Interview with Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night before their first visit to Moscow in April 2002

By Olga Davydova for Russian Information Agency 'Novosti'

Ritchie and Candice, thank you for coming to Russia with your new "Fires At Midnight" CD. I know that this will be your first performance in Russia. But have you ever been here as tourists before?

Ritchie: No. Only as a stop over to Japan where we didn't leave the airport.

I'd like to thank you for your interest in Russian culture and music. You have even used the Russian traditional "Polushko-pole" and Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" as the main themes in two of your songs. What do you know about our country and what would you like to see on your visit?

Candice: I have a beautiful Russian lacquer box that I keep some rings in that is from Russia. I was so intrigued by the beauty of the artwork that I bought a book on the fairy tales depicted in Russian lacquer boxes. I think my favorite this week is Visuals- but there are so many wonderful stories. I'd like to see some musicians that play traditional Russian songs. The harmonies and melodies are very unique.

Candice, is it true that you have Russian ancestors?

Candice: Yes, it is true that I do have Russian ancestors. My grandfather and his family were from Odessa. My grandmother was from what used to be Prussia. That is one of the many reasons why I am so excited about coming to Russia. I am looking forward to seeing the country that my grandparents lived in. My roots are there.

Your love for everything pertaining to Renaissance is widely known. Do you plan to visit any old buildings, churches and listen to the Orthodox tradition of choir singing?

Ritchie: Yes, we are very interested in any historical place as well as, obviously, castles and old music. Anything with a history.

You had an interesting song about one of the wives of Henry VIII ("Catherine Howard's Fate" on your second album "Under A Violet Moon"). In Russia too there was a king (or tzar as we call them) in the 16th century Ivan (John) IV The Terrible who had 6 wives and most of them died. Have you heard about this tzar and would you ever write a song about him like you did about Henry?

Ritchie: We would have to come to Russia and feel out the ambience of his past and if we were inspired it might give us an idea for a song.

Candice: Yes, you never know when inspiration is going to hit. The song about Catherine Howard came after a visit to the Tower of London where she was beheaded, followed by a visit to Hampton Court where she lives with Henry. There are so many stories waiting to be told in so many places. We can't wait to see what kind of inspiration Russia will bring us when we are actually there in the country and absorbing the energy.

People say that the ghost of Ivan The Terrible still haunts the Moscow Kremlin... Have you ever seen ghosts or had any supernatural experiences?

Ritchie: Yes, very many. Never seen a ghost but I have spoken to one. I think that communication with the other realm is fascinating and very important in establishing a bridge from here to there.

Then do you believe in reincarnation? Who do you feel you were in your previous lives?

Ritchie: I am still trying to figure out if I had a previous life or not. I am pretty sure I wasn't Henry the 8th or Cleopatra - most people seem convinced that they were. Some people who have been regressed find out that they were very insignificant peasants and not of nobility and that upset people as most people want to believe that they were somebody famous in another life.

Do you feel that the relationship between you was (as you sing in a song) "written in the stars" before you were born in this life, and if you do then what were the omen signs for it?

Candice: I believe in fate, destiny and magic. I believe that if one thing didn't pull us together another would have. Both of our lives have taken such strange twists in order to get us to meet and insure that our paths would cross at some point. So it must have been written in the stars to happen. We once had our astrological charts mapped out and the astrologer told us that she'd never seen 2 people's charts over lap as much as ours. They were nearly identical - which explains a lot about our relationship.

What do spirituality and love mean to you?

Ritchie: Spirituality is the most important thing in this life and the next. Love is the nucleus that holds everything together. Love is another word for spirituality and it is the most important thing.

What kind of life do you lead?

Ritchie: We live by the water, next to a forest, in Long Island. We spend most of our days in the wood, meditating and pondering the mysteries of life and death. We live very simply compared to most. We usually make a lot of music. and observe nature in its barest form. We sometimes go canoeing, or for long walks and play a bit of soccer. Candice and I are keen astronomers. Our favorite group of stars is the 7 sisters. We have many UFO sightings over Long Island. There are so many UFO sightings and abductions in Long Island that they are thinking of putting a tax on it.

Candice: We also celebrate the coming of spring each year with a may pole dance where we erect a huge maypole in the woods and light bonfires and all of our friends get dressed up in renaissance garb and we all dance the maypole and watch the stars come out. That goes into the early morning hours. We measure wealth by our experiences, love, family and friends.

Does your home look like those old castles where you love to perform?

Candice: Our home is decorated in a Renaissance decor with iron sconces and torches, tapestries, wood and dark colors.

As far as I know you have many pets and you love animals. You even thank them on your CD sleeves!

Ritchie: We have one grey Persian cat named Hopper. We used to have two, but unfortunately Bamboozler died 2 years ago. Candy also had Corky, a dog that she grew up with who died right before Bamboozler.

Candice, you used to be a model and later had your own program on the radio. Why did you leave your radio and modelling career for singing?

Candice: The program on the radio was a rock radio station. Later on I went to work for the largest rock radio station on Long Island which is how I met Ritchie. I didn't continue my modelling career because I had been doing it since I was 12 years old and although I loved it at the time it is can also be very competitive and degrading. It can destroy your self confidence and I didn't have much of that to begin with. So when I started singing and writing I felt as if I had a bit more to do with the creative process and I felt more at home there. Modelling is all about the looks that you were born with. Writing is about bearing your soul and showing how you feel on the inside. That appealed to me much more.

Ritchie, are you more fulfilled as a musician now than you were in the rock world? Do you never look back?

Ritchie: Being fulfilled is just a fleeting moment in the life of a musician. And yes, I look back very often. I often look over my shoulder to see who's following me.

Speaking about the past, your former Deep Purple band mate Jon Lord put a dedication on his latest solo release "Pictured Within" sleeve notes "To Ritchie for the long-ago good times". How do you feel now about your friendship and what do you think about Jon's departure from Deep Purple?

Ritchie: Jon and I started Deep Purple in 1968. He is a gentleman and a scholar. A very good musician. And a very good dinner companion. He is very witty and is often making up jokes on the spur of the moment. I was wondering how long it would take Jon to leave. Is music is more melodic and classically oriented than what Deep Purple is doing. However, I think that in the beginning, he was reluctant to leave the security of as big a name as Deep Purple was, or is.

What are your plans for the nearest future? Do you have any rough ideas for new songs, or maybe you would like to experiment with different music styles or instruments?

Ritchie: Candice and I have just written 50 songs in the past 3 years. We are now just going to travel and play our music and take it to the people. No recording plans until next year. We have about 6 new songs already written for the next CD. I am still learning about new tunings on the guitar and experimenting with how to play instruments like the hurdy gurdy. Candice is now playing many new woodwinds, which are my favorite instruments of the renaissance period. She plays shawms, rauchepfifes, the cornamuse, recorders, bagpipes and pennywhistles.

Would you reveal your touring plans and what countries and places you would like to visit?

Ritchie: Yes, I think at this point we can reveal them. This time around we are bringing the Fires At Midnight tour to Russia, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Sweden and Belgium. Next tour we will be going to Croatia, Rumania, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, and Austria. At this point in my career we only play places where I want to play. Not where the agency or management sees fit.

Many thanks for the interview. And welcome to Russia!

Thank you for your questions. We look forward to seeing you when we come over!
Best regards, Candice and Ritchie

A special 'thank you' to Olga Davydova who gave us permission to publish her interview on our site.

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