German magazine ECLIPSED Interview

Ritchie Blackmore is, no question about it, one of the rock guitarheroes all time and that makes him a legend - Deep Purple and Rainbow. You don't have to mention anything else. But these days good old Ritchie is no longer a brusque heavy rock axeman, but a medieval plicker mutant who likes to pick the acoustics. All in all his band is no longer called Deep Purple or Rainbow, but Blackmore's Night. And they have sworn themselves in the sofar six years of their existence and including 3 albums (in October there will be a double live cd and -dvd released) on a mixture of renaissance- and barokmelodies, folk, pop and rockmusic of the light kind. On principle there's nothing to criticise. But unfortunately Blackmore's Night is not very special and inventively what they put in it.

Allright, the musicians in this project are excellent instrumentalists. The playing together is very good and mister Blackmore knows like before what he can get out of his six strings. Also singer (and Ritchie-companion) Candice Night has a clear, every tone hitting voice, that fits very well to this musical concept. It's of no use anyway: Already after a few songs on three albums the exchangeability and saccharin sweet of the arrangements get on your nerves. Ms Candice makes you remember too much to former Mike Oldfield-companion Maggie Reilley, like in his softest phase and with bullshit like "Moonlight Shadow". No question about it, the diversity of the music is fine invented, oriental, Yiddish till Celtic, it's all represent here. But all is like shot systematic through a washing powderbath and it all sound the same.

Point: Blackmore's Night is minstrel-rock and compared to Deep Purple or Rainbow Mr Blackmore is meanwhile lightyears taken away. But we can't deny, the former eternal moper and angry pickaxe, is nowadays a much more friendly interviewpartner, who obviously treat Candice Night -who also is present at this conversation- dominant. Not only emotional, but also musically.....

- Ms Night, Mr Blackmore, have your hearts always been so romantic, or do you perform the romanticism only on stage?

Night: No, no, I don't play the romance, I'm like that since childhood. I've always believed in the existence of fairies or trolls or unicorns, I still do. Even if I never came face to face with these creatures, they still get the best of my fantasies above in me. And Ritchie is a similar romantic like me, right?

Blackmore: Certainly! I still love the mystery of life. The present affair, that connect Candice and myself, makes our love immortal, even far beyond death. I'm very convinced about that. By the way it's not that Blackmore's Night is my first desire to romanticism musically. Anyone who carefully listens to the early Rainbow and also some of the quiet Deep Purple things, that I wrote, will recognize in the sound something medieval or the renaissance. At that time it was only be embedded in a rock-context, and that's these days not the case anymore.

- By the way Deep Purple and Rainbow - have you definitively finished these projects?

Blackmore: Not with Rainbow, we'll even go next year on tour again. It'll be a very nostalgic affair. We do this really only because of the 10.000's of fans all over the world, who have asked and begged for it. With Deep Purple I only have to do that I sometimes integrate old songs of that band in the Blackmore's Night-Concept, however in acoustic garment and interpreted by Candice, like "Soldier Of Fortune" of the "Stormbringer" album. And, also yes, like before I'm still be friends with Jon Lord. But for the rest Deep Purple is a long past era, on which I'm proud, but with whom I've been since ages cut off.

- Will this Rainbow-Revival-Tour happen because of financial reasons?

Blackmore: (laughs) No, I don't need it thank God- only because of my Purple and Rainbow royalties I can have a splendid life. I don't need to work in this life ever again and still can have a good life. No, I really only do it for what brings me pleasure, respectively -in the case of Rainbow - the fans.

- Are you coming back to the present: During the old days the electric guitar meant everything for you, but today you play mainly acoustic. What made this inclination happen?

Blackmore: It's not that the electric completely was ignored, nonetheless it's my true companion for more than 30 years, whereas I only discovered the acoustic for about ten years ago. What I really like about it, is the warmhearted and original tone. Besides that, you have to be a much better player, when you will survive on the acoustic. With the electric you can hide pretty much with tricks. That tells me nothing anymore.

- What kind of relation do you have with your instrument?

Blackmore: If you wanna say it; a bit exaggerate, then I would say: "I am the guitar, the guitar is me". Unfortunately this phrase was already used years ago by my great example John Lee Hooker, so out of respect I can't steal this from him. I also can express it like this: the guitar is next to Candice my true love, I talk to it and it talks back to me - most of the time, except when it's out of tune. Well, that's also the story with your lover..... At least I speak every day to it, furthermore I'm educated to be a guitarplayer. Only when it's totally out of tune, I leave it for a day. Guitars are, I'm sure about it, very sensible instruments.

- Early October there will be a Blackmore's Night Live double cd and also a DVD released. What can we expect?

Night: On the CD are performances from Prague and the Dutch Groningen, they were recorded earlier this year and then -in our modest opinion- we were at our peak of this tour. On the DVD there will be footage of a concert, that was done in a wonderful ambiance. Except that we also will show a few castles, that we discovered on many trips all over the world and most impressed us (laughs). And then there are a few guitarsolos to be watch and heared by Ritchie which makes it even more worth. Well, he just can't leave it to step in the spotlights a bit....

- Catchword: Castles. Wherefrom is the interest of the both of you for old buildings?

Night: We don't have any authentic castles in the States and especially no castle-ghosts. These have facinated me already when I was a little girl, I loved, already when I hardly could read, the book "The Ghost of Canterville". It was very early in my life my dream, to go and see castles, to live there for some time. With Ritchie this dreams comes true.

Blackmore: I think I was born in the wrong time -although I'm comfortable, like a dentist, know how to appreciate the telly or the internet. But all and all I'm a hopeless nostalgic, who would have lived best in the Middle Ages. Well, maybe that will happen in my next life - who knows what will bring us next?

Already as a Heavy Rock guitarplayer I noticed the yearning to long gone times in me. But since Candice and I are a couple, I live this passion also in my work. And that brings me pretty close to my actual destiny.

- How did you get together - was that also such a romantic affair?

Night: Not at all. I got to know Ritchie in 1989, when I was a reporter for a local radiostation, there was a soccermatch in Long Island, Deep Purple performed there a song. I got myself some autographs - and then one of the roadies asked me if I would like to meet Ritchie that night in his hotel. I agreed, and we amused us the whole night, it was all heartfelt and urged. We felt like two old souls which were meant for each other. Still we were both in other relations and it took a few years before we became a couple. We still kept all the time in contact with each other, but only since 1995 we are together. And this will hopefully stay like this till the end of our days.

- How do Candice Night and Ritchie Blackmore make new songs?

Blackmore: We listen to much music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era. That is always an inspiration when it come to composing. We then sit in our villa in Long Island, outside are sounds of the sea, the fireplace is on, all very cliché and then we fiddle new songs. Our pieces arise very organic, very much the opposite as with Deep Purple or Rainbow songs, which most of the time came with fights about power and pressure from above. I enjoy the new art of composing exceptionally.

- You also feel very strong obliged with the music of long bygone times?

Night: Me first since the time, that Ritchie and I became a couple and we started Blackmore's Night. Since then with heart and soul. I think, this music was always slumbering in my heart and just was waiting to get out. It's the music of my life!

Blackmore: It fascinates me that in this music there's so much mystery. That's the most important! The life of art has to be mysterious, I think.

- Exactly in Germany, it's culture and history made a big impression on you. What's the reason of it?

Blackmore: Germany is a nation, that lives from discipline as much as melancholy. That fascinates me. Bach, Brahms and Beethoven - they are immortal composers who come from Germany. Only with Richard Wagner I don't have anything, he's too pompous for me. He doesn't reflect the Germany that make me enthusiastic.

- "We are not interested in musical progression, we just make our own songs", that's the description you gave recently of Rainbow's Night (note: yes this is what was printed!). Is this still the case?

Blackmore: Definitely! We are a very old fashioned heap in the long run. I don't feel like to integrate in the actual music trends. I don't listen to the radio, watch no MTV. We do nothing else than our own stuff, that has a inspiration of the culture of a long gone era. We shouldn't try to pick up with the modern - and still our stuff sells good, most concerts are sold out and we have a lot of fun. Blackmore's Night was and is an adventure, nonetheless it seems to be an adventure with a good end. We do what we want, without reservation - and also make money with it. Can you expect more from life? I don't think so.

© Michael Fuchs-Gamböck, Eclipsed Magazin, Germany, October 2002

From the Management office of Blackmore Productions: Please state for the fans - to clear up the misconceptions - The interview done for Eclipse was not presented in a factual manner. Ritchie did NOT say the things he was quoted as saying. He has no plans to do a Rainbow tour or Rainbow reunion in 2003. He is quite challenged and stimulated by the new musical direction he has found with the music of the Renaissance/medieval time periods and Blackmore's Night and plans to continue in this direction-releasing a DVD and new Blackmore's Night studio album in 2003. He has the greatest respect for his fans and hopes they join him on his musical journey throughout his career.