With all the documentaries released over the years centering on one guitar hero or another, it's about time that one of the most influential players of the last 50 years finally gets his. Former Deep Purple/Rainbow guitar legend, and current Blackmore's Night main man Ritchie Blackmore lets it all hang out here, as he sits down (always with a cold beer close by) and discusses his entire musical career, from the early days with The Outlaws and Screaming Lord Sutch, to those pioneering times with Deep Purple, the fights with Ian Gillan, his restless days over the funk direction of the MkIII line-up leading to him forming Rainbow, the classic alliance with Ronnie James Dio & Cozy Powell, wanting to then take Rainbow into more commercial territory, the Purple reunion and subsequent destruction, and ultimately the man finding his soulmate in Candice and forming Blackmore's Night. Along the way there are multiple interviews with other legendary guitar slingers such as Brian May, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Steve Lukather, KISS founder Gene Simmons, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, past Rainbow singers Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet, and former Purple bandmates David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, and the late Jon Lord. Not surprisingly, none of the current members of Purple were interviewed for this documentary, which leads to believe that there are still some hard feelings floating around after Ritchie's implosion and walkout on The Battle Rages On tour.
Through it all, Blackmore has some very interesting stories to tell, and though he seems to realize that he's not the easiest guy to work with, especially when he was younger, you get the impression he's mellowed out quite a bit over the years, but still is every bit the perfectionist he always was. The spaghetti throwing incident involving Gillan is indicative of their relationship, as is the glaring eye contact during the live cut of "The Battle Rages On", where the guitarist seemed to be at his breaking point in his relationship with the equally legendary vocalist. Plenty of live footage from throughout the years is spliced in between the interview segments, but it's more than obvious that not only from Ritchie's comments but also the scarcity of clips featuring the various vocalists he's worked with that deep down inside it doesn't seem that he's ever thought too highly of some of the singers he's had as bandmates.
All in all, a pretty exhaustive look at the career of one of rock's most influential players, and it will be interesting to see if he joins his old mates up at the podium for Deep Purple's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction in April of 2016. The bonus features on this well put together Blu-ray are especially cool, as you get more in-depth interviews with everyone listed above as well as the man of the hour himself. Only downside here is that I would have liked to have seen some time spent on discussing his many guitar techniques, something the recent Steve Hackett documentary did so well. Otherwise, this is pretty essential viewing for any Ritchie Blackmore fan.
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