"I was jealous at bands without huge amps"

Deep Purple-Gitarrist Blackmore im Interview / Donnerstag in der Michaeliskirche zu Leipzig

He started Deep Purple, was responsible as co-writer for many of their classics like for example "Smoke on the Water" and is called a legendary guitarplayer. Till the 7th of August Ritchie Blackmore is touring with singer/textwriter Candice Night in Germany. On Thursday there are on stage in the Michaelis Kirche. Their bandproject exist of eight people and is named "Blackmore's Night". It's standing for Folkrock and Music of the Middleages as well as Renaissance.

Thomas Hammerl spoke with Blackmore:

- The 1972 "Guinnes of Records Book" shows Deep Purple as the loudest band in the world. Today you play as you told before in the most quiet band. What was decisive for such a change?

I was travelling some time ago through Germany, and I heard the "Geyers", they played on acoustic instruments music of the Middleages and Renaissance. I was already always rather jealous on people, that simply took a few acoustic guitars in their hands and played together music - without roadies, lightshows and huge amplifiers in an enormous hall.

- In Germany is a lot, that has to do with the Middle Ages, a public magnet - like Town faires, knight tournaments or music of "In Extremo" and "Corvus Corax". On which does your interest fall back?

When I was nine years old, I heard the known "Greensleeves" melody. From that moment on I was on the lookout for this melancholy, complaining song, that was written by Henry the VIII or one of his musicians.

- Do you have examples from that time?

Yes, Tielman Susatto, Pierre Attaignant and Michael Praetorius.

- The songs on your most recent album "Fires At Midnight" are going more in the direction of chamber music. Why?

No, I think, that this album is more rockin' as the other albums. The reason for that, is I play more electric guitar on this one. But the Renaissance-roots is still present in songs like "Still Remember" or the titletrack, that in the 12th century was composed by the spanish king Alfonso X. "Mid Winter's Night" originate from a french folk song, "Crowning Of The King" is a composition by Susatto...

- You're often voted as the "best guitarplayer". Are you still exercise a lot, and if so how long?

I exercise as long as possible, generally three hours a day.

- Which albums did you buy lately?

In the last four years I only bought two albums. One is called "A Never Ending Dream" and contains celtic rock by the band "Galahad"; the other one is by the "Toten Hosen".

© Thomas Hammerl, Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ) 30 July 2002