Richie Blackmore's Rainbow refines the heavy metal
Rainbow, Pat Travers and Krokus. When I heard those hands were triple-billed at Cobo Hall Friday at 8 p.m., I groaned. Great guitar grief — the metal men were rolling into town, amplifiers cranked to maximum volumes. Still, I was curious to see what Rainbow's Richie Blackmore was up to. A certain amount of respect for his guitar work from his Deep Purple days always made me give his Rainbow material at least one spin on the turntable.
Usually I flinched, but I continued thinking highly of the Englishman for his unbridled audacity as a guitarist. Well, the Cobo concert made Rainbow's latest L.P. "Difficult to Cure" required listening. And I wasn't offended! There was clearly someone behind this disc who appreciates subtlety — someone who definitely has more regard for the finished product than Blackmore usually has.
That person is bassist/producer Roger Glover. Glover was with Deep Purple for five years but left in '73 at the height of Purple's success because of internal band hassles and the rigors of the road. He also produced Rainbow's last record — "Down to Earth" – one that led the hand in a more commercial direction.
"Just to put out mindless, loud rock really isn't our aim," said Glover, 35. "We try to be a bit sophisticated about it, not bludgeon people to death. That's the typical AC/DC approach. We care more about the music than that. And to call us heavy metal... I prefer hard rock. Heavy metal conjures up something a bit more basic than what we are. We're reasonably basic in general music terms, but I do hope there's a certain refinement evident."
Glover takes it all quite seriously and, as a producer, tries to get something on vinyl that is often hard to capture. "With this album, I had about 19 nervous breakdowns. There are the technical levels to consider, but there has to be a spirit behind the record. And I'm interested in getting that spirit on the album. Blackmore is an overpowering spirit, and It's a great challenge for me to get that down," said Glover.
That brings Glover to his live show concept. "Personally, I like listening to classical music, but I believe in rock music. I don't think anyone likes to be entertained in his head when he goes to see a concert. Rock is a very physical thing," said Glover.
"A live show to me doesn't mean how close you can sound to your records. It's an exercise in how high you can get your audience and how high they get you. We can do a rehearsal, and even if it's correctly played, it can be lifeless or spiritless. It takes the band and the audience to make it move.
"Rock often gets misunderstood by a lot of highbrow critics who say it's a loud, infantile waste of time," said Glover. "But to me there's very little good news that gets spread these days. ...Music is probably one of the greatest mass media exponents of good news. People have a good time, and it (rock music) gets good news across to millions of people. Like Frank Zappa said, 'Music is the only religion that delivers the goods.' "
Detroit Free Press - April 17, 1981