The more I read about Tommy Bolin, the more I find that he is literally the exact opposite of Ritchie Blackmore.
No I don’t think you understand I mean he was literally the exact opposite of Ritchie Blackmore.
For instance, Tommy was extremely easy to get along with, noted as being “extraverted” onstage, had almost no formal guitar training in his life, had a lot of influence from American music, very physically affectionate, dressed in bright colors, was addicted to hard drugs and lived until he was 25. Most of all, he judged things by how “fun” they were and the enjoyment he’d get out of them.
Ritchie on the other hand is an infamously prickly person, notably “introverted” in his performances, was highly pressured into classical guitar playing by his father, had high influences from European Renaissance music, interacted with as few people as he could, wore almost all black, hardly ever did drugs in his career -if at all- and is still alive to this day. Overall, I don’t think there’s anything in Ritchie’s personality that suggests fun or enjoyment.
I think the most interesting factor in this situation is actually Glenn Hughes. Ritchie got along very well with Glenn in 1973. At the same time, he was extremely possessive of Glenn during the Burn era, going so far as to break off their out-of-band friendship when he started to get to know his bandmates. Interestingly enough, Glenn was rather possessive of Tommy during the Come Taste The Band era and found a real, out-of-band friend in him.
More evidence for why Deep Purple’s intra-band dynamics are so FASCINATING.
By the way, Ritchie’s relationship with Tommy is a hell of one to explore. Tommy was his replacement, but whenever Ritchie talks about him, it’s always about how talented and glamorous Tommy was. I can hardly remember him talking about anyone in such a way. Ritchie is, to put it frankly, not very in awe of anyone. I think Paul Rodgers is the only other one Ritchie talked about like that. Ritchie even tries to take credit for namedropping Tommy to Deep Purple, despite the fact that the rest of the band all say it was David Coverdale who’s idea it was to hire Tommy. Ritchie and Tommy even hung out on at least a couple occasions, and Ritchie and the rest of Rainbow went to see Deep Purple’s concert at Long Beach Arena in ‘76 (which is TRIPPY AS HELL, imagine sitting there watching your own band that you co-created ten years ago play, and you in the audience getting to experience it all). It also probably helped that Tommy had only the foggiest idea of who Deep Purple were, and so didn’t fanboy over Ritchie like a lot of people did.
Then again, Ritchie also named Tommy as one of the alleged lovers of Ritchie’s wife Babs in his divorce suit! Tommy seemed offended by the allegation, and for what it’s worth, I believe Tommy when he said he didn’t sleep with Babs. FWIW, Glenn thought it was all made up, too. Ritchie is so strange, who knows why he said that. Some sort of misplaced jealousy? A paranoid delusion? Wanting to drive one last wedge between himself and the Purps? Or even one of his bizarre japes that only he finds funny?