April 17, 2024

In July 2022, guitarist Steve Morse officially left DEEP PURPLE to care for his wife, Janine, who was battling cancer. He was replaced by Simon McBride. Morse's announcement came four months after the guitarist said that he would be taking a hiatus from the band, in the hope of rejoining his bandmates once his wife's health improved.

Asked in a new interview with Pete Pardo of Sea Of Tranquility if he thinks it was time for him to leave DEEP PURPLE anyway, even if it hadn't been for his wife's cancer battle, and move on to other projects, Steve responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, that's a really impossible question to know the answer to. I think when you're close to a situation, you don't see it the same as when you're away from the situation. As I've been away for actually now a couple of years, I can see that my, I guess, natural inclination and talent and drawbacks and everything just fit the instrumental — well, the stuff I do with FLYING COLORS, [THE DIXIE] DREGS and STEVE MORSE BAND, all that fits me… It's an easy fit, that's what I'm saying. However, I don't think think I would have just quit because I thought we were going to go a little more, maybe one more album project and tour and be done. So I wanted to finish with the band. That was my mantra. And I thought by being part of the band for so long that I'd be able to, and welcome to be part of things, future events involving DEEP PURPLE, whether they be a celebration of all the little splinter groups that were associated with DEEP PURPLE — you know, family tree kind of thing. So, yeah, I wasn't saying, 'No, I'm glad I'm out of here.' But the situation happened the way it did, and having stepped back, I think I'm in a better place musically that fits me. And I think Simon, he's fitting them better than I was, as far as… They're churning out gigs. And I was always the guy that said, 'This is a really long tour. There's a point where tour fatigue comes in. We could make shorter legs. 'And nobody wanted to hear that, especially not management."

He added: "But I think they're exactly where they wanna be. And they're a great rock and roll band and will continue to make great music."

When Pardo noted that it's "kind of weird not seeing DEEP PURPLE with Steve Morse at this point in time", Steve said: "Well, because the band decided to go everywhere they hadn't been, as well as continue to play the places they had been, we met a lot of young people along the way that had never seen the band. So I was glad to be part of that, opening up the access of the world to the band. But I guess with the Internet, now that that in itself does that job. But back then there wasn't the instantaneous super access to full shows."

Last May, Morse told the Beaver County Times that he "quit PURPLE because the tours were too long and we had a health emergency in my family with my wife having Stage 4 cancer. I told those guys 'I can't do this' and they were upset for like three to four seconds and then moved on. That's life, I and I wish them well and they're doing great."

Morse effectively took over Ritchie Blackmore's DEEP PURPLE slot in 1994 and had been in the group longer than Ritchie.

Morse had written and recorded eight studio albums with DEEP PURPLE, including their latest and 21st full-length effort, 2021's covers collection "Turning To Crime".

McBride previously toured with DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan and keyboardist Don Airey, among many others.

Simon recounted the initial call he received to fill in for Morse in an October 2022 interview with Andrew Daly of Vinyl Writer Music. At the time, he said: "Well, there was talk of me stepping in for Steve temporarily towards the end of 2021, but I never really thought much of it. I never thought much of it because it was always a case of, 'It may happen or it may not happen,' because it depended on Steve's wife's condition as to whether he would be able to tour. But it just got to the stage where Steve decided enough was enough, and he needed to look after his wife, which is an amazing thing he's doing. So, I knew it was possible, but I didn't know for sure; I only really found out recently that I was being confirmed as a permanent replacement."

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