STRATOVARIUS Keyboardist JENS JOHANSSON Talks Joining RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW - "I Was Extremely Happy When They Contacted Me"

May 16, 2018, a year ago

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STRATOVARIUS Keyboardist JENS JOHANSSON Talks Joining RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW - "I Was Extremely Happy When They Contacted Me"

The Metal Crypt recently caught up with Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson to discuss being a member of guitarr legend Richie Blackmore's resurrected Rainbow. Following is an excerpt from the interview.

Q: Memories in Rock 2018 is the kind of tour that may Rainbow fans, both old and new, have been waiting for years and now it's really happening. What are your thoughts and feelings about touring under the Rainbow name? Do you consider it a great honour to be a part of it all?

Jens: "I am, like you say, very honoured to be a part of this. Like everyone, I had heard the rumours for many years but didn't really think it could happen. I was extremely happy when they contacted me and, of course, very curious about who the rest of the band would be, especially the singer."

Q: The band's set list has consisted of many classic Rainbow songs and also some classic Purple-era stuff. Which are your favourite Rainbow/Purple songs to play live and why?

Jens: "They are all nice to play live. If I have to single one out at this particular time maybe it will be 'Mistreated' because it has had some extremely dynamic moments in the past and also it has gone through some quite interesting developments lately from Ritchie, where he will direct the band in the same manner an orchestra conductor would. Also 'Child in Time' has been absolutely fantastic most of the time this past tour, much for the same reasons."

Q: This year also marks the 40th anniversary of one of Rainbow's most important albums, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll. What meaning has this album had for you as a musician?

Jens: "All of the Rainbow and Deep Purple albums have been huge milestones in my life, and pretty much most of the people I have played with as well, who were any good anyway. LLRR is a fantastic album and we all sucked up anything from that camp like sponges, really. This stuff was our lifeblood. Yngwie (Malmsteen) used to joke that he would play Made In Japan on the record player until it was so worn out that it was just a thin vinyl spiral, then he'd have to go buy another copy. Only I'm not 100% sure he was joking... maybe he was about the spiral part."

Read the complete interview here.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow performed in Moscow, Russia on April 8th. Fan-filmed video of the band in action is available below. The setlist on the night wasas follows:

"Spotlight Kid"
"I Surrender" (Russ Ballard cover)
"Mistreated" (Deep Purple cover)
"Since You Been Gone" (Russ Ballard cover)
"Man On The Silver Mountain" (with snippet of Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo")
"Perfect Strangers" (Deep Purple cover)
"Difficult To Cure" (Beethoven's 9th)
"Child in Time" (Deep Purple cover)
"All Night Long"
"Long Live Rock 'n' Roll"
"Still I'm Sad" (The Yardbirds cover)
"Burn" (Deep Purple cover)

"Black Night" (Deep Purple cover)
"Smoke on the Water" (Deep Purple cover)

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow released their first new single since 1996, “Waiting For A Sign”, on March 16th worldwide (March 8th in Japan). The song is featured on the Memories In Rock II album, released on April 6th as a 2CD+DVD set, vinyl, and digital formats via Minstrel Hall Music.

“Waiting For A Sign”, featuring Ronnie Romero on vocals, is now available for streaming below:

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