The Same in Colours
Not seeing, as he had hoped, all the colors, Bill went ask for some explanation questions to RITCHIE BLACKMORE after the recent concert of his RAINBOW at the Paris Pavilion...
Rainbow is a little high and a lot of low, the trouble is that at the end of the day you get tired of this Blackmore who pulls on the strings of a bygone past and definitely looks like nothing else than to a bygone past. Definitely over. Blackmore gets stuck in a nostalgia-oblige for the simple reason that he seems unable to do violence to himself by going forward or rather do anything else his audience may ask.
And yet Rainbow has already recorded two discs which, if they are not pure gems of originality, are nonetheless very honest hard discs. Hard English style, with its hypocritical pomp of course, but always well removed, and then if Purple is dead he needs his relief who better than Blackmore himself can assure it?
A devilish catch, an ardor that smells like Purple in the nose and that's already enough. Rainbow L.P.'s love to be heard loudly because they were made for it. However, it would be very incongruous to deprive oneself of this clean and healthy energy under any pretext whatsoever. These records are ultimately no worse or better than others, but they offer the advantage of knowing at least, always, where you are going. A hard effective from start to finish that allows you to move your head when it has been still too long.
That gave us hope for a joyful part of the fun when he came to Paris. It was not, it is well done that will teach us to hope for anything, we were at our expense. Rainbow alone represents exactly what nobody needs anymore, a band that at present no longer has reality and inspires the boredom of years of remake.
The performances are point for point like Purple's five years earlier with some magic and a lot of hair loss for Blackmore. So much so that when we are there, in front of the stage watching this harmless Rainbow, we wonder why Purple has split. Result Rainbow has lost its feathers there and I would say that it is almost well done, because when it is time for rock that slams we do not play the card of virtuosos who fart. Few people that night in relation to the popularity of the ex-Purple and many are those who dropped out before the end. Then of course there is the setting in a scene of the castle and the stars of the cover of the first disc illuminated behind the group when it enters the scene, the rainbow which surrounds the stage throughout the concert with forced colorful lights twirling according to the impulse of the music and finally the massive reproduction of the cover of the second album which replaces the first.
Well what? All of this is window dressing when the music is poor, and it is. No race, it borrows everywhere, draws without being able to find unity. Rainbow is a bit of everything and a lot of nothing. The exact consequence of musicians who make the sad complex of a need for pompous classicism. And this is why one constantly attends the long solo demonstrations, the interminable lulls which completely destroy the energy of their abundance. They want to embellish the hard, they only succeed in betraying it by boring.
Yet when things break out, they break out with an unbridled energy that flows at a hundred miles an hour. A heavy rhythm, a guitar and a mass organ which explode violently to fall back so quickly in a heartbreaking got to let show you that my instrument has no secrets for me.
Of course they are good musicians, to say at least, but they are just that happy officialy and do their job without spark. And Blackmore is remaking the same story for us, always dressed in black - you'd be tempted to call him the black angel if the guy had more personality, he's just a dark puppet - and I bow my head in a bow circle above the guitar and send it to you (the guitar) against the amps, on the ground and walk on it and put the shit in the spectators' mouths and ... success.
It is all dark, we can see nothing except the red lights of the amps, a few broken guitar notes: who is it? Ritchie. Ritchie who? Blackmore. Blackmore who? Rainbow. Wow! Great, we didn't even recognize him in the dark since he's all black, the asshole, hey!
Note that we heard "sshhhhhs!" during the concert which is all the same a shame for a hard group! I was to meet Blackmore after the concert. Having injured his hand while breaking his guitar, he nevertheless (as Cleopatra said) revealed himself as a charming and very sympathetic boy.
Observing the presence of photographers he combed his hair carefully and was kind enough answer my questions.
Hey Ritchie, while you have mouth open, what do you think of tonight's show?
Hot. But the audience was very calm and attentive at the same time. I don't like overly enthusiastic audiences who get out of hand. Tonight it wasn't and it was really good.
But weren't you expecting more people given the popularity of Purple in France?
No, I don't think I'm personally popular, very few Purple fans know my name. And finally I prefer it. There weren't too many people, everyone took full advantage of the show and the communication benefited. They came to see Rainbow and not Blackmore, the ex-guitarist of Purple. Rainbow is very young and must win its audience.
Well let's see, then why announce the concert as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow?
So that when someone asks me what I'm doing right now I can answer: there you go, I'm playing with Rainbow. No just kidding.
When you recorded the first Rainbow record, did you think of a solo record or that of a band?
No, when I recorded this disc it was for various personal reasons and I didn't think there would be a sequel. On the one hand it was a bit to give me a reason to leave Purple. Be careful, I didn't have to justify myself in this way in the eyes of the group, it was a personal justification. Finally a solid opportunity to leave the others feeling no remorse for doing nothing. I had composed several songs that were close to my heart and Purple didn't want to record anything other than a live album. I was tired, I got tired of doing the same thing over and over again; not especially musically but humanly. I didn't want to deal with them anymore, after so many years I wanted to play and try it with other musicians ... and it glued.
Does that mean my fellow that you had enough of Purple?
So are you going to end up confessing main reason for leaving, Goddammit?
Fatigue. Certainly not the urge to record a solo disc but fatigue. The big tours that never end, hotels, finally the whole circuit. And then I had nothing more to say to the other members of the group or to anyone for that matter. It's exhausting, the people who circle around you all the time who seem like complete strangers to you, and in the long run you end up wondering if you are the stranger.I had become a zombie and these people finally got along with each other, end up grouping together and you, who were the main person of interest, don't count anymore. I was tired, really.
And you preferred to start from scratch?
Yes, play in small venues, although they are still large, but the audience is smaller. With Purple everything had taken on extravagant dimensions. We no longer had any contact with the audience, we were playing, we were doing our job but had no idea what the audience was feeling. We were bound to run into disaster. We have to know what the public wants or we cannot satisfy them. The public inevitably changes because it gets older and we especially touch the kids, how do we know what the new ones want when they are drowned in a hall of twenty thousand people. By getting too big we got lost because it is the audience that makes us and we no longer had any idea what it was. With Rainbow it is quite the opposite, the public does not follow us but we follow them and grow with them.
But the Purple phenomenon can happen again with Rainbow, have you thought about that?
If God wants it.... we have time to see it coming anyway.
Isn't Rainbow a toy, a kind of electric train that you get passionate about and throw away after a while?
It could be that. There are those who throw away their train after having fun with it, those who become railway workers. I'm the Rainbow railroad worker.
Rainbow is therefore a group ...?
Yes, categorically. It's not my Rainbow, but our Rainbow. Right now the name is Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in order to steer a certain audience, but in six months when we are popular enough on our own, it will be Rainbow. For our next visit to France it will be so.
Purple, Rainbow, do you have an attitude special attraction for colors?
No, I chose Rainbow because I like the name, not for the colors. It is very easy to say that Rainbow symbolizes different colors, different kinds of music, but unfortunately I did only chose this name because I like its sound. And also because I met Ronnie at the "Rainbow", a club in Los Angeles, but I have no attraction for colors.
Something we suspected. Why are you still dressed in black?
So that I don't get confused with wild strawberries.
Ah, that's smart! Don't you think breaking your guitar at the end of the concert is a thing of the past?
No, if I do it it's because the public wants it. If the guys told me you're just a rotten pig, this guitar is worth money and there are lots of guys who dream about it without being able to buy it, I would say OK you are right, I stop everything. But on the contrary if I don't do it the audience pull open their mouths and say "Oh, the concert was not good tonight, he didn't break his guitar, so that's the business".
Do you hope to reach the same audience than Purple?
Yes, if they wants to listen. Any audience as long as they like it. Even that of Floyd.
Have you noticed that Rainbow's music strangely resembles Purple's?
I don't want to give an answer to that question, it would be rude. Ask people what they think about it, I don't want to answer...
© Bill, Best Magazine - France October 1976