Blackmore's rock return more than a nostalgia trip

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Ritchie Blackmore insists his upcoming return to the rock scene is about much more than just nostalgia.

The former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist is planning European shows for June 2016 where he will play a set consisting of the best of his work with those two bands. It’ll be his first rock shows since splitting Rainbow in 1997 to focus on Blackmore’s Night.

The guitarist says the passing of Deep Purple keyboard hero Jon Lord in 2012 and the 2010 death of Ronnie James Dio – coupled with the early stages of arthritis – made him want to play rock music again.

Blackmore tells Noisey: “I turned 70 and arthritis is starting to set in. Jon’s not around. So many others aren’t around. You start to see your friends pass and just feel it’s time to play some of the old songs. Nostalgia is a big reason to do it, but not the only reason.”

Despite itching to rock out, Blackmore adds that the current rock and metal scene does nothing for him. He says: “I never listen to the radio. That music died for me years ago. I don’t even listen to our own stuff.

“Music is so sacred to me that I can’t hear wishy-washy nonsense just played for the sake of selling records.”

He insists the 2016 shows will be limited to a run of four. He says: “I am doing four dates in June, which will be all rock. I have the band basically together and it will be Rainbow and Deep Purple. It’s just having fun but it’s only four dates in Europe. I don’t want to do anymore because I take what I’m doing now much more seriously.”

Blackmore’s Night release 10th album All Our Yesterdays on September 18.