Of course, we all know who mysterious minstrel Ritchie Blackmore is. And like most of the people on this planet he has children - well, at least one child we know of, who managed to make a name for himself. STOP LAUGHING!!! Jurgen Blackmore is the legend of his own - his first steps in the music business were with early German speed metallers Iron Angel and then he formed a band and eventually did an album with singer Michael Bormann (former headmaster of melodic rockers Jaded Heart). This year Jurgen made a comeback into the music world and finally, after nearly 10 years searching for any opportunity to get into contact with him, we are highly pleased to hear the story from the man himself.
MetalKings.com: Your official site says you were born in London. Why not in Germany?
Jurgen Blackmore: That first question is easy to answer! (laughs) Because I was really born in London in 1964. We lived for about 4 years in England.
MetalKings.com: Where did you live in Germany originally and where do you live nowadays?
Jurgen Blackmore: Since I was 4 years old I lived in Hamburg and now I live about 30 km from Hamburg in a town called Quickborn. It's a nice small village.
MetalKings.com: How did you get into rock music? Did your father influence your style or not?
Jurgen Blackmore: I came into rock music because my friends and I always listened to rock music. We loved the rock music. But my father didn't influence me much, it came out of me.
MetalKings.com: What rock music idols did you have in the beginning?
Jurgen Blackmore: Gary Moore, Van Halen, Accept, AC/DC, Status Quo and many more.
MetalKings.com: Did German heavy metal music like Helloween or Steeler with Axel Rudi Pell influence your musical style or not?
Jurgen Blackmore: No, not at all. The only German band I liked was Accept.
MetalKings.com: What were your first bands? Did they play only cover songs or original material as well?
Jurgen Blackmore: They were Iron Angel, Straight, Superstition, J.R.Blackmore Group. We always wrote own material. Don't count "Smoke On The Water" rap! That wasn't my project, I was just a guest.
MetalKings.com: How did you join Iron Angel?
Jurgen Blackmore: We were friends for many years and one day they asked me if I would like to join the band… so I started practicing and we went in the studio. But in the studio we found out that 3 guitarist are one too many. At that point in time it was my first band and my guitar playing wasn't that good (laughs) so I left them to improve my guitar playing.
MetalKings.com: I only have the re-issued version of the album "Winds Of War" and it does not list you in the musicians list. Why? On what songs did you play?
Jurgen Blackmore: I only played the solo guitar on "Sea Of Flames" and I hate it! Hahahhahaha!!!
MetalKings.com: Did you write any songs for Iron Angel?
Jurgen Blackmore: No, I only came in and dropped out again.
MetalKings.com: Did you play live with Iron Angel outside Germany?
Jurgen Blackmore: No after studio sessions I left them, so I never played with Iron Angel on stage.
MetalKings.com: Why did Iron Angel split?
Jurgen Blackmore: They did their last Tour as opener for King Diamond and after this tour they split. I think it was a time for changing…. they had different feelings about the new way of music.
MetalKings.com: What was the band Straight about? Who played in it? Does it have any studio recordings?
Jurgen Blackmore: Straight was only a short formation with unknown musicians. We never went in a studio together, only played in the rehearsal room.
MetalKings.com: I saw ads in the Metal Hammer magazine about live concerts of Superstition and that the band planned to record a studio album soon. Why the album never materialized?
Jurgen Blackmore: Oh no we released it …but we changed the singers two times and the band name …so it came out under J.R.Blackmore Group "Still holding on"
MetalKings.com: Who is King Kurly from the photo on your official site?
Jurgen Blackmore: King Kurly is an American rap guy; he is a very funny person. I was guest on his cover version of "Smoke On The Water", and we had much fun together.
MetalKings.com: The photo in the magazine "Metal Hammer" did not have Michael Bormann on it but in the 1993 issue of the Japanese magazine "Burrn!" he said that he toured Czechoslovakia with you. When did Michael join your band and how long did he stay?
Jurgen Blackmore: We met for the first time in "Studio M" near Hannover, it must have been around 1988. We were trying hard to find a singer. After that meeting we came again together and he joined the band, it must have been around 1990. So he re-sang the complete album and we went together on tour. We only stayed together for that Czechoslovakia tour and after that he wanted to do his own band Jaded Heart again, this was always in his mind.
MetalKings.com: Why Superstition never recorded an album? I believe it was a strong band especially with Michael Bormann's vocals.
Jurgen Blackmore: Actually Superstition was a different formation with Mike Matthes (ex-Iron Angel), Malte Rathke, Dirk Schroeder (ex-Iron Angel), Wolfgang Beisel (ex-Roy Last Group) and me.
MetalKings.com: When was the J. R. Blackmore Group album "Still Holding On" recorded?
Jurgen Blackmore: Oh, it took us about 3 years to release, because we always changed the singers and had much trouble with very important people ;-)…but with Michael we recorded the voices and released it in 1990.
MetalKings.com: Who designed the original cover of that album?
Jurgen Blackmore: It was Angelika, girlfriend of the album's producer Bob Rose.
MetalKings.com: Why the album was released on some indie label and not on a major one like "EMI Elektrola" or something?
Jurgen Blackmore: Because we started the record company (Antares) with 4 people including me. We wanted to do it by ourselves after we went a crazy time through the music business.
MetalKings.com: Your official site says you collaborated with Wolf Hoffmann. When and where?
Jurgen Blackmore: I think I met Wolf in 1990 in the rehearsal room where I was working with Michael Bormann. Me and Michael played some stuff and he wanted to produce it and his girlfriend Gabi wanted to manage us at that time. In the end we went our own ways without Gabi and Wolf, but we are still friends.
MetalKings.com: In the interview I did with Michael Bormann in 2001 he said that when he played with you everybody tried to make a rip-off of you because of the name. Is that true? Do you think your name has a negative influence on your personal music career?
Jurgen Blackmore: Of course, everybody is only interested in my name… That is extremely depressing sometimes… But after all these years I found out how to handle it.
MetalKings.com: Why it took over 10 years for you to come back on the market with the solo release?
Jurgen Blackmore: Because I hated the music business with all these very important people who try to rip me off. Now I don't need anybody anymore, because I am doing it by myself and have so much fun…. I love the guitar playing and writing songs… That's why I said, "It is time to come back."
MetalKings.com: Why did you decide to make an instrumental album? Don't you think it might somehow limit its sales?
Jurgen Blackmore: I tell you something - I am not making music anymore to try selling millions of records… I only want to have fun, fun, fun and that is the most important thing for me. Also, I love this kind of music, instrumental. I can let the feelings go more into my music as when a singer is shouting over all and singing from love like everybody else is doing. And in these days of rap and hip hop stuff I think there is enough talking in the music. I love real instruments, this is what I call music. I like simply to sit back and listen to the instruments.
MetalKings.com: How did you learn that the J. R. Blackmore Group album "Still Holding On" is sold at expensive prices in record stores?
Jurgen Blackmore: A lot of people wrote to me about it. Just have a look at the eBay auction or some other pages to see people selling my "Still Holding On" CD. I saw that everywhere the CD went for 30 to 50 dollars per copy. The funny thing was that I never got paid for even one sold CD, because the fistributor went insolvent and they said they never sold a record. That's why I decided that we have to stop this and that's why we are selling it now for a regular price and with a better quality.
MetalKings.com: Who remixed the album?
Jurgen Blackmore: The album was originally mixed by Bob Rose in 1990 and Mike Matthes remixed it in 2003.
MetalKings.com: Does the new remixed version of the album "Still Holding On" have lyrics in the booklet? If not, is it possible to find them anywhere?
Jurgen Blackmore: No, the lyrics are not in the CD booklet but I will do the Download section on my Web site in the next several weeks and do something to help people download the complete lyrics (you can already find them in the forum - editor) and some other interesting stuff.
MetalKings.com: Can you write the complete list of all the hard rock music albums you were involved in?
Jurgen Blackmore: I hope I did not write too many of them (laughs) I haven't
done many albums in the past, because I only worked on my guitar playing
and play only for me and friends and did some gigs for blind children.
Here is the list:
MetalKings.com: And your personal message to fans…
Jurgen Blackmore: I want that all people to know that I am doing the music not for selling, only for fun, for them and me. Also I am really happy that we are living now in the world with Internet and PCs so it is possible to do everything without any of these very important people. Even if I sell only a few copies I get feedback directly from my fans per e-mail. That gives me more pleasant feelings than selling thousands of CD´s without knowing who buys them and what they think about it. I want to say thanks to all people who advertise me (magazines, radio stations, Internet sites, TV and more) and I hope that all my fans will stay with me so that I will give my love through the music back to them.
Jurgen Blackmore official site - http://www.jrblackmore.de
special thanks to Ainhoa Prieto, moderator of the Jurgen Blackmore official
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