Interview with Ronnie Romero, vocalist for RAINBOW
Interview by Mark Dean
I was lucky enough to have attended the Birmingham show. I just want to start by telling you congratulations on a fantastic job. It was an incredible night.
Thank you very much!
What was it like to play those three shows with Ritchie Blackmore? Was it a dream come true?
Yeah, of course. It’s, like you said, it was a real dream come true – throughout, not just the shows, but the rehearsals too. Meeting Ritchie for the first time. I love all those songs… Another long story, you know?
How did you first hear that he was interested in working with you?
Candice told me once that they watched some videos on YouTube, because I used to be in Rainbow cover band a couple of years ago they were interested in contacting me, so I don’t know. I suppose it’s because my voice is similar to Ronnie Dio, and I can sing all these songs. When I met Ritchie, one of the most important things there they told me about their … It was also about what kind of person I am, not just the musician. They really appreciated I am a normal guy, with a normal job, and a normal family, and not interested in alcohol and drugs, and all that stuff. I think that was a good point, too, for getting those gigs.
What about the tour rehearsals? Where did you rehearse for the tour? Where did you practice the songs? How was the setlist composed and did you also have any direct input into choosing songs to be a part of that?
The first setlist that we rehearsed in New York was totally different. It was Ritchie, and he is always trying to improve and make some changes, some improvisations and some jams. When we would have a setlist, sometimes he would say something like, “I don’t like the songs. I prefer the other songs,” and day by day, we may change all the songs up. I don’t know, maybe we left behind ten songs from the first rehearsal. It’s Ritchie. (laughs)
Did you feel any pressure doing the shows, particularly the one in the UK?
No, not really. I’ve never been nervous with the shows, or before the shows. I know the team and Ritchie, and all the bandmates always made me feel good. They made me feel comfortable with the job. Ritchie, in particular, is a really, really nice guy, and he always made me feel good. He really appreciates my work. They always tell me about that, so I never feel pressure or anything like that. Maybe just some eventualities not foreseen. It’s really never about being nervous or some kind of pressure… no, never.
How were things left after the final Birmingham show? Did it feel like a good-bye or did it feel like maybe we can do something more with this?
I had a positive vibe about all of it, not just the gigs but the rehearsals too. We have really, really good vibes inside the band. We know the team with Carol, and with Candice, and all the crew. Like you saw at the Birmingham show, Ritchie is really comfortable. He’s always smiling. It’s weird in Ritchie (laughs). So, I feel maybe we can make some shows maybe next year or something.
The feedback generally, not just for the Birmingham show, but all three shows has been amazing. Fans are also going to want to have more tours maybe even a new album. Is that maybe a possibility?
I hope so! (laughs) I really hope so. It depends on Ritchie. Maybe just after the gigs and after Birmingham, maybe he said “Cheers!” but maybe next year he’ll say “No.” I don’t know. I really hope so. I think about my bandmates, like Jens, Bob and David, they think the same. We will see.
Obviously then, you’re back then with Lords of Black. You got tour dates lined up. I just wondered, now that you’ve played in Birmingham and had a great reception, if maybe Lords of Black would actually include some maybe UK dates in the near future?
Yeah, we’re working on that, because we have this tour with Axl Rudi Pell in September, and UK is not included. Maybe we are working on a headline tour for maybe November, December, and add some UK dates. I really want to play again in the UK.
In the UK, the reception was fantastic, so you have some of that introduction. You’ve introduced yourself to the UK fans, so maybe there will be some opportunity for Lords of Black shows over here.
Yeah. I really feel that, yes. We have this guy from Inglorious. You know this Inglorious band?
I do. Yeah.
They’re really nice guys and maybe we can make some dates together.
That would be good. A fantastic bill.
We’re working on that.
Growing up in Chile and then you moved to Spain, what was your first introduction to rock music?
Oh well, when I was maybe 12 or 14-years-old, I had a good friend in school. His father is a really big classic rock fan. This guy showed me all the classics when I was maybe 14-years-old or something like that, and I got to listen all the classic albums like Thin Lizzy, Kansas, and obviously Deep Purple, and Rainbow. When we started my first band, I was 15 years old playing all these songs. So… I was very young. (laughs)
Do you have a particular favorite Rainbow singer?
Obviously, Ronnie James Dio, for me is the most important. Not just for the reasons that the people say about my voice, and like if I sound like Ronnie James Dio. I never try to imitate. It’s natural. I prefer because I think it’s the most important era. You know the commercial airlines, the most important in the history of Rainbow, this album Rainbow Rising and the song “Stargazer” that changed everything about heavy metal, and this mixed with the classic things. I think this is, for me, the Rainbow Rising album is the most important, obviously, Ronnie James Dio. I like very much Joe Lyn Turner and Graham Bonnet. Joe Lynn Turner is one of my favorite singers. I like it very much. Obviously, I prefer Dio.
Outside of rock music, do you have any other different styles of music or singers you admire and respect and appreciate their talents, not just in rock music?
Yeah, of course. I like very much jazz and these guys, Nat King Cole is one of my favorite singers because he can sing it with passion and from his heart, not just the screaming and the high notes and all that stuff from rock and heavy metal. I saw the passion in Nat King Cole, he got the deal. I like very much not just these heavy metal singers or these rock singers, like Gillan and Dio, and Turner. I like very much more melodic singers, like Steve Perry from Journey, for example. I like it very much. This guy from Kansas I like very much.
Do you prefer singing songs by some of the legendary singers, or do you actually prefer singing songs that are your songs, Lords of Black songs?
I enjoy both but in a different way, because actually, I love my own lyrics and to sing my own songs and perform in my bands, because I enjoy it. Of course, I also enjoy singing the classics too, because it’s the music that I grew up with. It’s all these songs of Rainbow and Deep Purple, and all these bands that I love are part of my life, so I will enjoy it, too. If I need to decide for one I prefer, obviously, I think my own songs and to make my own career.
Do you have a favorite song off the Lords of Black II album?
Yeah, maybe my favorite song is “Ghost of You.” It is a really long song. We have lots of different things, that you can listen to of all the album and different songs in just one song. We have the instrumental parts and all these things like separate style, like a Dio style, and I really love it. I really love the singing.
Final question, who would you like to interview, Ronnie Romero, if you could be the interviewer? Who would you like to sit down and interview yourself? Somebody that has inspired you, maybe Dio, maybe somebody else, who you would like to talk to.
That’s a hard question. Maybe Dio is, for me, the most important musician, but I don’t know. Ritchie, for me, has meant everything. I grew up with this guy, listening all of his songs from Deep Purple and Rainbow, and one day, I’m singing with this guy together on the same stage. He helped me to change my life. Maybe he is the most important musician for me, just like a friend, like in the real life.