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Owl meeting a bumblebee in mid flight

Guitar Player May 2016 cover

Ritche Blackmore is featured on the cover of May 2016 issue of Guitar Player magazine. The cover story includes his profile, interview with the man, and reminiscences from Jim Hurley, Blackmore’s Night violin player in 1999-2000.

Selected quotes from the interview:

What’s the perfect guitar tone for you?

The combination of an owl meeting a bumblebee in mid flight.

You once did a pilgrimage to Bach’s house. Were there any epiphanies from the visit?

There was an ice cream store there, and I did indulge. Then, I proceeded onto the garden where I picked up a stone and put it in my wallet as a keepsake.

The issue is now available to the subscribers and should be available on the newsstands either now, or pretty soon.

Thanks to Amit Roy for the info.



33 Comments to “Owl meeting a bumblebee in mid flight”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    I just hope he has that early 70’s guitar tone cranking again. Man that was awesome, one of the great sounds of rock, with his playing. So many of the ‘classic’ guitarists have evolved over the decades, so I guess the guitar sound will evolve also! At least he will be cranking the Strat we presume! Other guitarist have changed guitars from the classic era to today. Townshend has been playing Strat for a while now, so has Martin Barre. The Who & Jethro Tull never quite sounded the same after those changes! Not riff wise anyway! Cheers.

  2. 2
    Matt Love says:

    I love Blackers’ humour! 😀

  3. 3
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Sigh, mmmm, giving interviews is like feeding the chickens.

  4. 4
    Bob W says:

    I have two spare tickets for the UK Genting Arena date, C Floor section about 14 rows back in front of Ritchie. I am not after silly money, but i do want good money for them and it must be from a true Rainbow Fan, no touts. Similar tickets on StubHub are going for up to a grand each. I got six in total and me an three others are so excited at going. Get in touch to chat further. Ta Bob

  5. 5
    Scott W says:

    Checked Barnes & Noble today, still the April issue, will keep checking!

  6. 6
    Adel says:

    There is a very good reason and probably one reason why Ritchie is reluctant to give interviews and Ian Gillan cracked it big time by saying he is a giant guitarist but an intellectual dwarf. The guy clearly has a loose nut in his brain and it highly unsafe for him to give interviews.

    I couldn’t stop laughing when he said on His Ritchie Blackmore Story DVD that he loved pop music and ABBA so much that he wanted Rainbow to sound pop and Streets of dreams is Rainbow best song.

    Ronnie James Dio must be laughing in heaven too.

  7. 7
    Paolo says:

    I agree, MacGregor. Ritchie’s guitar sound of 71 to 73, I think is the best sounding rock guitar of anyone before or since.
    Paolo

  8. 8
    Elprupdeep says:

    Any news of his fingers operation?
    Cheers.
    Long live Ritchie and DP family…
    Richard.

  9. 9
    Innerspace says:

    If he was to have his 1972 sound- or his Made in Japan sound, if you like- he’d have to do a fairly large number of changes that I highly doubt he’d be willing, or in some cases; even able… to make.

    1. He’d have to use a stock early 70s strat. He hasn’t used stock pickups in his strats for a very, very long time (about 1976, if I’m not mistaken), and I can’t for the life of me see why he’d make that reversion now, after all these years.

    2. He’d have to reintroduse the Hornsby Skewes Treble Booster, which he hasn’t used since about 1973…

    3. He’d Have to use his Marshall Major 200 amps in pre- Dawk configuration, and that’s just a downright impossibility.

    4. Perhaps the most crucial of all: himself. He’s now in his 70s. Back then, he was a young man in his 20s… Nuff said, really…

    In short: It’s not gonna sound like 1972, partly because he can’t duplicate himself anno 1972, partly because he can’t duplicate the rig he had in 1972…. so, no, he’s gonna sound like himself anno 2016. For better and/or for worse. Anyone want to hear what Ritchie Blackmore sounded like in 1972? Put Made in Japan on the turntable. And be blown away! But don’t expect to hear the same Ritchie Blackmore at this years return to rock (or whatever it is…). It’s beeen over 40 years, folks…

  10. 10
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @ 6, Hi Adel, some decades ago, our favourite blonde ABBA lass was being seriously “wooed” to join forces with a certain favourite guitarist, but alas nothing eventuated with the lass…. what a loss!. True story. Imagine if you will, a version of Rainbow doing only pop songs for the teeny boppers, I wonder if you could have endured it?, I am certain that I would have. Oh the money that could have been made on some other street of dreams…. say, on a sort of Blackmorish Night. I am not ashamed to say that I loved ABBA, they were very melodic. So there!. There’s a time for every season under Heaven, now go and listen to a Sun Dragon & Five White Horses if you will. Smiles to ya!.

  11. 11
    Scott W says:

    This will piss off some people…RB can come closer to sounding like ’72 than his singer from those years can nowdays. Both have matured, nothing wrong with RB’s playing currently. You guy’s would complain if he sounded like he did in ’72 citing lack of progression!

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    Innerspace @ 9- yes indeed, good points regarding the sound of the early 70’s. I realise he won’t have that sound, just a nostalgic rave from me! Musicians evolve as does the equipment, for better or for worse! The ‘classic’ era certainly had that sound to it, especially for electric guitarists & their rig set ups. Neil Young when he is rocking, is probably the only one who still has something of his 70’s ‘grunge’ set up these days, from what I have read. Musicians hearing & health issues that have arisen from the old days, do tend to tone it down a little as they grow older & for obvious reasons. Cheers.

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    Adel @ 6 – I wouldn’t pay any attention to what Gillan has said in the past regarding Blackmore. They both have things to say at times & they both are ‘switched on’ so to speak! I enjoy their interviews these days, Gillan’s especially as he doesn’t have the resentment, bitterness & other crap to spew about Blackmore, like he used to! Blackmore is always interesting to me, a clever guy indeed!
    In regards to the Abba rave, so what! They were very melodic & clever writers & performers of popular music! Many others have nailed it also over the years! I remember a Blackmore interview, when he mentioned Pete Townshend telling him back in the day, keep it short & simple, that is one of the keys to successful songwriting. Townshend would know! The Rainbow song with JLT was one of his favourites wasn’t it? Not their best necessarily. It is all about searching for the elusive golden egg, or holy grail. Writing & recording songs, hoping to succeed each time with a classic or favourite. Nothing wrong with ‘pop’ music. Well it’s all pop music actually. Cheers.

  14. 14
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Heard the new Stones tune? “It’s Only Pop Music But I Like It” 😉

  15. 15
    Les Hedger says:

    What’s wrong with ABBA. I like them and also think Street of Dreams is a great song.

  16. 16
    Scott W says:

    Not an ABBA fan but let’s not forget that Frida worked with our keyboard hero Jon Lord.

  17. 17
    peter cartmer says:

    hi bob im interested in your tickets for RAINBOW !!! ive been a fan of RITCHIE since I was 12 yrs old in 1981 . ive seen him on every tour since knebworth . I haven’t been able to get tickets . how can I get in touch !!! thanks .

  18. 18
    DeeperPurps says:

    I remember an interview with Ritchie wherein he said he would love to hear the postman whistle his tunes as he delivered the mail. That would signify to him that his songs had enduring popular appeal.

    Listen to Ritchie play his solos during the 70’s. Very melodic. Every solo took one on a journey.

    As such I can understand why Ritchie respected Abba so much. And, I remember once how he spoke of Paul McCartney as being one of the greatest composers of all time.

    Its all about melody Folks!!

    So although Ritchie wrote and played some of the most aggressive raw hard rock music of the 70’s , deep down he was and is still capable of bringing out a very gentle melodic side to his music.

    There are not many guitarists who can do both. Ritchie could and can. Recognize and appreciate that !!! He is Unique!

  19. 19
    Tommy H. says:

    @ 9, Innerspace:

    I don’t think that the exact same equipment will be necessary nowadays to get that sound. Especially the amplifier was more or less a live-tool and not what he was using for their records (maybe there’re exceptions). The Marshall Major is a very hi-fi sounding amplifier, very clean and you have to push it till it breaks up to hear that creamy tone of the KT88s – at that volume level it’s a monster. It sounds a bit different to other Marshall Plexis, especially the overdrive, but still very close – after all it’s a Plexi too. A Marshall JTM45 or something similar will be enough for today’s stages. Recordingwise I’m sure that a good share of the songs from the early days were played through a 60ies VOX AC30 – these sound really great too. I was shocked when I did a comparison with a newer AC30 because there’s no comparison. I would imagine that the experience will be similar with an old Marshall JTM45. These vintage amps are very expensive today but you can still buy them second hand if you were looking for one. I admit that the Marshall Majors are quite rare, although I stumbled upon one or two during the last five years. Interestingly they don’t sell at prices anywhere near a vintage JTM45, they’re rather cheap in comparison – but who is able to unleash them on whatever stage anyway?! The tone engineer would kill you. It could well be that Ritchie saved one of the Majors as he did with his guitars. Same goes for the booster pedal and don’t forget the real tape delay machine he had.

    However, I agree that the musician changes over the years. That’s for sure the most important ingredient to the sound.

  20. 20
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Isn’t it most likely he’ll be using Engl amps, as he has been doing the last 20 years or so? He did in the last version of Rainbow. he even has his own signature model. Again, people seem to be looking for someone to recreate the past. You will be disappointed.

  21. 21
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 18 – good posting indeed! I was going to mention the whistling postman comment also, but decided to use the Townshend one instead. Glad you said it. Blackmore knows melody big time, whether it is subtle or bludgeoning!
    It certainly is all about melody & getting that tune into our heads, where we can then have trouble getting it out of our heads sometimes! That can be a good thing at times. Some Abba songs can be a little annoying, but i think that has a lot to do with hearing them too much. Abba fell into that category of commercial overplay, as other artists have also, not their fault though! Cheers.

  22. 22
    Tommy H. says:

    @ 20, Svante:

    I know his signature Engl amp, it sure has some genes of the old Marshall Major and therefore it sounds completely different to every other Engl amp I’ve heard so far. But, at least to my ears, it doesn’t have the sound quality of a Major or a Plexi for that matter. I would say it’s a modern twist to an old classic with lots of extra gain. These original vintage amps are something else all together and the new Marshall Plexi reissues are not too far off – especially the JTM45 is much more than just ok. Maybe I’m wrong but if I had to replicate Ritchie’s early 70ies tone I would give that amp a try with some pedals. On the other hand: Listen to Mark Zyk from Demon’s Eye. I think he’s very close to Ritchie’s 90ies guitar tone with his Blackmore signature Fender Strat and Engl amp – maybe, because of his playing style, he’s even closer to Ritchie’s “original” guitar tone than the man himself is today. But who knows and who cares. It will be interesting enough to listen to Ritchie, playing old Rainbow and Purple songs with a dedicated rock band after all these years again.

  23. 23
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    There is an effects (foot) pedal on the market that recreates Brian May’s red special guitar tone & another two that recreate Jimi Hendrix’s guitar tones, both his studio & live tones. So surely there must be someone out there that can, or will, sample the classic ’70s studio guitar sound of your favourite guitarist on to a computer chip & then stick it into an effects pedal?. That way anyone that wants to get that kind of sound out of their guitar amp can just buy the effects pedal, for a price of course!.

  24. 24
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    @18:

    Well I don’t know if TMIB will ever hear the postman whistling his tunes but over the past 15 or so years, he has certainly manifested some great elevator music…… 😉

  25. 25
    RAH says:

    @18 I AM a postman and I do whistle ( or mumble the lyrics and hum the tunes) as I do my job. Ritchie,you did it!!… your wish came true!! And it is indeed all about the melody.

  26. 26
    Innerspace says:

    @19 Tommy H

    My point about Ritchie’s Majors, is that during the Rainbow years, they were extensively modified by legendary technician Dawk (don’t remember his full/real name), and he passed away some years ago. Ritchie still have them in storage somewhere, apparently, but in their present configuration, they sound nothing like they did during the original Mk. II era.

    Also, the immense headroom of the ultralinear Majors was a key point to Ritchie’s sound in the early days. He never used much distortion at all, especially compared to later “metal” players. A Major on its own will hardly break up at all until you come close to full-up on the volume pot, especially with a stock strat. That’s where the Treble booster comes in, to give it a little extra oompf. But his sustain came mainly from a combination of carefully selected guitars (i.e. the ones that were spared the worst treatment during Mandrake Root/Space Truckin’) and very high volume. Hardly anyone- if any at all- has such an approach today, for several obvious reasons. But, if you want THAT sound, there’s no other way of doing it. The sheer physicality of all that volume playes a part. But it would piss off the front-of-house sound engineer (who invariably has a PA at his disposal that his 70s counterparts could only dream about), it would chase modern audiences away, and probably challenge modern noise regulations in anything smaller than Wembley Stadium…

  27. 27
    JohnH says:

    He’s not touched a Marshall since 1994. The writer hasn’t done any homework or seen any 95-97 videos of Ritchie- of which there are tons. He mentions when Ritchie stopped playing Rock in 1997 he mothballed “Marshalls” (when he’d been playing Engls since at least 95 ) and will take up “Marshall or possibly Engl amps ” for the upcoming shows. It’s highly doubtful he will play Marshall again after such a long time with Engl and it’s surprising this is left out of the article. The article is pretty useless when talking about Strat pickups, the usual Blackmore evasiveness- that he just grabs what’s there like Seymour Duncan or Fender.

  28. 28
    COCOBEACH ~*SILVERSURFER& ~*SMILINGATOR ~*&SATURN5 ~*LAUNCHPAD& ~*RUSTY1971 ~*PSCYDELIC ~*DALI ~*PETERMAX ~*COLORAINBOWCROWME ~*FIRELIME ~*GOMANGO ~*PLUMCRAZYELA ~*DODGECHARGER ~*6CYLYNDERS ~*TURNMEON!!!!! ~*ALLRYTSHAKINCAROLHULAGIRL ~*ONDASH says:

    ABBA EXPERIENCE ~~~~~~ SOUND IS VERY EUROPE HI MOUNTAINS AIR BEAUTYFUL BLONDY & ALL CHICKS VIBES YA CANT GET IN AMERICA ****** JOVIAL RITCHIE ENJOY BLACK SCHWARTZWALD FOREST CAKE & SCENERY TURNED HIM ON & ABBA ALBUM SUPER TROUPER GOT HIM TOURIN GREAT YAY ****** !!!!!! IN FLORIDA HERE IF YOU SUPER LUCKY AT NYT JUNGLE YA SEE & HEAR A WHITE OWL THAT YA THINK IS A GHOST AT FIRST ====== ALLASUDDEN JUMP OUTTA TALL TREE MAKING ~~~~~~ ====== SLIGHT SERENADING SOUND LIKE A EAGLES WINGS & IF YA LUCKY HEAR HIM SQUEAL SCREECH ECHO IS QUITE AWESOME ~~~~~~ YOU CAN SCRATCH RUMBLE SHAKY RHYTHMIC ZILLION SOUND YOUR PICK ON THE GROOVY SILVER & GOLD ACOUSTIC FAT STRINGS YKNOW LIKE PETE AT END OF QUADROPHENIA ~~~~~~ ^^^^^^ ****** WE ALL KNOW BUMBLEBEES SOUND & FLYING ATMOSPHERICLY RITCHIE MUSTA MASTERED FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE LONG AGO ~~~~~~ ****** ^^^^^^ TRY DOING HARMONICS SUPER FAST AS YA CAN ON ALL GROOVY SOUNDING PARTS YA GET MOST ASTONISHING SOUNDS EVER ****** !!!!!! ****** IF YA CAN LISTEN TO BATS HI FREQUENCY TALK & FLYING WINGS SOUNDS IS AMAZING RITCHIE & GODDESS CANDANCE SHE GETS HAPPY WHEN HE PLAYS STRAT TOO LIKES MEETING BATS AT NYT THEY GOT ASTONISHING SOUNDS ~~~~~~ ****** “““ I THINK NOBODY CAN HEAR STUFF LIKE RITCHIE GONNA GET NEW SOUNDS OUTTA STRINGS YA NEVER HEARD “““ ****** &&&&&& IF WE LUCKY BIG ENGEL AMPS WIT SUPER NEW SOUNDS !!!!!! YAY !!!!!! ^^^^^^ ****** WHEN STEVE WAS AT GEETAR CENTER CLINIC ORLANDO THANXZILLION 4 TELLING US HERE MANY CAME LEARN LOTSASTUFF !!!!!! ****** STEVE COULDNT GET HIS BIG ENGL AMP HOW HE WANTED BUT IT SOUNDED WAY BETTER ====== PLAYED BURN & STUFF SUPER SOUNDING WOOOOOO ~~~~~~ ****** !!!!!! ****** PLAY YER GEETAR SUPER MORE WAY ~~~~~~ ****** BEYOND MAGNIFICENTLY ****** EVER SUPER MARVY FAROUT YAY !!!!!! ~~~~~~ ****** 🙂

  29. 29
    Ron says:

    @20….you are absolutely right. I expect to see his Engl Signature head with matching Engl cabs. I’ve been playing guitar since the mid-70s and have both Morse’s and Blackmore’s signature Engl heads along with several Marshall’s: a Plexi (1959 SLP), two JCM800s, a JCM900, and a JVM410 and I can assure everyone that his Engl is more than capable of getting his vintage tones with absolutely no problem. I saw Blackmore’s Night last year and his Engl was on stage.

    BTW, THE Engl Blackmore is one stud of an amp. No knock on his old Major or any Marshall. But it can and will get the job done.

  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    Svante @ 20 – yes that is why many of us are hoping for a decent guitar sound. We know it will not be like the 70’s, but his post 70’s sound slipped big time. It happens, but if his hearing is ok & he was up for it, he could get a nastier tone if he wanted. The equipment is still out there, it could be set up if needed. Hopefully he will, maybe he will not. It isn’t that some of us are expecting it, just hoping for a decent ‘old school’ guitar sound! The gigs will still rock though & as we all know, the show must go on! Cheers.

  31. 31
    Tommy H. says:

    @ 26, Innerspace:

    Yeah, I know of Dawk Stillwell, sadly he passed away shortly before christmas last year. I’m aware of the fact that Ritchie’s Majors were modified by Dawk – Jon’s too. Well I’ve tried an original Major from 1967 in mint condition (everything at 11) with a Hammond C3 a few years back (4x Celestion Heritage/4x Greenback cabs). It kind of makes you feel mighty to control this kind of power just with your Hammond swell pedal. Of course I’ve heard the same setup with a 60ies Strat as well. I totally agree that sound is just one ingredient to the feel when playing this thing. On the upper manual of the organ, if the percussion effect was enabled, it felt like getting punched in the face – I’ve never experienced anything like it again. You would imagine that it hurts your ears – on the contrary! 30 Watt tube amps turned up half way made my ears ring but not the Major. I think you get the idea – I’m in love with good vintage gear for some very good reasons, so I can totally follow your thoughts on the matter.

    Still, at some point you have to distinguish between a reasonably big, very well balanced sounding recording room, where all the bells and whistles of these glorious pieces of gear come through for you and maybe a few others to enjoy, and a live situation where you would not only have to deal with loss of sound quality and feel but at least you’re playing with a rhythm section. The more instruments play at the same time the less you will hear from your gear – physics is a bitch sometimes. I’ve listened to guitar players who had a tone on par with Ritchie’s – they were using combo amps. Most recently I’ve been fascinated by the Friedman Smallbox combo – what a sound machine (expensive but worth every cent). Forget Engl …

  32. 32
    Innerspace says:

    @ 27 JohnH

    For quite some time now, Ritchie has used Lace Sensor’s in his Strats. That is a Fender design that appeared in the late 80s/early 90s. So, if he is tossing it up between Duncans (Quarter Pounders most likely) or Fenders, it’s probably Lace’s he’s referring to w.r. to Fender. Like I alluded to earlier, I find it very unlikely that he’ll put vintage strat pick-ups in his guitar(s) after, near as makes no difference, 40 years.

    And yes, I think there’s at least a 95% chance he’ll use an Engl amp of some kind. In those, he can get a manageable 50 or 100 watts (or thereabouts…), which will keep the front-of-house guy happy. Those Marshalls of his (pushing WAY more than the stock 200 watts after Dawk had had his fingers in them…) are just too unruly for any situation in 2016, unless you are the band Sunn=0…

  33. 33
    Klaus Von Scribe says:

    For all the ABBA haters, I seem to remember a story being told when a fan or two were talking with Lemmy at the Rainbow, and telling him how much ABBA sucked, and Lemmy turned to them and asked when the last time was they wrote a song that sold, and was still sung by millions daily…

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