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Withdrawn, temperamental and intense

A vintage interview with Ritchie Blackmore has appeared recently in Ultimate Guitar. The backstory as told by Jim Esposito, the interviewer, is kinda interesting in itself. Just mentally replace 1974 with 1973 as from the sound if it the interview was taken on or around June 17, 1973, when the band was playing at the Palm Beach International raceway in Florida:

As a rock journalist Deep Purple was always one of “my groups.” Freelancing through this era every time the band came through town I talked my way backstage with my notebook and cassette recorder for an interview and a story. Like every other writer I got on best with Roger Glover and Jon Lord, who were the most out-going. Drummer Ian Paice was very quiet, and vocalist Ian Gillan was usually with a girl.

Ritchie Blackmore was withdrawn, temperamental and intense. I tried talking to him, but he was not a good interview – two word answers, obviously an imposition.

Circa 1974 Deep Purple was playing at the West Palm Beach Fairgrounds. Meeting up with the band at their hotel to ride to the gig in their limos, I was surprised when Ritchie motioned me over, told me to ride with him, he’d give me an interview. Guess he felt like talking.

I had no idea the interview I’d be getting. A blockbuster. Basically I broke the story about Deep Purple replacing Roger Glover and Ian Gillan with Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale.

To this day I’ve never read an interview where Blackmore was more forthcoming. I used quotes from this discussion for a story in Circus Magazine on the band’s shakeup, but the transcription of the entire interview has been in my files ever since.

In other words, the interview is a real gem, taken at the critical point in band’s history. Ritchie swings from winding the reader up:

Sometimes Jon doesn’t even walk on and we start without him ’cause he’s p-ssed off. He walks off a lot.

We usually beat up the manager about once a week.

I’ll never do a solo LP because whoever I work for has got to be a team. I could never call a band the Ritchie Blackmore Group because I just wouldn’t take that responsibility.

…to being extremely candid:

Did anybody ever agree with you that the band was stagnating?

Nobody’s ever said they’re stagnating. That’s the type of thing they’ll never say to you. But if you’re sharp enough, and you want to keep on as a successful band, you realize it yourself. When you’re stagnating in whatever you’re doing you can tell. There were certain people in the group that were saying: “Listen, we’re stagnating a bit.” And then other people in the group were going: “What do you suggest then? With the lineup we’ve got, and the members we’re not limited, but we’ve played as much as we can put out as the five people we are now.” That is why, now, there’s going to be a change. Deep Purple isn’t going to break up. It’ll be three certain members staying together. There’ll be two new members, and it’ll still be call Deep Purple.

Read on in Ultimate Guitar.

Thanks to Yvonne for the info.

12 Comments to “Withdrawn, temperamental and intense”:

  1. 1
    Zlatan Hadzic says:

    What a classic!

  2. 2
    LRT says:

    The date and when David was recruited must add up. I’m not going to bother, someone else do it. Let me know… 🙂

  3. 3
    Eileen McDaniel Sykes says:


  4. 4
    nupsi59 says:

    Comparing Blackmore’s statements with Gillan’s words on the ‘Highway Star – A Journey in Rock’-DVD, you have two different points of view.

    Deep Purple was always more than the sum of five brilliant musicians.

    Have a nice Day!

  5. 5
    Rock Voorne says:

    DP was always Blackmore/Lord/Paice.

  6. 6
    E0vZsxF36AEk4qQ5qdXr2yUjHNV_fLwNR_Z69brW_qA. says:

    Much I despise Jimmy Page and his version of events in When Giants Ruled The Earth, he has at least done Zep proud in continuing to sell Zep. And has continued to do so with the re-release of the Zep back catalogue, yet again. Whereas Ritchie has, over the years, as this interview proves, as have many others, done all he can to trash the name of DP. It is so sad and pointless. His pervesness has trashed not only his name in the heirachy of the best guitarists but that of the band too. If only…..

  7. 7
    David Wall says:

    ahhh….but one of the reasons, zep didn’t continue after the death of Bonham, I think, was plant was tire of Jimmy

  8. 8
    Moreblack says:

    hahaaaa now i know from where DC took the title for one of his Whitesnake songs,Wine Women ans Song.

  9. 9
    Clive Robey says:

    That’s my comment in box #6, why there are hieroglyphics, I don’t know. Not sure why my name didn’t appear.

  10. 10
    James Gemmell says:

    No matter how you slice it, Blackmore and Gillan grew further and further apart, until – as Jon Lord said – they couldn’t be in the same room together. More than four decades later – and with one body in the ground – they were still carping at each other. Until a tiny bit of hatchet-burying between Blackmore and Gillan in an email exchange last year. I have to be honest: I may’ve precipitated that exchange by telling Blackmore in an email that Gillan might be willing to bury the hatchet, but Ritchie would have to pick up the phone. Ian was perturbed about some “head games” that Ritchie played with his daughter decades ago…Blackmore’s infamous practical-joking. So, based on that, I am certain it was Ritchie who reached out to Ian, not the other way around. Ian hasn’t divulged to me the contents of the conversation, and I don’t hear from him as much now that he’s cut way back on tour socializing, according to his assistant (Sally). Ironically, Ian and Ritch roomed together around 1970. One has to wonder if Ian or Ritchie moving out of their flat precipitated the ill will that eventually prompted Gillan to quit the band, and the three original DP members showing Roger Glover the door.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    James @ 10- Isn’t there a saying in regards to 2 people seeing the same personality traits in each other? Like two peas in a pod etc! The fact that they both roomed together & got on well way back then, says something. It happens, 2 people very much the same in many ways, don’t like what they ‘see’ in each other, the reflection of themselves perhaps! The saying ‘it’s all mirrored’ springs to mind also! I could be wrong though. The clash of ego’s comes to mind also! The 2 largest ego’s in a rock band are usually the lead guitarist & the lead vocalist! Ozzy & Iommi had major issues, Daltrey & Townshend also. Cheers.

  12. 12
    MatsB says:

    MacGregor, #11: Some thinkers have said, that what pisses us off the most, in others, are often traits that we have ourselves, at least to a degree. I obviously don’t know enough about them, but from a distance, Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore do not strike me as particularly similar, except for the British style humour, maybe, where RB seems to have the extra dry version. I remember a bunch of kids around the age of 10, well beyond 40 years ago by now, we looked at the album covers. We had the strong impression, from looking at those pictures, that RB was afraid of something. We were 10 at the time, and thought that was obvious, just from watching the pictures. IG, back then, seemed very different. I’d say, still from a distance, that they don’t appear to be as strikingly different now, as I considered them back then.

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