Ritchie Blackmore Once Belittled Eddie Van Halen Out Of ‘Severe Insecurity,’ Famous Rock Journalist Explains

During a recent interview with Rock History Music, rock journalist Steve Rosen reflected on how Ritchie Blackmore once criticized Eddie Van Halen due to ‘severe insecurity.’

Rosen initially recalled introducing himself to Blackmore and continued:

“Edward is standing next to me, and I’m about to say, ‘Richie, this is Ed,’ and before I can do that, he extends his hand out to Edward and goes like,’ Hi, I know you. Don’t you play guitar?’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, Richie, you f*cking b*tch. You really said that.’ You got to be Richie Blackmore tonight of all nights.”

Decoding Blackmore’s Behavior

The journalist went on to reveal the details of the interaction between Ritchie and Eddie:

“Obviously, he knew who it was, and you know, the strange thing about Richie and I tried to make this point in the book: Richie had nothing to prove to anybody. Even if he sensed Edward as one of the ‘young terps’ as I characterize him in the book, tapping had at his shields, and this is the new generation of Strat players.”

The Silent Aftermath Of The Encounter

Steve added the following, reflecting on the impact of this encounter on Eddie and his interpretation of Blackmore’s behavior:

“Ritchie Blackmore was a legend, my God. Had he done nothing more than recording ‘Machine Head,’ it would have been enough, but he had done so much more, but that kind of greeting could only come from a place of severe insecurity. ‘I don’t want to acknowledge who you are’ on top of just being a very nasty guy. So yeah that was that was horrible. On the ride home, Edward didn’t say anything. I was afraid to bring it up, but I knew he was hurt.”

Van Halen’s Admiration For Blackmore

Eddie, on the other hand, was greatly influenced by Ritchie’s fast guitar riffs and solos. In a 2015 Billboard interview, Van Halen listed his favorite riffs, including one from Deep Purple’s 1974 song ‘Burn.’ Besides Blackmore’s riffs, Van Halen also admired his use of the vibrato bar, as mentioned in a 2011 Rolling Stone interview. He noted:

“Ritchie Blackmore, I liked because of his vibrato bar use on ‘Deep Purple in Rock.’ Also, they come out with great riffs. I mean, come on, ‘Smoke on the Water’ is one for the history books.”

In a 1978 interview with Classic Rock magazine, shortly after Van Halen’s debut album came out, Eddie also praised Blackmore for sparking his interest in the whammy bar.

You can watch the full interview below.