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. The next in the series is Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter Bernie Torme who has had a long career, well known for being in GILLAN and joining OZZY OSBOURNE’s band following the death of Randy Rhoads, also many more besides. Bernie is currently working on his new album and preparing for a tour later in the year.
To find out Bernie‘s thoughts on Ritchie and his music, please read on:
Hi Bernie, welcome to Metal Shock Finland, how are you?
Hi Ali, I’m good, and delighted to be talking to you and Metal Shock!
Can you tell me what you are working on at the moment or if you have any upcoming plans?
Yes at the moment I’m really excited, I’m doing a new album, double album, through pledge music, crowd sourcing. You can check it out at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/bernietorme. Its been going brilliantly well, I can’t believe how well really, so if anyone wants to pre order a pre release copy please go to the pledge page! I’m starting to record drum tracks next week, can’t wait!
And to go with that I have a UK tour October and December, and Europe hopefully next year. UK dates are:
15th Oct Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge
16th Oct Wolverhampton, Bilston, Robin 2
17th Oct York Fibbers
18th Oct Great Yarmouth, Legends of Rock the Originals
22nd Oct Brighton,The Albert
24th Oct Dorchester, Corn Exchange
29th Oct London Borderline
30th Oct Manchester Academy 3
31st Oct Kinross, Backstage
1st Nov Newcastle, The Cluny
13th Nov Troon, South Beach Sessions
14th Nov Aberdeen, The Moorings
15th Nov Edinburgh, Bannermans
As you know we at Metal Shock Finland are organising a week’s tribute to Ritchie Blackmore, the idea came from why shouldn’t we celebrate the artists who are still with us who we love, not just the dead artists. So what you think about this idea?
I think it’s a great idea. It has always sort of annoyed me how Ritchie has been slightly forgotten, he was so influential and so important, and such a great player.
What are your thoughts about Ritchie and as a musician, do you feel you have learned from him?
Absolutely! He was always a time lord, so accurate it was scary, me I’m loose, but he was accurate as a laser, terrifying. And he brought scales into rock that no guitar player had ever used, there was Ritchie using aeolians and phrygians before anyone else did, and making them work in solos and songs! Thats the thing, some jazzers used that stuff but it always sounded alien, Ritchie made it work in rock, that is a huge achievement. Just a musical master.
Do you think rock and metal music would be different today if Ritchie hadn’t picked up a guitar?
Most definitely. As you may or may not know I stood in with Ozzy after Randy Rhoads tragic death. A lot of the stuff with Randy that I was battling to learn at that time was solos and progressions that crossed the usual pentatonics and dorians and even majors with aeolians and phrygian scales. I never spoke to Randy but I often wondered whether he would have come to use all of those so brilliantly well without being aware of Ritchie and his use of those scales. I don’t know, but I think not. I think Ritchie was hugely musically influential. Definitely was to me.
What is your favourite work by Ritchie and why?
Its got to be the Purple stuff. Really just about every track on ‘In Rock’. If I had to choose anything in particular it would be ‘Speed King’ and ‘Into The Fire’. Just unbeatable. But again ‘Smoke on the Water’ and that beautiful change from C to A flat in the chorus: Phrygian! Genius!
Would you like to leave a message for people listening?
Yes, thanks for asking, thanks for listening, hope to see you all out in live land sometime soon! Peace and love!
Thanks a lot for your contribution Bernie!