Ritchie Blackmore Says Glenn Hughes Nearly Joined Rainbow in 2016
Hughes, a former Deep Purple colleague of Blackmore's, eventually decided not to take part after realizing a misunderstanding had taken place. “Through a mutual friend, a conversation came up saying it would be good to have him in the band,” Blackmore told Billboard in a new interview. “I said, ‘Would he be up for being just the bass player and we would have another singer singing?’ My mutual friend said, ‘Of course! I've spoken to him and he's up for it.’ I said, ‘Fine – as long as he knows he isn't the singer, that's great.’
“Fast forward to day before rehearsals and we contacted Glenn to see when he was going to fly in, and he wasn't aware that he wasn't going to be the lead singer at all. So I understood his situation, and I told him we would have to get someone else, and he was fine. We ended it amicably before it even started.”
Blackmore reactivated Rainbow after having focused entirely on the Renaissance-era music project Blackmore’s Night for two decades. “It was kind of like I was 70, and I just felt like playing some rock 'n' roll on a few dates,” he explained. “So I basically put together the right players to do a few shows, just playing the old rock stuff, Purple stuff and Rainbow. I was doing it, one, for the fans and, two, for the nostalgia, and the singer I found [Ronnie Romero] is very exciting.
“It is good fun,” he continued. “We wrote some good songs back then. It's always nice to kind of blast out on the Stratocaster for a while. But I still prefer the music of Blackmore’s Night because it’s so far-reaching, and the spectrum of musical stuff is so more vast than being in a rock band. But at the same time, I knew there were a lot of fans that wanted to hear the old Rainbow songs, so I did six weeks on the road playing rock n' roll and then did the more classically inclined acoustic music.”
Asked about the difference between performing with Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night, Blackmore said, “The [Blackmore's Night] stuff is murder on the hands! Those instruments are very demanding, physically, to play.”