Love, like music, is hard work says guitarist Ritchie Blackmore

Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore met his wife, Candice Night (both above), at a football match he was playing in.
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore met his wife, Candice Night (both above), at a football match he was playing in.PHOTO: CANDICE NIGHT/INSTAGRAM

Ritchie Blackmore, who will perform with his band Rainbow in summer says making music takes effort

A Rainbow will rise over British concert venues this summer.

This should be a welcome sight for fans starved of the wizardry of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, whose riff for Deep Purple classic Smoke On The Water is a must-learn for all aspiring axemen.

Rainbow is the group that Blackmore, 72, formed when he quit British rock band Deep Purple in 1993.

The upcoming shows will not be a mere pleasant jaunt down memory lane, reported The Guardian.

"Well, I like to think that music is serious. I'm not one of these guys who like jamming with people and having fun.

"It's hard work and it's gratifying to do, but fun? Fun is something where someone tells a joke and people laugh for 10 seconds," Blackmore insisted. "Music's much deeper than that."

No wonder, then, that the perfectionist in him has had him rotating through 26 musicians in Rainbow over the years.

His sense of professionalism was perhaps the main reason he left Deep Purple, even as the band had scored huge hits with songs and albums such as Smoke On The Water, Burn and Fireball in the 1970s.

Media reports then said he was unhappy with singer Ian Gillan's attitude, including turning up late for recordings and forgetting lyrics.

Blackmore left in 1993, but not before 30,000 fans in Singapore got to see him perform with the band in 1991 at the National Stadium. True to his no-nonsense stand, he reportedly was livid that the sound system that day was not up to his standards.

The guitarist also got tired of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, switching in 1997 to explore mediaeval and Renaissance music in a group called Blackmore's Night. What he wanted, he said, was "to be a wandering minstrel and play to 10 people a night" and to be able to stay in castles when he toured.

He has been able to do that for 20 years or so now, before taking a turn to revive Rainbow last summer.

Blackmore finds that romance is hard work too.

He met his wife, Candice Night, at a football match he was playing in. Talk is that he asked a roadie to get her name and telephone number.

But does not a rock star get all the groupies he wants?

Apparently not, as Blackmore told The Guardian that he is not immune from "a fear of rejection".

In an interview with Newsweek recently, he also spoke about other worries when he goes on the road.

"I'm always weary of doing outside venues with other big bands because there's a lot of sabotage, believe it or not.

"It was an old trick to sabotage the other band by taking out half the sound system, but invariably, it was the road crew, not the band.

"We had it done to us so many times, I would always go up the side of the stage and listen to each speaker to make sure we had a sound coming out."

While Blackmore may remain a tough cookie to play with, he said he would perform with Deep Purple again if he were asked to.

However, drummer Ian Paice said in a recent The Rock Brigade podcast that "there's no point" for the band to consider a reunion.

"When Ritchie left, nobody fired him. Nobody said, 'You have to go.'

"It was his choice. And so, the band continued, the band moved on. Ritchie started doing his thing, which is great.

"He was obviously happy doing it and we've been happy doing what we've been doing for the last 23, 24 years.

"At this stage of my life, I don't need cloudy areas. I like it to be clear and crystal and know that it's going to be fun. I love Ritchie to death, but I can't guarantee every day with him is going to be fun."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Love, like music, is hard work'. Print Edition | Subscribe