Blackmore's Night


Ritchie Blackmore
"Reunions are only for the agent and the management to make money"

Blackmore's Night have just released 'Beyond the Sunset', a romantic ballads collection and the band are now firmly established on the music scene. A bit of a coup as we get both key members viewpoints and of course Ricthie Blackmore is known to all rock fans for his work prior to Blackmore's Night with Rainbow & Deep Purple...

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Candice: We just finished the US tour; had a worldwide release of our romantic compilation of songs called Beyond the Sunset; released a Best of Blackmore's Night compilation called All For One in Japan and are preparing for our tour of Japan which we will be leaving for next week. We're also planning to come back to territories in Europe to promote our Christmas songs which are included in Beyond The Sunset as a bonus surprise for the fans and we're preparing for our DVD release for January 2005. And, of course, we're always writing. There is a lot going on!

2. How did you chose the track listing for 'Beyond The Sunset' and what are your personal highlights?

Candice: We had so many fans writing in and telling us that they were getting married in Renaissance style to our music that we took the songs that all those people said were their wedding songs and put it together to create the ultimate fantasy/renaissance wedding album. Or maybe just a cd to dream to... I think my personal favorite is the new song "Once In A Million Years" which sounds just like a fairy tale to me.

Ritchie: I'm quite pleased with the way the enclosed DVD came out. Its just a few tracks done in one of our favorite castles, Schloss Burg in Solingen Germany, and even though its 2 years old at this point, its a lead in to the new footage that was just taken that will be released in 5.1 in January. I think the visual was captured well and the sound quality is excellent.

3. Candice How did you meet up with Ritchie and how did the idea for Blackmore's Night evolve?

Candice: We met on a soccer field when I was working for a radio station and he was in Deep Purple. There was a charity match set up and I went to cheer my team on. But Ritchie's been playing for years and he stocked his team with ringers, whereas my team was made up by unatheletic DJ's so we lost is a big way! But I went over to congratulate him on the win and ask for an autograph after the show. He asked me to meet him later at a bar and we talked all night. We had so much in common that it was like talking to an old friend - an immediate connection. That was in 1989. We became friends and kept in touch and in 1991 I moved in with him. In 1993 I went on the road with him on the Battle Rages On tour with DP. At that point he asked me to sing background vocals over his Difficult To Cure part beginning in Czechoslovakia. In 1995 he started writing with Rainbow and they were having a hard time coming up with lyrics. So he'd call me at home and play the backing tracks over the phone to me and I'd come up with a lot of verses for them to use. They'd choose their favorites and be able to complete the song. That's how our co-writing began on songs like Wolf to The Moon and Ariel. Then while the band was doing their tracks, Ritchie would be playing the acoustic guitar in front of the fireplace and we started writing songs together. We played them for friends at our parties and they were so supportive and liked the new music so much that they convinced us to put it out for the rest of the world. Now we have so many people on this new path with us its been an amazing journey! But the whole process was a very natural evaluation.

4. What sort of audience are Blackmore's Night attracting? Is it Deep Purple/Rainbow fans or are you getting a good cross section? Whose idea was it to play the castles in Germany and any other unusual tour venues being lined-up/considered?

Candice: Its an interesting group! There are fans that are die hard Blackmore fans that have been with Ritchie since the beginning, but have gotten older so their musical tastes have mellowed a bit. But they know that the Blackmore name is skill and talent so no matter if he's playing the strat (which he still does) or is playing hurdy gurdy, acoustic guitar or mandola its going to be amazing! Now those fans have gotten married and DP was too hard and heavy for some of the women- but this music is romantic and wistful and has a female singer so now the wives like it too. Also they have children who still have that innocence and want to dress up like Robin Hood and be princesses so they whole family comes to the show... all dressed in garb. Its amazing. We also reach those who love nature or fantasy. The modern day hippie mentality or flower child, I guess. And generally anyone who hates whats being played on the radio which is a lot of people at this point.

Ritchie: It was my idea to play castles. I always used to stay in them on holiday and I love the ambience of the castles. I got to know a lot of castle owners and we wanted to give the fans a different visual than the usual 4 walled stock faceless venue that was always offered up. We've played ancient ampitheaters in Bulgaria and UNESCO sites like the salt mine outside of Crakow Poland. If it has the spirits of the ages in it -it enhances what we do.

5. How has your style of guitar playing changed/developed down the years?

Ritchie: Its different because its a natural progression. I'm sure it happens to everyone but its too abstract to put into words.

6. Ritchie there has been rumours/speculation of a 'one off' Deep Purple reunion using all members down the years. Would you consider being involved or is this past something you don't intend to revisit? Is the same true of Rainbow as Dio has mentioned a proposed reunion but that was abandoned with the sad death of Cozy Powell.

Ritchie: There has been too many reunions. Reunions are only for the agent and the management to make money.

7. What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?

Ritchie: They are all memorable in their own way. Funnily enough the ones that stick out are sometimes the worst show. I played a show in Paris with Rainbow where I got bored with playing the guitar because the audience was so bad that I went on drums, the singer went on keyboards, the keyboard player went on vocals and Cozy went on guitar. We were so awful but we thought that if the audience was going to be so bad- then we could be as bad if not worse!

8. Ian Anderson has guested on a previous album is there any plans to use future guests and how about the possibility of a Deep Purple/rock covers album done in the style of Blackmore's Night?

Candice: We don't ever plan to use guests... it just happens in the creative process while we're recording if we think that someone's sound would contribute to the song perfectly. We touch on some of the DP songs in concert, but I think Ritchie's got so many other songs that he'd rather cover should we choose to cover any songs, besides ones that he's already done. He likes new ground.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Ritchie: Walking through the forest, pondering the mysteries of life.

Candice: Spending time with my cats, delving into the supernatural, and being outside feeling the wind in my hair. Those are my favorite moments.

10. Message to your fans...

Ritchie: Hope to see you next time around!

Candice: Yes, and always believe...

© Classic Rock News, Yahoo - October 4, 2004