Interview Finnish Radiostation Metalliliitto
Our interview first had to be postponed because you went to the dentist. Richie, have you got your dentures on yet?
Why did you assemble Rainbow again?
I wanted to go back to the music I played when I first created Rainbow. For this, I have selected guys who can do a good job. And I was very unhappy with what I was doing at Deep Purple. This is why I wanted to build Rainbow again.
Do you think that Deep Purple has stopped developing?
Yes and no. This Deep Purple line-up limited me a lot, especially in terms of vocals. This was a big problem. The rest are very good musicians. But when a vocalist can't sing, you don't really turn around.
Don't you think that Deep Purple has turned into a traveling circus, the band plays the same songs all the time?
Yes, it really was a traveling circus. The group lost its meaning. I've worked with them enough, it's time to do something else. This does not apply to the songs, I like them. I'm just tired of the vocalist's unprofessional approach to performing them. The band worked very professionally and played great. But I had problems with the vocalist. He forgot the words, was out of tune, and he didn't care what the audience heard. It made me angry.
You recruited completely unknown musicians to the new group. Why did you make this decision? Didn't you want to call someone from your former colleagues?
Yes ... I thought about the old guys, but not longer than a couple of seconds, because I think that I did everything I could with all of them in this style. Ronnie Dio is a great vocalist, but he is very limited in the styles that I want to hear. Therefore, I did not contact him. Some suggested Joe Lynn Turner to me. Joe is a good singer, but now he has problems with his voice. So I didn't call him, I wanted a vocalist who could sing like Ronnie Dio and like Joe Lynn Turner and had a bluesy voice like Paul Rogers.
And I like working with unknown musicians, it's kind of a protest against the system. Many people prefer to confidently recruit bands of musicians who are known to be good performers and reliable people, but I like to take risks and work with new musicians. And I like it when there is fresh blood and enthusiasm in the group. It's nice to tour with musicians for whom this is all a novelty, who are not tired of it yet. And working with professionals who have been doing this for many years is a bit boring.
It looks like you got the sound you want on "Stranger In Us All". It's a very guitar album.
Yes. To be honest, I have a bad habit: I write music and riffs, I like everything, and then in the studio everything starts to bother me, and I avoid this music. I think the guitar sounds so loud in the mix because of the producer's work. The label told him that there should be more guitar on the album. I told them that I wanted to split the sound between the guitar and the keys, but they told me that my name was in the name of the band, so there should be more guitar on the album. So the producer understood that the guitar needed to be turned up.
How would you describe the changes in your guitar playing? You are playing more sophisticated now than before.
It seems to me that over the years I began to play more mature. When you play as much as I do, it's impossible not to learn to play a little better. Now I play better than before. But in general, rock and roll is not really my style. I prefer Renaissance music, I play it at home on acoustics. On stage I play rock and roll, but this is not my main love. I do it for a living, I like this kind of music, but I love Renaissance music just as much. Maybe, as you said, I started playing rock and roll more sophisticated, because... it's very difficult for me to play straight, heavy songs if they don't have beautiful melodies or they don't catch me. It's hard for me to have fun when I just plug my guitar into an amp and play it at full volume. I might have liked this thirty years ago, but not now.
On the song "Black Masquerade" you played a gypsy-style acoustic solo. Again, I played under the impression of the music of the 16th century. When I started listening to Renaissance and medieval music, I also became interested in gypsy music. This solo became a kind of appetizer, my next project will be romantic and gypsy music. I have to start recording in three months. There won't be many solos. Just me and a group of musicians, we will perform folk and Renaissance music. I will mainly play acoustic guitar. I've already written eight songs. We're going to turn 16th century music into New Age music.
Will these be songs with vocals?
Yes, with vocals. My bride will sing. She will also take part in the recording of the album.
The booklet does not indicate that Hall Of The Mountain King is based on Grieg's music. Be careful when you arrive in Norway!
No, by the way, it should indicate that he is the author of the music. It's strange. Maybe they did not indicate it, because everyone already knows that this is Grieg. I've been playing this melody for a long time, I've always wanted to record it with vocals. It was risky because everyone knows this tune, but I love it so much that it was worth trying. This is probably my favorite song on the album. It is great. It's easy to play, but the music doesn't always have to be difficult to be interesting.
"Too Late For Tears" is very similar in riff to "Can't Happen Here".
Right. Music goes round and round. Sometimes I play something and I don't even understand that I have already recorded it. Or sometimes I understand, but I like it so much that I decide to use this idea again, to approach it from a different angle. As for this song, I understood that it was similar to "Can't Happen Here", but I like this tune so much that I thought it was a good idea. If I thought this song was just a copy of "Can't Happen Here", I wouldn't record it. But I thought it was worth it. This is just a small part of the song. When we were composing it, I said, "A bit like Can't Happen Here." Someone from the group asked: "So what are you going to do? Will you sue yourself? " I said, "Well, yes, that's right."
You changed Rainbow lineups a lot. Are you satisfied with this group?
This week, yes.
Roger Glover said that you are very demanding of others, but even more demanding of yourself. It's true?
Yes, it's true, and because of this I have eternal problems, because I am often unhappy with my music. So I either stay away from the music, or just give up and someone completes the project for me. Or I change everything. I love to change everything. I have a bad habit - while recording, I quickly get bored. After ten minutes of recording, I start changing everything, which pisses off the rest of the musicians who have to re-learn the parts of the same songs because I decided to change them. But it's true: I'm very picky in the studio. He is right. Working with me can be easy, but I am very dependent on my mood. When I'm in a bad mood and not enthusiastic, I can't hide it. I prefer to behave the way I feel.
The press calls you a gloomy and mysterious person.
Yes. It's convenient for me to be considered mysterious and dark because it's true. My mood often changes. And as for the mystery - I believe that life is full of mysteries. The mysteries of the paranormal and communication with the other world, reincarnation are all part of my life. So I don't take it as an insult. Many people think that this is unpleasant for me. I don't like it when hurtful or negative things are said about me, or when they lie about me.
In the booklet "Stranger In Us All" you look like you want to kill someone.
It seems to me ... hmm ... Maybe it's in the bag? Probably wearing a hat. But I have this face ... my father has the same type of face ... even when we are happy we look unhappy. As a child, I was always told: "What's wrong with you? You are so sad!". But I was very happy and satisfied with everything. Over time I got bored and I decided to play on it and be ... I decided that I would act like crazy and indulge what people think of me. Because it seems to everyone that I am evil, so I will be evil. Strangely, when I'm calm, which doesn't happen often, I have a face like I'm in a bad mood.
Does the cover of the album have any meaning? You stand on it like a scarecrow, and the album is called "Stranger In Us All." Do you think that such a scarecrow is hidden in you?
Yes. They shot me from the back. I thought it would look good on the photo because of the clouds. I love these landscapes. This is a good shot. And the scarecrow is part of my life. They have always attracted me. I watched a few scarecrow movies that are stuck in my head. I don't remember what they were called, but smugglers dressed up like a scarecrow. It was a living person who pretended to be a bogeyman until the police chasing the smugglers fired at the bogeyman because it began to move and bleed. When they approached the scarecrow, they saw blood. But it was still frightening.
You rarely give interviews. Is it difficult for you to talk about music?
Yes, it's in my mood, and sometimes ... I don't want to admit situations when a journalist comes to interview, and I cancel everything, because I'm not in the mood. And it can be difficult to talk about music, even when I am in the mood to communicate! Again, the mood must be right. I don't want to let the band down when I'm not in the mood for an interview. When I agree to an interview and then refuse, it affects the whole group badly.
Finnish Radiostation Metalliliitto - September 27, 1995