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

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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