Legendary guitarist Richie Blackmore has confirmed to Noisey his plans to regroup with members of RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE for what will probably be four shows next year in Europe.
"I am doing four dates in June, which will be all rock," Blackmore said. "I have the band basically together and it will be [the best of] RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE. It's just having fun, but it's only four dates in Europe. I don't want to do anymore because I take what I'm doing now [with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT] much more seriously."
Asked why he decided to do the DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW dates now, Blackmore said: "I turned 70. And arthritis is starting to set in. Jon's [Lord, late DEEP PURPLE keyboardist] not around. So many others aren't around. You start to see your friends pass and just feel it's time to play some of the old songs. Nostalgia is a big reason to do it, but not the only reason."
Blackmore 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.