In a recent interview with U.K.'s Planet Rock, DEEP PURPLE bassist Roger Glover was asked if it was a "turbulent time" for him and his bandmates when guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left the group for the final time in November 1993 after a concert in Finland. He responded: "Yes, it was. It was surprise to me when Ritchie handed in his notice and said he didn't wanna play any more gigs after Helsinki. And we were on tour at the time. It was so difficult to take in. Somehow we were determined to carry on, if he was gonna do that. Joe Satriani was a temporary replacement, which did show us the way that we could exist without Ritchie. But I felt very strongly that you can't replace Ritchie. He is who he is, and there's no way you can replace him."
He continued: "If you get someone to play like him or similar or something like that, it would have been a horrible comparison. We needed something different. And to me, the character of PURPLE always was Ritchie and Jon [Lord, late PURPLE keyboardist] as instrumentalists, and they're both virtuosos. So you've gotta have a virtuoso. There's thousands of guitarists who can play, but there's very few who stand out as being very individual and different to everyone else. And I felt Steve [Morse, current PURPLE guitarist] presented that. He asked me when we first met, he said, 'What do you want from me?' I said, 'I want you to be yourself. You can't be in the band unless you're yourself, a hundred percent.' And he said, 'So I can play anything?' I said, 'Yeah. Anything will do. We'll let you know if we want it or not.'"
According to Glover, the lineup change had an immediate effect on the band morale.
"'Purpendicular' was one of the happiest albums I've ever made, because suddenly we found ourselves writing songs we could never have written before," Roger said, referring to DEEP PURPLE's first LP with Morse.
Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including "Smoke On The Water", but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure.
Blackmore previously suggested that PURPLE's manager had blocked him from joining his former bandmates onstage during the 2016 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, and he used that as an excuse for not attending the event.
Despite Blackmore being a no-show at Rock Hall, he was given several shoutouts during the induction speeches of the DEEP PURPLE members in attendance. In addition, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, who inducted DEEP PURPLE into the institution, praised "Ritchie fucking Blackmore" for one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time on "Smoke On The Water".
DEEP PURPLE's latest album, "Whoosh!", was released on August 7 via earMUSIC. The LP was once again helmed by Canadian producer Bob Ezrin (KISS, PINK FLOYD, ALICE COOPER), who also worked on the band's last two studio albums, 2017's "Infinite" and 2013's "Now What?!"