Ritchie Blackmore

Rainbow is more colourful than Purple

"I flushed a lot of money down the drain because of this decision", Ritchie Blackmore grins. The decision at the issue here is to move from the top formation Deep Purple into a new group and start all over again.

Rainbow, the new group, is currently called Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and therefore has a considerable lead over other beginning groups. The debut album will be released soon. What we heard of it sounded very promising.

Ritchie Blackmore, guitarist like an executioner and 'enfant terrible' has not changed a single bit. At the first press conference with his new group, he already wants to take on an English journalist, other journalists have to deal with his peculiar sense of humor. When you introduce yourself to him: 'Hello, I am ..., pleased to meet you', Ritchie replies with: 'So what?' followed by hoarse laughter. Fortunately he can also be serious "Yes it was a difficult decision for me. Especially because of the financial side of the matter. Deep Purple was a nice source of income, but musically it had not been for a long time interesting anymore. I had been thinking about quitting for at least a year, since I met Ronnie and his band, recorded an LP with them and everything went so well, the decision has become more or less inevitable."

"Deep Purple was just going to record a new album in the studio and I immediately told them that I was no longer participating, that I didn't like it anymore. I was not so satisfied with the 'Stormbringer' album, it was too soul-like for my taste. I wanted to go back to the roots and honestly: I am very happy with the new album that we have now made with Rainbow. To record a LP with Purple in the studio afterwards was like going back from a nice holiday I really didn't like it and told them that two weeks before we go to the studio in London. That was very nice of me. You see: I want to prove something to myself again. "Could have kept going with Purple and counting my money every night, but to be honest, that wasn't what I wanted. I just wanted to start making some good music again."

Deep Purple's music was based on solid hard rock, the style that suits Blackmore so well and from which the group was drifting a bit. The more diverse music on 'Stormbringer' was clearly no longer for Ritchie. How does he describe Rainbow's music compared to Purple's?

"It depends on who is listening. There are people who think it is like the sound of Deep Purple, others say it has nothing to do with each other anymore. I have always written 80% of the songs for Deep Purple, although on the covers were always mentioned that they were made by the whole group. That was also a reason to quit, all that messing around with the 'credits' and who got the most money etc. I mean Ian Paice doesn't write music, but he did make a lot of money with it. He's an excellent drummer, but if I were really mean I could say we might as well have hired a session drummer to play the records. We didn't because Ian always worked so hard. The actual musical content of Deep Purple came from David and me."

Rainbow compositions are also mostly written by Ritchie, the lyrics are by singer Ronnie Dio.

Ronnie: "I met Ritchie three years ago during the first American tour of Deep Purple. We did the support act with our group ELF. I hated Ritchie right away. I have never really liked him since then...."

Ritchie: "... they were actually only used to set up Deep Purple's gear..."

Ronnie: "Stop it, Blackmore, I'm trying to be serious .... Our first contact was with Ian Paice and Roger Glover, who produced Elf's first album, Glover later also produced the next two records, which made us part of the Purple family. That's how I met Ritchie, who thought I was the most brilliant singer he'd ever heard. He tells me that every day and if he forgets it, I'll tell him."

Ritchie: "That's because I used his toilet when they had cut off the water again. Really. I just said that to get into his room. Ronnie writes all the lyrics in the group, that's why they are so bad..."

Ronnie: "Ritchie has done practically nothing for the record.... No, he writes the basic chords, on which I try to put words. The melody is often mine too, because I know best what I can sing well. Ritchie provides the basic idea, I let him lead me in, that's the most important part of a song...."

Ritchie: "... so I'm entitled to the most money, isn't it....?"


"Rainbow isn't a solo project for me," Ritchie clarifies, "I have a bigger name, but that doesn't mean I have the biggest cock, you know. I mean, because I was with Deep Purple, my name will be used more than Rainbow, but we hope it won't be necessary after a while. I don't believe in having my own band. Anyway I don't want that position, I just want to be part of a group , that's all."

As a co-founder of Deep Purple, Blackmore has had many difficulties to overcome over the past 7-8 years. Three traumatic personnel changes, difficulties in the personal sphere. What about the social interaction in the new group?

Ronnie Dio: "We stay away from each other. Seriously. I'm talking about the personal level. Ritchie is basically someone who prefers to be on his own without being bothered by anything or anyone. I'm about the same. I also like to be on my own, like to do things on my own. Ritchie leaves me alone, I leave him alone. Every now and then we see each other and it goes fine. When it comes to work, we do it first. "We will see what the audience thinks of it later. It is very important for this group that we do not get on each other's nerves."

Ritchie: "It works like this at the moment: I give Ronnie three notes and he makes a beautiful melody. Five minutes later I give him the same three notes and he makes another beautiful melody. So what I do is keep giving him the same three notes and everything else takes care of itself."

With Deep Purple he was the eternally dressed in black guitar magician, who with his Fender Stratocaster cast both enchantment and disaster upon the great crowd of fans, who with his enormous technique coupled with a good dose of aggressiveness the most spectacular solos on his audience. let go. How are we supposed to represent this Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow?

Ritchie: "I'm exactly the same, developing in the same direction as before, only now in a different environment, with a different band. No big deal. It's still the same kind of music that is inside me. I don't change my music because I am now in another band. My music, however, comes into its own better in this band than before. With Purple the end product was never exactly as I wanted and imagined it. Often far from it. A typical example was' Woman From Tokyo ', which was released very badly. Still it was a hit, so it must not have been that bad."


"You see, the funny thing is that I play this new album with Rainbow at home on a regular basis, which I didn't with Purple albums. With Purple it was so, when it was recorded, it was over. I hoped the public wanted to buy it but that was all. Only 'Machine Head' and 'In Rock' I played sometimes at home. That was okay. 'Fireball' and 'Who Do We Think We Are' and the later albums I only heard as someone else played it. I had no desire to listen to those records myself."

Why 'Machine Head' and 'In Rock'?

"Those were the only albums I played on. The others were session musicians. No, seriously: I didn't like 'Fireball' because we had to make it quickly in three weeks under constant pressure. It shows on the record. It was extremely difficult to come up with something similar after records like 'In Rock' and 'Machine Head'. That caused a lot of concern. There were also the personal conflicts, especially during the recording of 'Who Do We Think. "I hadn't exchanged a word with Ian Gillan for a year and vice versa. That also showed in the music. 'Made in Japan' was okay, but that was a live album. Really, the record with Rainbow is actually my third album."

Ever since Jon Lord's 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra' project, there have been rumors that Deep Purple would split up.

Ritchie: "Jon wrote his 'Concerto', it was completely his baby, and I soon - to quote Shakespeare - was pissed as I was afraid of having to play with orchestras all the time and I said okay, you did it your way, now I want to try something my way. Roger, Ian and I then wrote 'In Rock' and we said if that doesn't work, we can always play together with orchestras until our old age and Jon thought it was fine to play rock as well. Regarding that breaking up, those rumors were there every year, usually because in a drunken mood I had said something ugly about someone else in the group, that I so and so hated like the plague and things.

The reality is, I didn't hate anyone. We have been together too long for that .... 7 years is a long time. In the press I was always seen as a loner, someone who kept isolating himself. I liked that, my own dressing room, not hanging out with the others much before a show. I had to tune four or five guitars, always went into the venue to watch the support act briefly. So I was never there when the press spoke to the others in the dressing rooms, so they wrote: Ritchie is a difficult one, hates something about something, doesn't get along with the others and things like that. But it wasn't like that.

I always go into the venue, see what kind of audience it is, what they want. It would be nice if we also got very big with Rainbow, but it's not a necessity for me. Whenever people like the music, I'm happy. I am for honest music making. I've been in one of the greatest bands in the world and I've seen it all. I no longer have to be in big arenas if necessary. I prefer to play good in a small venue rather than badly in a large arena."

© Dougie Gordon/Bert van de Kamp - Muziekkrant Oor, Holland - August 13, 1975