Keyboardist Opens Up on How Ritchie Blackmore Treats Rainbow, Explains What He’s Really Like

It’s no secret that Ritchie Blackmore hasn’t been the easiest guy to work with. Although his impact on modern music is beyond anything one can imagine, he does have this reputation of a guy who wants to be in total control of everything. That’s probably one of the reasons why he hasn’t been with Deep Purple for a very long time and it’s practically impossible that any form of a reunion will ever take place.

The controversies continued with Rainbow, especially in 2016 when he, once again, brought in a completely new lineup of the band. Aside from young singer Ronnie Romero, the band also included keyboardist Jens Johansson of Stratovarius, drummer David Keith, and bass player Bob Noveau. Along with them, Rainbow also includes Candice Night and Lady Lynn as backing singers.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Burn (Live in Malaga 2019) HD

Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Joe Lynn Turner, who criticized the whole thing, after which Romero responded to these comments, hitting back at Joe. But in a new interview with Blabbermouth, Keyboardist Jens Johansson gives us a closer look into the band and what working with Blackmore is really like.

Asked about Romero’s recent statement that there are currently no future plans for Rainbow, Jens responded:

“I don’t know. You never know. At the moment, of course, with the pandemic, everything went completely right down to zero, all activities. I think he’s back to doing some stuff with Blackmore’s Night. To be honest, that’s where his heart is. If he has to focus on one band, that would be the number one priority. I was always joking that Blackmore’s Night was ‘the’ band and Rainbow was his basement band. [Laughs] Like a project.”

Blackmore's Night, Harrisburg PA May 19, 2022

“Whenever we would do European gigs with Rainbow, it was somehow that the gigs would be placed around when certain castles were unavailable. [Laughs] It was like, ‘Sweden Rock has 40 to 50 thousand people.’ They’d say, ‘No, it’s on the wrong weekend. This castle is available, so fuck Sweden Rock.’ That was the attitude that Blackmore’s Night is the priority, which I think is cute.”

He then explains further how things with Blackmore aren’t always predictable, comparing him to a cat. Jens adds:

“It was a lot of fun. But most people understood that this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Ritchie, he’s a little bit like a cat: You never know what he’s going to think. The next month he’s ‘No, I don’t want to go out.’ Then it’s ‘No, I don’t want to go out. I want to go in.’ You can’t predict which way he’s going.”

Photo: Steve Knight (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow headlining the Stone Free 2017 Festival at the O2 (34994158240)), Frank Schwichtenberg (Stratovarius – Wacken Open Air 2022 07)

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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