Blackmore didn’t want to be axeman
Guitar icon Ritchie Blackmore didn’t want to be a guitarist when he became interested in music, he has revealed.
The Deep Purple and Rainbow powerhouse- now pursuing his Renaissance music career with Blackmore’s Night – wanted to play brass or percussion when he became interested in playing music aged 11.
He tells Fender.com: “I wanted to be a trumpet player but they were too expensive. I wanted to be Eddie Calvert – he was a trumpet player. Then I wanted to be a drummer, but they were too expensive. So my dad bought me a guitar – it was cheaper.”
Blackmore confirms the story of his dad threatening to smash the six-string over his son’s head if he didn’t take proper lessons: “He did say that. I think he was used to me getting bored easily, and it would be a passing phase and that I wouldn’t carry on playing.”
He admits that restless nature has carried on throughout his career, which is why he doesn’t like working in the studio and doesn’t like having to play set pieces with no unplanned playing.
As an example, the legendary riff at the start of Smoke on the Water only came about because Blackmore and Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice had been jamming it. “Ian and I often used to jam, just the two of us,” he says. “It was a natural riff to play at the time – it was the first thing that came into my head during that jam.”
And he credits Purple bassist Roger Glover with teaching him that playing slower can be more powerful than playing quicker. “When I first started playing the guitar I wanted to be very fast. I realised that playing slower, with more feeling and emotion, was much harder. It took a few years to get used to playing slowly – now I find it harder to play fast.”
Blackmore’s Night, also featuring the guitarist’s wife Candice Night, released Secret Voyage in 2008, including a Renaissance-style version of the Rainbow track Rainbow Eyes.