Interview By Ali Blackdiamond
As part of our Tribute To Ritchie Blackmore week, we have invited well known names in the world of rock and metal to share their thoughts about Ritchie.
One of the last in the series is guitarist with Swedish metallers WOLF, Simon Johansson. WOLF have just completed working on their next album and Simon brought me up to date before going on to discuss Ritchie.
You can read some excerpts below and listen to the full interview on the audio player:
On WOLF, Simon said “We’ve received the master version of the album, it sounds just fabulous. We have some things to do like finishing off the cover, doing a video and everything that has to be done for the release. For me, it’s really fun to be part of the WOLF music catalogue, as it’s the first album I play on, even though I’ve been in the band for three years almost.”
Discussing Ritchie, Simon expressed “He’s a legend in every aspect. For me the biggest things is RAINBOW, one of my absolute favourite bands of all time. If you have a Top Five list, I always put “Rainbow Rising” on it, it’s one of the best albums ever. The song ‘Stargazer’ is probably the best song ever written.
I really love the way he plays and how he brought the classical style into rock. He inspired guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, who pretty much built all of his style on what Ritchie did, even though he developed it further.
It’s always inspired me in my way of playing, he was a bit responsible for me starting to play guitar. Actually one of the new WOLF songs called ‘The Dark Passenger,’ I do my Ritchie Blackmore tribute on that one – I play the slide solo. I took the idea for the solo from the Ritchie Blackmore catalogue, so that’s my personal tribute to Ritchie. I think when you hear it you’ll see what I mean.”