J.R. Blackmore

I’ve been waiting for J.R. Blackmore’s new solo album, ‘cause I’m a big fan of his previous works. Jürgen is a fantastic but also underrated guitarist/songwriter that has delivered some great albums so far. Sometimes it’s not only a blessing to be the son of a legendary guitarist… people is making unfair comparisons just for no reason. Let’s hope that this album will give him the chance to get the respect that he deserves, from all the metal/rock fans that love Rainbow and Ritchie Blackmore over-all. Read below what Jürgen told to Grande Rock about the new album, his father Ritchie and music in general…
J.R. Blackmore pic

Hi Jürgen… Congrats on “Voices Part.1”… to tell you the truth, I’m a big fan of your work all these years… and after last year’s EBC ROXX… I was waiting for your new personal album.

J: Thank you and a “hello” to everybody!

 

Tell us, how did you come up with “Voices Par.1”? Did you start recording “Voices” after the EBC Roxx album? What did you have in mind for this album?

J: Yes, after the EBC Album "Winners"… in the beginning of 2011, I had the idea to come up with a new solo Album. My last solo album was instrumental, so this time I wanted to come up with vocals. And so the idea was born to do it with a couple of great singers instead of one.

 

So new line up again for this album… do you like working with new people all the time or you think it’s better to have a steady core for the band?

J: I like both, when you work with the regular crew it is very familiar and it is relaxed. With new musicians it is interesting and I always learn something. So I would say... the mix is the best.

 

You chose to release an album with many different vocalists… was this your first idea when you started the recordings… or it came due to the song styles you wrote? I mean, did you have a specific singer in mind and then started composing the song… or vice versa?

J: Like I said, it was in my mind from the beginning to work with different singers. I wrote the songs first, and then I decided who is best singer for which song. In the end, it was amazing to see how this project worked out.

 

I assume, you decided to name the album “Voices” probably due to the many vocalists that it features… right? In the cover there’s “part 1”… so are you planning to record a “part 2” album soon… or it is already done and you are planning to release it afterwards? Will “part 2” feature the same vocalists? Any new ones? Who?

J: You are smart. Yes the title was chosen because of the different singers. And “Part 1” means... I really liked this work and want to make another album in this style. So, I really want to have new singers on the next project and everybody can send me their demos. I think it is a great foundation for new singers who are maybe not so famous, or just want to work together with me and have fun. (i.n.: So, what are you waiting for… send J.R. your demos now!)

 

I want you to tell us some things about the vocalists you have chosen to cooperate with. Why did you choose them? Are you totally satisfied? etc…

J: Let me say it in this way... I wanted a complete mixed formation on the album. My idea was that each one should have a completely different than the other singers. That’s why I chose this formation:

Markus Engelstädter: He is the classic musical singer. He can sing 4 octaves and gives the album the touch of something different. He is not the typical rock singer and gives the album more wideness and range.

Oliver Hartmann: He is a powerful singer, with his voice the album gets the punch and the real rock sound.

Michael Bormann: With him, we have the classical rock singer that gives the album the sound of mainstream rock.

Cathrine Jauer: She has power and passion, and with her female voice, we have the opposite to the guys on the album. She also sings some background vocals on “Jeckyll & Hyde”.

Dave Esser: Mr. Darkness, he is the bass of the album and is a guarantee for duckskin... he brings the gothic style to this album.

ELA: She is the part for the mystical section and brings the dark woman to this album.

 

Since you are the composer of the album, can you tell some things about each one of the songs? Just a line or two…

J: “Voices”: The Oriental spirit comes with this one.

“Guardian Angel”: This song is a very positive and powerful song.

“Beethoven”: Everybody can sing with it and credits Beethoven.

“Destructive Mania”: About the chaos that we do to Nature... power song.

“Incomplete”: At least one has to be on the album... THE BALLAD!

“Devil in Disguise”: Mystical power, total hard rock.

“Jeckyll & Hyde”: This song turns from nice to crazy.

“Victorious”: WE MADE IT... everyone who had success can sing with this HYMN.

“Nanshu”: Mystical musical with duckskin touch.

“We Are Rock’n Roll”: That’s what all is about... lets rock the house down.

“Dreams”: (why did you choose to put it as a bonus track?): To calm down and get an idea about my last album “Between Darkness and Light”.

 

Are you totally satisfied with the recordings and the final production of the album? If you had the chance to check it again and again… what would you change?

J: Yes it is great, but I would replace the guitar player (lol). (i.n.: That's  a good thought… no, just kidding!)

 

Are you planning to release any video clips? And if yes, which song will it be and when will it be released?

J: We are thinking about it now.... and I guess we will do a video... maybe with “Guardian Angel”. (i.n.: Excellent choice…)

 

What are the expectations from this album? What should we wait from Jürgen in the future?

J: First of all... I had fun, second… all of the musicians had fun... and expectations are... Everyone Has Fun With It. I would like to play live and make a big party with my fans and friends.

 

Do you prefer releasing your albums through you own label? Do you think it’s better to have the total control of all your releases? Is it hard to be the musician and the label at the same time? Does it affect your inspiration at all… having to deal with things beyond music?

J: Yes, you are absolutely right... it is much more work than just making music and that’s it. I really work every day on several things; most of them haven’t anything to do with making music. I am talking about business work... but I am OK with it and my dream is... one day the label will have many artists and give those bands my experience. Like a big family!

 

Would you take the chance and cooperate with a big label or you prefer to be free and have the total control of your work? What are the advantages and the disadvantages of not “belonging” to a big label?

J: I would always try to keep it in my hands... because I want to grow with this label, but if it got out of my control or something big enough that we honestly couldn’t handle, then we probably would give it to a major company.

 

Does the Internet help independent labels, artists/bands to succeed or not in the end? Is it a curse or a blessing?

J: It is perfect! Freedom for all labels... because TV, radio, etc. are mostly controlled by major companies.

 

Please allow me to ask a few more general musical questions. After your first release “Still Holding On”… you disappeared from the scene and you returned almost 12 years later again … why?

J: Because there was no freedom, just contracts and moving like puppets. Now I can do what I want, and I enjoy it more, that is the reason why.

 

Are you ever gonna release an album like “Between Darkness & Light”? To tell you the truth, this album is my beloved one from all of your works till now…

J: Yes, I probably will do something like it again, because I can put my feelings in the songs the most. This is pure J.R. Blackmore. But also I want to play live and for most people instrumental rock is boring. So, I think the mix is the best... we’ll see what happens in the future.

 

When will there be the EBC ROXX “Vol 2”? Was it easy to cooperate with Tony Carey? He had also played with Ritchie Blackmore in “Rising” almost 35 years ago.

J: Tony is cool... crazy... and very direct. I don’t think there will be another EBC album… but nobody knows. I already wrote some songs with Tony... we still have them unreleased.

 

There’s a special bond between you and ELA… after your participation in the song “Out of Time”, you have a constant and stable cooperation…right?

J: Yes, ELA is in my record company and she is an absolutely great girl. She has a very honest character and also I like her voice. (i.n.: She’s great indeed!)

 

J.R. Blackmore pic

 

How did you feel while you were touring with Over The Rainbow… and playing songs your father used to play? What was the reaction of the audience? I bet it was quite thrilling for you…

J: In the beginning, I didn't want to do Over The Rainbow at all, but my dad gave me his blessing and said, go on. Then I had the next stage to go... the fans. I think everybody can understand that it is absolutely impossible try to fill these big shoes, but I never wanted it at all. I had a completely different mission, I wanted to bring this great music with the original members back on stage, for everybody who never had a chance to see them before or just wanted to see it at all. And I was so surprised that about 95% of the fans totally understood and had fun. So again, I really want to say thank you to everybody who supported me at this time.

 

After all those years can you tell us… is it a blessing to be the son of one of the biggest musicians/guitarists of all time in rock music? Was it something that helped you in your first musical steps… or the comparison was too harsh on you… and didn’t help you at all?

J: I always say... it opens the first door, but then you have three steel doors closed behind it. This is exactly how it is.

 

Did you father, Ritchie, help you on your first steps in your musical business? What were his first pieces of advice when you told him that you wanted to be a musicians/guitarist?

J: No he didn’t... he is one of the guys who is always saying, do everything on your own to learn the bad and good sides. So, I learned the bad sides first.

 

Do you believe that your musical style/playing has been influenced by your father, Ritchie, and especially by Rainbow? Is Ritchie, after all, your beloved guitarist and a big influence to you?

J: Of course he influenced me... but he wasn’t the only one... there were many guitarists too. Uli John Roth, Eddie Van Halen and many more.

 

And a few weird Questions now!!! What is missing from today’s music industry? Are most of the albums missing that quality they used to have back in the 70’s and 80’s?

J: I wouldn't say the music from today is bad, but there is something I don’t understand... always 8beat guitar shredding... I am missing single guitar notes. Sometimes a melody line, at least.

 

How difficult is it to survive and succeed in a music world that is ruled by irrelevant people that promote shit-wannabe-good pop music all the time… without caring about music quality?

J: I think we can't change it and we have to live with it, but if we all stay together as one, we will bring back the rock 'n roll!!!!

 

If you could go back in time, in any time-period where would you go and why?

J: 80's… because the music was awesome and there was more freedom.

 

Do you believe that internet has helped the bands to become more popular or has caused many problems?

J: I think the Internet is the best we could get! From this day on, the music business isn’t only in the hand of major companies anymore, and everybody has a chance to promote himself.

 

Do you prefer to get good scores from the press or please your fans with every new album?

J: This is exactly what I always do… never try to make the radio or TV happy with HIT songs… I try to give the fans something more lasting… like the old Rainbow/Dio era… “Gates of Babylon” or “Man on the Silver Mountain”. Those were not radio hit songs, but they have a cult following... that is my way.

 

So, what’s your advice to the new people and bands that are dealing with music in general? Is it worth trying or not?

J: Of course! The Internet offers everybody the same chances... so keep rockin!

 

What would you do if you were not afraid to fail?

J: I only do things where I have fun... I don’t care anyway.

 

If you had the chance to work with a classical music composer of the past, who would you select? Why?

J: Beethoven or Bach.

 

Which are the things that piss you off concerning today’s music industry?

J: Trying to tell you what you have to do to get success! I give a shit! I want to rock! (i.n.: That’s so true…)

 

Which is the most overrated band/artist today?

J: J.R.Blackmore! (i.n.: I totally disagree… maybe it’s the opposite!)

 

Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? 

J: Put her naked in a car, lock the doors, break the key, on a ferry to England! (i.n.: Wow!!!)

 

Those were my questions Jürgen. Thanks for the music, please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!

J: Hey everybody, I wish you all LONG LIVE ROCK N’ ROLL and keep reading Grande Rock!