Ritchie Blackmore
The oddness in person

He had explicitly and contractually agreed the gig at the California Jam only on the condition that Deep Purple start their show after sunset. Now it was just 6:30 pm and glistening outside, an absolute no-go for the virtuoso outsider and festival hater. That's why he locks himself up in his trailer, drinks a few beers and can't be moved to the stage before sunset, to give one of his most spectacular shows so far.

At the end of the 30-minute version of 'Space Truckin', the black magician theatrically dissects several of his Strats in a theatrical manner, causing his amplifier to crash in a big explosion and holding a crowd of some 350,000 people in suspense. No wonder this man enjoys a reputation for such and other stories (remember the plate of spaghetti in the face of Ian Gillan): of course one of the best rock guitarists of all time, but also one of the most difficult man and eccentric.

Alone in his once again ingenious post-purple formation Rainbow, this man welcomed and dismissed over 25 artists - including Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner - the recent revival titled "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Rock Memories" exists since 2015 and with its loose four-year existence is one of the more consistent line-ups, which he tolerated so far around. It was clear from an early age that despite his virtuosity, Ritchie Blackmore does not conform to the typical image of a guitar god: he likes to be alone, does not laugh much, portrays something like the filtered oddity in person. Surprisingly, there is this one person whose presence The Grand Master has been welcoming for a few decades at any time. Candice Night calls herself the Chosen One, who accidentally entered the life of the Leash in 1989 and has been a singer of his bard group Blackmore's Night since 1997.

With this heartfelt project, the couple indulges their shared passion for Renaissance and medieval sounds, costumes accordingly anciently and spends his time on castles. Between raw rock music and minstrels. Live and let live. At the sight of this getting used to constellation, one wonders automatically if much of Blackmore's posturing may just be a flat facade or a sophisticated protection mechanism. Has Ritchie Blackmore just become milder in his old days, or was the retired musician with the crumbly humor (oh yes, he did) always a deeply misunderstood type? Will Ritchie Blackmore like to be misunderstood in the end?

All points that you tried to subtly cut in the context of a unfortunately very brief, yet not at all unpleasant interview. Reason enough for such an undertaking is indeed the exclusive Germany concert, in the course of which the current incarnation of Rainbow with the young Ronnie Romero on vocals in June in Munich plays (opening band: Tokyo), and two brand new recorded tracks, which will be published online at the end of April which unfortunately was announced after the interview. "The Storm" and "Black Sheep Of The Family" will be physically only on the concert itself on a limited edition CD titled RAINBOW VORWÄRTS (as mentioned earlier: he has an interesting kind of humor). With so much to come, not even a Mr. Blackmore could get out of one or another interview situation. Except, of course, with his - oh what a surprise! - weird answers.

How do you rate the importance of a certain nostalgia factor that plays a major role in rainbow shows today?

I do not judge the importance of nostalgia. Nostalgia plays a role, but there is nothing left to say. The fans should decide for themselves what they think about it.

Do you ever give your current, younger bandmate musician or life advice?

No never.

In an interview, you once said that you always get angry with rock music: Do you feel anger when playing Rainbow or Deep Purple songs today? And do you really enjoy these shows?

I always feel anger when I play rock music. I enjoy doing it anyway.

How important is the factor "escapism" for you as an artist?

Fortunately, I managed my most escapism when I was sacked at school at the age of fifteen. I'm just happy that with my guitar playing I can make enough money to survive and do nothing else.

Retrospectively, which line-up was the best you ever played in?

Always the line-up in which I just played or played at the time.

Do you ever think about what reputation you have?

I've always been interested in the good-for-nothing and bad guys, especially in movies. Christopher Lee, Lee Van Cleef, Clint Eastwood, Vincent Price, Max Schreck. I always wanted to have a bad reputation because people would finally leave me alone and I could choose my own friends.

What's the secret behind a peaceful collaboration with Ritchie Blackmore?

That's relatively easy: not wanting to get paid.

Would you call yourself a misanthrope?

Actually, I have never thought about that. Whatever people want to believe, I let them go through it. Personally, I believe that you have to be 100% honest, always and at all times. Many people just can not handle that, it does not suit them to the stuff or their world view.

What's worse: to be ironic and misunderstood or to be honest and misunderstood?

Oh well. Every story has its two sides. And I love the music of Bob Dylan.

Do you like living in this day and age?

I have to say I suffer from hemorrhoids from time to time, especially if I use the wrong toilet paper.

If someone writes an encyclopaedia on rock music in 100 years, what do you want written about Ritchie Blackmore?

"He always paid his bills."

© Jacqueline Floßmann, Classic Rock Germany - June 12, 2019