Blackmore's Rainbow: Crisper Than Purple
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is described by the former lead guitarist of Deep Purple as a "new musical spectrum." The rainbow is evidently metaphoric, as Blackmore had tired of playing heavy Purple sludge.
"We're going to have much more emphasis on melody," says Blackmore, who plays the Forum on Nov. 10. "Everything isn't going to be hung on a riff."
At first, this may not come as good news to those rabid Deep Purple fans who jammed the Forum three years ago mainly to be pounded out of their skulls by the band, which became one of the biggest in band, which became one of the biggest in the world (selling 14 million discs in one year alone) by knocking out their fans with high voltage.
Although Blackmore says his new "spectrum" was inspired by J.S. Bach and German Baroque music, with many of his new compositions making use of medieval modes ("The white keys on the piano," he notes), the guitarist is still a rocker at heart. He left Deep Purple because "they were all competing with each other. It started out as fun and became very serious.
Stormbringer was an album I hated to record, it was so sloppy, which is when I realized I could no longer take our fans for a ride."
So, after hanging around Los Angeles for awhile, he met up with singer Ronnie James Dio (formerly of the British group Elf), "got him drunk and decided to do an album together."
The sound of the first album by Blackmore's Rainbow (on Polydor) is crisper than Deep Purple's, but it's still heavy. The guitarist may well have become enamoured with classical music, but he has not forgotten to come up with a new number, Catch the Rainbow, with moody shades of the Purple's classic Smoke On the Water.
And even though Blackmore modestly claims he's not concerned whether or not the band makes piles of money, he has taken the precaution of adding legendary drummer Cozy Powell (who starred with Jeff Beck) for the first American tour. "I was going to pack it in and try my luck at racing cars," says Powell, "but after three numbers with Rainbow it was all happening."
The piece de resistence is the staging — a 30-foot fibreglass rainbow with enough room inside for Blackmore to take a solo stroll.
Juan Rodriguez, The Gazette - October 25, 1975