2016 Preview: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

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But who’ll be in his band?

RONNIE ROMERO (VOCALS)

Who: Born in Chile, and influenced by Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio, Romero relocated to Spain in 2009, and has most recently been a member of the band Lords Of Black.

Why? Those influences should tell you everything about his style. It fits perfectly into the Blackmore coven.

Rock pedigree: Romero has been touring and recording with Lords Of Black over the past two years, and has impressed with the way he can handle a variety of rock styles. He is also used to working alongside a guitar virtuoso: Tony Hernando from Lords Of Black.

What he says about Blackmore: “I just think about how lucky I feel. Not just to get the gig, but how the hell they found me. I’m also glad with his confidence in me to do this huge task.”

Verdict: Did anyone really know who Ronnie Dio was before Blackmore gave him a break in Rainbow? If Romero lives up to Blackmore’s description of him as a cross between Dio and Freddie Mercury… well, a new star is born.

BOB NOUVEAU (BASS)

Who: His real name is Bob Curiano and he lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Why: Curiano has worked with Blackmore in the past, in Blackmore’s Night, and has also been closely associated with Mink DeVille. A versatile musician and multi‑instrumentalist, he can play in a number of different styles.

Rock pedigree:He was the bassist for Mink DeVille from the late 70s, and obviously has a strong connection with Blackmore through Blackmore’s Night.

What he says about Blackmore:“He could pick up the Strat and go full tilt, and the next song pick up an acoustic and play something completely different.”

Verdict: He knows Blackmore and has the experience to lock down the rhythm. Could be a cunning move.

JENS JOHANSSON (KEYBOARDS)

Who: A classically trained musician who’s been a member of Stratovarius since 1995. He nearly joined Dream Theater in ’94.

Why: He has vast experience and is used to working with high-profile, mercurial musicians. His history proves he has the flexibility to fit in with any major star.

**Rock pedigree: **Aside from Stratovarius, Johansson has worked with Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ginger Baker and HammerFall. He was also a member of cult power metallers Silver Mountain.

What he says about Blackmore: “I like his music. He did a lot of classically influenced music in the 70s and 80s.”

**Verdict: **A man in the tradition of one-time Rainbow keyboard player Don Airey, Johansson can turn his hand to whatever Blackmore chooses to play.

DAVID KEITH (DRUMS)

Who: An American based in New Haven, Connecticut, he’s been a member of Blackmore’s Night since 2012.

Why: For a start he knows Blackmore very well from working with him. Having a wide range of influences will also help.

**Rock pedigree: **Not a lot outside of Blackmore’s Night. But Neil Peart, Cozy Powell and John Bonham are inspirations.

**What he says about Blackmore: **“Ritchie certainly has a reputation for being difficult to work with, but I have honestly found it to be easy. Ritchie knows what he wants, and will continue trying different things until the sound is right.”

Verdict: He’s well-acquainted with Blackmore, wants to play the songs as authentically as possible and has a style he says is closest to that of Powell. Promising.