[% META title = 'Steve Morse, Interviews' %]
By Rei Nishimoto
The last time we heard from Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore had left the band right before their Japanese tour (which Joe Satriani eventually filled in for). That moment indicated that it may be the final time Blackmore would ever be in Deep Purple. Since then, they found former Dixie Dregs and Kansas guitarist Steve Morse. He played a big part on their latest album, entitled Purpendicular, and their revamped sound. Morse spoke to us about being part of a legendary band and filling the shoes of a legendary guitarist.
What do you feel you brought to Deep Purple that they lacked over the last few albums?
I wanted to bring lots of ideas to the songwriting sessions, but didn't want to change the group too much. I told them that I would keep bringing in ideas and if they could find anything useful, we would keep bringing in ideas and if they could find anything useful, we would use it. If they thought something was too strange, I wanted them to tell me and we wouldn't use it. I was with four of the original five members in a room and deciding if something sounds like Deep Purple.
Did Ritchie Blackmore not being there make a difference in the fan's reactions?
The only place we ran across that was in Mexico, where a journalist brought it up as a question. One of the guys - which was Ian Gillan, got a bit upset. His reply was a bit humorous. We were all laughing because he got real adement about his response. But it hasn't been a problem. People just wonder ' who's this new guy?,' 'what happened to Ritchie?,' They didn't realize that two and a half years ago Ritchie quit. But once we play the gig and they've seen the show, then it's no problem.
Do you think you've re-evaluated yourselves musically?
There were intentional things, like I pushed Jon Lord to play the organ with more distortion the way he used to. We recorded it that way. I brought one of my guitar effects units and put it into his organ rig. That's what he still uses now. I programmed some effects for him. 'Cascades', for example, has a heavy organ and guitar lines like in the old days when Ritchie and Jon played a lot of triplet lines together.
Roger Glover's bass playing has shined more this time around. How did you incorporate that?
Roger is a good musician and very well rounded. He was the key for me to get through my recordings with the other members. He's the band's producer, but they don't seem to like that title. He's used to not being part of any type of spotlight. We gave him some difficult parts to play, and he plays them with no probelms at all. He might have even surprised himself. He challenged himself in many ways artistically, but not neccessarily in technical bass challenges.
On tour, how are you dividing up your set list?
They're playing the biggest hits, and some of the old tunes the band never played live, such as "No One Came", "Bloodsucker", "Red Bat Blue", "Mary Long". We've been trading them around to see which ones fit in. Then four or five tunes from the enw album. We changed them each night.
(Ed. note: Deep Purple is not touring with Type O Negative and Life of Agony across North America as originally reported. As of press time, there were no reported names on who will be supporting Deep Purple across the States.)