[% META title = 'Steve Morse, Interviews' %] This article/interview was featured in the May edition of Guitar Player. Written by Matt Resnicoff.

Baroque On The Water - Steve Morse joins Deep Purple

"They were rightfully cautious, and so was I," says Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse about his swift courtship with his new bandmates, who called him out of the blue late last summer. "One of the very first questions I asked my manager was, `Are these guys going to make me wear funny clothes?'"
Morse could probably justify such concerns; he is, after all, the only major guitar hero ever to have shorn of his hair for a stint as a button-down commercial airline pilot. Now, with the completion of his own band's killer new disc _Structural Damage_, Steve is deep into pre-production with Purple, who have finally closed the book on the Ritchie Blackmore era after a year of uncertainty and several months of overseas work with temporary fill-in Joe Satriani. Shortly into rehearsals with Morse, they invited him to stay on for good. Even so, Morse says he will continue working with the Steve Morse Band.
Apart from their penchant for hanging out in Orlando, Florida - an easy 90 minutes from Steve's home - the legendary proto-metal group had incentive to seek out Morse, a wildly versatile composer and instrumentalist whose playing with the Steve Morse Band and Dixie Dregs earned him Titan status among readers of this magazine. What drew Morse to Purple? Their musicianship, he says, and their openness to new possibilities for their music. Steve puts them at a level with first-call studio players: effortlessly quick to create arrangements and shape new ideas into album-quality material. "It wasn't labored. `This is what we do and that's all we do' situation," he says of their writing sessions thus far. "It was like, `Sure - let's try it.'"
Steve prepared for his first shows by listening to their recent live tapes ("Satriani's parts were real inventive") rather than referring exclusively to the original recordings. The new lineup clicked instantly. "One impressive thing was how they could me by the hand and give little cues at just the right places," Steve says." [Organist] Jon Lord has incredible ears; he really listens to a soloist. Even on the first show, he would play chords based on the note he _thought_ I was about to hit. It's strange - without meaning to, I improvise more in this group than we did in the Dregs."
While his signature country and bluegrass motifs won't make their way into the next Deep Purple album, Steve isn't limiting himself to heavy rock motifs either. His trademark tone, however, will be EQ'd to dovetail with Lord's. He declined the band's offer to work up his own tunes for Purple shows, but he's already got them working on new odd-time material. "Everything goes," he says. "The main thing I tell the guys is, `Hey, it's up to you to decide what the sound of the band is, because I like _lots_ of different styles, and I'm gonna be spewing new ideas every day.'" You can take the boy out of the country....

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