Ritchie Blackmore connects his interest in ren-faire rock back to Deep Purple: ‘It’s a great riff’

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Turns out, Ritchie Blackmore’s sudden switch from the outsized rock riffage of Deep Purple and Rainbow to the the medieval folkways of Blackmore’s Night shouldn’t come as such a surprise.

Incredibly, Blackmore says this interest in ren-faire rock was hinted at within his most famous moment on guitar, the opening sequence from Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”

“It’s played in fourths — rigid fourths, which is going back to the medieval times,” Blackmore says in this newly uploaded clip.

That perhaps makes his post-Deep Purple, post-Rainbow transition less jarring, more like another step in his evolution as a guitar player: “I wanted to get into something not more cerebral,” Blackmore says, “but something a little bit more from the heart.”

Blackmore had become disenchanted, he says, with the rock bacchanalia associated with these huge stadium shows. All of a sudden, the simple joys of busking — of connecting one on one in a more intimate setting — began to have a deep allure. “I couldn’t do that,” Blackmore admits.

And yet, he never tires of the now-legendary guitar signature that opens “Smoke on the Water,” two decades after leaving Deep Purple. “Absolutely not,” Blackmore says. “It’s a great riff. I go to sleep with it, at night — thinking: I’m so happy I wrote bomp bomp bomp, bomp bomp bomp bomp.”

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