Only four months have passed since my first interview with vocalist Ronnie Romero, but so much has happened during that time! Last year, Ronnie (also of LORDS OF BLACK) was announced as the singer for the all new Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW to play three live shows, which as we all know took place last month in Germany and the UK (review here). Ritchie Blackmore‘s return to rock seems to have been a resounding success, so I wanted to find out more from Ronnie and catch up with him and his thoughts, now the shows are completed. Check out a few excerpts written below and listen to the full interview on the audio player.
At the start of our talk, Ronnie updated me on how he feels after finishing three huge shows as a part of RAINBOW:
“I feel like in a dream. It’s hard to assimilate all that has happened in the last few weeks. Not just living this situation with Ritchie and the other band mates in Rainbow, meet the fans so close to the stage and back stage and all the people going to the show. And then all these musicians who I love talk to me and telling me that I made a great job, it’s a dream come true.”
Discussing Ritchie and the band’s rehearsal time, Ronnie expressed:
“It’s amazing to see how he can still play guitar at 71 years old, he’s a legend. Ritchie is a really nice guy inside, he makes me feel very comfortable and all the band members, we have like a little family you know. Ritchie makes me feel very good, not just in rehearsals, on stage and this two weeks of tour.”
Ronnie told me how he feels about his performance with RAINBOW:
“I feel really good with my job. I tried to make justice, not just to the songs, but all the singers. I just try to sing the songs in my own way and my own style and I think the people appreciate that. I’m not just a copy of the other singers, I prefer to sing like Ronnie Romero singing those songs. And I think the people prefer that, I think they don’t like seeing a guy or pay for a ticket to hear a guy try to sing like Ronnie James Dio, it’s not a good idea.”
Looking to the future and if there will be more shows for RAINBOW, Ronnie stated:
“I hope so, I really hope we can do some more shows, maybe next year. I have a really great feeling about the band and Ritchie is really happy with the results, he’s really happy with the audience and maybe we can make some more shows next year. You need to stay tuned!”
Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW 25th June 2016
For more information about Ronnie, visit his official Facebook page here. The official LORDS OF BLACK page can be found here and the official website at this location.
The official Ritchie Blackmore Facebook page can be found here and website here.
Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW Genting Arena UK 25th June 2016
Years have passed since I last went to a big show at the NEC, Birmingham, (I think it was MEGADETH in ’92), so what a band to make it back there for, arriving for the gig of the century on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, to see The Man In Black’s return to rock! The area was packed full of happy looking RAINBOW fans wandering around the Resort World complex, eating, drinking and watching Euro 2016 on the big screen outside.
Walking into the Genting Arena, we were faced with a great band playing on a small stage, going by the name of DAYLIGHT ROBBERY, with quite a crowd watching their set. After of course buying TShirts to mark this legendary event, we went to find our seats, on the side block next to left of the stage was a pretty good view. I hadn’t heard of English rockers MOSTLY AUTUMN prior to them being announced as support for this show, but they put on a great performance at what must have been the biggest show they have played. It’s easy to see why they were chosen for this gig, they fitted in very well with the whole theme of the night and went down really well with the packed out arena.
Slightly later than scheduled, at 8.45pm, the lights went down and ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ then ‘Over The Rainbow’ started blasting over the PA, signalling the entrance of the band and guitar GOD Ritchie Blackmore! So many fans have been waiting for this ‘return to rock’ moment for the last twenty years and they greeted the band and of course main man Ritchie with deafening cheers as they launched straight into ‘Highway Star’, setting the excellent tone for the night.
Ronnie Romero 25th June 2016
I’ve known vocalist Ronnie Romero since the return of RAINBOW was announced last year and his work with his own band LORDS OF BLACK. Ronnie was a great choice to be the new singer, his voice is exceptional and suits all the material, whether it be DEEP PURPLE or RAINBOW. Ronnie is also a commanding front man and interacted well with the crowd throughout the show.
The other musicians supporting Ritchie consisted of Bob Nouveau on bass, David Keith on drums and Jens Johansson on keyboards, along with two backing singers, one being Candice Night. Even though I know all the previous incarnations of RAINBOW well on recordings, I had never seen the band live before and it did not matter one bit to me that there were no other original musicians playing these shows. I feel the band worked extremely well as a unit and though not very animated (except for Ronnie) that was okay, the musicianship shone through. Not sure if it was just me, but I couldn’t really hear the backing vocals much.
After a few DEEP PURPLE tracks, the band launched into ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’, one of my favourites of the show. Of course nobody could or even wants to replace Ronnie James Dio, but I’m sure would he have loved Ronnie Romero’s vocals on this song, absolutely excellent!
Ritchie Blackmore 25th June 2016
Let’s just get this bit out of the way – as we all know, Ritchie is now 71 years old, so of course combined with his recent surgery, has slowed down since the days of RAINBOW past! Personally, for me it was unbelievable to see such a legend up on that stage, it felt like a momentous and historic occasion where every moment had to be savoured. And Ritchie looked in fine shape, he made his Strat sing all night long! (no pun intended ;)). There were some very cool moments – not once, but twice Ritchie suddenly lay down at the front of the stage and passed a drink to a lucky member of the front row and we heard him speak just once, to introduce Ronnie. He really looked to be having a great time throughout, waving his arm sometimes. The only tiny criticism I have (which isn’t really!) is that he didn’t go to the other side of the stage so I could get a decent photo ;).
‘Soldier Of Fortune’ was another shining moment, full of emotion from both Ronnie and Ritchie, with the crowd singing along in fine voice. ‘Difficult To Cure’ was up next, followed by brilliant bass, keyboard and drum solos.
‘Child In Time’, what can I say, it was absolutely outstanding! Ronnie could easily match Ian Gillan’s voice, this song particularly showcased his amazing vocal range and he has one hell of a scream on him!
Last month we had a special tribute week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the RAINBOW “Rising” album and as I had listened to it so much recently and gathered other artists thoughts on it, it seemed to make it even more special when the drum intro to ‘Stargazer’ kicked in, then that riff! A definite favourite of the whole show, Ronnie delivered the vocals with all of his heart and soul and Ritchie’s slightly changed solo was brilliant. The icing on the cake was to see this classic performed under the 21st century rainbow lighting rig, just stunning!
The night ended all too quickly (unfortunately without ‘Gates Of Babylon’, maybe next time!) with two more DEEP PURPLE classic tracks for the encores, ‘Burn’ and ‘Smoke On The Water’, I’m sure leaving most people feeling the same way as me – we would love to see more from Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW!
Recordings – Land Of Hope And Glory
Over The Rainbow
Since You Been Gone
Man On The Silver Mountain
Soldier Of Fortune
Difficult To Cure
Catch The Rainbow
Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll
Child In Time
Smoke On The Water
Show Rating: 10/10
Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW 25th June 2016
Also, you can watch this short video below, conducted by Metal Shock Finland Chief Editor Mohsen Fayazi, to find out my opinion on the show:
The first two musicians sharing their thoughts on RAINBOW and “Rising” for this 40th anniversary celebration this week, are Ronnie Romero and Biff Byford. The whole interviews with the two vocalists, also discussing their recent works can be heard on the audio players in the article.
As every Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW fan must know by now, the Chilean born vocalist Ronnie Romero was announced as the part of the new line-up for the band, back in November 2015. Of course Ronnie also has his own band LORDS OF BLACK, based in Spain and they have recently released their second album “II”.
Very recently, photos have been posted online from the New York rehearsals, ahead of the forthcoming shows this summer. So it seems the band are prepared and ready to face the public with the highly anticipated all new RAINBOW very soon. Back in 1976 when “Rising” was released, a more familiar Ronnie was fronting the classic line-up. The songs recorded by the legendary Ronnie James Dio have the most special place in the hearts of his faithful followers.
Back in February we caught up with Ronnie Romero and discussed all things RAINBOW. Ronnie said about “Rising”, “It’s one of my favourite albums. I think it’s the beginning of contemporary heavy metal and rock. I really love Stargazer.”
The origins of what was to become the legends of NWOBHM, SAXON, actually began in the year that “Rising” was released. 21 albums later the band are stronger than ever and reign supreme at the forefront of the heavy metal world today.
SAXON frontman Biff Byford discussed RAINBOW in a recent interview with us, his thoughts on “Rising”, Ritchie Blackmore and a funny story from the road years ago.
Talking about RAINBOW albums, Biff stated, “I liked the Dio ones the best – they were rockier, it was more like Deep Purple. I love Rainbow Rising, it’s a great album.”
“I like Run With The Wolf, that’s my favourite on that album“.
The last few months have been quite a whirlwind for vocalist Ronnie Romero, following the announcement that he will be fronting the all new Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW, which has catapulted him rather sharply into the limelight.
Originally from Chile and now settled in Madrid, Spain, Ronnie formed his band LORDS OF BLACK with guitarist Tony Hernando following their meeting at a DIO Tribute show in 2013. Completing the line-up are Andy C. on drums and Javi Garcia on bass. The band released their debut album “Lords Of Black” in 2014 and are set to unleash their new album “II” worldwide on 18th March, via Frontiers Music Srl.
RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE fans were delighted last year to hear that guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore was returning to rock after a long absence, during that time preferring to concentrate on his folk band BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. The first two of the exclusive shows to be played in Germany in 2016 by a brand new Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW, were announced in October 2015, closely followed by the UK show announced early in November and the line up was revealed soon afterwards.
Now in Ronnie Romero‘s first ever published spoken interview conducted in English since being announced as RAINBOW‘s vocalist, we are delighted to present this exclusive for the fans who are interested to know more about Ronnie. He apologised for not knowing enough English, but as you will hear, Ronnie did a fine job!
We discussed how Ronnie felt about being given this prestigious role along with his thoughts on Ritchie Blackmore, the forthcoming shows, LORDS OF BLACK and more. A few excerpts from the chat can be read below and the full interview can be heard on the audio player:
On being given the role as RAINBOW vocalist, Ronnie stated:
“It’s fantastic and I’m very excited for this new adventure! It’s really a gift for me because I’m a really really big fan of Ritchie Blackmore, all his work. I’m really excited, it’s like a dream for me.”
Discussing working with Ritchie, Ronnie revealed:
“We had some jamming sessions and some new ideas for the songs. Ritchie is different from what the people think – it’s very easy because Ritchie is a very very nice guy and he’s a legend, he knew everything about rock and roll. So all you can do is learn about it, his history and the way he sees the scene. He always teaches me, he’s like a mentor for me.”
Ronnie told me his thoughts on the forthcoming shows:
“I have the support of my band mates in Lords Of Black and from all the team and crew of Rainbow. Not only Ritchie is a legend, but Jens Johansson is very experienced in the rock and heavy metal world. It’s like my ultimate dream, I’m very excited but it’s a huge responsibility too, ’cause all the people compare me to the other singers. I try to make justice to the songs, that’s it.”
Regarding his very early days, Ronnie told me:
“It was my father who was a big fan of Deep Purple. My first birthday gift wasn’t a toy, it was a Deep Purple album. It was a double tape called ‘Made In Japan’, so it was really my father who showed me the way to like rock and roll and heavy metal.”
As there has been so much comment that this new Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW can’t be like previous versions, I asked Ronnie for his opinion on this:
“I agree! [laughs] Each Rainbow album is different with different musicians, so this time it’s no different. We have the gift that we can play with Ritchie Blackmore and as I said before, we try to make justice from their legacy.
I really deeply love the singers of Rainbow, not only Dio – Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner I love and I really love Doogie White. These guys are legends of rock ‘n’ roll and I love all of them. I don’t know, Ritchie chose me and I only try to do my best.”
Regarding more to come from RAINBOW in the future, Ronnie said:
“Well I hope so. I really hope we’re not only seeing three shows, I hope to make some kind of history with Rainbow. But it’s up to Ritchie, I don’t know what to say, only Ritchie has the power to make these decisions.”
Check out the new LORDS OF BLACK song and video ‘Everything You’re Not’:
To find out more about Ronnie, visit his official Facebook page here. The official LORDS OF BLACK page can be found here and the official website at this location.
The official Ritchie Blackmore Facebook page can be found here and website here.
As we all know by now, guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore will be back to the stages of rock in 2016. Two shows in Germany were recently confirmed, taking place at the Monsters Of Rock Festival 2016 on June 18th and Loreley, Freilichtbühneon on June 17th. A UK date has also been confirmed. It will take place on Saturday, June 25th 2016 at Genting Arena in Birmingham, England.
Blackmore also revealed his band lineup for these exclusive shows, which will include singer Ronnie Romero, keyboardist Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), drummer David Keith (Blackmore’s Night) and bassist Bob Nouveau.
According to bravewords.com, in a new interview with Rafabasa.com, vocalist Ronnie Romero discusses the upcoming dates and more. An excerpt follows:
Q: When was the first time you realized that you had a chance to sing with Rainbow? When and how were the first contacts with Ritchie and his management?
A: “That’s true, these last days have been crazy for me and for everyone that surrounds me. I don’t know from how long they had me on their list, but they contacted me some months ago, at the beginning of summer, to tell me about a chance for an audition. I deeply remember that “first day” and that first “hello”, doing your daily activities and receiving an email from Ritchie Blackmore himself is quite hard to assimilate, after a few days days, even weeks.” (laughs)
Q: Why do you think that Ritchie chose you as his new singer? Ritchie himself revealed last September that he had a vocalist who was a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury. Of course he was talking about you.
A: “You should ask him probably, I just think about how lucky I feel, not just to get the gig, but how the hell they found me! Having so many good singers worldwide. From the first contact I just tried to give my best to get it, I always believed in myself and with the support of my family and close friends, even more. About his words I just can be thankful, he put the bar quite high with his description (laughs). But I’m also glad with his confidence on me to this huge task.”