Episode #196 – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Stranger In Us All (Part 1) with Scott Haskin

Link to video episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NLl2w3E508an

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    Lead up to the Album:

    • Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995
      • – How did you find the band members?
      • RB: We walked around the city at night, looking for musicians. We went to different bars and asked: “Can you play bass or drums? We have a place in the group “(laughs).
    • Ritchie on why he assembled Rainbow again in interview on Finnish Radiostation Metalliliitto – September 27, 1995: “I wanted to go back to the music I played when I first created Rainbow. For this, I have selected guys who can do a good job. And I was very unhappy with what I was doing at Deep Purple. This is why I wanted to build Rainbow again.”
    • On why he recruited unknown musicians in interview on Finnish Radiostation Metalliliitto – September 27, 1995: “Yes … I thought about the old guys, but not longer than a couple of seconds, because I think that I did everything I could with all of them in this style. Ronnie Dio is a great vocalist, but he is very limited in the styles that I want to hear. Therefore, I did not contact him. Some suggested Joe Lynn Turner to me. Joe is a good singer, but now he has problems with his voice. So I didn’t call him, I wanted a vocalist who could sing like Ronnie Dio and like Joe Lynn Turner and had a bluesy voice like Paul Rogers.
    • And I like working with unknown musicians, it’s kind of a protest against the system. Many people prefer to confidently recruit bands of musicians who are known to be good performers and reliable people, but I like to take risks and work with new musicians. And I like it when there is fresh blood and enthusiasm in the group. It’s nice to tour with musicians for whom this is all a novelty, who are not tired of it yet. And working with professionals who have been doing this for many years is a bit boring.”

    Core Band:

    • Bass – Greg Smith (6)
      • Has played with Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper (2), Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Dokken, Vinnie Moore, Joe Lynn Turner, Wendy O. Williams
      • Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995: ”Greg Smith I saw in one bar, he was just a strong enough hard rock bass player that I was looking for. I immediately decided to take him to the group because I liked him as a person.”
      • “No (laughs)! However, when Greg brought his beer to rehearsals, I was impressed, it was an interesting, very strong beer that he brewed himself. That inspired me (laughs).” 
    • Drums – John O. Reilly
      • Played with Joe Lynn Turner, Blackmore’s Night, Trans Siberian Orchestra.
      • Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995: ”The drummer… actually, we changed him two weeks ago. The album featured John O’Reilly, a great drummer, but he has a slightly inappropriate playing style. He didn’t know how to swing, swing the way I would like… Instead of him we have now Chuck Burgie, who already played in Rainbow. As soon as Chuck joined the band, rhythms that we could not work with before became available to us, it’s amazing. He does a great job with the syncopation that I play a lot.”
    • Guitar – Ritchie Blackmore
      • Keyboards – Paul Morris
        • Played with Doro, Joe Lynn Turner.
        • Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995: “I met him about ten years ago. He got my attention back in 1981 when I auditioned keyboardists for Rainbow. But then I decided to take David Rosenthal, even though Paul showed a good result. He reminds me of Beethoven. There is a lot of fire, aggression in his playing, he is a very passionate and quick-tempered musician. This helps him a lot in self-expression, music conveys the life and emotions of a person. Sometimes he pisses me off, but he is a real musician. In Deep Purple, everyone completely lost their aggression, they had no feelings for music, and I believe that musicians should have a temperament, for a musician it is necessary. Nobody knows when he will explode, but he can play! It suits me. I also explode sometimes (laughs).”
      • Vocals – Doogie White
        • Had played with Alex Parche and Midnight blue. Went on to Yngwie, M3, and Michael Schenker.
        • Ritchie on Doogie from Stefan Wach, Gitarre & Bass, Germany – 12/1995:”Yes, no question, these guys are great musicians and have a lot of creative potential. Our keyboardist has hundreds of ideas and Dougie, our singer, is incredible. And imagine – I can have fun with a singer! (laughs) The guy can sing anything from Scottish folk songs to spontaneous blues. You can also laugh heartily at him. I’ve never had such a relationship with a singer. Ronnie (James Dio – Ed.) was also a great singer, but outside of the band he always wanted to be left alone. With him you couldn’t go to a bar and have fun. Dougie, on the other hand, is very extrovert and is always out for nonsense.”
        • Ritchie in Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995: “I heard Doogie’s voice on some recording when I was sorting through the pile of accumulated tapes. I liked his voice, and I asked my girlfriend: “What kind of tape is this?” His London phone number was written on the cassette, and we told him that we would very much like to see him in our project. Like that.”
        • On Ritchie’s criteria for choosing a singer and voice from Young Guitar: “ First of all, the singer must be a good person and sing from the heart. Let’s just say I would like the vocalist to become my voice. But it seems to me that now there are not enough good singers. Many are recruiting groups of friends! Because of this, it is impossible to listen to many vocalists, because they are only required to be good friends. It was the same with The Beatles, but they were lucky in this (laughs)! When a person does not know how to sing, and friends tell him that he has a cool voice, this will not add charm and skill to his voice. Jeff Beck, one of my idols, once said: “All singers are masturbators!” Of course, he has the right to say so – he worked with Rod Stewart! After that, I would stop working with vocalists altogether. I agree with him. It is rare to find singers who really know how to sing. So I was lucky to find Doogie.”
        • On Doogie’s melody-writing process: “He made a big contribution to the creation of the album. This surprised me. Once I played one riff to him and asked: “Can you sing along to this?” Two days later, he brought a cassette tape containing eight different vocal melodies for this song. It amazed me. “How about this? So wait, I still have another option. ” Each option was interesting in its own way. It’s not often that you meet a person who has so many good ideas. Then I realized that he could be useful to us.”

      Additional Personnel:


      Album Art & Booklet Review

      • Photography – Frank Ockenfels
      • On the album title:
        • Ritchie on the album title from Young Guitar, Japan – November 1995: “This is a phrase from the song “Black Masquerade”, these words mean that there is an inner stranger hidden in each of us. I believe that anyone who thinks they know themselves is not really aware of themselves. I know this from myself – sometimes I myself do not understand why I did some actions, it was as if there was another person inside me in those moments. Was it me, or was it some other person? It seems to me that it has something to do with the soul. Yin-Yang, good and evil, white and black… two elements, completely opposite to each other. People often ask themselves, “Why did I do this?” This all is “the stranger in each of us” who constantly accompanies us. It is a mysterious distorted world that we cannot control.”
        • When the interviewer said he would like to meet this stranger, Ritchie responds: “I meet with him all the time. But in my case it seems to me that this is a woman. I’m looking for my man (laughs).”

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      Album Tracks:

      Side One:

      1. Wolf to the Moon (Blackmore, White, Night)
      2. Cold Hearted Woman (Blackmore, White)
      3. Hunting Humans (Insatiable) (Blackmore, White)
      4. Stand and Fight (Blackmore, White)
      5. Ariel (Blackmore, Night)
        • From Young Guitar Magazine: “I wrote this song at home, in my bar. I came up with the instrumental part, and my fiancee wrote the lyrics, she sang the chorus at the end. She has great musical ability and helped us a lot with the album. She wrote the lyrics for this song in five minutes! This is surrealism, a mermaid comes out of the sea and awakens the depths of the sea, stuff like that. As you know, I am not very good at poetry (laughs), I only listen to the texts of Bob Dylan, and the poetry of other poets does not interest me. Therefore, I respect people who can write good lyrics. At first we planned to use this song in our future medieval project. However, it sounds so good in hard rock processing, I thought it was perfect for this band and decided to include it on the album.”

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