Click here for home page

Click here

Contact Us | Customer Information | Privacy Policy | Audio Help

Main Menu
Submit a review
Sign up for newsletter
Album Reviews
Backstage Heroes
10 Questions with...
Rock Stars
Rising Stars
Celebrity interviews
Submit your website

Interview: ROB FODDER



Rob Fodder was Ritchie Blackmore’s PA from the late 80’s and is still involved with all things Deep Purple/Rainbow related - appearing at fan conventions Q&A sessions as well as keeping in touch with former band members Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner.

How did you get into the music business?

I'm not sure if I actually got into the music business as such and certainly wasn't in my plans, but I was given a unique opportunity to work for my favourite musician.

What first attracted you to the music of Deep Purple and what was the first record you bought by the band?

My mum had the "In Rock" and "Concerto" albums. With the Concerto, I think it was the First Movement that made an impression on me with the orchestra and band battling it out for dominance. With In Rock, I think it was the sheer brute force of that album.

The distortion, the whammy bar, the Hammond and the driving power of Paicey's drums. It was like a kick in the face and they were my first encounters with Purple. I was about 10 at that time. In later years I remember my mum getting Stormbringer. I can't be sure of the first album I bought, but I think it was either Machine Head or Made in Japan.

What are your all time top five favourite Deep Purple albums and why?

Wow, that's tough as it depends on my mood, but here goes.

In Rock. It was the first real hard rock album and set the benchmark for all heavy rock albums after. A great raw sound and not a bad track on the album.

Machine Head. I guess the definitive Deep Purple album that was going to be the basis of the live set for years to come...even to this current day.

Burn. A great debut for Coverdale and Hughes and showed that Purple could still rock without Gillan and Glover albeit with a more bluesy feel which I love. With brilliant tracks like Burn and Mistreated they couldn't do wrong.

Live in London. If anything just for the fact that Ritchie seems to be on fire at this show. You just have to check out his solo on "You Fool No One"......amazing! A great example of the MkIII line up in full flight.

Live in Stuttgart '93. For personal reasons really as I was on this tour. Mr Gillan's recollections are of half empty arena's on this tour, the one's I remember were sold out! Many fans claim that this was the best tour since the 70's. Despite the tensions offstage, onstage the band were flying. I have rarely seen such solid band performances and the Stuttgart show was one of many which highlighted this on this tour. This is the show which should have been filmed instead of that NEC debacle

How did you get to become Ritchie Blackmore’s PA? What was it like in that role and what were the highlights for you?

It's a long story, but I'll try to summarise it.

I first met Ritchie in'81 in Brussels after a Rainbow show. I had travelled there as part of a package which included the concert ticket, hotel and coach. Myself and a couple of friends spent about 90 minutes with him in his dressing room, just drinking beer and talking. I remember being in total awe and Ritchie telling me to stop asking so many questions lol.

Then in 1987, I started a new job with British Airways. One day I was chatting to one of my work colleagues who assumed (because of the length of my hair) that I was into rock music and asked who my favourite musician was. Obviously I answered "Ritchie Blackmore", to which he replied "Ahh, my brother"!!

I thought it was a wind up at first, but after a few questions it turned out to be true. I was planning to travel to Germany to see a DP show and his brother said that he'd tell Ritchie to expect me.

At the show in Cologne, Ritchie had sent his guitar tech, Cookie, out to find me and take me backstage to meet up and have a drink and a chat. We got on really well and he invited me to future Purple shows.

In '91, I went to a few of the European shows and started helping Jim, the new guitar tech, set up the equipment and run a few errands. Then at the end of the European tour, I had a call from Jim asking me if I wanted to be Ritchie's assistant and to be in NY on the 11th April.

The job itself was a dream come true and comprised of anything and everything! Arrange transport, hotels, interviews, meals, football games. Make sure that he was in the right places at the right times. It was quite demanding at times as you were on 24 hour call.

As for the highlights, there's so many! I got to travel the world with my favourite musician and 2 of my favourite bands. Meet other musicians and fans that I would never have had the chance to meet. Playing football at Bayern Munich's training ground and it being on TV. Staying in castle's and witnessing paranormal activity. Making people's day by getting autograph's or setting up meet and greets and of course being able to watch and listen to Ritchie play guitar on and offstage close up. The list goes on.

Have you enjoyed his work with Blackmore’s Night?

In the beginning I thought it was a great idea as a side project to Rainbow, but I must admit that it doesn't really appeal to me now since it seems to have lost direction. I think the last few albums have been predictable and repetitive and judging by the soundclips of the next CD, I think I'll pass on it thanks. But he's doing what he wants to do and I guess he's earned that right.

Of the various members who have been through the Deep Purple who have you kept in contact with still?

I speak with Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner quite often and have been in contact with Jon Lord by e-mail.

Do you think Ritchie Blackmore will ever reunite with his former Deep Purple or Rainbow colleagues even just for a one-off gig?

I really don't know. I don't think so, but you should always expect the unexpected with Ritchie....or was that the Spanish Inquisition? I know that there had been talks when Cozy was alive for a Rainbow reunion, unfortunately they didn't materialise.

Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell?

I have many good memories of my time with Ritchie and I could write story after story!! Two that spring to mind are when after a show in Cologne on the "Battle Rages On" tour, we were driving to our hotel which was an old monastery in the middle of nowhere.

We were hurtling down the Autobahn in the pouring rain, when Ritchie who was navigating notified me that this was our exit, just as we were about to pass it! I thought we could make it and came off the Autobahn to be met by a sharp right turn. The car started to slide and I corrected it but we slid off the road into woodland. Hedges, bushes and tree's passed the windows of the Merc at high speed until we finally came to a stop.

I tried reversing out but the wheels were bogged down in the mud. So here I am, on my hands and knees in the pouring rain, covered in mud and trying to put wood under the tyres to get some traction and there was Ritchie and Candy pissing themselves laughing and taking photo's of me!

Luckily, some passing fans saw the incident and stopped to help us push the car out.

After a show in Poland, we had a private jet waiting to whisk us back to Budapest where we were to be based for a few days. Ritchie had decided to treat his guitar tech Jim, for a night in a hotel rather than travelling on the bus and so he came back with us.

Shortly after arriving at the hotel, we decided to go out to a bar and left it to Jim to ask the Concierge where we could find one and arrange a taxi.

We arrived at the bar to find two of the biggest doormen you'd ever seen. Inside was basically a lap dancing club. Ritchie and I bought a couple of drinks while Jim enjoyed the attention of the girls there. Ritchie quietly told me to go outside and get a taxi without Jim noticing, so I made out that I was going to the bathroom and left.

A couple of minutes later, Ritchie came running out of the club laughing with tears in his eyes, jumped in the taxi and we sped off to the hotel.

We both knew that Jim didn't carry any money and he'd just ordered a large round of drinks for all the girls there.
We got back to the hotel and went to the bar for a drink, still laughing at Jim's situation. About 15 minutes later, we heard a bit of a fracas coming from the reception area just around the corner and we recognised Jim's voice. Ritchie and I ran to the lifts before he could see us and locked ourselves in our rooms till he cooled down.

It turns out the 2 rather large gentlemen at the door of the club, "escorted" Jim back to the hotel so that he could get some funds to pay for the drinks. He had to wake Colin Hart up and borrow $200. Luckily enough, Jim is often the brunt of Ritchie's pranks and could see the funny side.

Who are your own musical heroes, and why?

Most of the Deep Purple and Rainbow family, but especially Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie Dio, Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Glenn Hughes. Their music speaks for itself and even to this day they inspire and influence young musicians around the world.

Which have been the best bands you have seen play live, and why?

I've been fortunate to see many bands live and obviously I would have to mention Deep Purple and Rainbow. In addition I would mention Cornerstone. They have such an energy onstage despite not having the opportunity to tour extensively.

Pink Floyd as each concert is an event. The combination of exceptional sound and vision is mind blowing.

Rata Blanca. A band that's little known in Europe, but with guitarist Walter Giardino they have a sound that has been sadly missed by DP/Rainbow fans since Ritchie left rock music.

Queen. With the best front man ever and great musicians, they made "stadium" rock what it is today.

Christ....I could go on and


Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie. All rights reserved.


Print this page in printer friendly format

Print this page in printer-friendly format

Tell a friend about this page

Tell a friend about this page

Featured Artists
Artist Archive
Featured Labels
Label Archive
Do you want to appear here?

get ready to rock is a division of hotdigitsnewmedia group