Friday, 9 November 2012

Ritchie Blackmore: The Great Debate

     All I've ever heard about Ritchie Blackmore comes in the form of split decisions and mixed emotions. Why can't anybody just make up their mind on what they want to say about that guy?...
But whether he's really a miserable, irritable prick or a nice but troubled guy is a question that nobody seems to have a straight answer on and that ought to be clairfied.
     Personnally I'm inclined to believe the favorable things about Ritchie. I'm not declaring him to be perfect. Of course he's far from a saint. But from all I know of Ritchie I'd like to decide that he is really a good person at heart, yet suffers strongly from insecurity. You know, some guys just don't feel comfortable with themselves and that seems to be Ritchie. For all we know, something traumatizing happened to him during his childhood, or he was raised a funny way, and as a result self-confidence isn't his forte. You never know and you can't judge until you know, right?
     Ian Gillan may disagree with me... I take no sides in the Gillan/Blackmore debate because I love and admire both musicians. They've both been important parts of the development of rock music and left one hell of a legacy behind them, and they're both good people. What really happened there was an ego clash. Some people just don't get along...and we should all be glad they got along long enough to give us some great music before eventually their conflicting musical ideas just drove them apart.
      In Circus magazine in 1973, Ritchie complained about unsatisfaction with Deep Purple's music and blamed Gillan and Roger Glover for the sound he disliked, yet he also claimed that he wrote most of DP's music. This proves to some extent, Ritchie's lack of irresponsability. Everybody who has known Ritchie agrees that yes, he is a pain in the ass to work with, but mostly because he was a perfectionist. Maybe you've heard about the times Ritchie Blackmore broke his guitar on stage because he was frustrated with what he felt was a lacking performance on his part.
     And if you go on YouTube or the Internet or whatever and search "blackmore-gillan fight" you'll find no shortage of articles of course. In one YouTube video on the matter Ian Gillan blamed insecurity for most of Ritchie's peculiarities...and Ritchie stated he was going to jump Gillan with a group of friends. That also supports Ritchie's being insecure.
    Maybe I'm not doing a very good job of showing Ritchie's good side, which I still feel is dominant. As we all know, Ritchie split Deep Purple after Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale joined the band due to greater insatisfaction with the band's music. He even went as far as to state that the funk and soul side Hughes and Coverdale brought to the group was lowly "spade music." Well, what can I say about that... Deep Purple Mark Three wasn't worth much, especially in the shadows of their former glory. (As much as I love Tommy Bolin don't get me started on Mark 4...) Splitting really was the right thing for Ritchie to do just then, and he went and formed Rainbow.
     Forming Rainbow, the band that brought us Dio and Joe Lynn Turner, really was the smartest thing Ritchie could have done at that point. Not only did he give us a wonderful rock band which released loads of good and versatile music, but he put himself in a position where he could make music he was fully satisfied with and so, he gave us the best music he could have. Ritchie was the indisputed leader of Rainbow, which gave him the freedom to do basically whatever he liked within the group. He was never the kind of guy who coped well with stress and so Rainbow relieved him of this. When Ritchie felt like getting more commercial, he did so; and although many members of Rainbow came and went because of this mentality of his he kept himself happy and gave us the best of his talents.
    Joe Lynn Turner, Rainbow vocalist from 1980-1984, had positive things to say about the moody musician. From an interview with

You try to make yourself available, don't you?I sure try to. I really do. There's nothing worse than being inaccessible. I don't mean that about like Ritchie because I thought that he was a very accessible person, but just misunderstood.
I mean that. I mean, he's always accessible when you want him. But at the same time he just didn't like many peoples approach to him.
So he backed off because he felt that he didn't really want to put himself through this.

And I think that what Joe said there captured the essence of Ritchie Blackmore perfectly. Ritchie wasn't a bad guy, or an unaccessible guy. He was shy and insecure and didn't like dealing with people much. You can understand that, can't you? Ritchie knew the music industry and the true nature of the people in it all too well. He was a smart guy and he knew what to do and what not to do to assure he never got fucked around. If Ritche pushed himself to be the kind of rock star with a very public life and did interviews all the time, he probably would've become so unhappy with the course of things, and may have would up with depression or by killing himself.
     So there you have the ultimate feeling on Ritchie- private, misunderstood, mysterious, and mostly shy and insecure. For the love of rock and roll music get off his back. If you really dislike him that much personally then try to focus more on his work and music. (And if you don't care for both then just put Ritchie out of your thoughts.) Cause he really isn't a bad guy or a bad person- just a really smart and sensitive person who was pushed into doing some dishonorable things by knowledge of human nature and fear for what may have become of him otherwise. And I say, God bless you, Ritchie Blackmore.


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