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Ritchie Blackmore: the lost interview

In this career-spanning interview from 1995, Ritchie Blackmore looks back at his achievements with Deep Purple and Rainbow, his run-ins with bandmates and his love of seances

Twenty-one years ago, in September 1995, I spent four boozy and relaxed hours in the company of Ritchie Blackmore at the now closed Normandie Inn in Bohemia, Long Island – his supposedly haunted home-from-home about an hour’s drive north of New York City. He was good company; honest, amusing, dry as toast. And never the moody sod as he is so often portrayed.

Nearly two years after he’d quit Deep Purple for the third and final time, it soon emerged that he was still immensely relieved to never have to work with Ian Gillan again. Such personality clashes aside, Blackmore looked back over his lengthy career revealing a tormented soul. Clearly confident in his abilities as guitarist, paradoxically he seemed unaware of his strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter.

Our rambling conversation filled four cassette tapes, the last of which was hastily purloined from behind the bar – The Best Of Englebert Humperdink. Over this, Blackmore talked finally about “finding it harder and harder to be inspired by just playing loud”, and moving on to what he described as his “private music” – the medieval-inspired acoustic folk which would be his next project. I presumed it might be the beer talking. Certainly it was the last thing I would have predicted he’d spend the next 21 years recording and touring, mainly acoustically, alongside his now-wife Candice Night in Blackmore’s Night.

What nobody – perhaps not even he – knew then was that the Rainbow album he was just about to tour with, Stranger In Us All, would be his last hard rock venture. Until now. But before we got to Rainbow, we went all way back to the beginning…

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