Green Light on Ritchie's Rainbow...
"We churned out records as if we working in a sausage factory."
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore talking and explaining why he quit Deep Purple, one of the greatest rock bands in the world.
"We were more like a money-making machine than a bunch of musicians. We were getting stale and complacent and I felt the band wasn't unified anymore.
"I thought we had gone as far as we could musically." says Ritchie, one of the founders and driving forces behind Deep Purple. He left nearly 18 months ago, but Deep Purple carried on to rock around the world without Ritchie, and generated millions of pounds worth of business playing to sell-out concerts... until last week, when they split up.
They'd had enough. They said they could not work together.
It seemed like an echo of Ritchie's feelings when he broke away early in 1975. Ritchie left to form Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. At present he is on his first major American tour covering 40 cities, before beginning his assault on England on August 31.
Speaking from Maine, near Boston, before going on stage he talked about, the past: "At one point, we were producing three albums a year and became like robots," he said.
"When you are with a band for eight years you get to know each other's bad habits."
Ritchie, tax-exiled in Hollywood, turned his back on a guaranteed income of £100,000-a-year to do exactly what he wanted to do and has never looked back.
The next few weeks will tell if the British public will take to Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow as raucously as they took to Deep Purple.
"Quite honestly I don't care if people accept the music or not. I know whether it is good or bad and that is what is really important as far as I'm concerned.
" It's still like Deep Purple music, but obviously has its own identity — full of nervous tension. You either love it or hate it."
When Ritchie arrives in England he'll probably stay with his ex-wife, 32-year-old Barbel Blackmore. She blamed groupies in the divorce court recently for being partly responsible for breaking up their marriage.
Ritchie doesn't agree. "Most groupies are just like fans and most groupies anyway are pretty ugly and you wouldn't want to go near them.
"But this is rather a warped business and I must admit there are a lot of temptations," he said.
"Barbel's a very straight person and I don't think she could take it. But we're still great friends and I hope we remain so."
© Pauline McLeod, Daily Mirror - July 26, 1976