Former DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW Guitarist RITCHIE BLACKMORE: 'I'm Thinking About Playing Rock Again'

Former DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW Guitarist RITCHIE BLACKMORE: 'I'm Thinking About Playing Rock Again'

Former DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore says that he is contemplating a return to his rock roots for several shows next year.

Blackmore, 70, quit rock and roll in 1997 to form a medieval folk band called BLACKMORE'S NIGHT with then-girlfriend and now-wife Candice Night. Since then, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT has released nine studio albums, with a new CD, "All Our Yesterdays", due in September.

Over the past few months, RAINBOW has been the frequent subject of reunion rumors, with singer Joe Lynn Turner — who fronted RAINBOW from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of PURPLE from 1989 until 1992 — repeatedly claiming that Ritchie was "itching" to play rock music and insisting that he was in talks with the guitarist about a renewed collaboration.

Speaking to the French newspaper Le Parisien for an article that was published on July 4, Blackmore was asked whether there was any truth to Turner's claims that Ritchie will reform RAINBOW and play some shows next year. The guitarist responded: "There's some truth, but also a bit of confusion and uncertainty. I'm thinking about playing rock again, just for a few days, next June, DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW songs. But for now, I'm not decided on the persons I want to work with. I've got a good idea about the ideal candidates, but it wouldn't be fair to say anything now. I will know exactly in one month who I want to have in this band to play DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW songs. We will probably play three or four shows in June; that's all."

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Blackmore confirmed that a festival show in France will likely be part of the small run of dates he will play during his brief return to rock, but added: "I think that Joe [Lynn Turner] will not be part of the adventure, and he doesn't know it yet. He does his thing, I like him, and I made good albums and good songs with him, like 'Street Of Dreams'. But I'm thinking about doing a mixture in the band, with famous people and not so famous ones. That's my state of mind at the moment, and you're the first person I talk to about it."

After the Le Parisien journalist thanked Blackmore for giving him the "scoop," Ritchie said: "Yes, there should be about three or four people who might be interested."

After Blackmore's final departure from DEEP PURPLE in 1993, he resurrected RAINBOW before focusing exclusively on BLACKMORE'S NIGHT.

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