GUITARIST RITCHIE BLACKMORE ON WHY HE HAS DECIDED TO MAKE A BRIEF RETURN TO PLAYING ROCK MUSIC, “YOU START TO SEE YOUR FRIENDS PASS AND JUST FEEL IT’S TIME TO PLAY SOME OF THE OLD SONGS”
On playing rock music again:
“I am doing four dates in June, which will be all rock,” Blackmore says, speaking to us alongside Night. “I have the band basically together and it will be [the best of] Rainbow and Deep Purple. It’s just having fun but it’s only four dates in Europe. I don’t want to do anymore because I take what I’m doing now much more seriously.”
Noisey: When I first heard All Our Yesterdays [from Blackmore’s Night] I thought of some of the people you have lost recently including Ronnie James Dio.
Ritchie: Yes, Ronnie Dio. I had not seen him in 30 years, so it was kind of like an old friend that I knew a long time ago. So it didn’t [impact me] as much as Jon Lord’s passing; he and I put Purple together… Ronnie was a good friend of mine in the beginning. Although I ended with Ronnie not as friends, we did some great music together. And he was very serious, great singer and musician. Sometimes I would ask him, “What are you hearing in this riff?” I would sing it to him very quietly, and he would grasp it immediately and know exactly what I was talking about… He was very easy to work with as far as knowing how to sing and where to go.
Noisey: I know you’ve said many things about Jon including ‘Without Jon there would be no Deep Purple.’ What should people know about him on a personal level?
Ritchie: Jon was always a gentleman, sort of like Rex Harrison. Anyone who met him found him full of old-style charm.
Noisey: Thinking of Jon, I must ask why you decided to do the Deep Purple and Rainbow dates now?
Ritchie: I turned 70. And arthritis is starting to set in. Jon’s not around. So many others aren’t around. You start to see your friends pass and just feel it’s time to play some of the old songs. Nostalgia is a big reason to do it, but not the only reason.
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