire, MCA, X-Records, Geffen, Metronome, Teldec, East West, BMG Ariola, Happy Street, Babyboomer, Progrock Records, Renaissance, T-Toone
Associated acts Blessings, Rainbow, Planet P Project, Evil Masquerade, Zed Yago, Over the Rainbow, EBC ROXX, Peter Maffay, Diether Dehm
Website Official site
Tony Carey live 2016 at Logo Hamburg Zoller & Konsorten - Flucht nach vorn Tour 2016 at Logo Hamburg 17.jpg
Tony Carey live 2016 at Logo Hamburg

Anthony Lawrence Carey (born October 16, 1953, Watsonville, California) is an American-born, European-based musician, composer, producer, and singer/songwriter. One of his earliest musical experiences was as a keyboardist for Rainbow. After his departure 1977, he began a solo career, releasing albums under his own name as well under the pseudonym Planet P Project, and producing for and performing with other artists. [1]


Early history

Carey had been playing his church's piano during off hours since he was very young, and he was permitted to play the pipe organ as well. He was fascinated by the sound. His family acquired a piano when he was seven, and he "lived at that piano" until, at age eleven, he got his first acoustic guitar and formed his first group, which played music by The Mamas and the Papas and others. His father gave him a Lowrey organ for his 14th birthday, and he started a rock band with other neighborhood kids, playing music by The Doors. He also played contrabass in his school's orchestra.

At age 17, Carey moved to New Hampshire to start a new band called Blessings with a singer he knew, and soon the band had a major recording contract with ABC Dunhill. [2] After two years of working on the project, the band was unable to complete its first album. In a 2013 interview, Carey listed his own involvement with girls, the producer's drug use, and "too much bullshit" from Dunhill as the reasons the album was never completed. [3]



While Carey and his band Blessings were in S. I. R. Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood working on material for their unfinished album, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple was in another room, with bassist Jimmy Bain, auditioning musicians for his new band Rainbow. Carey said Blackmore liked what he was hearing in the other room and asked Bain to invite Carey to audition. Out of frustration with his own band's inability to complete their first album, Carey accepted the invitation, and later accepted the position with Rainbow when it was offered. [3] He recorded one studio album with Rainbow, the highly acclaimed Rising (1976, #48 on The Billboard 200). Carey's work on the album included the keyboard introduction to the opening track "Tarot Woman", and an extended keyboard solo on "A Light in the Black", the last cut on the album. During Carey's two world tours with Rainbow, live material was recorded and subsequently released as two double LPs, On Stage (1977, #65 on The Billboard 200) and Live in Germany (1990). In addition to the two double LPs, a six-disc CD box set containing music from the 1976 European leg, Deutschland Tournee 1976 , was released in 2006.

1977–1983: Early solo years

Carey left Rainbow in 1977 and moved to Germany in 1978, where he began work on his solo career. This was a period in his life when, according to Carey himself, he had health problems due to drug use and spent many 20-hour days in a recording studio (which he co-owned) with his friend and recording engineer Nigel Jopson. [4]

The studio's other co-owner, producer Peter Hauke, allowed Carey free use of the studio all night for several years, which gave him ample time and opportunity, [3] and he subsequently recorded a great deal of instrumental music in many different styles, learning how to engineer as well as perform in the recording studio.

His first solo album to be released was In the Absence of the Cat, in 1982, on the indie label X-Records. [5] Records recorded 1979-1982 were never originally approved for release by Carey. [6] He commented later on: "Absence of the Cat was kind of demos. I was working in a studio. This guy had invested some money in the studio, so I guess he had a right to put it out. But it wasn’t anything to put out."

Tony Carey explained to Jonas Wårstad 2 April 2014: "I wrote at least 250 little sketches and songs between 79-82. Peter Hauke released these as instrumental records, on his own label, to get a tax write-off. These weren't meant to be instrumental, they were songs I was working on. The first instrumental record I intentionally recorded was 'Yellow Power'. The next was 'TCP', which I thought was very good. All of the others [No Human, Heaven, Explorer, Rare Tracks compilation] were ripoffs, which is why I ignore them for the most part. 'In the Absence of the Cat' was made up of instrumentals that I'd actually sung. The first record I made as a record was 'I Won't Be Home Tonight'. 'Planet P' was basically finished in '82, and a lot of 'Some Tough City' was in instrumental form. The songwriting didn't change; I just got better in the studio as I learned more about it. Peter Hauke was never in the studio and had no idea what I was recording. Andy Lunn mixed the first two Planet P records and the first three solo records. Then I got tired of not getting paid and left." [7]

Carey released, I Won't Be Home Tonight, on the short-lived but nationally recognized Rocshire label in 1982, along with the single (and music video) "West Coast Summer Nights". The album peaked at #167 on the Billboard 200, and the single peaked at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The title track was also released as a single, peaking at #79 on the Hot 100 and #8 on Billboard's Top Rock Tracks chart. Rocshire fell under hard times following the death of its promoter, Stacy Davis (who had appeared in the "West Coast Summer Nights" video), and was closed down a year later by federal agents following an investigation resulting in the imprisonment for embezzlement of the label's co-owners and seizure of the label's assets. [8] The album rights and masters for I Won't Be Home Tonight were seized by federal authorities, and they remain the property of the US Internal Revenue Service. [9] Carey found himself without a label.

1983–1985: Planet P Project, Geffen, and MCA

Following the release of I Won't Be Home Tonight, Carey was signed to Geffen Records for a new solo album (later to be released as Some Tough City), but he had a great deal of music written that didn't fit the style of that album. He was able to sign a second record deal with Geffen to record and release that additional material under the Planet P Project pseudonym, which he would use throughout his career for his more progressive and experimental music.

He released his first album under the name Planet P Project in March 1983, (originally titled Planet P), which peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200. [10] On the week ending March 19, 1983, both Planet P Project and Carey's earlier album I Won't Be Home Tonight were climbing Billboard's Rock Albums chart simultaneously, with Planet P Project then at #30 and I Won't Be Home Tonight reaching its peak at #8. (The following week Planet P Project had made it up to #15, though I Won't Be Home Tonight had slipped to the #10 position).

Planet P Project received modest reviews (ref [11] and [12] ), despite being listed for two weeks by Billboard as a Top Add. The album, however, contained the song "Why Me", which was released as Planet P Project's first single, reaching #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and #4 in the magazine's Top Rock Tracks chart. According to Carey, the video for "Why Me" made a "slight impact on early MTV." [4] A follow-up single was released from Planet P Project, "Static", which reached #24 on Billboard's Top Rock Tracks.

Carey finished his recordings of his solo album, Some Tough City, and his second Planet P Project album, Pink World. A dispute with the label arose when Geffen's representative was not satisfied with the lyrics to "A Fine, Fine Day" and "The First Day of Summer". Additionally, the finished Pink World album was not at all well received by the label, and neither record was released by Geffen. Carey said, "Long story short, I got traded like a baseball player to MCA Records, which went ahead and released both of these records." [4]

In March 1984, MCA released Some Tough City, with the single "A Fine, Fine Day" reaching #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart [13] and also #1 on the Top Rock Tracks chart. A follow-up single, "The First Day of Summer", reached #33 on the Hot 100 in July 1984 and appeared in the 1985 film Secret Admirer . The album itself, Some Tough City, peaked at #60 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Carey opened for Night Ranger on many dates of their 1984 tour in support of this album.

Following that release, in late 1984, MCA released Planet P Project's Pink World as a double LP rock opera (#121 on The Billboard 200), for which Carey wrote the lyrics and music, sang all vocals, and played most of the instruments. The single "What I See" reached #25 on Billboard's Top Rock Tracks. Both the double LP and the single were released on pink vinyl. [14] [15] A single music video for two songs on Pink World, "What I See" and "Behind the Barrier", remained in power rotation or active rotation for ten weeks on the MTV network. [16]

Carey's 1985 follow-up solo album, Blue Highway, took a long time to record and did not score a hit on radio. Carey has stated that the album suffered problems unrelated to him but very related to 'the producer'. [17] Jennifer Rush covered Carey's "Live Wire", from Blue Highway, on her album "Movin'.

1985–1989: Music producer, composer, film soundtracks

Carey began producing and guesting on releases by other artists. 1986 Carey produced and co-wrote Now That You're Gone by Joe Cocker. It was the title song from the cinema movie Schimanski "The Crack Connection" (German title: "Zabou"). [18]

Carey continued to record soundtracks. After his 1987 release Bedtime Story (soundtrack for the German film The Joker, Lethal Obsession, with Peter Maffay), Carey recorded a second soundtrack album, called Wilder Westen Inclusive, which featured the single "Room With A View" (#3 on the German Charts, 1989), which stayed 18 weeks on the German charts and received a Gold record. Wilder Westen Inclusive was a three-part television film by Dieter Wedel.

Carey played keyboards and did the production for the 1988 album Chicago Line by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. [19] Carey also played on albums with various artists such as Peter Maffay, Milva, [20] Anne Haigis, [21] and later Chris Norman [22] on the 1991 album Interchange.

1989–1999: The Nineties

In November 1989, Carey released the album For You, which featured the singles "I Feel Good" (#35 on the German Charts) and "No Man's Land" (feat. Eric Burdon and Anne Haigis). One year later Carey released the album Storyville, the last with Metronome records.

Carey got a new record deal with the international East West, and Carey released The Long Road in April 1992, produced by Erwin Musper. In the autumn 1994 Carey released Cold War Kids on East West, his last solo album with a major record label.

Carey said in 2019: "East West Records was now Universal like everyone else. They sent me to New York City to Quad Studios in Times Square. They paid $450,000 for an album I did called Cold War Kids. I had an ironclad promise that they’d release it world-wide so I could capitalise on the success I’d had in the ’80’s. It ended up being released in Norway, Switzerland and Germany and no English-speaking countries. When they wouldn’t release it or promote it, I walked into the record company with a cheque and told them that I was gone and at that point I left the music business in 1994." [23]

A soundtrack followed in 1999, Gefangen im Jemen, accompanying Peter Patzaks TV Movie. [24] The Boystown Tapes was also released the same year, and featured some tracks which were alternative versions, and some were out-takes originally intended for other albums.

1999-2009: Mallorca years, Return of Planet P Project and Cancer

Carey had at this time moved from Germany, and lived six years in Mallorca. He recorded the next album there, Island and Deserts released in 2004.

Carey had also been writing and recording new material with a more political and historical theme. Some of the tracks, and a unauthorized version of a new album called Go Out Dancing, leaked to the internet. [25]

Planet P Project returned 24 Dec 2003 with Go Out Dancing Part 1 - 1931, first available as a free download. This was the first album of a trilogy of albums collectively called Go Out Dancing (G.O.D.). The other two albums were G.O.D. Part 2 -Levittown (released March 2008), and G.O.D. Part 3 - Out In The Rain (released December 2009).

In 2006 Carey produced and played on Songs For The Siren by David Knopfler of Dire Straits. In a November 12, 2011 interview on LKCB 128.4 Internet Radio Carey claimed 'I've written over a thousand songs, for myself. other artists, and film and TV productions."

In March 2009 Carey was diagnosed with a virulent form of bladder cancer. At one point he was told his odds of survival were ten percent. After twelve weeks in the hospital and five surgeries, he made a full recovery. "I tried to get my 'bucket list' finished as quickly as I could; it wasn't a certainty that I'd be around much longer," notes Carey. "I'm missing some of my organs; you'll be relieved to hear that the Hammond isn't one of them." [26] Carey's former Rainbow bandmate Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer shortly after Carey's recovery. Carey said in a May 28, 2010 interview with Jason Saulnier, "I'm very sad about his passing, especially because we got essentially the same disease, and I beat it, and he didn't." [27]

2009–2011: Over the Rainbow, EBC ROXX and Cover-albums

In 2009, Tony Carey and three other ex-members of Rainbow, Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Rondinelli and Greg Smith, teamed up with Jürgen Blackmore, Ritchie Blackmore's son, to form Over the Rainbow to perform Rainbow songs in concerts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Due to illness, however, Tony Carey left Over the Rainbow in the spring of 2009, just prior to the band's live debut at the Sweden Rock Festival, where he was replaced by Paul Morris.

Carey released his Christmas Hymns in December 2009. A homage to the hymns he sang as a young boy at Midnight mass.

In 2010 it was announced that Tony Carey had formed a new musical racing project called EBC ROXX with (J.R.) Jürgen Blackmore & Ela. Their first single "Silver Arrows" was released in March 2010 and was written as an anthem to accompany the first race of Mercedes Formula 1 pilots Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg that season. The project released a full CD entitled Winners later that year.

In March 2010 and in early 2011 Carey released two albums featuring cover versions Stanislaus County Kid Volume 1 and 2.

2013: Second return of Planet P Project

After officially dismantling "Planet P Project" in 2009 with the third and final part to the G. O. D. trilogy "Out In The Rain", Carey again revived the project with the release of "Steeltown" in 2013, this time merging his solo career name with the project's name ( "Tony Carey's Planet P Project"). Contributors on this disc include guitarist Ronnie Le Tekro (TNT), Jimmy Durand on guitars and drums, Jostein 'sarge' Svarstad on guitars. Russian guitarist Valery Lunichkin contributed a solo on "On The Side Of The Angels" and Karsten Kreppert played drums on "The Lady Fair".

"Steeltown" was based on Norway and its history, after Carey played and travelled there extensively, both as a solo artist and with a band consisting of mostly Norwegian musicians. Influenced by the occupation years of World War II and the reaction of Norway as a nation to that, the work is also a statement about religious conflicts worldwide.

Carey lives and works in Mainz, Germany. August 11, 2013 marked his 35th anniversary as a European resident.

10 February 2014, a box set of the three Planet P Project Go Out Dancing CDs was released, The G.O.D.B.O.X., which included an earlier bootleg of promotional recordings for the project.

2016: Tony Carey's Rainbow Project: The Dio Years

In 2016 he realized the long-standing dream of TONY CAREY'S RAINBOW PROJECT: The Dio Years with Don Airey and Norwegian Åge Sten Nilsen. [28]

2019: Lucky Us

In 2019, Carey released Lucky Us, a return to simpler people-based themes. "I wrote six political history lessons; I think I've said all I have to say about that for awhile...'Lucky Us' is also about winning the lottery of life." [29]

2021: Carey returns

Carey returned with a new single release, We Hear You Calling on 19 February 2021, with a version of Deportee written by Woody Guthrie.



Single Releases only

Instrumental albums

Live albums



Planet P Project

Other Appearances

Selected other recordings

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