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Blackmore’s tech shares anecdotage

Clif ‘Cooky’ Crawford was Blackmore’s guitar tech between 1981 and 1988. A couple of months ago his reminiscences started being posted on Facebook and elsewhere. They are, for the most part, an amusing read. Quotes below are unedited for extra flavour 😉

Making of Bent Out of Shape:

by the end of 1982 it was time for another personnel change.this time it was my old friend and employer bobby rondinelli.this came as such a shock to me as it was bobby who brought me to these heights in the music business.i had been on and off with bobby since 1977.anyway a new drummer was needed and we went about auditioning drummers for a long time.we must have had 4-5 guys that were supposed to have made it in but once in the studio it didn’t work out. every drummer i knew came down to play but none really worked out for one reason or another.we were also playing alot of soccer and the new recruits were expected to play.many a drummer who thought they were in good physical shape were very disappointed in themselves as a couple of hours on the soccer pitch usually killed most of them off!!they’d head into the studio after playing soccer and were so tired at this point that their timing would be shot…

Rainbow — Live Between the Eyes:

“live between the eyes” recorded in san antonio texas in middle of 1982 american tour shows rainbow at their peak with this lineup, in my opinion.while joe lynn turner wasn’t as heavy metal a singer as ronnie james dio he did have an incredible voice and range and was always in great vocal shape.bobby rondinelli on drums was a powerhouse and also played better when people were watching. david roesenthal was again in my opinion the best keyboardist to play in rainbow and you could tell by the interaction with ritchie. he loved playing back & forth with david as david was pitch-perfect and could mimic anything ritchie came up with. roger glover was the catylist who held it all down and was a jack of all trades and producer of the album…

Rainbow — Straight Between the Eyes:

after multiple tours in 1981 we went to killington vermont for rehearsals for new lp and new member david rosenthal this was another ski resort area where you can get a large house in the woods and not have to worry about waking anyone up at all hours when inspiration struck. they also had multiple bedrooms and were fairly easy to rent for short periods of time. from there to morin heights canada to le studio 100 miles north of montreal in the heart of the winter. this studio had great reputation and great facilities. the Police had just been there for parts of “ghost in the machine”. it was the home base for Rush as they did multiple things here. the owner guy carboneau was a great guy and nick blagona was the best engineer around and all around fun guy. ritchie liked the snow and solitude of being kind of stranded up in a chalet with nothing but the people working with him and very few distractions. we burned more wood there for staring into fires than the locals did in 6 yrs and then some of the furniture went !

Rainbow Live in Japan and Deep Purple reunion:

…once we got home to new york maybe a week went by and ritchie called me and asked me to pick him up in the morning and take him to greenwich conneticut where he was to attend an important meeting…little did i know i was bringing him to meet with his manger(bruce payne) and ian gillan,jon lord,ian paice and of course roger glover…. i think he told me halfway there but it didn’t sink in until i opened the conference room doors and sitting at the table was these same famous chaps.i was quickly introduced to each of them and immediately shook their my hands.they were all extremely excited to be together and it was a magical feeling as this was the first time they were in the same room together in 11yrs!!….when i got home i called raymond d’addario(production manager) to tell him he didn’t work for rainbow anymore! then i added…because we now work for deep purple!!!!!i think this blew his mind as he had worked for elf when they opened for deep purple back in the day..now he was the production manager for a super group about to start rehearsals in stowe vermont followed by a reunion album recording and a gigantic reunion tour to start in december 1984 in perth australia…

Perfect Strangers rehearsals:

…as all the equipment arrived so did the band and we set up at a place called horizons which was a large ski house on the side of part of a mountain over looking stowe. we used the basement to jam and it came together pretty quickly as they just started playing like they were never apart.ritchie had lots of ideas and i remember roger saying how they were now going to start playing and making a very heavy album.they were all on the same page there…ritchie and jon lord played alot of classical sounding things by themselves and were very much in tune with each other.roger and ian paice would jump in and off they’d go.there was nothing but smiles all around as everyone knew this was going to be big!…we even had some locals sneeking around the property having heard thru town that deep purple were here. it was a very special time as most of the locals soon heard rumours about us being in town and were soon joining us in games of soccer and drinking with us at the pubs…

Thanks to Dima Zykov for heads up.

15 Comments to “Blackmore’s tech shares anecdotage”:

  1. 1
    kraatzy says:

    Hey – very nice story(s)

    Where I can get more (to read) ???



  2. 2
    James Gemmell says:

    That’s a great memory thread. I recall being extremely excited myself, when I read that my favorite group was re-banding after 11 years. I saw Purple in January or February 1985 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, and recall Ian Gillan telling the crowd, “Thank you so much. We didn’t know how it would work or what kind of reaction we’d get after all these years.” I also saw them that summer on the reunion tour, August 1985, at Atwood Football stadium in Flint, Michigan. Blackfoot opened for them, and it was a grand show.

  3. 3
    Russ says:

    I wish those Perfect Strangers rehearsals were taped.

  4. 4
    Mary Kelley says:

    Really enjoy reading these stories from Cooky Crawford. Those were the good old days and it’s amazing how things turned out!!

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    Wonderful stories indeed! You have to love Blackmore, what a legend! Well, as long as you didn’t end up on the wrong side of him of course! Cheers.

  6. 6
    nupsi59 says:

    Bobby Rondinelli actually plays drums with the Axel Rudi Pell band.

    This year they released an album called “Into the Storm”.

    If you like the “real” Rainbow-tunes, it’s worth the listening!

    Axel Rudi Pell is a great fan of Ritchie Blackmore and his guitarplay is similar.

    There are countless clips on youtube… find out and enjoy!

    Have a nice day!

  7. 7
    Tommy H. says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing these lovely stories. It must have been very exciting to witness Mark II getting back together. I agree with Russ (3), rehearsal tapes would be something.

  8. 8
    Black Sheep says:

    I know it’s all about opinions but I’ve never heard that Rainbow line up being touted as the best before. It’s my opinion that. for a start, Rondinelli isn’t up to much at all especially when compared to Cozy Powell…

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    Black Sheep@8- Rondinelli is a decent drummer, but yes, after having Cozy Powell in Rainbow before him, the inevitable comparisons appear! Where did you hear about that version of Rainbow being the ‘best’ from? If it is from this ‘Cooky’ story, he said ‘at their peak for this line up’. I have always owned the concert vhs of the Straight Between The Eyes lineup & tour from the early 80’s, but I would have enjoyed the Airey & Powell Rainbow live in concert more! There is something about that Difficult To Cure album & band! Cheers.

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    Black Sheep@8- you could be right there though, upon further thinking about the ‘Cooky’ Rainbow comment! I took it the way I originally stated, but maybe he does mean ‘the best Rainbow’ period! Sheeesh, if he does, in no way does that Rainbow or any other line up, come anywhere near the Classic Rainbow band! Each to their own I suppose! Cheers.

  11. 11
    purplepriest1965 says:

    When Ritchie introduced Bobby into the band he said ” Bobby is a bit more mellow”

    And that has always been the way I perceived and liked it 🙂

  12. 12
    cooky crawford says:

    in now way was i thinking or saying that the Rainbow i worked for was better!
    in my opinion just like yours the rainbow from the Dio,Powell era was by far the best! as far as Cozy being better than Rondinelli though you are way off! Cozy is a legend! and myself and Bobby know and adore him,but Bobby is a much more technical player kinda like Paicey is to John Bonham! but look who is more popular! Cozy said himself that Bobby was a flash bastard !! Cozy is in a class by himself and that Rainbow if it was still together would have ruled the world!!

    cheers and long live the purple family tree and all its members! they are all the best!!

  13. 13
    Kelly (Broad) Ray says:

    Thank you, Cooky, for the walk down memory lane. Your window of time was also mine, and looking back, being privileged to meet the Difficult to Cure line up and then the original Deep Purple staff, was truly rare and wonderful! It was exciting to witness and play in some of the soccer games in Huntington, Redding and Stowe, hang out in the pubs with various members, and witness part of the recording of Knocking at Your Back Door. I’m so glad you decided to write it all down! 🙂

  14. 14
    Ritchierod says:

    Long Live Rock’n’Roll Dear Cooky! Thanks for your special collaboration on Ritchie Blackmore International Fan Club (tribute page on facebook). Cheers!

  15. 15
    russell fleenor says:

    Love reading this. I remember seeing the reunion tour first at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis and then again at the the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, both shows were mesmerizing. I remember in Chicago everything seemed so surreal, they were in excellent form just in command.

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