Are reports of Ritchie Blackmore's upcoming "return to rock" really just the result of a misunderstanding?

Singer Graham Bonnet, who served with Blackmore in Rainbow for the band's Down to Earth LP, suggests the guitarist may have been joking when he said he was planning on booking a few shows next year to revisit his past with Rainbow and Deep Purple. "I don’t know if it’s fact or fiction, because I know what Ritchie’s like. He’s a great practical joker," mused Bonnet during a recent interview. "It wouldn’t surprise me if he just said this on a whim."

Saying it would take place over "just for a few days in June" of 2016, Blackmore seemed to hint at some kind of temporary Rainbow revival several weeks ago, though he cautioned that he wasn't "decided on the people with whom I want to work. I have a good idea about the ideal candidates, but it would not be fair to say now."

Bonnet echoed the feelings of many fans when he argued in favor of a different reunion. "I think if he was going to get a band back together, I think he would put the original Deep Purple lineup together. That’s what I would imagine rather than Rainbow," he suggested. "But I don’t know because sometimes he’s hard to read."

Even though Bonnet has his own personal stake in Rainbow history, he graciously went on to point out that the death of the band's first singer, Ronnie James Dio, should be enough to take a reunion off the table. "The original Rainbow guy is not with us – it should be Ronnie James Dio singing," he admitted, though he was quick to add, "If Ritchie called me up I would certainly do a show or two with those guys again. It was one of the best times of my life. He gave me a new career."

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