Ritchie Blackmore

People who are grinning are suspicious to me

Exceptional guitarist Ritchie Blackmore arrives in Berlin on Wednesday. With the best of Rainbow and Deep Purple. The B.Z. interview. The best hard rock guitarist of all time? For many fans it is Ritchie Blackmore, 72 years old. From 1968 to 1975, when Deep Purple was still the greatest, he tugged the strings virtuously. Then he went into a fight, founded the rock band Rainbow. In the 80's Blackmore tried again with Deep Purple. It ended: in a fight.

Now the guitar legend revives the glorious times and returns with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at the Velodrom on April 18th for a unique Germany concert. And he will play the biggest hits of Rainbow and Purple days, of course also "Smoke On The Water". The B.Z. talked with Blackmore.

At Deep Purple times, the press described you as a "tough guy" ...

I always wanted to give the best to the fans. And expected that from the band as well. There laziness can creep in after a long time. When I approached something like that, of course you automatically had differences of opinion. Bette Davis once said: You are nobody, until you are difficult. I did not give any interviews back then. Of course it was said: Ah, he is difficult!

Why did not you want that?

I've always been shy, introvert, I'm a guitarist because I do not really want to talk.

You do not smile in pictures either ... ... and therefore always look unhappy, I know. People who always wear a grin on their faces are suspicious to me. Mostly the management types. (Laughs)

You still have long hair. No desire to finally cut her off?

No way! For me, this is also a reminder of the Renaissance era. Today, many men are clean-shaven, it seems strange to me. But I'm also a hippie, no reason to wear trendy clothes.

Guns N 'Roses come to Berlin for a reunion concert after you. With them there was also a violent separation ... Because they worked too much! The management is to blame, is usually so, that's my guess. I know so many bands but do not name them, who work and work and work. No longer for themselves, only for an agency and promoter. It will not work out.

Do you have Berlin memories?

In 1964 I was supposed to perform with a band in a small bar. We were too loud, were thrown out immediately. And we had no money, we were hungry. Two, three days of starving ourselves, that's not nice. It's good to remember the humiliations of the early days. And twelve years ago: I spent the night here with a band at the Hotel Cecilienhof (in 1945, after the Second World War, the "Potsdam Conference" of the three main Allies took here place, editor's note). One of my hobbies: talking to ghosts. And in the night, I heard so many voices. They all shouted: Get out of here! We all left the hotel. Actually, we wanted to stay two or three nights. We only stayed one.

© Ralf Kühling - BZ Berlin, April 18, 2018