Writer of "Smoke on the Water"
I won't write rock music again
Ritchie Blackmore will play in June at the Malaga festival of Rock The Coast, next to the beach and the castle of Fuengirola at a historical event in Spain.
"No. I hate everyone". In the case of the genius Ritchie Blackmore, one could believe such an affirmation to the question of whether he has any special relationship with any band or musician of his rock and roll era.
Faced with doubts, we look back to another question about how he is now dealing with bands with whom he played decades ago on his return to rock festivals: "Good, but I do not really think about that". Distant from the spotlight, with a particular personality and a love for exquisite music, the leader of Rainbow and author of the most famous riff in the history of rock - 'Smoke on the Water' by Deep Purple, a group he founded - will come to Spain in June to the Rock the Coast Festival (Fuengirola) ... and will play rock and roll with his legendary songs (including those by Purple).
Rock n Roll misses him. He is a pioneer of hard rock and heavy metal that for more than two decades he parked this musical genre to change the electric guitar for a mandolin. Renaissance music for rock. He is a rockstar turned into a troubadour, but above all a genius of music, in love with his wife, Candice Night, the vocalist of his band Blackmore's Night.
His return to Rainbow and rock and roll is as historical as ephemeral, as Blackmore lets us know in a conversation with El Confidencial.
"I dont know. It's not forever. It's only for a few dates. And I won‘t write that kind of music anymore ... I still play it on stage, but do not write at this time. I have found other inspirations."
He is 74 years old and has been close to two decades without going on stage before the fans who elevated him as one of the greatest exponents in the history of the electric guitar. Does he not miss playing in front of so many people?
"No ... We have a small and totally different audience with Blackmore's Night that I still enjoy. It's nice to play for a lot of people, but I do not need it. I can play for a small group and I feel comfortable and enjoying what I play."
Okay. Maybe he doesn’t need the adrenaline of playing in front of a big crowd, but what about his love for the electric guitar? Is it still there?
"Yes, it still fascinates me (the electric guitar). I think all guitars are fascinating . I have a particular fascination for different types of acoustic guitars as well. I have always admired the Spanish guitar. It's a difficult style to adopt when you start very young and do not play anything flamenco . The right hand, if you are right-handed, is very complicated to 'train' for me. And I'm always impressed by nineteenth-century Spanish guitarists. [Andrés] Segovia was always an inspiration for me ... I started playing classical music, but I found it very restrictive and very difficult. And I wanted to play rock and roll. Francisco TárregaIt is also great and I admire his transcriptions and way of playing. It's very complicated, but at the same time very comforting."
Although he has some Spanish guitar at home, his time there is dedicated to some other musical styles ...
"Most of the time at home I do not play rock and roll. I feel and play a bit of classical and folk, and a lot of Renaissance music."
Rock anthem creator, how do you get inspired for a composition?
"I'm inspired if I'm playing well. If I'm not playing well, all I want to do is leave the stage."
In Fuengirola, this June, he will surely feel comfortable and inspired by the Rock the Coast festival that will have him as the headliner, in front of the castle of the city. Blackmore is attracted to this type of constructions, why?
"They represent romanticism. They can be overwhelming and many other things. In my opinion, I find great comfort in the castles . They are also very quiet ... no noise from the street. I love its architecture and its historical value, something that has been there for so long I always like it."
You could think that Ritchie lives in one of them ...
"I do not live in a castle. I live in a caravan, like [jazz guitarist] Django Reinhardt . When the lights go out and the heat goes away it can become hell."
Speaking of tastes and their favorite songs from Rainbow, we discovered that one of the greatest legends of rock likes pop ... like Led Zeppelin's drummer.
"I have a couple of favorite songs: 'Gates of Babylon', 'Stargazer' ... I like 'Street of Dreams' ... I like pop music. One of my old friends, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, also liked pop music . Considering he was a great drummer, you might think he'd be more interested in Buddy Rich , but he liked pop music. I like good melodies like those of Abba, the first years of The Beatles, Bob Dylan or Buddy Holly. "
And of groups? Which one do you want to listen to and watch live?
"My favorite is Des Geyers [a German folk group]. I'm going to try to see them again. "
Des Geyers will not be playing in the Rock The Coast, but he will meet thousands of Spanish people which will be happy:
"I love playing for the Spaniards because they are very passionate. It's a joy to play fort hem because they listen to you and get involved."
The easiest question for the end: who is the best vocalist in your opinion: Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonet, Joe Lynn Turner, Ronnie Romero or your wife, Candice Night?
"They're all different colors of Rainbow."
© El Confidencial, Spain - May 9, 2019