The Ritchie Blackmore Story: The Greatest Guitarist You Know the Least About

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Ritchie Blackmore Story Bluray Dennis Russo Critical Blast Eagle Rock

"The Ritchie Blackmore Story" on DVD from Eagle Rock Entertainment chronicles the long and storied career of one of the greatest rock guitarist of all time. With a career spanning over 50 years and running the gamut from Hard Rock to Heavy Metal, from “commercial hit” Rock to Medieval Renaissance music, and considered by many to be one of the most spectacular visual guitar players, Ritchie Blackmore is also the one guitarist most people probably know the least about.

The DVD is a career-to-date spanning collage done mostly with one-on-one interviews with Ritchie in various places (mostly it appears to be in his home), along with interviews of some of his many contemporaries (former bandmates and fellow musicians like Joe Satriani, who filled in for him when Ritchie quit Deep Purple, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Brian May, Ian Anderson, Steve Lukather, Gene Simmons and others) who go to great lengths to try and explain just how good and how important a guitarist and musician he is.

At around 124 minutes, this DVD fills in the gaps on the life of Ritchie Blackmore and what happened around the formation and breakup of the bands he created and was a part of--how they came about, how they came up with songs. It also gives you a glimpse of just what an incredible guitar player he is if you never had the pleasure of seeing him or any of his bands such as Deep Purple or Rainbow, or even Blackmore’s Night (with wife Candice Night) live.

Hearing the accolades that are spoken about him from the other musicians, you get a real sense that they want to go deeper in telling us about what impact Ritchie has had on their lives and music other than just, “Oh yeah, everybody loves him, he’s great!” They go deeper to really try and convey to us why.

Ritchie, too, gives us insights into his world that I doubt very few people ever knew: the tensions that formed between him and different members of the various incarnations of his bands that led to him or them leaving. We learn that he likes things that are haunted, practical jokes, and that he feels that smiling doesn’t come naturally to people; that he is happy but that he thrives on friction, used to have a temper but not so much now ever since he spent 4 days in jail for kicking and breaking the jaw of a security bouncer at a concert in a foreign land; that he loves renaissance music and feels happiest whenever he hears it; and that he feels there is so much more to explore and learn in the genre compared to rock, which he said was done 30 years ago and that everything now is just generic. As you can surmise, there is a lot insightful information here.

The thing I found most interesting on this DVD is that more than one guitarist (and many that are interviewed here can be considered among the best of the best today) alluded to that while he could play as blisteringly fast as any (in fact some called him the white Hendrix), it was his mastery of what wasn’t played that set him apart--that the air between the notes was just as important to him as the notes played themselves, and I found this very interesting because many guitarists today don’t get that.

 

 

I found the DVD flowed very nicely, spending adequate time on each stage of Ritchie’s life/career, giving enough time to understand what was going on at that particular time but not bogging down and having to cut short some other equally important aspect due to time constraints.

Would I have liked to have heard more of Ritchie’s playing on the DVD? Well of course, yes, but I can do that anytime, and this DVD I feel is more to whet one's appetite to do that on their own than to give it all here--something that couldn’t be done in a single disc, anyway, or, I dare say, in a good many discs.

One thing is for certain: there is not a rock guitar player today, or an aspiring guitar player of tomorrow, that has not heard the iconic riffs Ritchie created. I’d venture to say that the first rift any guitar player plays when they get their first electric guitar home from the music shop is the intro to Smoke on the Water. And that is just one of several that all you have to do is hear the first opening chords and you go, “Oh yeah, that’s Ritchie Blackmore!” How many other great guitar players can you say that of? Not many, I bet. I’d go as far as to say that you’re playing them in your head now as you read this. Heck, you’ll see some of the other guitarists being interviewed here, showing you they can play Ritchie. What better homage than that?

I must admit in the past couple of years I had not played much Rainbow or Deep Purple in lieu of Blackmore’s Night, which is in heavy rotation in my house. But I’m eager again to pull out my “In Rock” album, cue it up, and listen to the master play.

The DVD has 14 bonus Interviews included on the disc, but I’m not sure why they are included as a bonus and not just incorporated into the main feature. Perhaps for continuity purposes? I don’t know. Still, there is great material there to see and well worth watching.

I’d say without much reservation that, if you are a fan of Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple or Rainbow (in any of their incarnations), or Blackmore’s Night, this DVD is essential for your collection and knowledge.

To say that Ritchie Blackmore has influenced several generations of guitar players would be an understatement. In the least, because long after we have all left this mortal earth, somewhere in the world a guitar will be heard going “dunt, dunt, dah…dunt, dunt da-dah…dunt, dunt, dah…dah, da-dah.”

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0