Ritchie Blackmore
Enfer Magazine Exclusive Interview 1983

London, September 17, 1983

A gym was transformed into a concert hall for the occasion of the promotional tour for "Bent Out Of Shape", the lastest Rainbow L.P. The venue seemed a bit narrow to accommodate Ritchie Blackmore and his gang, but to my surprise, it was not packed and we could move quite easily.

Lita Ford opened the show. At 20.15 hours, she appeared with her two dedicated musicians: Neil Merryweather & Dusty Watson, bassist and drummer respectively [to our knowledge they were Randy Rand & Randy Castillo, Ed.].

First disappointment: The stage outfit of Lita Ford is not as tempting as the LP "Out For Blood" or even as it appears on a previous issue of Enfer Magazine (No. 3). This evening she wears "jeans" and t-shirt, which still takes great interest in her show.

Second disappointment: Lita Ford has a spitting inaudible metal slurry sound. Yet the lovely Lita has a turbocharged engine on stage, although she is showing a "restless" fatigue.

And briefly, Lita Ford gives us almost all of "Out For Blood" and the only vivid memory concerns the drummer, who struck hard and dry throughout the gig.

21.00 Hours, the lights go out, Lita Ford disappears and the disc jockey resumed his job. The beer and Coke are selling very well, just like the program, despite its high price: 3 pounds (about 35 francs).

This program, read by all the fans, consist of off-stage photos of the 5 members of Rainbow, plus an identical questionnaire for each of them, asking them about their literary tastes, cooking, cinema, music (of course) etc...

21.30 hours; the lights go out, the little voice singing "Over the Rainbow" is running and the rainbow appears in all its splendor with Ritchie Blackmore in black (does it surprise you?), Roger Glover (white hat and purple suite, yes purple!). David Rosenthal raised on his place on stage, Joe Lynn Turner, dressed in black, a white jacket with fringe (just like my editor) and finally the latest member and discovery of the group, drummer Chuck Burgi whose performance in Rainbow is a premiere.

"Spotlight Kid" starts the concert under the madness of the public, followed by "Miss Mistreated". Behind the musicians is a giant screen and the big eyes of "Straight Between The Eyes". The third song will be the first new one of Rainbow, as "Fool For Rain" [that should be "Fool For The Night" ofcourse, Ed.] is the first title from the latest LP. The giant screen dazzles to us with the cover of "Bent Out Of Shape".

The guys continue with "I Surrender" and "Can't Happen Here", until JL Turner announces "Catch The Rainbow"! Isn't it too daring to take this wonderful song by RJ Dio, while the two voices are so different?

My mistake, if Ronnie James Dio was in the venue, he would not complain, as the song was perfect. In addition, the screen shows a rainbow held by a hand (the album cover of "Rising") to the final piece. One word: Huge! "Street Of Dreams" will be the next song. The second title from the previous LP "Difficult To Cure" (9th of Beethoven) shows Beethoven's portrait surrounded by partitions.

Roger Glover is given an opportunity to do a solo (intro of "Black Night" and "Difficult To Cure") and David Rosenthal is faced with endless keyboards. After the second part of "Difficult To Cure", Ritchie Blackmore and Chuck Burgi will, in turn, do their solo before starting "Stargazer", "Blues" and "Death Alley Driver".

1st encore: "All Night Long", "Vielleicht das nächste Zeit" and "Since You Been Gone".

2nd encore: Medley including: "Long Live Rock'n'Roll," "Hey Joe", "Smoke On The Water", "Kill The King" and reprise of "Long Live Rock'n'Roll".

23.30 hours, the lights go on again and I took a "full mouth" (pardon the expression) both by the performance and the confetti that fell from who knows where, and now having invaded the venue. Note: at the end of the concert I saw Kim McAuliffe and Denise Duford respectively guitarist and drummer of the female band Girlschool, head backstage to congratulate the stars of the moment.

It is already well over one hour in the night when, accompanied by a press officer of Rainbow, I enter their palace. The interview with Ritchie Blackmore has been arranged. (Polydor did a hell of a job!).

The guitarist of Rainbow, who has been described as cold and having an allergy for journalists, appeared relaxed and smiling. The following interview, will not be about the music of Rainbow or the opinion of Ritchie Blackmore on his latest album.

We found it more interesting to do an interview with the man who has lived and traveled, but also the man who lives in our world and reflects on the events.

Enfer: What were the milestones in your youth?

Ritchie Blackmore: I think the main event was the day when I received my first guitar, it allowed me to get out of a classical education and be able to create my own ideas.

E: When did you first discover an interest in the occult?

RB: That was in 1969, it started at the same time as Deep Purple.

E: Is this a passion or a search for better living?

RB: To me, this is the search for meaning in life, it is my religion. I can not imagine life without referring to this science, which for me is fundamental.

E: Are you interested in news from the world?

RB: Yes, of course, I live with my time and I like to be informed of events that stir the masses.

E: Do you feel concerned by the war in Lebanon or by the air disaster in the USSR?

RB: Yes, more from the Russians that make me more afraid, and I do not accept the killing of the innocent free. As for Lebanon is a geographic place where they always fought and where there is still fighting.

E: What do you think of the nuclear force?

RB: I think it's good. I believe in this power, because we have experienced 35 years of peace until now, and nuclear weapons are a good item to keep it that way. Any sensible person knows that the result could lead to nuclear war, it would be terrible and the fact that several countries have the bomb has an effect of fear, but it stops there.

E: How do you see the future of the world?

RB: The near future will not have much difference with today's world, there will always be the same relationship in the west and this is perhaps not so bad. As for the future, in a century, I think the space will be open to all and that we can move over large distances, completely different from what we can do now.

E: What would you change in this world, if you had the chance?

RB: The murders! I think everybody wants to change the same things as me, you want what I want, peace and love. But people have passed through the forces and disrupt the entire system of natural human behavior.

E: Who are the people you admire and why?

RB: There are many people I admire in this world, both in music as in other branches. I think I prefer people who make comedy into an art form in time. The actors are happy people, happy and know what make you laugh, even when moments do not permit it. I think it's wonderful.

E: Is religion important to you?

RB: No, religion is wrong and it makes people crazy, the true religion that interests me is mine, the occult science is my only creed.

E: Given the economic crisis, do you consider yourself as privileged?

RB: Who! I am aware that I am lucky to be rich, because when I see who I was and who I am now and there are so many people struggling to emerge from poverty, I am completely realistic and I consider myself fortunate.

E: More and more people are using drugs, what do you think of this?

RB: I've never taken drugs, those who use it are the people for whom life is hell for me, I like to drink. People who have a good job and who are happy do not feel the need to touch it. Only the drug is dangerous because if you get caught, you risk a lot while you spend your money to someone you do not know and who grows, which causes a power to this person, but surely not you.

E: What kind of life would you have liked if you had not been a musician?

RB: If I had not been a musician, I wanted a simple life, have a quiet job, be able to read books, look at the window, go have a drink in a bar. That, to me, would be a simple life, I could not accept a job where people say "I'm better than you, you're better than me... who are you? What are you doing? Are you rich? This is not life, that's a constant battle.

E: Have you any regrets in the way you led your life?

RB: No! I have no regrets, I traveled, I record, I always carried my career in the same way. My biggest regret may not understand some people.

E: Are you happy?

RB: No!

E: Why?

RB: I know too many things.

P.S. Personal Message:

Ritchie gives his love to Sylvia (hoping that someone will recognize this).

© Bruno Lincy, Hell Magazine - October 1983
[Translated from French language]

Thanks to Radislav for the scan