Five years ago Ronnie Romero was collecting unemployment. He was about to start an INEM course to apply for an eventual administrative position in the Valdemoro town hall, the Madrid town where he lived. It was morning. Lazily he started the computer to memorize cumbersome ordinances. His mobile announced: “Candice Night follows you on Twitter.” Night is a singer and the partner of one of the best guitarists in history, according to the specialized media lists, Ritchie Blackmore, founder of Deep Purple. Within five minutes, and already in a private message, Night informed him that Blackmore would write to him shortly. That’s how it went. “I want to audition you to be the new singer for Rainbow. Can you come to Munich? You already have the tickets reserved, ”said the legendary guitarist. Romero, troubled, said goodbye to his fellow students at INEM and went to tell family and friends. Today, this 39-year-old Chilean-Spanish (he has dual nationality) is the vocalist of heavy and hard rock of the moment.
Ronnie Romero is an attractive and extremely polite guy. He neither smokes nor does drugs nor drinks (“just a glass of wine for dinner now and then”). Eat healthy and exercise every day. “I am the rock anti-star,” he says, adding: “I consider myself a rock professional because I do my job well and I am responsible. There are people who bought a ticket and want to see someone professional ”. He currently sings for seven bands, some with relevant rock figures: Rainbow (which Ritchie Blackmore mounted in the seventies when he left Deep Purple,) Michael Schenker Group (band led by one of the most valued hard rock guitarist, Michael Schenker, with whom he publishes a new album on January 29), Intelligent Music Project (with Toto’s drummer, Simon Phillips), Vandenberg (with the famous Dutch guitarist of the same last name)… Besides singing in his own band, Lords Of Black. Everything in the last five years.
Romero comes from a humble family on the outskirts of Santiago de Chile. He remembers that some of his childhood houses “had dirt floors.” His grandfather led a big band where his father sang and his mother played the guitar. He and his two brothers grew up surrounded by instruments. This family group was a fun weekend. From Monday to Friday the father worked whatever he could, basically in construction, and the mother took care of the children. When his parents divorced, he stayed with his father. He was studying Forest Engineering, working and taking care of the house while his father was employed in precarious occupations. In 2008 he met a Spanish girl on Facebook. Their virtual relationship is so strong that she travels to Chile to meet in person. They fall in love and decide to live in Valdemoro, Madrid, where she is settled.
We are in 2009 and Romero does not even think of living from music. Sang in a band amateur in Chile, and upon arrival in Madrid he formed a group “to make noise at the premises” with some boys from Fuenlabrada. In an adjoining venue, Jero Ramiro (veteran Spanish guitarist of groups like Ramoncín, Ñu, Santa or Saratoga), listens to him and proposes to be the singer of his new band, Santelmo. Shortly after, a bass player proposes to form a Rainbow tribute band they’ll call Rising. “When I get to the rehearsal room I see that the guitarist of that band is Armando de Castro, from Barón Rojo. I was amazed. Is that the first album I bought as a kid was Brutal volume, Barón Rojo ”, he says.
Rising play festivals and the impact is remarkable. Romero earns some money, but cannot leave his food jobs, “as a butcher, painting floors, distributing advertising.” With his Madrid partner he has had a son (today, seven years old) and has another (today, 17) in Chile (“I was a young father, with 22”). And the call came from Ritchie Blackmore, who in 2015 was looking to relaunch Rainbow. The veteran English guitarist (75 years old) had been impressed with the YouTube videos of Rising.
The harassment of unhinged followers
Romero has given around twenty concerts with Rainbow to date. He has also suffered harassment from unhinged followers who cannot stand that their favorite group has renewed their vocalist. “It is a serious matter. I’ve been trying to locate a guy who harasses my family by sending us messages with threats, obscene photos, etc. The case is in the hands of the police ”, he laments.
What do these veteran guitarists see in Romero? Besides his vocal qualities, his youth and his powerful image, the singer adds: “They are tired of dealing with people who are constantly touching the balls and I am the opposite. I am very adaptable to everything. I do my job and try not to disturb anyone. And when the concert is over, you go home to sleep peacefully ”. His is currently in Bucharest (Romania), the place of origin of his new partner, Corina. “Yes, it seems that I always go where love calls me,” he laughs. As long as it is a city with an airport nearby to travel when one of its various gangs needs you.