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...A BAND ON THE ROCKS - Excerpt #10 (Ritchie Blackmore)

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...A BAND ON THE ROCKS - Excerpt #10 (Ritchie Blackmore)


(From "BABYSITTING A BAND ON THE ROCKS" - available at Newbury Comics locations throughout the Northeast and online at > Webstore > Books.)


"Earlier in the day, while unloading Rainbow’s gear (the
Forum being a non-union arena, the college-aged stagehands
did double duty, standing in for the Teamsters, too) one of the
roadies handed me a naked, cream-colored Stratocaster that had
been sitting atop cases near the ceiling of the semi, exactly like
the one I’d always seen [Ritchie] Blackmore straddling in album photos and
fanzines, and which he had played when I saw him onstage with
Purple. I looked at the roadie with surprise. “No case?” I asked. I
assumed that stars like Ritchie had expensive guitars, often vintage
and likely quite valuable.

“Nah, Ritchie likes them to look banged up.”


My jaw dropped when I heard that, but my eyes then darted to the name
Carlo Robelli in place of the famous Fender logo that would have
straddled the straight edge of the headstock, just like Paul’s. “He
switches his Strat for a Robelli before he trashes it at the end of the
show. Doesn’t want anyone to realize it’s not the real thing, though”
the roadie admitted to me...


Towards the end of the set, while segueing into tenuously controlled
feedback, Ritchie casually swapped his Fender for the
fake and began to abuse the instrument with a vengeance. Holding
the body he banged its head to the ground before breaking its
neck on the speaker stack beside him. He then tossed it to the
floor and stomped on its pickups and strings. As the sonic
chaos became deafening I pressed my fingertips into my ears, just
before Ritchie grabbed the guitar by what was left of its fretboard
and began to windmill, finally letting it fly for the rafters. The
instrument clipped the lighting truss, reversed its rotation and
crashed directly in front of me, splintering and spraying its bits
into the audience, one slice hitting me square in the chest. Yet
another memento I didn’t have the good sense to hold onto..."


Review Link to Classic Rock History


Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at The Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, NY

Calderone Blackmore.jpg

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Who is Ritchie Blackmore?

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Ritchie Blackmore IS Deep Purple as far as I am concerned. He was the founding member and lead guitarist, composer of most of their classic songs, most famously Smoke On The Water.  Ritchie came and went from the band through the 70s and 80s. He founded a second group, Rainbow, with a revolving door of vocalists and sidemen, and then for the past 15 years or so he has immersed himself pretty much in Rennaisance-style band named Blackmore's Night, with his current wife and vocalist, Candace Night. They go so far as to perform in period costume.



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I've read Blackmore's 'unauthorized' biography, although the author was the editor of his fan magazine and had spent many hours following him around, conducting interviews, and sitting in on others. I'd say it was a credible bio. Also read Ian Gillan's autobiography and a bio on DP. They all shared a few overlapping accounts.


Someone told the tale that Ritchie had an acoustic guitar that he never put in a case, and it always made it through baggage undamaged. There was another tale that his roadie got the guitars mixed up on a dark stage one night and he ended up trashing one of his Strats. Quite the character, Mr Blackmore! Awesome guitarist!

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” - Jimi Hendrix
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