Ritchie Blackmore

Interview May 1980

This is the third visit of Rainbow in Japan.

RB: Yes, the local fans are so far from the rest of the world, but every time we like it more and more. It is not that great! We now need to fly here more often...

Heavy metal bands have not visited us for a long time. Meanwhile, "All Night Long" has become almost a hymn for Japanese fans.

RB: Seriously? I thought that various heavy metal bands constantly fly to Japan, it surprises me a little. But I am very happy about this.

Yes, I constantly wake up at 7 in the morning, because the neighbors turn on the entire time "All Night Long"!

RB: Pleasant awakening?

Recently, I got so used to it that I already stopped waking up.

RB: Ha ha ha!

Let's move on to another topic - how do you develop relationships with new members of the group?

RB: There are no problems, especially with Roger, with whom I have been friends for 10 years, so I don't even think that he is a new member.

What do you think about each of the band members?

RB: I hate them all (laughs)! With Graham is very easy. Don is a classical musician, he is a brilliant performer. That is why I like to listen to how he practices and plays. Cozy has a heavy character, like me, we are friends or we fight, it depends on the mood, but everything works out thanks to the positive influence of Roger. He is a very nice guy, everyone loves him. But he is such a kind person that he cannot stand up for himself at all, so others use it. Especially women often use it.

What do you think of Cozy's solo album?

RB: That's great. He has a lot of energy, and you need something to throw it out. Seriously, his energy is overwhelming ... He needs more freedom. He wants to play some of his songs in Rainbow, but for this he has to ask me. It is true that there are many limitations in our group. I am not against his solo album. I think Roger needs to do something like that too.

Have you heard this album already? What do you think of him?

RB: I really liked some of the songs.

Punk rock and new wave music are now gaining more and more popularity. Do you want to use one of these areas in your work?

RB: I already told you in London that I was not going to parody punk or a new wave. If I began to change the style of my music, I would start playing the classics. It seems that today almost all old musicians are bullied by punk. Of course, these directions bring a lot of new things, but in the end everything turned out to be worse, and critics began to call us all "old men". They all disliked us so much that it was only for this reason that they immediately started supporting punk (laughs).

How can you achieve such a belief in yourself as you have?

RB: (He puts on a hat, stands in a proud pose) I'm sorry ... Just be honest with yourself.

Today you have an unusually good mood.

RB: I myself did not expect that our conversation would go so well, it seems to me that lately I generally began to communicate more often with people, asking how they are doing. But my mood is constantly changing. Jumps like a yo-yo. Sometimes I have a strange desire to hug someone... Let's change the subject.

Now many new young heavy metal bands have also begun to appear. Some groups even make it to the charts.

RB: It is impossible to predict what will happen in this business. If you depict these changes on the chart, you get a repeating picture. This year and next year, heavy metal will become more and more popular, then people will begin to listen to calm songs in the spirit of Fleetwood Mac, some new direction will appear, and after some time heavy metal will return.

I really love heavy metal, so I am happy with such dynamics.

RB: Right. I just wanted to say that most people are only interested in new music. That's why radio stations only include that kind of music. In fact, out of fifteen teenagers, ten are listening to all these new music, only the other five do not like it, and these ten are constantly dancing to new hits, so the rest have to do the same. It's like at parties with marijuana - when there is a guy who does not smoke marijuana, he is afraid to admit it, because he knows that he is immediately thrown with tomatoes. I am sure that many also do not like the new wave, but they do not want to talk about it. However, now heavy metal is becoming popular again, so you can safely say that you like heavy metal.

Have you heard the new Black Sabbath albums with Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain's Wild Horses?

RB: Not yet. They are still my friends. Especially Jimmy, he's a cool guy, I really like him.

You need to listen to them!

RB: Do you insist?

In my opinion, now Sabbath sounded much better than before!

RB: Yeah.

By the way, I saw a photo from your performance in Britain, an amplifier was burning on the stage. Is this just a trick?

RB: It explodes with a wave of my hand. For this, everyone is afraid of me (laughs).

About two years ago, I would believe you (laughs). But now I know this is a trick. True, I do not understand how this works.

RB: Give me money, and you will understand (laughs).

Haha, I don't mind. I remember how you asked me to write any word on a piece of paper, and then burn it. Then you called me that word! Was that just a trick too?

RB: Yes, probably. Many people think so.

On stage, you always wear a black suit. What does it mean?

RB: This is a deep meaning ...

It doesn't have to be washed so often, the dirt is not visible on it?

RB: And that too (laughs).

I heard that your collection of gold records has recently been destroyed. Tell us more about this.

RB: How did you find out about this? I myself learned about this a month ago from my ex-wife. I did not think that anyone else knew about this. Someone sneaked into her house while she was gone, broke the gold plates, and fled. They did not touch anything else and did not steal anything.

Are you sorry about the records?

RB: I am glad that they gave me gold records, I gladly accepted them, but in general it is just a piece of plastic, nothing more. It means nothing to me. They are only suitable for boasting in front of others.

At your Wembley concert, you refused to do an encore, and the audience got angry and started a riot.

RB: After playing the set, I went to the dressing room. The audience did not think to disperse, shouting for me to encore and started a riot. I did not like the audience at this concert. It has become fashionable - they go to concerts, they like everything, but then they begin to scold everyone. Not that it pissed me off, but something was wrong with this audience. As I told you, I prefer to be honest, even if it turns out not in my favor. I do not have to do an encore - I am not a robot.

Jeff Beck came to you backstage. What were you talking to him about?

RB: We got drunk a lot (laughs).

I saw the photo; you and Cozy and Jeff are smiling there.

RB: No, it's probably someone else (laughs)! Well, I've been friends with Jeff for about 20 years. I'm sorry, but I don't remember what exactly we talked about with him then.

We have little time left ...

RB: Let's hurry up (laughs)!

Tell me about plans for recording the next album.

RB: We plan to record in Denmark in mid-June. But we have not decided on the details.

Pass something on to your fans in Japan.

RB: First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Japanese fans are wonderful people, they believe in us and feel our music with their hearts. I am very glad that you are still staying with us. I really look forward to seeing you all again from the stage.

Thank! I am going to attend all your concerts in Tokyo!

RB: They all have to be cancelled (laughs)!

© Ongaku Senka, Japan 1980