DEEP PURPLE's IAN PAICE On Retirement: 'I Don't Think We'll Ever Know What The Last Gig, What The Last Tour Is'

December 17, 2023

In a recent interview with Zoom, DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice, who turned 75 in June, was asked when he and his bandmates will eventually retire from performing live. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We have never planned a date to stop working. We are realists. The guys are getting older, and there's gonna come a point where maybe one or two of us don't want to do it anymore or [it's] not physically possible for them to do it. But we don't think about that. We're still having a great deal of fun. A lot of people still enjoy what we do, and so long as those two things stay in harmony, we'll continue.

"I don't think we'll ever know what the last gig, what the last tour is," he continued. "I think it'll come and just smack us in the face. Unless there's a definite plan, which there isn't, to do something as a final bye-bye, I just think we'll just go, 'Sorry, guys. We're finished. We can't do it anymore. It's been wonderful.' But even then, I think if we stopped touring, there's no reason why we couldn't make more records. That's the easiest thing in the world. All you've got to do is have the ideas. That's the hardest thing in the world. But physically making a record is easy."

Paice added: "Touring only works if you enjoy it. You can't just enjoy the two hours a night when you're playing. You've got to be able to deal with the whole thing. You've got to be able to deal with a ten-hour flight, a hotel which is less than perfect, transportation which goes wrong. You've gotta deal with all that. And if you can, and still enjoy it, then why would you stop something that you got into as a kid 'cause it made you happy? And if it still makes you happy, why would you stop it?"

Paice's PURPLE bandmate Roger Glover expressed a similar sentiment about the band's final tour in a June 2023 interview with Rock Hard Greece. The bassist, who turned 78 last month, said: "I don't like the idea of announcing the last show: 'And here they are. This is their last show.' I mean, the stress involved in that would be ridiculous. Where would it be? When would it be? For me, the ideal ending for PURPLE is that we just carry on until it stops. No announcement. We're not gonna announce, 'This is the last one.' People would buy tickets: 'Oh, this is the last one.' It's an exercise in making money. It's not very good. I've never liked it. I'd rather go and play and play and play and play, and one day when something happens and one of us drops dead or gets really ill or whatever, [we say], 'Well, that's that.' And leave it at that."

As previously reported, DEEP PURPLE keyboardist Don Airey will sit out the band's December 17 concert at Bandland festival in Bengaluru, India due to "unforeseen illness". Filling in for him at the gig will be Adam Wakeman (BLACK SABBATH, OZZY OSBOURNE).

In 2022, the now-75-year-old Airey told Rolling Stone magazine that there is no concrete plan for him and his DEEP PURPLE bandmates to stop playing live shows.

"We started the farewell tour in 2017. It was due to end in 2019," he noted. "But the thing is, when you're a musician in a band, you think you're in control of it, but you're not. The business is running you.

"Of course, there was so much demand for the band to continue from the promoters and agents that we said, 'Okay, we'll do one more year.'"

Regarding when he thinks DEEP PURPLE will finally call it quits, Don said: "The words of T.S. Eliot [the greatest English-language poet of his generation] come to mind: 'This is the way the band ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.' I think we won't know it's the last gig. We won't have a clue that this one is going to be the last one. That's how it's going to end. It's going to be no big scenario.

"I like what Buddy Guy said. He said, 'Musicians don't retire. They drop.' You do have thoughts about being in the garden and bouncing the grandchildren on your knee, but it's part of your blood system, playing and touring. It's an addiction. I hope I keep playing for a while yet."

In July 2022, guitarist Steve Morse officially left PURPLE to care for his wife, Janine, who is battling cancer. He has since been replaced by Simon McBride.

DEEP PURPLE's latest album, "Turning To Crime", came out in November 2021 via earMUSIC. The LP contains DEEP PURPLE's versions of great rock classics and musical jewels — including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Seger, CREAM and THE YARDBIRDS — carefully chosen by each member of the band.

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