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Interview: Candice Night (Blackmore's Night)

From "Smoke On The Water" to midnight owl prowls

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Interview: Candice Night (Blackmore's Night)

Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore

For a lot of us (especially if we're male and over the age of 40) the mention of Ritchie Blackmore's name brings to mind hard rock, Deep Purple, and that killer guitar riff from "Smoke On The Water."

That was then. Since 1997 Blackmore has worked professionally as part of Blackmore's Night. He and professional colleague Candice Night (singer, songwriter, musician) have also maintained a personal relationship since 1989.

On the occasion of the U.S. release (August 19, 2008) of the band's seventh studio album, I talked with Candice Night about the melding of personal and professional lives, and the band's unique brand of music.

About.com Classic Rock:
I've heard your music described as folk rock, renaissance rock, progressive. Billboard has you on their New Age chart. How do you characterize yourself in terms of a musical genre?

Candice Night:
I’ve heard a lot of different titles, too -- castle rock, I’ve recently heard pagan rock and fantasy rock. I have to be honest, I’m not really a big fan of titles or categories or the fact that somebody else needed to ... put you in that box and close the lid and say, ‘Okay that’s what this person sounds like.’ I feel like music is such a great freedom, especially if it's in this band. We have such an amazing creative freedom to do anything, whether it’s a Joan Baez cover, a rock song, a traditional Russian drinking song. I feel like that’s really the true spirit of music.

About.com Classic Rock:
Do people still expect to hear Deep Purple's or Rainbow's greatest hits?

Candice Night:
I think they used to. I think a lot of people would buy an album out of curiosity, simply because Ritchie was in the other bands and it had his name on it. Now, 11 years in, people pretty much know what direction we’ve taken. The guys who have followed Ritchie’s career will be drawn to the Blackmore name. But then they’ll bring it home, and the women kind of get drawn into it -- it’s a female vocalist, melodies are very strong, the lyrics have parallels to today, and they’ll recognize something of themselves in the story lines. At this point I think people know that Ritchie is not doing Deep Purple or Rainbow any more. He might play some of the songs once in a while, Blackmore’s Night-style.

About.com Classic Rock:
The cover art on the new album and the album title convey something of a mystical feel. Is that a recurring theme?

Candice Night:
We do sort of have a mystical vibe and we’re inspired by nature, but we do it almost for self preservation. Ritchie had been in rock and well known in that industry, so when we started creating this music, it was really as an escape from the stress and pressures of the music industry. So, that escape actually just turned into a bunch of songs that we started playing around the house for friends … and it made us realize that if our friends like it and of course we love it, maybe other people would, too.

About.com Classic Rock:
Maintaining a professional relationship and a personal relationship with the same person can be really tough. How have you managed it?

Candice Night:
We’re around each other all the time and we enjoy being around each other all the time. Having been together for 19 years, we have such a level of communication that there’s nothing hidden. There’s almost a yin/yang balance: his strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa, so we complete the whole, working together. He’s probably the only guitarist I’ve ever run across who can go in the studio and lay down an amazing guitar solo in the middle of a song and then hear it back and say, ‘You know what? I don’t really feel it in this song. I feel like the song is calling out for [something else] in that part’ and he’ll take himself off. So, for us it’s really great that there’s no ego involved at all. There’s nothing stopping you, nothing in the way between you and the music.

About.com Classic Rock:
Pardon me while I ask just one Inside Edition type question. Are you two ever going to get married?

Candice Night:
[laughing] It’s funny you should ask that! Why, you mean because we’ve been together 19 years?

About.com Classic Rock:
Well, yeah, something like that. It would seem to be the logical progression ... maybe 16 or 17 years ago!

Candice Night:
[laughs] Exactly! Believe it or not, we’re going to be doing it in October! So, yes, it’s finally going to happen! We really haven’t held off for any other reason than that in this industry you’re writing and then you go into the studio and then you do the promotional tour and then the regular tour and you come home and you go back out and tour again and before you know it, you’re back in the studio and one day you turn around and 11 years have gone by. One day we just looked at each other and decided, okay, let’s just take a break from touring at the beginning of October and just make that for ourselves.

About.com Classic Rock:
Did I just get a scoop? I hadn't heard that you had actually set a date!

Candice Night:
Yeah, see what you’ve stumbled into? Congratulations! [laughs] For Ritchie and me, we get so drawn to doing things that some people might look at and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, are they crazy?’ But so many people are so sick of being told what to do and what to think and what fashion trends to follow, that a lot of them are looking for something different. And it couldn’t be any different for our wedding, so what we’re doing is we’re flying over minstrels – friends of ours – from Germany. We’re doing it in a castle with a Renaissance theme, and all of my bridesmaids will be wearing a different color and there’s not going to be any conformity. Everybody’s going to be whatever their own true personality is. Even the wedding bands have celestial themes, just to show that there are no physical boundaries on love.

Interview date: 8-5-08
Album release date: 8-19-08 (Compare Prices)

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