Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (Bob Curiano)
Definitely, you won't find many musicians who can claim ties to both boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and a hard rock guitar icon the likes of Mr. Ritchie Blackmore. But Bob Curiano meets those criteria. He's now the new Rainbow bass player. We recently caught up with him e he gave us a very interesting interview. Here's to ya.



Article by Giulio Beneventi - Publish on: 20/01/16

Hi, Bob. Nice to speak to you. It is a big pleasure having you on our pages. How is it going?


So you ask me 'how is it going'? It's going like a good cup of caffe doppio every day! I'm a busy boy. In addition to my normal gig schedule, my writing project, and my family obligations, I just got a 'wake up call' from Mr. Blackmore to go play some Rock&Roll! All of a sudden there are a lot of things for me to do! It's time to get up out of my chair and get to work! Subito!

You have had fun with this stage name stuff for years, don't you? Sir Robert of Normandie, Bob Noveau... others? Your nickname, Noveau, came from "new", is it correct? That nouveau means new... So new Bob, new Rainbow, new rock shows.


Yes, I have had so much fun with stage names that I don't even remember what my name is anymore!.. [laughs]. It's partially my fault... but Blackmore doesn't help. We both liked this little game, and now as a result, I always seem to be the 'mystery man'.
I am thinking of making a video message to you and the fans to explain this, and also clear up some confusion. Anyway... yes, Bob Nouveau, the 'new' Bob has arrived to play with the new Rainbow!

Are you having fun preparing the three gigs in coming?


As you suggested... preparing for the Rainbow gigs can be fun, but it is also an amazing journey through time and some of the best years of Rock & Roll history. Almost 40 years of music beginning in the 1960's with Deep Purple, until the end of the 1990's when 'Rainbow' ended ... makes you wonder "what the future might be?.... is there a future?....is the story really over?" It seems Ritchie defies age. I joked with Ritchie something like this... 'so now you have young children, and you're starting 'Rainbow' again, I guess you'll live to be 200 years old!' Maybe Ritchie is the Methuselah of Rock and Roll... [laughs]


Back in the old days, you first met Blackmore at the Normandy Inn, after Carol Steven saw you live, am I right? How were you offered the position? Didn't you have to audition?


Right. Carol Stevens heard me play live. She asked me for a recording and told me Ritchie likes Bach, so I sent her a recording of me playing a 'Bach' piece on the acoustic guitar.Then Ritchie and Candice invited me to dinner at the Normandy Inn and they also asked me to bring my bass and guitar. There was no band, just the three of us sitting around the table having drinks, singing, and improvising music. The funny thing was that even though they were looking for someone to play bass in the band, I don't remember playing much bass at all that night. At one point I said: 'But Ritchie, don't you want to hear me play some bass?'. He said: 'No, that's alright, just keep playing guitar'. I guess he liked my guitar playing, and I took that as quite a compliment coming from a guitar player like Ritchie. If you remember, during my time in 'Blackmore's Night' I ended up playing a lot of guitar with Ritchie.
Anyway we played for hours at the Normandy Inn. At the end of the night, there was only a brief discussion about when I would be able to start playing with the band. So, I guess that was my audition, if you want to call it that. During the evening they asked me my full name. I said 'Bob'. Oh, I don't know... I'm 'Sir Robert' (in the spirit of the music). Ritchie said: 'Yes... you'll be 'Sir Robert of Normandy'. And so the story began and continues to this day.





You left Blackmore's Night after six years and returned to your passion of writing music and working on specialized music for film and television. Then, like lightning out of a clear sky came the "new" Rainbow. And here we go again. What happened?

What happened? You know what happened. The moment thousands of fans have been waiting for, for 20 years... the 'new' Rainbow' is here! Ironically, during the years I played with 'Blackmore's Night' many fans approached me to see if I could persuade Ritchie to put 'Rainbow' back together with me in the band. I never discussed this with Ritchie because I knew it was a sensitive subject, and I also knew he was happy with the music he was playing in 'Blackmore's Night'. But now look at what finally happened... La Forza del Destino!


Got to ask you: how is it working with an artist as diverse as Blackmore, who's hard rock and classical roots from his rock n roll days have matured into the medieval and English folk style of Blackmore's Night?


It's great! I personally love diversity. I think it makes life rich. I know this may be hard to believe, but from a musical perspective, and according to my ears, the music of 'Blackmore's Night' and the music of 'Deep Purple' and 'Rainbow' is very similar... it's just played in a different style. If you come to my music class for 2 hours I can explain this theory!


Ok, that's for sure a "bullet-proofed" question: as you certainly know, Deep Purple and Ritchie Blackmore are poised for a dramatic entry -and maybe even some drama- as it enters into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2016.
Ian Gillan has slammed as "very silly" the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's decision to exclude guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey from the band's upcoming induction. It's a somewhat complicated situation. What's your take?


I think I have to agree with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's decision. Yes, Steve Morse and Don Airey are current band members of Deep Purple and also are fantastic musicians, but Deep Purple would not have even existed without Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord (two of the band's founding members). Also, in my opinion Ritchie and Jon were extremely important as part of the creative driving force behind the band, and were essential for the unique and original 'sound' of the band. I don't think Deep Purple could have accomplished what they did without them, and the band's legacy and most memorable songs will always be tied to them.


I saw you live in 2005, DVD live Castles and Dreams. I remember you were singing, at some point. You were great. There will be others opportunities to hear your vocals skills in Rainbow next shows?


Thank you very much for the compliment about my singing because it's something that I am not so confident about all the time. I find it's much easier for me to just play my instrument, but I also know it is a powerful feeling to be able to sing well. Also, I'm glad you liked that little excerpt of me singing the blues with Ritchie. It was totally improvised, and Ritchie surprised me by asking me to sing something. I remember walking to the microphone thinking 'what the hell am I going to sing'... and you saw what happened. You have to be ready for anything with Ritchie! Anyway, if Ritchie wants me to sing anything in Rainbow, of course I would love to do it! By having a possible 2nd lead vocal it also could be something that would make this Rainbow line up special, and a little different from the others. But Ritchie makes the final decision and I totally trust him. Realistically,I expect I will at least sing support for Ronnie.

By the way, how do you think Ronnie Romero will do as the singer?


Ronnie is a great guy and a great singer! We had a lot of good laughs together. Ronnie's vocal style will be perfect for this situation and I'm confident he will satisfy all the high expectations everyone has!


You worked with lots of musicians, from every genre, from The Backstreet Boys to Mink DeVille. Any amusing anecdotes to tell us?


There are just so many stories! I could write a book just to answer this one question, but here's a Mink DeVille story that just came into my head. Sometime during the 1980's we had a birthday party for Willy DeVille at the 'Limelight' club in New York City. So, who walks in to crash the party? Mick Jagger and some other guys (I think from Duran Duran ... not exactly sure). Mick and Keith Richards liked Mink DeVille. Anyway, Willy decides to completely ignore Mick... he does not look at him, talk to him, or even say hello. Mick is sitting next to me in a good mood but I think feeling a bit strange. I decided to apologize to Mick for Willy's unsociable behavior. I think Mick understood, kept smiling and just got up and went to the bathroom... I think John Entwistle was in there. In the music business, many times it's not about the music at all, but instead it's about your ability to deal with a lot of different personalities and egos. Like I said, I have a lot more stories ... guess I'll have to write the book someday!


And I'm looking forward to reading it! By the way, I remember I read somewhere that you said once: "I'm pretty adept at a lot of different styles, although I don't consider myself a master at any one of them". I really like this definition. It's George Harrison style! Who was your inspiration to start with music? What musician initially influenced you and who the ones you appreciate today?


My inspiration for music happened when I was a little boy. I would listen to music and feel chills, and see goose bumps on my skin. I knew it was something I had to do! My first instrument was accordion, then clarinet, then finally guitar and bass.
The musicians that influenced me the most were the ones who gave me the most goose bumps! There were many! Let's raise our glass to all those great performers who hold your attention and leave you waiting for the next note they will play, or the next word they will sing. And of course I have to thank Ritchie for putting a few goose bumps on my skin!




Always on the subject of The Beatles, I heard your instrumental composition, "Gentle Breeze", a folk-flavored acoustic guitar and strings tone. Such a beautiful song. It reminds me somehow of a track from the White Album by Sir Paul McCartney, "Blackbird", but -so to speak- more "complex". Tell me something more about the "story" behind the song, how you composed it.


Thank you! I'm flattered that my song 'Gentle Breeze' reminds you of a Beatle song! They wrote some of the greatest songs of all time! Plus, my song is just an instrumental... mille grazie! I think when you wake up each day your first thoughts are the clearest. The 'story' behind the song is that when I woke up one morning and picked up my guitar, the first four notes I played ended up being the first four notes of this song! Writing the rest of the song was easy and it was finished in a few minutes! Sometimes it happens that way. Also, I have to thank you for even finding this song! I have been very lazy and stupid about organizing all my music and making it available for you and other people to hear. I want to fix this mess in 2016. I have a lot of songs, and I would love to share them with everyone! I think you might be a bit surprised.


And currently, I know you're working on your own theatrical music production which you're calling "The Machinations of Mr. Bob" (or so your website says). Could you give further details.


This title will probably change as I develop the idea for this 'show'. I think this project will be very different from anything else I have done before, and I am excited about it. It is more like cabaret/theatre. It incorporates a variety of music of different genres and uses different voices and 'characters'. It also involves spoken dialogue (acting), dance, and satire! I will send you news as it moves forward... OK?


Perfect! Just a couple a questions to finish on.

This new adventure with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is just the latest of many many projects. What's your greatest memory of your career?


I have so many great memories, but I think my greatest memory waits for me in the future... ask me this question again next year!

Ok, very well. Only three shows are planned. But perhaps are you testing the waters? If the gigs go well (that's for sure), there could be even a remote possibility of new dates in Europe, maybe in Italy?


I think we all want the shows to be great and do more, but again it's all up to Ritchie. The biggest surprise would be if we are not just paying a tribute to the past, but we are planning something for the future and will be writing another chapter in this great story!


That's all. To conclude, I wish you good luck for everything. Would you like to leave a final message for Italian SpazioRock fans?

My message to the Italians is always the same... hurry up and make more babies! Immaginare un mondo senza più Italiani... questa sarebbe la fine del mondo!





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