Shadow Of The Moon Press Kit Interview 1997
You named it 'Blackmore's Night', and your name has to do with black, it's not only black, it's more than black, it's Blackmore. You prefer the colour black. What's so fascinating about black?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Black - you can't say black in America any more, 'cause you get into trouble. You know that?
CANDICE NIGHT: Answer the question!
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Black, yes, is a very dark, moody kind of colour. I do tend to like dark rooms like we're in at the moment. I don't like light too much although I believe in light. But I do like dark moody atmosphere.That's about it.
Why don't you like the light?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I like the light. I like the normal daylight. But I don't like lights as in a place, a bar or wherever, I prefer it to be darker. I feel that once the sun has gone down we shouldn't be lighting things up, we should just light a candle maybe, and that's it, and then wait for the sun to rise the next day. We have enough sun all day. But in America sometimes everything is lit up so much, so, you go into a store and it's like going on stage. There's a million lights on, just being wasted when one would be sufficient.
Do you believe you are a man born at the wrong time with the right aches?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Yes I'd like to think that, because I love to complain. So there would be yet one more thing I could complain about. I could alway plead: Well, nobody understands me, so I'm living in the wrong time. Although, seriously, I refer back to the, the sixteen hundreds is my favourite time. Obviously I wouldn't like to have caught some of the diseases they had then, but I do, I absolutely adore that period of time. You might have noticed I'm dressed up at the moment for some strange reason.
And I just love the music from that period, the sixteen hundreds are my favourite time. Although of course they didn't have the electrical guitar then, so they tell us, but you never know, that might be a political thing.
Why just the 16th century, the Middle Ages. Why is it so fascinating, that period? They didn't even have a bath tub or something like that!
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I think it's more or less the music. As soon as the fifteen hundreds came around, the Reformation time. I'm not too keen on the music from the fourteen hundreds, the Gregorian chants, Ambrosian chants, it's okay, but it doesn't stir anything up. But as soon as I hear a Krummhorn, that's it, my life is full. I think I would probably have lived in the woods or something, I can relate to just being very simple, living in the woods, chopping wood for a living.
But you couldn't afford to live with such a beautiful lady. You had to become a landlord or something like that.
CANDICE NIGHT: I relate to being a peasant girl at that same time period. Not, if somebody was to ask me I wouldn't think automatically of living back in a castle dressed in incredible, elegant robes. I would automatically think of being dressed in a peasant gown, living outside, sleeping on straw and probably singing for him playing the lute.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I'm getting excited.
Do you believe that you maybe are reincarnated?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Could be. Or maybe there was something that was not finished or - I don't know. It would be very easy for me to say yes, I've been reincarnated. But there again, why would I be the same thing in this life as I was in that. Maybe I wasn't, maybe I truly want to live that life but I never did live it, maybe there is a reverse psychology involved. I really don't know. I don't know the answer to that.
What's the reason for the LP "BLACKMORE's NIGHT"? Because the last thing you did was, and the beautiful lady she sang the background, was on your Rainbow-Tour, and then turning that tremendously away from your heavy metal field.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: It was always my intention. For the last 20 years people would say to me, please do an acoustic thing, and I went why, everybody is doing the acoustic thing. Especially the last ten years everything was unplugged. That got a little bit too fashionable to me, the unplugged stuff. And now that it is not fashionable to be unplugged I'm unplugged. But I've wanted it for the last 20 years, and I have been playing this at home for 20 years, 25 years. And I think Candy is the one that brought it out in me to actually put it on record. I would never have actually done this record, had it not been for her singing along at home and bringing some of these ideas to fruition with her interpretation. Right, Candy?
CANDICE NIGHT: That was nice.
You always played the Stratocaster. I'm not sure if you ever played a Gibson, but you do now...
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: The Strat(ocaster) had more of a cut for rock and roll, the Gibson is more of a jazzy guitar, is a very mellow sound, full sound, great sound. But I wanted, when I heard Hendrix, I liked the way he cut through the notes, so I wanted to try and reach that more. I first got my Strat indirectly through Eric Clapton. He gave his roady, who was my friend, a guitar, a Strat that he didn't want, and he gave it to me, and that's when I started playing with Strat, so thanks to Eric Clapton.
What's so fascinating to turn towards a more acoustic sound?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I always thought playing the acoustic was kind of easy, was just a case of strumming a few chords, and I really didn't see the point. But in the last five years I have seen some amazing guitar players like Gordon Guiltrap, Leo Kottke, and they make the acoustic guitar sing, and that really fascinated me, that they could play with that much dexterity on something like an acoustic. So now I'm kind of trying to follow them by trying to play something, trying to get something out of an acoustic, which is not easy in the beginning.
Because obviously the size of strings, and you can't bend the strings, I'm used to doing that. So consequently I'm suffering a little bit of arthritis in one of my fingers because I'm trying to play these heavy strings. But the acoustic has opened up a whole new avenue of thought that I didn't think was there. I'm very happy to just play the acoustic because the acoustic is a reflection of someone's soul, it's a woddy feeling.You could be in a room and the most natural thing to do is play a wooden instrument that's not plugged in. Once you plug the instrument in to an amplifier then you're getting into the electrics, then you're getting into the business, then you're getting into demographics and marketing, and hit parades, and radio play and radio interviews which really has nothing to do with music.
Candice, do you feel as his muse for guitar player or for the creative human being, the man.
CANDICE NIGHT: The creative human being, definitely. More so than the player. I'm a fan of Ritchie's as a person inside.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: What is the first thing I do in morning?
CANDICE NIGHT: Bring me coffee in bed?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Before that.
CANDICE NIGHT: What do you do first thing in the morning? I don't know. Is there something you wanted to say?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: No, no, it's what you complain about.
CANDICE NIGHT: I'm not a fan of that. I'm a fan of Ritchie's as a person. I like the way he has a different stance on things, he sees things in a different way, he explains something differently, he's very honest, very open and very sensitive. And there is a lot of people out there who aren't, they'll tell you what you want to hear. And that's not what being a real person is all about. And I think he is very real and very honest about things and I'm a big fan of that. Just all this is pretty impressive. But of course I'm in love with the way he plays the guitar as well.
And what about Ritchie playing Rock'n'Roll?
CANDICE NIGHT: I love that too. It's different sides of me. I love rock and roll and I love acoustic. And it depends on how I feel at that time of day. What I'm in the mood for, if I want to get out there and drive my car really fast or if I want to sit outside and watch the sun go down. It's all different sides of me.
Who's the 'Ocean Gipsy'?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: We did not write that song. That's a song that was written back in 1975 by another group called Renaissance. We've always loved that track. We used to play it around the house just for fun. Most of these songs that are on this LP, CD, we played in the beginning for fun which is the best way I think of approaching music. It wasn't hard work. It was very easy to make this CD. Because we knew these songs we played them to our friends, we had good fun playing them. And 'Ocean Gipsy' was one of our favourite songs. As well as, there was another one, is it 'Wish You Were Here' we did, we did 'Wish You Were Here', too, that was a song that we liked very much. We also do things like 'Mister Tambourine Man' which are not on the LP. However, notwithstanding, speaking for myself by and large personally.
CANDICE NIGHT: 'Ocean Gipsy' was a song that was given to us on a tape by Annie Haslam who used to sing for Renaissance, and Ritchie went to see her with a friend of his one night in a club and she was performing. And he brought home all these little tapes that she had given him and we played them when we were living in Connecticut, we don't live there anymore. We were sitting outside one day just listening to the tapes, and Ocean Gipsy was one song that stuck in my mind. And then we moved and we packed the tapes and we didn't see those tapes for years. And I always remembered, Ocean Gipsy was always in my head. And then one day I just started humming it around the kitchen and Ritchie picked up playing it and we had to go and find the tape and rampage through all our tapes so that we could find out what the words were and what the rest of the chords were. But that was just one of those haunting melodies that sticks in your head.
What could someone expect if entering your castle the 'Minstrel Hall'?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I like to play practical jokes on people. So the first thing they do is when they knock on my door they will get an electric shock. But that's my way of saying, hello, you're welcome, come on in. Of course we have, if they sit down, they are glued to the seat. We play a lot of tricks on people, we have lots of ghosts in the house. We do lots of séances. We are very serious about the paranormal side of life, too.
CANDICE NIGHT: Our house is very dark also. It is lit up by very very dim lights. When you come in, we have a big tapestry room, a medieval room where we usually have our singalongs in.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: So we're either playing with the cats, doing séances or playing music - or out of the house playing soccer.
What's so fascinating about occultism and spirituality?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Well, it's just all that really means is hidden, it's not done on an everyday basis and of course religion, I'm not a religious man, I'm a spiritual man but not religious, because religion usually revolves around money. And why we're involved in the so-called occult, is because it's just a hidden, traditional, it's something that, back in the pagan times people would appreciate nature. Of course today it has changed a lot. But I also see changing today. I think we're all going back to appreciating nature and more the pagan style of worship. We get involved in séances, for instance, we communicate with other entities, other realms, that to me is absolutely fascinating, it's a way of explaining life to me, because I can't sometimes, like everybody else I would hope, I sit there sometimes and think, what is this all about, why are we here, and this communication to me helps me over that why we are here. I'm still searching. And I haven't found the answer in books. I don't think the answer lies in books which a lot of people think it does, personally I don't. I like first-hand experience, I want to find out for myself. I don't want to read a book that someone else has written a long time ago and say oh, this is what's going on. There's something wrong with that. Personally. And that we have communication, we have had phantastic communication. I have written lots of books about it actually. I haven't published them. It's all locked. One day maybe we'll publish and take it from there. What would you think?
CANDICE NIGHT: I don't think we're so much into occultism as we are into.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: But all that means is something that is not done every day.
CANDICE NIGHT: Yes, but as much as into nature appreciation and into supernatural fascination, really, paranormal, other realms of searching, constantly searching, always searching, and trying to, almost like escapism, this sort of realm and this sort of world where everything is so physical. Everything is about how good you look, or how fast you can play or how much money you're making. And down deep inside none of that matters at all. And I think that's why people like us or a lot of people that we've met are telling to get back to nature and realizing there is so much more out there than just going to the office and see if you can beat what the other person is doing. And that's very important for spiritual growth.
What do you think about the today world?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: It's got totally out of hand, there is so much stress in this world, from the competitive side. Everybody is working for money.
CANDICE NIGHT: Right, but I think doing that searching also lends itself to creativity. And I think if we were so wrapped up in the physical run we wouldn't be able to create anything, he wouldn't be able to write songs or play as well as he could and I wouldn't be, if I was doing business all the time I know I wouldn't be able to think of lyrics 'cause I'd be thinking of money or thinking of how to get ahead in the world.
But creating something, such things together, I mean you as a guitar player, the moment you touch your strings, the moment you open your mouth and start singing, is it like entering a state of meditation?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Yes, it is. In a way, yes, you do, it is. It is the same as a séance, you do. It's like astral projection. You do. You leave the body slightly. And - it's not always great, but we try to make it good. But you do leave your body in a way.
Ritchie, what was the reason for leaving Deep Purple during the last tour?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: Well, I have two sides of me. One is, yes, I'm very sensitive and I can be very quiet and polite. There is another side of me. If I'm put under stress, if I'm put in a bad situation, I will fight, and certain people in bands don't like that when you talk back to managements and record companies and say, I will not do this. Then you're labelled 'difficult'. Because you don't do what they want you to do.
The Purple situation was I was coerced into going back with Ian in the same band. I really don't get along with Ian. But the record company thought it was good for business. Okay, so we tried it. And about three weeks into the tour I said no, I can't do this, this is not for me. And it's not so much a personal thing. It's more that I don't like his singing. And I said well, I'll finish the tour and then maybe we'll find another guitar player. We'll carry on. I'm not gonna stop the show here. And it was not for me to say I'm leaving, so the whole thing is over. I think they thought that when I first said, I'm leaving. But after a while they got another guitar player, Joe Satriani, and everything was great. I left and I really fealt good. I felt very good that I was out. It really didn't have much to do with music. Although they're very good musicians. It was more of an armchair kind of band, with Deep Purple we can make an excellent amount of money, go round just playing and we'll all have big cars and wonderful. That only last for me for a while. There has to be a reason why I'm playing the guitar. It's not just for money. It's got to be that inner fulfilment. I had no fulfilment in that band whatsoever other than just money.
Where do you see the difference between a skillful player and a very innovative guitar player?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: To me, listen to Joe Satriani, he is a brilliant player. But I never see him, I never really hear him searching for notes. I never hear him playing maybe a wrong note. Jimi Hendrix used to play lots of wrong notes. 'Cause he was searching all the time. Where the hell is that correct note. And when he did find that right note, well, that was incredible. But if you're always playing the correct notes, there is something wrong. You are not searching, you are not reaching for anything. But that is not to say that - he is a very brilliant player, say Steve Morse, phantastic player. I'm just glad they found a guitar player to carry on. Because I thought I was going to be ordered to be with this band for the rest of my life. That was like a ball and chain thing. And luckily they said oh, we've found someone. And I said, thank God, I can get out.
There are different kinds of guitarplayers, some are technically perfect, some are very emotional. Are there some around, you find fascinating?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I think that I don't really listen much. I just know that Joe Satriani and Steve Morse are brilliant players that they play fantastic. I think what you mean is, maybe, some people play from the heart and other people play from the head. I prefer a heart player. I prefer someone like a blues player with the guy who plays, Jeff Healey, I think, is tremendous. I think the John Mayall-guy is great, too. People like that I prefer. If I hear someone really technical running up and down the fingerboard I can hear that for a couple of minutes, then I start to get bored and I'm thinking of other things like playing football or something. But I do like to hear someone reaching for something. Not quite making it, sometimes they do make it. They are very polished, like Joe Satriani, he is a very polished player, almost too polished. That's what worries me sometimes. But it's a different strokes with different folks as an enemy of mine used to say. Which is such a corny saying. Some people are into the head music, the head technique, some people are into the heart technique, some people are into the blues technique. I personally am into the minstrel technique. If I hear someone playing a lute or playing a Krummhorn it just moves me, I don't know why. Guitar players I find kind of boring. And that's not meant as a dig. If I'm myself boring then I have to go and lock myself away. It's the guitar is a wonderful instrument in certain ways of life, if you are listening to someone like John Williams play, then you know the man can play. And he will play a fast piece, a slow piece, he will emote, he has a doubt, That's just all inspiring to hear someone like that. I think the main objective is to move, make people think in the heart. I personally, I'm not interested in appealing to other musicians. To me it's more inspiring to move someone who doesn't know anything about music but has a feeling. They can say, I don't know what you're doing but I just feel that's something there. That to me is an incredible compliment. As opposed to, well, you just run up and down the fingerboard, it's wonderful, very fast, really what that means is I've just practised the hell out of the guitar. I'm not really saying anything. I'm going from A to B but not seeing anything on the way. Like that train I can hear.
If being asked which solo you prefer out of your Deep Purple time, maybe that on 'Flight of the Rat' or 'Child in Time'?
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: I don't like either one of them particularly. 'Child in Time' is a bit of boy's job, I was fooling over myself there, and that wasn't particularly good so. It was okay at the time. 'Flight of the Rat' I can't even remember. I haven't heard that in 25 years. Although I like the LP. 'Deep Purple In Rock' was great. 'Machine Head', I thought Gillan was singing great. And the band was playing great. Two great LPs. I think 'In Rock' was underestimated, especially in America. They only know 'Machine Head'. And I think 'In Rock' had the edge on 'Machine Head'. And I think we did it very quickly, very naturally. And that was fun to make those two LPs.
Candice, how did it become that you, a background singer, turned into a lead singer?
CANDICE NIGHT: At the very beginning Ritchie and I we were not pulled together because of music, as a matter of fact we met on a soccer field and had nothing to do with music at all. It was all about soccer, always. But we've been together for about eight years now, and in the first couple of years of our relationship Ritchie has never even heard me sing the first couple of years. And a friend of his kept saying, yes, she's a good singer, and he never really took any notice until we maybe started singing Christmas songs at a parties that we were having at Christmas time. But I really started singing with Deep Purple on the 1993 tour and he had me doing ahhhs over the Beethoven part when he did the guitar solo and then he brought me into the Rainbow project when he was having a hard time having to sing the lyrics that he liked, and he would call me up on the phone and play the song to me over the phone and say, put something to it, see what you can do. And so then he turned up and he liked my writing technique, and then he asked me to go to the studio and sing, and than it just took of from now. And here we are.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE: That's right. She has a great identity to her voice. She has a sound to it that you can always identify with. And your interpretations are excellent.
CANDICE NIGHT: Thank you.
Shadow Of The Moon Press Kit Interview 1997