2016 Preview: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

But who’ll be in his band?


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.


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.


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.


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.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021