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 the founder of Spitfire Records, which was one of the premier independent record labels in the world, Paul Bibeau. Acts such as ALICE COOPER, DIO, TESTAMENT and many more were signed with Spitfire. Paul was also in partnership with Eagle Rock Entertainment. He currently has a new company, Hyper! Active. Services which you can read about below, as well of course Paul’s views on Ritchie and his music. Please read on:
Hi Paul, welcome to our Metal Shock Finland Ritchie Blackmore Tribute week, how are you doing?
Thank you very much for having me! I must admit, all is well these days. Having fun again with music and that’s the only reason I will keep doing it!
Can you tell me what you are working on at the moment or if you have any upcoming plans?
I have recently launched Hyper! Active. Services which is a new talent management/creative development/marketing/public relations/promotion/800 pound street gorilla (www.HyperActiveServices.com). Hyper! Active. Services specializes in developing, promoting, and guiding the music careers of independent and unsigned artists and bands from the ground up to intermediate and advanced stages of development in the rock and metal genres of music in all aspects of their music career. Along with my business partner Nathan Hood, we have started at 24/7 internet radio station, Hyper! Active Radio! specifically dedicated to unsigned bands from all over the planet.
We have also signed our first band for the management side, the mighty Rockett Queen (www.RockettQueen.net). Not every band can boast the title “Best unsigned band in America” by MTV in America, but Rockett Queen delivers. Rockett Queen is currently writing and recording new material, co-written between Rockett Queen and Zac Maloy (songwriter to the stars, from Underwood to Orianthi; Adam Lambert to Shinedown; Michelle Branch to Blake Shelton). The tentative first single from the album, “Time Bomb”, was co-written by Walter Lee, Zac Maloy and Reid Henry (My Darkest Days).
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 always try to acknowledge and celebrate the lives and careers of artists that have influenced me in the past with my Facebook updates and Tweets. Gods like Randy Rhoads, Dimebag Darrell, Gary Moore, etc. So, yes! I love the idea of highlighting and celebrating the careers of some of the most amazing talents to play music while they still walk amongst us all. It makes total sense! Not to mention the fact that Metal Shock Finland reaches so many young metalheads from all of the planet who may not be well versed with some of the elder gods that I grew admiring and trying desperately to emulate on guitar.
What are your thoughts about Richie and his career?
I can’t say enough about the legacy of Ritchie Blackmore! First off, he lead not one but two of the pioneering musical outfits of heavy metal that changed the way music sounded and was delivered to the masses in the studio and live. Both bands’ sound and influence can be heard in almost every metal band today, even if those bands don’t realize it. Blackmore’s DNA is everywhere!
As for Mr. Blackmore himself, he was the guitar God that was larger than life and mysterious as hell. He introduced classical music to hard rock/metal and it was freaking seamless. He turned generations of young wannabes into guitarists and he made classical music cool again. No easy task. His phrasing, picking technique and style was like nothing anyone had ever heard at the time. He played crazy Phrygian scales with the speed and fluidity of Nicolo Paganini. Guitar sounds from the Far East didn’t sound foreign in the context of the songs. There may not be jam bands today if it weren’t for his live improvisation shredding with his bandmates. Lastly, he was a show onto himself. You couldn’t stop watching the way he moved, played and worked the stage. Genuis, pure genius.
Blackmore eventually became more and more reclusive, leaving metal for Renaissance music and a hot wife in Long Island over the course of what seems like two decades. From a selfish standpoint, I would have love to worked with him and wish Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie could have worked on new songs together again.
In some respect, I think that being away from rock and metal for so long has somewhat diminished his amazing legacy in the United States. While Purple and Rainbow are on the top of the music totem pole in Europe and Asia, they kind of got lost in the mix on this side of the pond. Both bands and Ritchie Blackmore are far too often overlooked when discussion of the greatest bands and best guitarist come up. It kills me.
Do you think rock and metal music would be different today if Ritchie hadn’t picked up a guitar?
Without a doubt! His co-mingling of classical/rock is so engrained in the psyche of metal today, it is the metal music blue print.
What is your favourite work by Ritchie and why?
His work on Rainbow’s “Stargazer” because I swear Bach comes back to life in that solo and “Gates of Babylon” because you think you are in Ancient Iraq! I love the galloping solo in Deep Purple’s “Child in Time” because he picks the shit of out each individual note and the solo get more and more frenzied. His just rips up the strings!!
Would you like to leave a message for people reading this?
If you are serious about music and if you are serious about metal, take the time to visit with the elder icons and digest as much musical wisdom as possible. Ritchie Blackmore is an excellent start!
Thanks a lot for your time Paul!
Thank you! Keep the metal fire burning!