The Story of Ronnie Dio and Ritchie Blackmore
In May 2010, there was one less genius in this world - a virtuoso rock musician, vocalist and songwriter... Shortly before his death, Ronnie James Dio talked to journalists. Of course, they had time to talk about Ritchie Blackmore, Dio's sworn friend and maybe even enemy.
Friendship for Life
Ronnie remained grateful to Ritchie to the last for giving him the lucky ticket to fame...
"I would have been a successful musician without him. But... without Ritchie, my road to success would have been much, much longer..."
Dio also noted that Blackmore taught him how to be a good rock idol by his own example:
"Thanks to Ritchie, I've learned a lot of interesting things, and I've learned what I should do and what I shouldn't do... For example, you shouldn't be dismissive of fans who are waiting for you after the concert to get an autograph. You don't have to jump in your car and drive away as if you're not interested in anything. That's what Ritchie did every time after a concert..."
In his interview Dio called Blackmore a great musician, but not a very good person. According to him, Ritchie was always difficult in communication, indifferent to those around him, and even somewhat cruel...
When asked if he was thinking about reviving Rainbow and recording a new joint album, Ronnie dryly replied "no."
"I will never, ever record with Rainbow again! I don't want anything to do with that band at all. Particularly not with Richie. Absolutely, I respect him! He's a genius... But I've had too much Ritchie Blackmore in my life, and working with him is worse than hell... I don't want to go through that torture again, I've had enough. Especially since I'm not that age anymore. You know, when you get older, your life becomes easier and brighter! Ritchie is the opposite of that. He's a complicated person, very complicated for me. No, I'm not making him out to be a monster by any means! I'm just sharing a personal experience. Ritchie makes life difficult for those around him, his influence has concrete boundaries. And I want to control my life and my creativity ... ".
Disagreements in taste...
As for Blackmore's new project called Blackmore's Nights, Dio commented:
"I'm not thrilled with this new hobby of his... I'd rather he kept playing good old rock 'n' roll. He probably got it from his age... When we worked together, we didn't have any disagreements. Probably because I always did what he told me to do. Everything changed when Ritchie got into pop music... That was the end of it.
Ronnie James Dio first opened for Deep Purple in January 1972. He performed with the band Elf at a club concert, where he met Roger Glover and Ian Pace. They liked the performance so much that soon they even took up producing the first Elf album!
"It was like some kind of fairy tale... Our major idols are producing our album!" - Ronnie later recalled.
As for Ritchie Blackmore, Dio's future Rainbow colleague, he himself confessed that the first time he heard Ronnie's voice, his "back went like a thousand goose bumps..." That's how beautiful it was!
It would be unfair not to note that Ronnie James Dio was directly or indirectly responsible for Ritchie Blackmore's departure from the band in the mid-70s:
"When I heard Ronnie, I wanted to meet him right away. He turned out to be a very easy and pleasant person... That's why I left Deep Purple, because he was easy to work with..." - Blackmore once shared.
According to the statements of these two legendary characters of the rock music world, one can judge that once there was a very warm relationship between them. Thus, in his last interview Ronnie Dio recalled:
"Ritchie and I both loved the classics, we were both fans of Bach... We were a lot alike. We had a passion for rock 'n' roll! Ritchie was my hero..."
And now what? And now Ritchie Blackmore is back on stage as part of the all-new Rainbow... When asked if he regretted that it was no longer possible to bring his old colleague Ronnie back to the band, Ritchie dryly replied:
"Not at all. As much as it may sound like me, no, I don't regret it at all. In fact, neither do I want to talk about it. Ronnie and I split up years ago... I started doing some things, he started doing other things... We still have a warm and very good relationship. But I'm more than sure that neither of us wanted to go back to the way things were before... He and I have very strong-willed characters. One path for Ronnie and I was very close..."