Tag Archives: Deep Purple

Ritchie Blackmore Return to Rock

After nearly two decades of playing Renaissance music, Ritchie Blackmore made his long-awaited return to rock with a new lineup of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow last night (June 17). You can watch video above and below.

The concert took place at the Monsters of Rock Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany. He wasted no time in going back to one of the most celebrated moments in his catalog, opening up with Deep Purple‘s “Highway Star” (embedded above). Even though he said back in February that he was considering 70 percent of the songs to be from Rainbow, according to Setlist.fm, the 13-song set was split almost evenly between Deep Purple (six songs) and Rainbow (seven). Rainbow got the edge thanks to a cover of Russ Ballard’s “Since You Been Gone” that appeared on their 1979 album, Down to Earth. He closed with another Deep Purple classic, “Smoke on the Water.” Setlist also notes that “Soldier of Fortune,” “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves,” “Lazy” and “Burn” were written on the setlist.

Blackmore’s band consists of two veterans of Blackmore’s Night, drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau, and keyboardist Jens Johansson. Handling vocal chores, and thus given the task of replicating parts made famous by three legendary singers — Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio — is Ronnie Romero.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow will perform again tonight, the installment of the Monsters of Rock in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany. Next Saturday, June 25, they will play a show at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, England. He is not planning on recording or touring beyond these three dates. “I thought I’d just get back to playing the old songs one more time,” he said last month. “My commitment lies with Blackmore’s Night – this is just a few dates for fun.” Blackmore’s Night are touring Europe and the U.S. in July and August.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, St. Goarshausen, Germany Setlist

1. “Highway Star”
2. “Spotlight Kid”
3. “Mistreated”
4. “Since You Been Gone”
5. “Man on the Silver Mountain”
6. “Catch the Rainbow”
7. “Difficult to Cure”
8. “Perfect Strangers”
9. “Child in Time”
10. “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”
11. “Stargazer”
12. “Black Night”
13. “Smoke on the Water”

 

Tommy Bolin – A Short Biography

Tommy Bolin

One of the most underrated guitarists (in my human opnion) is Tomy Bolin. A talented guitarist who died at the age of 25, just when his carreer appeared to be taking off.

It’s hard to listen to the music of Tommy Bolin and not wonder what could’ve been he would live today. Unfortunately on December 4 1976 died from an overdose of heroin and other substances, including alcohol, cocaine and barbbiturates. In a recording career that lasted only several years, Bolin not only touched upon several styles (blues-rock, ballads, fusion, funk, reggae, and heavy metal), but showed that he could master each one – as evidenced by his two solo albums and various recordings with the likes of Zephyr, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon, the James Gang, Deep Purple, and Moxy.

Born in Sioux City, IA, on August 1, 1951, Bolin tried the drums and piano as a youngster, but by the age of 13 began playing the guitar. It wasn’t long before he was jamming with local rock outfits, and three years later he was expelled from school for refusing to cut his long hair. Undeterred, Bolin relocated to Denver, CO, where he formed his first real band, American Standard. By the end of the ’60s, Bolin found himself in the blues-rock outfit Zephyr, led by Janis Joplin sound-alike Candy Givens.

Despite high hopes, the group was never able to translate their local success from coast to coast (despite Bolin’s talents supposedly grabbing the attention of guitarists whom Zephyr opened up for — including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page). After a pair of albums that failed to attract a large audience, 1969’s self-titled debut and 1971’s Goin’ Back to Colorado, Bolin left Zephyr. Interested in the burgeoning jazz fusion scene (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Miles Davis, etc.), Bolin formed a similarly styled outfit, Energy.

But apart from live shows and demos, Energy failed to secure a recording contract. Word on Bolin’s guitar ability was beginning to spread amongst musicians, however, and Mahavishnu drummer Billy Cobham invited the young guitarist to play on his solo debut, Spectrum. Issued in 1973, the album became an instant fusion classic, as Bolin’s fiery guitar work lit up such tracks as the over-the-top “Quadrant Four,” “Stratus,” and “Red Baron.” Spectrum also proved to be an important stepping stone for other guitarists (allegedly, it inspired Jeff Beck to issue such similarly styled albums as Blow by Blow and Wired), and for Bolin’s career as well, as he would land gigs with such renowned hard rock acts as the James Gang and Deep Purple solely on the strength of his playing on the album.

Bolin was hired by the James Gang to get their career back on track; after founding guitarist Joe Walsh had left the group in 1971, the remaining members had seen their fortunes slowly fade. And while Bolin’s arrival didn’t return the group back to the top of the charts, a pair of quite underrated albums were issued, 1973’s Bang and 1974’s Miami, as the guitarist also sang lead for the first time on record. It was also around this time that Bolin adopted a flashy image on-stage – complete with feather outfits, nail polish, and multi-colored hair. Shortly after the release of his second album with the James Gang, Bolin left the band, as he’d grown discontent with their musical direction. Relocating to Los Angeles, CA, Bolin supplied guitar to another fine fusion release, Mind Transplant by ex-Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon. It was also around this time that Bolin secured a solo recording contract, but a phone call from Deep Purple was just around the corner.

With the departure of Ritchie Blackmore in 1974, Deep Purple suddenly found themselves without a guitarist. When the group’s singer, David Coverdale, remembered hearing impressive guitar work on the Spectrum album, Bolin was tracked down, offered a tryout, and landed the gig with Purple immediately. As a result, Bolin was often doing double-duty in recording studios – working on both his solo debut (Teaser) in Los Angeles and his Purple debut (Come Taste the Band) in Germany. Both recordings were issued in 1975, but like the James Gang gig beforehand, Bolin’s tenure with Purple was short-lived, as they split up a year later.

It was no secret amongst his friends and fellow musicians that Bolin had developed a dangerous addiction to hard drugs throughout the early to mid-’70s, which only worsened by 1976 (so much so that some wondered if he had a death wish). Bolin continued working at a breakneck pace, however, issuing his second solo outing, Private Eyes, and also guesting on the self-titled debut by Canadian Led Zeppelin clones Moxy. Sadly, Bolin was found dead from a heroin overdose on December 4, 1976, in Miami, FL (the day after opening a show for Jeff Beck), at the age of 25.

In the years following his death, musicians continued to name-check Bolin as an influence, while a career-spanning box set saw the light of day in 1989, The Ultimate, and seven years later, a collection of rarities/outtakes, From the Archives, Vol. 1. Bolin’s brother, Johnnie Bolin, began issuing a steady stream of archival releases, via the Tommy Bolin Archives Inc. label, and launched an extensive official website in his brother’s memory, www.tbolin.com. The ’90s also saw the emergence of annual Tommy Bolin tribute concerts – featuring performances of musicians who played alongside the late guitarist 20 years earlier, as well as such classic rock acts as Black Oak Arkansas.

 

Reference: www.myguitarsolo.com

Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 Amp Head

Hughes & Kettner’s Tubemeister has a few new tube heads. The 5 watt mini amp, the 18 and 36 watt. I was impressed of the feature set and huge sound of the 5 watt. The  Tubemeister 36, with 36 watts of output and three channels, offers considerably more features in a compact package that’s only about twice the size of the Tubemeister 5. The Tubemeister 36 may still qualify as a mini amp, but the only things small about it are its physical dimensions and affordable price. It offers versatility, performance and functions that aren’t available on many three-channel amps nearly four times its size.

FEATURES

The Tubemeister 36 is a stylish amp head featuring chrome handles on its sides and a clear Plexiglas faceplate that lets you see the transformers and glowing tubes inside. The interior is also illuminated with cool blue LEDs when the amp is powered up. Four EL84 tubes drive the power amp section to provide 36 watts of output, while three 12AX7 tubes drive the preamp section. To keep the size as small as possible, the Tubemeister 36 features onboard digital reverb instead of a bulky spring reverb tank. The reverb is also programed to sound full and lush with clean tones and become less pronounced with crunch and distortion tones to avoid the smeared mush that often occurs when using reverb with high-gain sounds.

The front panel is logically laid out. It has separate gain and master volume controls for the Clean, Crunch and Lead channels, three-band EQ (treble, mid, bass) controls for the Clean channel, and three-band EQ controls that are shared by the Crunch and Lead channels. Each channel has its own push-button selector switch, although you can also switch channels with an optional footswitch controller or via MIDI. The rear panel reveals most of the Tubemeister 36’s “secret” weapons, which include its Power Soak feature, Red Box DI output and TSC (Tube Safety Control) self-adjusting bias feature.

The Power Soak reduces power to 18 watts, five watts or one watt and provides a speaker-off setting that allows guitarists to use the head without an external speaker cabinet or load box. The Power Soak is also MIDI programmable, allowing users to program different settings for each channel (such as 36 watts for the Clean channel for maximum clean headroom, 18 watts for the Crunch channel to produce full-bodied power amp overdrive and five watts for the Lead channel to generate singing sustain at lower volumes). Up to 128 different combinations can be saved. The Red Box is an XLR DI output with 4×12 speaker emulation for sending the preamp and power amp tone to a mixing console or recorder. The TSC automatically adjusts optimum bias, and rear-panel LEDs indicate if the power tubes are malfunctioning.

A MIDI input lets guitarists use an external MIDI controller to switch channels, reverb, effect loop and Power Soak settings, and a MIDI Learn switch makes it easy to assign amp settings to a program-change number. The seven-pin MIDI connector also provides up to 20 volts of direct current for powering a MIDI controller without an external power supply.

PERFORMANCE

I thought the Tubemeister 5 sounded huge, but the Tubemeister 36 sounds absolutely colossal, especially when connected to a 4×12 cabinet. Like most Hughes & Kettner amps, it has its own sonic personality, so you’ll want to try a variety of cabinets to find the best match. With 1×12 cabinets, the amp sounded best through speakers with scooped midrange characteristics, as the Tubemeister 36’s inherent midrange is quite pronounced and assertive. I use it with the Carvin Legacy 2 x 12 speaker cabinet.

The Clean channel offers more than ample undistorted headroom, and it can generate lush, gorgeous tones with the reverb dialed in. The Crunch and Lead channels deliver plenty of supersaturated gain and sustain, but if you prefer muscular power amp thump you can get that even at low volume levels thanks to the Power Soak. Don’t let the Tubemeister 36’s small size and 36-watt output fool you—this is a truly gigworthy amp that’s more than loud enough for the stage. And if you need more volume you can feed its glorious tone to the house PA via its impressive Red Box DI.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 may be a mini amp head, but it provides outstanding tones, versatile professional features and distinctive innovations that many full-size amps don’t offer.

Fender Custom Shop Introduces Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster At The NAMM 2013

After waiting for years, Fender decided to honor the work of Ritchie Blackmore; The Fender Stratocaster 1968; a real beauty. The Fender Custom Shop is introducing a replica of Richtie Blackmore’s black Fender Stratocaster, the instrument on which he gave birth to Deep Purple’s legendary “Smoke on the Water” riff. This 2013 limited edition guitar is reportedly as close as it gets to the original used by Blackmore during the early 70s and specifically on Purple’s best selling album Machine Head.

 

Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster

The Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster features a lightly worn urethane finished two piece alder body, a 7.25” radius maple fingerboard on a ’69 U-shaped rounded neck and of course medium jumbo frets. Fender guru Abigail Ybarra took personally care of the ’69 custom make hand –wound pickups which are controlled via a three way switch. Other details of the Blackmore Tribune Strat include the typical ¼” tremolo arm (which I’m sure only Ritchie himself would manage to break), Schaller tuners and Micarta nut, rear headstock tribute decal and a certificate of authenticity.

Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster features:
  • Body: two-piece Alder with a lightly worn Black urethane finish
  • Neck Shape: Custom “U”
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Position Inlays: Black Dot
  • Fingerboard Radius: 7.25″ (184.1 mm)
  • Neck Material: Plain-Grain Maple
  • Nut Width: 1.625″ (41.3 mm)
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
  • Headstock: Large ’70s Style
  • Neck Plate: 4-Bolt “F” Stamped
  • Pickup Configuration: S/S/S
  • Bridge Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-Wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Middle Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-Wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Neck Pickup: Custom ’68 Hand-wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Middle Pickup, Position 3. Neck Pickup
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge/Middle Pickup)
  • Hardware Finish: Chrome
  • Bridge: Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
  • Tuning Machines: Vintage ’70s Fender “F” Stamped
  • Tremolo Arm Handle: 1/4″ Tremolo Arm
  • Colour: Black

For more information around the Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster please visit the Fender website.

Biography Ritchie Blackmore

Richard Hugh “Ritchie” Blackmore (born 14 April 1945 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is an English guitarist, who was a founding member of hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He left Deep Purple in 1993 due to a growing rift between Blackmore and other members in spite of renewed commercial success. His current band is the Renaissance influenced Blackmore’s Night.

Blackmore was ranked #55 in Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Childhood and early life

Blackmore was born in Weston-super-Mare, England, but moved to Heston, Middlesex at the age of two. He was 11 when he got his first guitar. His father bought it for him on certain conditions: “He said if I was going to play this thing, he was either going to have someone teach it to me properly, or he was going to smash me across the head with it. So I actually took the lessons for a year ? classical lessons – and it got me on to the right footing, using all the fingers and the right strokes of the plectrum and the nonsense that goes with it.” Whilst at school he did well at sports including the Javelin. Blackmore left school at age 15 and started work as an apprentice radio mechanic at nearby Heathrow Airport. He was given guitar lessons by Big Jim Sullivan.

He was influenced in his youth by early rockers like Hank Marvin and Gene Vincent, and later, country pickers like Chet Atkins. His playing improved and in the early 1960s he started out as a session player for Joe Meek’s music productions and performed in several bands. He was a member of the instrumental combo, The Outlaws, and backed Heinz (playing on his top ten hit “Just Like Eddie”), Screaming Lord Sutch, Glenda Collins and Boz among others. While working for Joe Meek, he got to know engineer Derek Lawrence, who would later produce Deep Purple’s first three albums. With organist Jon Lord he co-founded hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968, and continued to be a member of Deep Purple from 1968-1975 and again from 1984-1993.

Recording career

(1968-1975) The first Deep Purple years

Blackmore co-founded the hard rock group Roundabout with Wayne Blade in 1968 with Chris Curtis (vocals), Dave Curtis (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), and Bobby Woodman aka Bobbie Clarke (drums). Later on the name was changed to Deep Purple and vocal, bass and drums were changed to Rod Evans (vocals), Nick Simper (bass) and Ian Paice (drums). It was Blackmore’s idea to call the band Deep Purple, after his grandmother’s favorite song. The band had a hit US single with its remake of the Joe South song “Hush”. After three albums Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass).

The second line-up’s first studio album, In Rock, changed the band’s style, turning it in a hard rock direction. Blackmore’s guitar riffs, Jon Lord’s distorted Hammond organ, and Ian Paice’s jazz-influenced drums were enhanced by the vocals of Ian Gillan, who Blackmore has described as being “a screamer with depth and a blues feel.”

 

The next release was titled Fireball and continued in the same hard rock style established on the previous release, with Blackmore’s guitar remaining a prominent feature of the band’s style.

 

Deep Purple’s next album was titled Machine Head. The band originally intended to record the album at a casino in Montreux, but the night before recording was to begin the casino hosted a Frank Zappa concert (with members of Deep Purple in attendance) at which an audience member fired a flare gun which ignited a fire inside the building and the casino burned down. The entire tragedy is documented in the lyrics of what was to become Deep Purple’s historic anthem “Smoke on the Water”.

In 1973, shortly after the release of the album Who Do We Think We Are, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left Deep Purple.

They were replaced by former Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes and an unknown singer named David Coverdale. The album recorded by the new line-up was entitled Burn.

Deep Purple continued to perform concerts worldwide, including an appearance at the 1974 ‘California Jam’, a televised concert festival that also included many other prominent bands. At the moment Deep Purple were due to appear, Blackmore locked himself in his dressing room and refused to go onstage. Previous performers had finished early, and it was still not sundown, the time at which the band had originally been scheduled to start. Blackmore felt this would dull the effect of the band’s light show. After ABC brought in a sheriff to arrest him, Blackmore agreed to perform. At the culmination of the performance he destroyed several of his guitars and threw one of his amplifier stacks off the edge of the stage. He also struck one of the ABC cameras with a guitar, and in recorded footage can be seen arranging for his road crew to set off a pyrotechnic device in one of his amplifiers, creating a large fireball that was quickly extinguished. The band quickly exited the venue by helicopter, avoiding fire marshals, police officers and ABC executives.

Deep Purple’s next album, Stormbringer, was publicly denounced by Blackmore himself, who disliked the funky soul influences that Hughes and Coverdale injected into the band. Following its release, he departed Deep Purple to front a new group, Rainbow, which was originally thought to be a one-off collaboration by Blackmore and the Ronnie James Dio-fronted band Elf, but was later revealed to be a new band project.
(1975-1984) The first Rainbow years
Blackmore, right, with Rainbow in 1977

After Deep Purple, Blackmore formed the hard rock band Rainbow. The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by a Hollywood bar and grill called the Rainbow that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Blackmore spent his off time from Deep Purple and met vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whose band Elf had toured regularly as an opening act for Deep Purple.

The band’s debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, was released in 1975. The band’s musical style differed from Blackmore’s previous band and much of Blackmore’s inspiration came from his love of classical music which matched nicely with Dio’s lyrics about medieval themes.

Blackmore fired every original band member except Dio shortly after the first album was recorded, and recruited a new lineup to record the album Rainbow Rising.

For the next album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blackmore kept the drummer Cozy Powell and Dio but replaced the rest of the band. Blackmore had difficulty finding a bass player for this record so he handled all the bass duties himself, except on three songs: “Gates of Babylon”, “Kill the King”, and “Sensitive To Light” (the bass on these songs was performed by Bob Daisley.) After the album’s release and supporting tour, Ronnie James Dio left Rainbow due to “creative differences” with Blackmore.

Blackmore continued with Rainbow and the band released a new album entitled Down To Earth, which featured his ex-Deep Purple bandmate Roger Glover on bass. The album contained Blackmore’s first chart successes since leaving Deep Purple, as the Graham Bonnet-fronted single “Since You Been Gone” (a cover of the Russ Ballard penned tune) became a smash hit. In 1980 Blackmore’s Rainbow headlined the inaugural Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England. Bonnet and Cozy Powell would leave after this, Powell would go on to join former Deep Purple members in Whitesnake.

The band’s next album, Difficult to Cure, introduced vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. The title track from this album was an arrangement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a personal favourite of Blackmore’s.

Rainbow’s next studio album was Straight Between the Eyes and included the hit single “Stone Cold.” It would be followed by the album Bent Out of Shape, which featured the single “Street Of Dreams”. The song’s video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip. The resulting tour saw Rainbow return to the UK and also to Japan where the band performed with a full orchestra.

By the mid-1980s, Blackmore and his former Deep Purple bandmates had reconciled past differences and a reunion of the successful “Mark II” lineup took place. A final Rainbow album, Finyl Vinyl, was patched together from live tracks and “b” sides of singles.
(1984-1993) The second Deep Purple years

In April 1984, it was announced on BBC Radio’s Friday Rock Show that the “Mark Two” line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice was reforming and recording new material. The band signed a deal with Polydor in Europe and Mercury in North America. The album Perfect Strangers was released in October 1984. A tour followed, starting in Perth, Australia and wound its way across the world and into Europe by the following summer. It was the highest-grossing group tour of the year. The UK homecoming proved mixed as they elected to play just one festival, ‘The Return of the Knebworth Fayre’, at Knebworth Park on 22 June, 1985. Despite poor weather conditions, an audience of 80,000 attended the show that also featured Scorpions, Mama’s Boys and Meat Loaf amongst others. BBC Radio One broadcasted the set.

In 1987, the line-up recorded and toured in support of the album, The House of Blue Light. A live album, Nobody’s Perfect was released in 1988. A new version of “Hush” (sung by Gillan, who had not yet joined the band when the original recording was made), was also released to mark the band’s twentieth anniversary. In 1989, Ian Gillan was fired from the band because of a poor working relationship with Blackmore. His replacement was former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This lineup recorded one album titled Slaves & Masters (1990). Though the album was a favorite of Blackmore’s, his bandmates were disappointed with the efforts of the album and tours.

Neither the album nor the tour were critically or commercially successful. Following its conclusion, Turner was fired from the band. Both Jon Lord and Ian Paice argued that Deep Purple needed Ian Gillan as the band’s frontman. Blackmore relented and Gillan returned prior to recording The Battle Rages On in 1993. During the support tour in late 1993, tensions between Gillan and Blackmore reached a climax and Blackmore left the band permanently. His last show with the band was in Helsinki, Finland on 17 November, 1993.

Gillan said: “Joe Satriani came in at the last minute. Blackmore walked out and the tour was taking off to Japan… it was all very dramatic. He said: ‘Alright, that’s the end of the band,’ and assumed because he left that we were going to fold up.” Satriani was asked to join full time but had to decline as he was tied into a long recording contract. A permanent replacement for Blackmore was eventually found in another guitar legend, Steve Morse of Dixie Dregs, who joined the band in 1994.

Ian Gillan, who had been Ritchie Blackmore’s roommate during the early days of the band, stated in a 2006 interview that Blackmore had “turned into a weird guy and the day he walked out of the tour was the day the clouds disappeared and the day the sunshine came out and we haven’t looked back since.” Gillan noted that after Blackmore “walked out, things picked up and recovered unbelievably, remarkably well and the band’s in great shape now”. He added that “there are certain personal issues that I have with Ritchie, which means that I will never speak to him again. Nothing I’m going to discuss publicly, but deeply personal stuff.”
(1993-1997) The second Rainbow years

Ritchie Blackmore reformed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple a second time in 1993. This Rainbow line up with singer Doogie White lasted until 1997 and produced the album Stranger in Us All. In the years Rainbow was together, Blackmore was the only consistent member. Stranger In Us All failed to measure up to the critical and commercial acclaim of previous releases, possibly due to the popularity of grunge rock at the time and the fact it was not particularly well publicised. In 1996, he appeared on the tribute album to Hank Marvin and The Shadows “Twang” on Sting’s Pangea label with a rendition of Gerry Lordan’s Apache.
(1997-present) The Blackmore’s Night years
Ritchie performing with Candice Night

In 1997, Blackmore and his (now) wife Candice Night formed the Renaissance-inspired pop group Blackmore’s Night. They have also performed the music for MagiQuest, a live simulation game located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Their debut album Shadow of the Moon (1997) went gold in Japan and enjoyed some success in Europe. In subsequent albums, particularly Fires at Midnight (2001), there was an increased incorporation of rock guitar into the music, whilst maintaining a folk rock direction.

 

Musical style

 

With Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster. He is also one of the first rock guitarists to use a “scalloped” fretboard where the wood is shaved down between the frets.

One of Blackmore’s best-known guitar riffs is from the song “Smoke on the Water”. He plays the riff without a pick, using two fingers to pluck the D and G strings in fourths.

In his soloing, Blackmore combines blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from European classical music. While playing he would often put the pick in his mouth to play with his fingers.

He has two guitar solos ranked on Guitar World magazine’s “Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos” (“Highway Star” at #19 and “Lazy” at #74, both from the album Machine Head).

Equipment

During the 1960s Blackmore played a Gibson ES-335 but switched to a Fender Stratocaster after buying a second hand Stratocaster from Eric Clapton’s roadie. However, the guitar was deemed unplayable by Blackmore due to the fact that the intonation was too off to be fixed. Since then and right up until his Blackmore’s Night project Blackmore has used Stratocasters almost exclusively. The middle pickup is screwed down and not used, with only the bass and treble pickup selector set. Blackmore has also occasionally used a Fender Telecaster Thinline during recording sessions.

In the 70s, Blackmore used a number of different Stratocasters. However, around the time of the Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album, Blackmore found one particular Strat that was his main guitar up until Blackmore’s Night. Like most of Blackmore’s guitars, this Strat had its fingerboard scalloped. The pickups in it have been changed quite a few times, as described below. Blackmore added a strap lock to the headstock of this guitar as a conversation piece.

His amplifers were originally 200W Marshall Major stacks which were modified by Marshall with an additional output stage (generated approximately 278W) to make them sound more like Blackmore’s favourite Vox AC-30 amp, cranked to full volume. Since 1994 he has used Engl valve amps. One of the reasons he cited was that the Marshall heads did not sound as good as the Engls at low volume.

Blackmore frequently used effects during his time with Deep Purple and Rainbow, (despite claims to the opposite). He used a Hornby Skewes Treble Booster in the early days. Around the time of the Burn sessions he experimented with an EMS Synthi Hi Fli guitar synthesizer. He would sometimes use a wah-wah pedal and a variable control treble-booster for sustain. Moog Taurus bass pedals were used during solo parts of concerts. He also had a modified Aiwa TP-1011 tape machine built to supply echo and delay effects. The tape deck was also used as a pre-amp. Other effects that Blackmore used were a Schulte Compact Phasing A, a Unicord Univibe, a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face and an Octave Divider. In the mid 80s he also experimented with Roland guitar synths. A Roland GR-700 was seen on stage as late as 1995-96, later replaced with the GR-50. Guitar synths are also used quite a bit in Blackmore’s Night. As an example, Blackmore plays with a slide over what is probably an organ patch in the beginning of Way to Mandalay.

His strings used during his tenures with Deep Purple and Rainbow were Picato brand (.010, .011, .014, .026, .038, .048) Blackmore has experimented with many different pickups in his Strats. In the early Rainbow era they were still stock Fenders, later Dawk installed overwound, dipped, Fender pickups. He has also used Schecter F-500-Ts, Velvet Hammer “Red Rhodes”, DiMarzio “HS-2”, OBL “Black Label”, Bill Lawrence L-450, XL-250 (bridge), L-250 (neck). He used Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 for several years and since the late 80s he has used Lace Sensor (Gold) “noiseless” pickups. Blackmore’s gear was modified by John “Dawk” Stillwell of Dawk Sound Limited Dawk modified his Marshall Majors as well as his Fender Stratocasters. Dawk designed the Master Tone Circuit that was installed in all the guitarist’s guitars. Dawk worked for Elf with Ronnie James Dio when Elf toured with Deep Purple.

Plagiarism claim

Nick Simper, the bassist with DP Mk I, claims that he showed Ritchie Blackmore the riff from Ricky Nelson’s “Summertime” and that it was the basis for the first Mk II Deep Purple single “Black Night.” Roger Glover agrees in an interview with Rumba Magazine, November 1993 and says that he (Glover) insisted that they write new words and put it out as the single the record company wanted them to make. In mitigation he claims that they were all drunk. Nick Simper also identifies It’s a Beautiful Day’s Bombay Calling as a tune “which Mark II borrowed, and turned it into Child in Time“; Ian Gillan confirmed this in several interviews. It’s a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple’s “Wring that Neck” and turned it into “Don And Dewey” on their album Marrying Maiden. Blackmore also confirmed some of these claims in a Japanese TV interview.

 

Personal life

Blackmore has a son, Jorgen R. Blackmore (b. 1964), from his first marriage to a German woman named Margrit. Their marriage ended in 1969. He married another German woman, named Borbel Hardie in September 1969. His third marriage, in May 1981, to Amy Rothman, ended after divorce in 1987 (they separated in 1983). He and bandmate Candice Night have been living together since 1991 (they first met in 1989). The couple currently resides in Mount Sinai, Long Island, New York, USA. On Oct. 5, 2008, Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night married at the Castle on the Hudson. According to Ian Gillan, Blackmore is known to be a very difficult person. Gillan states, “He’s very difficult, he wants everything done his own way, he won’t listen to anyone else, and he doesn’t want anyone else to make any contributions to the music, as well as canceling tours at the last minute.” Ian Paice has also described him as being difficult, and Jon Lord has commented that he can be childish.

Review: Jon Lord’s studio account of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra

Exclusive review by Vincent Budd for JonLord.org. Previously, Vincent wrote ’The Gemini Man: an Introduction to the Orchestral Works of Jon Lord’ published in 2003.

This studio account of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra is Jon’s final statement of his prized composition.  It is a glittering new take on his glorious opus and, for those of us who have taken the work to our hearts, we have here another superlative version to cherish. It is a deeply moving experience made even more affecting by the composer’s passing.

Guy Pratt (bass), Jon Lord, Paul Mann during the Liverpool recording sessions. Photo: Mick Gregory

 

Taking the Concerto on the road around the world with Deep Purple and hearing various other renditions over the years have clearly enabled Jon to refine the orchestral parts even further. There are some delightful additions and modifications to the scoring but, rest assured, they do not interfere with the original integrity of the work. Although, there is a certain inevitable loss of immediate, edge-of-seat tension that becomes a live presentation, conductor Paul Mann and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conjure up an outstanding, vibrant, luminous orchestral display: it is a beautifully expressive and passionate performance. The group/orchestral dynamics are wholehearted and finely judged. The tutti sections are lucid and, vitally, the finer points of the scoring are fully resonant. The recording is full, sharp, and delightfully dynamic – the sound of the band and the orchestra together is simply breathtaking at times.

The most obviously divergent elements of the studio version are the performances of the new instrumentalists and vocalists. These will delightfully surprise some and disappoint others. To be sure, there are certain aspects of the band’s contributions which may take time to appreciate fully and crucial moments that do not quite bear favourable comparison to the previous accounts involving Purple. However, with due acquaintance, you will, I’m sure, soon become accustomed to the differences and happily embrace the latest members of the ’group’ and their contrasting take on the work. Very pleasingly, Jon’s Hammond provides some telling augmentations to the overall instrumentation.

That radiant clarinet melody which has become so familiar, as always, immediately brings a smile to the face and with the inspired horn statement against the strings the heart begins to quicken. The pizzicato is a joy. All is well! The opening orchestral exposition gleams majestically with fabulous new nuances. When that delightful, chirpy clarinet tune arrives and the strings marvellously reply you will, no doubt, await the entry of the band with some anticipation. Of course, Ian Paice is a virtually impossible act to follow but Brett Morgan performs exceptionally well.

Darin Vasilev very much makes the decisive first guitar passage his own. It has a highly charged, spontaneous feel yet is consummately constructed and – unlike Ritchie’s long, though exhilarating, 1969 self-indulgence – is more in proportion with Jon’s patent orchestral priorites: in fact, it is probably now a tad too short. The return of the orchestra is an astounding moment. Jon’s solo is also slightly more succinct than before but he still provides his riveting segue with the orchestra. The guitar cadenza is an unexpected, fret-melting extravaganza which, after initial misgivings, I have come to consider a major plus here. The clarinet cadenza, following the grand false ending, has now become a real tour de force. The triumphant finale is glorious as the band and the orchestra fight out for the final say. Simply awe-inspiring.

The slow movement was always a remarkable achievement. Jon’s compositional crafting and the way he movingly integrated the band and the orchestra produced a dazzling enchantment from start to finish. This studio version probably presents the most elevating orchestral rendering of the Andante yet heard. Paul Mann takes it a little slower than previously and really brings out the grace and splendour of the orchestral writing. Steve Balsamo’s more refined, delicate, less rock ‘n’ roll voice offers a highly pleasing departure from previous versions, and the addition of Kasia Laska’s female harmony adds a brilliant new dimension to this section as the two wonderfully combine.

That important moment when Jon transfigures one of his themes into an opulent Tchaikovskian gesture is magnificently played – romantic grandeur without the faintest hint of filmic bombast. Bruce Dickinson appropriately pulls off his parts duly balancing aggressiveness and finesse: indeed, he affords a glowing contrast to the proceeding vocals from Steve Balsamo and Kasia Laska and this provides a major bonus to this recording. The guitar contributions of the one and only Joe Bonamassa are stunning, and Jon’s cadenza is superbly expressive. The pastoral string quartet coda is quite wondrous. The slow movement is perhaps the most significant and gratifying departure from previous interpretations.

The third movement is one of the greatest musical excitements of our time. I never cease to wonder at this dazzling integration of the two musical forces. In terms of the new recording, this will probably be the most familiar to those who have followed the work’s progress, though there are some delightful new touches. The orchestral playing here is magnificent: the percussion and brass are stunning with telling bravura inflections. Steve Morse provides another unforgettable contribution and the organ with the accompanying strings really makes for a special moment. Sadly, the drum cadenza is little more than a brief solo and now far too fleeting. The finale where we hear themes combined in a phantasmagoria of matchless musical wonderment remains a glory of twentieth century music no less – some of the rock/orchestral interaction is here probably the most pulsating yet heard on CD – but, oh, the movement now passes all so quickly. When it finishes it is very strange not to hear a roar of approval. The silence is, as they say, deafening.

Vincent Budd is the author of ‘The Gemini Man, an Introduction to the Orchestral works of Jon Lord’

The original 1969 Malcolm Arnold/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recording of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra is a historic, prized and beloved musical moment. It remains a remarkable achievement and still sets the pulse a-racing. The 1999 30th anniversary London Symphony Orchestra concert version was an absolute triumph for all concerned. Paul Mann’s obvious love of the work shined like a mighty lighthouse beacon and Marco de Goeij’s reconstruction of a score from the LP and the video is one of those remarkable individual endeavours for which we must be truly thankful. The essays written by Paul and Marco for the forthcoming CD will no doubt provide a fascinating and revealing read.

Some critics have deemed the Concerto for Group and Orchestra a failure. Well, if Jon failed then all I can say is: he failed quite gloriously! May God bless Jon Lord for using his musical talent and generous heart to unite different musicians and integrate contrasting musical forms into one joyous and glorious whole. The Concerto remains a unique, major, and indeed heroic contribution to twentieth century music. This was indeed ‘the best of both worlds’. It is perhaps fitting that Jon’s first orchestral work should also be his last. All those who worked on the the studio Concerto have bestowed a fabulous and fitting memorial to the composer.

This review is an edited extract from a longer piece on the history of the Concerto by Vincent Budd.

G3’s scheurende gitaristen doen oren bloeden

AMSTERDAM – Gitaarhelden bestaan nog wel degelijk en ze verzamelden zich op vrijdagavond in de Heineken Music Hall om de liefhebber te trakteren op een avond vol instrumentaal geweld.

NU.nl/Paul Barendregt

Optreden G3 in Heineken Music Hall Fotoserie

G3 is het geesteskind van gitaarvirtuoos Joe Satriani, waarbij hij zich op tournee vergezelt met twee andere niet onaardig spelende gitaristen. Het is een ritueel wat vaak voorbij komt in de Verenigde Staten, maar in mindere mate in Europa.

Nu werd het dus weer eens tijd voor dat continent. G3 toert het hele jaar door met verschillende line-ups door de hele wereld, met uitzondering van de Verenigde Staten. De start van de Europese tournee was in Amsterdam, waar de Heineken Music Hall zich vulde met echte gitaarfreaks.

Het lijkt bijna een gegeven dat Steve Vai altijd meegaat en dat is nu niet anders. Degene die zich nieuweling mag noemen is Steve Morse, nota bene een gitarist die al naam aan het maken was toen die andere twee nog op hun kamertjes aan het oefenen waren.

Iedereen krijgt keurig vijftig minuten speeltijd en het programma wordt heel netjes gevolgd. Al die gitaarnoten precies in zo’n tijdsbestek krijgen is al een prestatie op zich.

 

Steve Morse

Morse mag het gitaarfestijn openen. De van Deep Purple bekende gitarist heeft een immense discografie op zijn naam, onder meer als solo-artiest onder de naam Steve Morse Band.  Slechts één keer wordt er geklapt bij de inzet van een nummer, wat de onbekendheid van zijn solo-uitstapjes duidelijk maakt.

Maar de set was wel zeer onderhoudend en erg gevarieerd, waarbij het naast scheurende rock niet gek is om country, funk, akoustisch, of klassiek voorbij te horen komen. Het zuivere gitaarspel maakte het optreden af. Een muzikaal en visueel rustige openingsact, maar vooral interessant om Morse eens zonder zijn bekende bandmaten te horen.

 

Steve Vai

Vai treedt voor het eerst sinds tijden weer eens aan zonder poespas. De laatste jaren werd hij voornamelijk vergezeld door klassieke instrumentalisten, dit keer krijgt het publiek een ouderwetse rockshow voorgeschoteld. De routineuze set, met onder meer Animal en Tender Surrender, is hem daarbij vergeven. Wel heeft Amsterdam de primeur van een nieuw nummer: een stampende ‘classic’ Vai-track.

Als gitaarspeler blijft Vai op eenzame hoogte staan, maar zijn fysieke fratsen blijven dit keer op een minimum. Dan nog blijft het gemak waarmee hij met zijn ledematen over het fretbord vliegt ongelofelijk om te zien. Het spelplezier maakt dat zijn optreden ook voor de meest negatieve zuurpruim te genieten valt. Wel een minpunt: publieksfavoriet en ballade For the Love of God diende als afsluiter, maar een steviger slot was wenselijker geweest.

 

Joe Satriani

Satriani dient zich al vrij snel aan na een korte ombouwpauze en is meteen de enige gitarist die moeite doet het publiek op te zwepen. Dat lukt meteen. De handen gaan collectief de lucht in en de gespeelde gitaarmelodieën worden meegezongen.

Ook deze set staat vol met gouwe ouwen, met hooguit het nieuwere Dream Some als verrassing. Maar Satch Boogie en Flying in a Blue Dream kunnen natuurlijk niet ontbreken. Het lijkt logisch dat zulke songs na al die jaren vlekkeloos gespeeld worden, maar het moet toch maar elke keer weer waar gemaakt worden én met enthousiasme. Dat doet Satriani dan ook deze avond.

 

Jam

Voor de toegift kwamen Morse en Vai het podium opstappen om traditioneel een drietal covers te spelen. Dit dient vooral als excuus om onderling de meest virtuoze solo’s uit te wisselen. Voor het eerst in de G3-geschiedenis werd You Really Got Me van The Kinks gespeeld.

Morse staat er een beetje bij, want Satriani en Vai zijn samen inmiddels een geoliede machine. Kwestie van gewenning tijdens zo’n eerste show natuurlijk, en zijn gitaarspel sloot wel keurig aan. Middels White Room van Cream en Neal Young’s Rockin’ in a Free World kwam er een einde aan het gitaargeweld.

Door: NU.nl/René Hartkamp

Richard Hugh “Ritchie” Blackmore (born 14 April 1945 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is an English guitarist, who was a founding member of hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He left Deep Purple in 1993 due to a growing rift between Blackmore and other members in spite of renewed commercial success. His current band is the Renaissance influenced Blackmore’s Night.

 

Blackmore was ranked #55 in Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

 

Childhood and early life

 

Blackmore was born in Weston-super-Mare, England, but moved to Heston, Middlesex at the age of two. He was 11 when he got his first guitar. His father bought it for him on certain conditions: “He said if I was going to play this thing, he was either going to have someone teach it to me properly, or he was going to smash me across the head with it. So I actually took the lessons for a year ? classical lessons – and it got me on to the right footing, using all the fingers and the right strokes of the plectrum and the nonsense that goes with it.” Whilst at school he did well at sports including the Javelin. Blackmore left school at age 15 and started work as an apprentice radio mechanic at nearby Heathrow Airport. He was given guitar lessons by Big Jim Sullivan.

 

He was influenced in his youth by early rockers like Hank Marvin and Gene Vincent, and later, country pickers like Chet Atkins. His playing improved and in the early 1960s he started out as a session player for Joe Meek’s music productions and performed in several bands. He was a member of the instrumental combo, The Outlaws, and backed Heinz (playing on his top ten hit “Just Like Eddie”), Screaming Lord Sutch, Glenda Collins and Boz among others. While working for Joe Meek, he got to know engineer Derek Lawrence, who would later produce Deep Purple’s first three albums. With organist Jon Lord he co-founded hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968, and continued to be a member of Deep Purple from 1968-1975 and again from 1984-1993.

 

Recording career

(1968-1975) The first Deep Purple years

Blackmore co-founded the hard rock group Roundabout with Wayne Blade in 1968 with Chris Curtis (vocals), Dave Curtis (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), and Bobby Woodman aka Bobbie Clarke (drums). Later on the name was changed to Deep Purple and vocal, bass and drums were changed to Rod Evans (vocals), Nick Simper (bass) and Ian Paice (drums). It was Blackmore’s idea to call the band Deep Purple, after his grandmother’s favorite song. The band had a hit US single with its remake of the Joe South song “Hush”. After three albums Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass).

 

The second line-up’s first studio album, In Rock, changed the band’s style, turning it in a hard rock direction. Blackmore’s guitar riffs, Jon Lord’s distorted Hammond organ, and Ian Paice’s jazz-influenced drums were enhanced by the vocals of Ian Gillan, who Blackmore has described as being “a screamer with depth and a blues feel.”

 

The next release was titled Fireball and continued in the same hard rock style established on the previous release, with Blackmore’s guitar remaining a prominent feature of the band’s style.

 

Deep Purple’s next album was titled Machine Head. The band originally intended to record the album at a casino in Montreux, but the night before recording was to begin the casino hosted a Frank Zappa concert (with members of Deep Purple in attendance) at which an audience member fired a flare gun which ignited a fire inside the building and the casino burned down. The entire tragedy is documented in the lyrics of what was to become Deep Purple’s historic anthem “Smoke on the Water”.

 

In 1973, shortly after the release of the album Who Do We Think We Are, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left Deep Purple.

 

They were replaced by former Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes and an unknown singer named David Coverdale. The album recorded by the new line-up was entitled Burn.

 

Deep Purple continued to perform concerts worldwide, including an appearance at the 1974 ‘California Jam’, a televised concert festival that also included many other prominent bands. At the moment Deep Purple were due to appear, Blackmore locked himself in his dressing room and refused to go onstage. Previous performers had finished early, and it was still not sundown, the time at which the band had originally been scheduled to start. Blackmore felt this would dull the effect of the band’s light show. After ABC brought in a sheriff to arrest him, Blackmore agreed to perform. At the culmination of the performance he destroyed several of his guitars and threw one of his amplifier stacks off the edge of the stage. He also struck one of the ABC cameras with a guitar, and in recorded footage can be seen arranging for his road crew to set off a pyrotechnic device in one of his amplifiers, creating a large fireball that was quickly extinguished. The band quickly exited the venue by helicopter, avoiding fire marshals, police officers and ABC executives.

 

Deep Purple’s next album, Stormbringer, was publicly denounced by Blackmore himself, who disliked the funky soul influences that Hughes and Coverdale injected into the band. Following its release, he departed Deep Purple to front a new group, Rainbow, which was originally thought to be a one-off collaboration by Blackmore and the Ronnie James Dio-fronted band Elf, but was later revealed to be a new band project.
(1975-1984) The first Rainbow years
Blackmore, right, with Rainbow in 1977

After Deep Purple, Blackmore formed the hard rock band Rainbow. The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by a Hollywood bar and grill called the Rainbow that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Blackmore spent his off time from Deep Purple and met vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whose band Elf had toured regularly as an opening act for Deep Purple.

 

The band’s debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, was released in 1975. The band’s musical style differed from Blackmore’s previous band and much of Blackmore’s inspiration came from his love of classical music which matched nicely with Dio’s lyrics about medieval themes.

 

Blackmore fired every original band member except Dio shortly after the first album was recorded, and recruited a new lineup to record the album Rainbow Rising.

 

For the next album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blackmore kept the drummer Cozy Powell and Dio but replaced the rest of the band. Blackmore had difficulty finding a bass player for this record so he handled all the bass duties himself, except on three songs: “Gates of Babylon”, “Kill the King”, and “Sensitive To Light” (the bass on these songs was performed by Bob Daisley.) After the album’s release and supporting tour, Ronnie James Dio left Rainbow due to “creative differences” with Blackmore.

 

Blackmore continued with Rainbow and the band released a new album entitled Down To Earth, which featured his ex-Deep Purple bandmate Roger Glover on bass. The album contained Blackmore’s first chart successes since leaving Deep Purple, as the Graham Bonnet-fronted single “Since You Been Gone” (a cover of the Russ Ballard penned tune) became a smash hit. In 1980 Blackmore’s Rainbow headlined the inaugural Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England. Bonnet and Cozy Powell would leave after this, Powell would go on to join former Deep Purple members in Whitesnake.

 

The band’s next album, Difficult to Cure, introduced vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. The title track from this album was an arrangement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a personal favourite of Blackmore’s.

 

Rainbow’s next studio album was Straight Between the Eyes and included the hit single “Stone Cold.” It would be followed by the album Bent Out of Shape, which featured the single “Street Of Dreams”. The song’s video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip. The resulting tour saw Rainbow return to the UK and also to Japan where the band performed with a full orchestra.

 

By the mid-1980s, Blackmore and his former Deep Purple bandmates had reconciled past differences and a reunion of the successful “Mark II” lineup took place. A final Rainbow album, Finyl Vinyl, was patched together from live tracks and “b” sides of singles.
(1984-1993) The second Deep Purple years

In April 1984, it was announced on BBC Radio’s Friday Rock Show that the “Mark Two” line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice was reforming and recording new material. The band signed a deal with Polydor in Europe and Mercury in North America. The album Perfect Strangers was released in October 1984. A tour followed, starting in Perth, Australia and wound its way across the world and into Europe by the following summer. It was the highest-grossing group tour of the year. The UK homecoming proved mixed as they elected to play just one festival, ‘The Return of the Knebworth Fayre’, at Knebworth Park on 22 June, 1985. Despite poor weather conditions, an audience of 80,000 attended the show that also featured Scorpions, Mama’s Boys and Meat Loaf amongst others. BBC Radio One broadcasted the set.

 

In 1987, the line-up recorded and toured in support of the album, The House of Blue Light. A live album, Nobody’s Perfect was released in 1988. A new version of “Hush” (sung by Gillan, who had not yet joined the band when the original recording was made), was also released to mark the band’s twentieth anniversary. In 1989, Ian Gillan was fired from the band because of a poor working relationship with Blackmore. His replacement was former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This lineup recorded one album titled Slaves & Masters (1990). Though the album was a favorite of Blackmore’s, his bandmates were disappointed with the efforts of the album and tours.

 

Neither the album nor the tour were critically or commercially successful. Following its conclusion, Turner was fired from the band. Both Jon Lord and Ian Paice argued that Deep Purple needed Ian Gillan as the band’s frontman. Blackmore relented and Gillan returned prior to recording The Battle Rages On in 1993. During the support tour in late 1993, tensions between Gillan and Blackmore reached a climax and Blackmore left the band permanently. His last show with the band was in Helsinki, Finland on 17 November, 1993.

 

Gillan said: “Joe Satriani came in at the last minute. Blackmore walked out and the tour was taking off to Japan… it was all very dramatic. He said: ‘Alright, that’s the end of the band,’ and assumed because he left that we were going to fold up.” Satriani was asked to join full time but had to decline as he was tied into a long recording contract. A permanent replacement for Blackmore was eventually found in another guitar legend, Steve Morse of Dixie Dregs, who joined the band in 1994.

 

Ian Gillan, who had been Ritchie Blackmore’s roommate during the early days of the band, stated in a 2006 interview that Blackmore had “turned into a weird guy and the day he walked out of the tour was the day the clouds disappeared and the day the sunshine came out and we haven’t looked back since.” Gillan noted that after Blackmore “walked out, things picked up and recovered unbelievably, remarkably well and the band’s in great shape now”. He added that “there are certain personal issues that I have with Ritchie, which means that I will never speak to him again. Nothing I’m going to discuss publicly, but deeply personal stuff.”
(1993-1997) The second Rainbow years

Ritchie Blackmore reformed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple a second time in 1993. This Rainbow line up with singer Doogie White lasted until 1997 and produced the album Stranger in Us All. In the years Rainbow was together, Blackmore was the only consistent member. Stranger In Us All failed to measure up to the critical and commercial acclaim of previous releases, possibly due to the popularity of grunge rock at the time and the fact it was not particularly well publicised. In 1996, he appeared on the tribute album to Hank Marvin and The Shadows “Twang” on Sting’s Pangea label with a rendition of Gerry Lordan’s Apache.
(1997-present) The Blackmore’s Night years
Ritchie performing with Candice Night

In 1997, Blackmore and his (now) wife Candice Night formed the Renaissance-inspired pop group Blackmore’s Night. They have also performed the music for MagiQuest, a live simulation game located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Their debut album Shadow of the Moon (1997) went gold in Japan and enjoyed some success in Europe. In subsequent albums, particularly Fires at Midnight (2001), there was an increased incorporation of rock guitar into the music, whilst maintaining a folk rock direction.

 

Musical style

 

With Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster. He is also one of the first rock guitarists to use a “scalloped” fretboard where the wood is shaved down between the frets.

 

One of Blackmore’s best-known guitar riffs is from the song “Smoke on the Water”. He plays the riff without a pick, using two fingers to pluck the D and G strings in fourths.

 

In his soloing, Blackmore combines blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from European classical music. While playing he would often put the pick in his mouth to play with his fingers.

 

He has two guitar solos ranked on Guitar World magazine’s “Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos” (“Highway Star” at #19 and “Lazy” at #74, both from the album Machine Head).

Equipment

 

During the 1960s Blackmore played a Gibson ES-335 but switched to a Fender Stratocaster after buying a second hand Stratocaster from Eric Clapton’s roadie. However, the guitar was deemed unplayable by Blackmore due to the fact that the intonation was too off to be fixed. Since then and right up until his Blackmore’s Night project Blackmore has used Stratocasters almost exclusively. The middle pickup is screwed down and not used, with only the bass and treble pickup selector set. Blackmore has also occasionally used a Fender Telecaster Thinline during recording sessions.

 

In the 70s, Blackmore used a number of different Stratocasters. However, around the time of the Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album, Blackmore found one particular Strat that was his main guitar up until Blackmore’s Night. Like most of Blackmore’s guitars, this Strat had its fingerboard scalloped. The pickups in it have been changed quite a few times, as described below. Blackmore added a strap lock to the headstock of this guitar as a conversation piece.

 

His amplifers were originally 200W Marshall Major stacks which were modified by Marshall with an additional output stage (generated approximately 278W) to make them sound more like Blackmore’s favourite Vox AC-30 amp, cranked to full volume. Since 1994 he has used Engl valve amps. One of the reasons he cited was that the Marshall heads did not sound as good as the Engls at low volume.

 

Blackmore frequently used effects during his time with Deep Purple and Rainbow, (despite claims to the opposite). He used a Hornby Skewes Treble Booster in the early days. Around the time of the Burn sessions he experimented with an EMS Synthi Hi Fli guitar synthesizer. He would sometimes use a wah-wah pedal and a variable control treble-booster for sustain. Moog Taurus bass pedals were used during solo parts of concerts. He also had a modified Aiwa TP-1011 tape machine built to supply echo and delay effects. The tape deck was also used as a pre-amp. Other effects that Blackmore used were a Schulte Compact Phasing A, a Unicord Univibe, a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face and an Octave Divider. In the mid 80s he also experimented with Roland guitar synths. A Roland GR-700 was seen on stage as late as 1995-96, later replaced with the GR-50. Guitar synths are also used quite a bit in Blackmore’s Night. As an example, Blackmore plays with a slide over what is probably an organ patch in the beginning of Way to Mandalay.

 

His strings used during his tenures with Deep Purple and Rainbow were Picato brand (.010, .011, .014, .026, .038, .048) Blackmore has experimented with many different pickups in his Strats. In the early Rainbow era they were still stock Fenders, later Dawk installed overwound, dipped, Fender pickups. He has also used Schecter F-500-Ts, Velvet Hammer “Red Rhodes”, DiMarzio “HS-2”, OBL “Black Label”, Bill Lawrence L-450, XL-250 (bridge), L-250 (neck). He used Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 for several years and since the late 80s he has used Lace Sensor (Gold) “noiseless” pickups. Blackmore’s gear was modified by John “Dawk” Stillwell of Dawk Sound Limited Dawk modified his Marshall Majors as well as his Fender Stratocasters. Dawk designed the Master Tone Circuit that was installed in all the guitarist’s guitars. Dawk worked for Elf with Ronnie James Dio when Elf toured with Deep Purple.

 

Plagiarism claim

 

Nick Simper, the bassist with DP Mk I, claims that he showed Ritchie Blackmore the riff from Ricky Nelson’s “Summertime” and that it was the basis for the first Mk II Deep Purple single “Black Night.” Roger Glover agrees in an interview with Rumba Magazine, November 1993 and says that he (Glover) insisted that they write new words and put it out as the single the record company wanted them to make. In mitigation he claims that they were all drunk. Nick Simper also identifies It’s a Beautiful Day’s Bombay Calling as a tune “which Mark II borrowed, and turned it into Child in Time“; Ian Gillan confirmed this in several interviews. It’s a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple’s “Wring that Neck” and turned it into “Don And Dewey” on their album Marrying Maiden. Blackmore also confirmed some of these claims in a Japanese TV interview.

 

Personal life

 

Blackmore has a son, Jurgen R. Blackmore (b. 1964), from his first marriage to a German woman named Margrit. Their marriage ended in 1969. He married another German woman, named B?rbel Hardie in September 1969. His third marriage, in May 1981, to Amy Rothman, ended after divorce in 1987 (they separated in 1983). He and bandmate Candice Night have been living together since 1991 (they first met in 1989). The couple currently resides in Mount Sinai, Long Island, New York, USA. On Oct. 5, 2008, Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night married at the Castle on the Hudson. According to Ian Gillan, Blackmore is known to be a very difficult person. Gillan states, “He’s very difficult, he wants everything done his own way, he won’t listen to anyone else, and he doesn’t want anyone else to make any contributions to the music, as well as canceling tours at the last minute.” Ian Paice has also described him as being difficult, and Jon Lord has commented that he can be childish.

 

(Bron: http://www.lyricsfreak.com)

Chromazones (12 Tones To Glory) – John Petrucci

 

 

 

 

Chromazones

12 Tones To Glory

Before Dream Theater took off I used to teach a lot, and one of the things my students often asked me was how to apply the chromatic scale to practical playing situations. You see, their other teachers would give them chromatic warm-up exercises without providing any explanation of how important and versatile this scale actually is. For the next few months, I’d like to show you how to use the chromatic scale, not just as a tool to build chops but as a melodic device to add color to your playing.

FIGURE 1 shows the chromatic scale in the 1st position, beginning on F. Since the chromatic scale is built on consecutive half-step intervals (and therefore contains all 12 tones used in Western music), it has no true tonal center. This means that, used judiciously, it can fit over any chord.

Before you can apply chromatic ideas to scales and arpeggios, you have to get the chromatic scale itself under your fingers. You should learn it up and down the neck, and become comfortable with the fingerings. Here are a couple of chromatic exercises that will build up your technique and get you moving all over the fingerboard. Once you master the technique, applying it will be a lot easier.

FIGURE 2 is a good chops-building exercise. It doesn’t contain all the notes of a -chromatic scale (not every half-step is included), but it has enough chromatic elements to get you started. Practice this exercise with a metronome, using alternate picking. Start at a slow tempo (60 beats per minute) and gradually increase the speed. Since the notes fall in groups of four, you can accent the first note of each string or, as I do, of each measure. I do this because it helps me solidify the time; as a result, my speed and precision improve.

 

Once you get Figure 2 down, try tackling FIGURE 3. This exercise is great because it gets you thinking laterally along the neck–an invaluable approach to breaking away from position playing. (Haven’t you been wanting to go

beyond those pentatonic boxes for a while now?) Here’s the deal: first, start on F# on the low E string and play four chromatic notes up; shift up a half step (one fret) with your pinky (you’re now in the 3rd position) and play four chromatic notes down; then shift up a half step (to the 4th position) with your index finger and play four chromatic notes up again. That’s the pattern. Then, keeping your hand in the 4th position, jump over to the A string and start all over again. By the time you finish the pattern on the high E string, you’ll be in the 14th position!

FIGURE 3a is just Figure 3 played in reverse, descending to the 2nd position. Follow the left-hand fingerings indicated beneath the tablature and you shouldn’t have a problem. Both figures sound good over F#m, but they can work over any chord. Experiment. 

 

Next month, we’ll explore how to incorporate chromatic passages into various modes. Until then, so long!

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