Steve Luongo Recalls His Failed Rainbow Audition With Ritchie Blackmore

Steve Luongo might have had successful team-ups with names such as AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Ann Wilson, but when he got an opportunity to work with Ritchie Blackmore, the drummer didn’t have it easy. While chatting with the VintageRock podcast, Luogo recalled his failed audition with Blackmore and disclosed how it was not meant to be.

When Luongo started to get multiple calls from friends and fellow rockers that Ritchie was looking for him, he couldn’t believe it at first. Then, after a quick phone call with Rainbow’s manager, the drummer found himself in an audition with the band. However, Blackmore wasn’t going to make things easy, Steve.

Before starting to play together, Ritchie asked how long Luongo could play a drum solo, to which Steve answered by saying, “whatever you need.” The act started playing, but Blackmore unplugged his guitar after a while and told the keyboardist not to play. With that, all the band members stopped playing one by one until Steve was the only one playing.

“So, now I’m sitting there, Richie’s unplugged, Roger’s [Glover] been played out, and I’m on my own in a shuffle on a tiny set of drums,” recalled the drummer. “I said, ‘Oh,’ because I’ve heard the stories. I had heard that, you know, Ritchie was a prankster or tough here and that, and I didn’t really know him.”

The drummer accepted Ritchie’s challenge to play on his own. He continued, “But I said, ‘Man, you know if you want to see if I can play for 10 minutes, you’re going to hear every freaking note I’ve ever learned in my life.’ I mean, I’m just playing, and my goal was, ‘You’re gonna plug that guitar and play me back in, or we’re gonna be here all night.”

Luongo further revealed, “So, I’m playing on the rims, and I’m going to the cymbals and on the side of the drums, and I’m going just berserk until he can’t take it anymore, and he plugged back in, and played me out. So, that was kind of an omen that things were probably not gonna go well. Then we went to the studio, and we recorded a track.”

However, collaborating with Ritchie wasn’t just meant to be. Steve said, “There were some differences of opinion about how tight we were playing and what I should have just done, although I’m glad I didn’t. What I should have just done is, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right. Let’s do it again.’ which I didn’t do. I said, ‘Nah, you’re wrong. Let’s go in and listen to it,’ and you really don’t wanna call Ritchie out, and it was just not meant to be.”

Even though Steve was honored to be invited into Rainbow and was in the band for a week, his run was short. Perhaps, he didn’t click with Ritchie, and when there was no harmony between the pair, there was no point in working together. However, this fun story showed that when Blackmore makes a decision, one better not cross it.