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Don Airey: “we’re Mark 8″

Don Airey; Quebec City, July 29, 2007. Photo: Nick Soveiko.

There is a short interview with Don Airey in the August 3 issue of New Jersey newspaper The Express-Times. You can read it online (nj.com requires cookies enabled in the browser).

Thanks to Mike Garrett for the info.

35 Comments to “Don Airey: “we’re Mark 8″”:

  1. 1
    T says:

    The choice of Don Airey as a replacement for Lord was of course a no-brainer.

    Like Morse, Airey is a very good sport to (happily) play songs with which he had no part–that is, the old classics and pre-Bananas songs. Don Airey is a world-class musician, extremely experienced and recognized as a composer which goes without saying. Purple were lucky to get him. And like Morse, Airey saved Deep Purple. He was nervous several years back when I saw him in Kansas, very early on, but he’s come into his own now.

    The assertion that Airey is way off the mark is of course nonsense. He’s a perfect fit and had done a fine job in Rainbow as well.

  2. 2
    N says:

    I am not an Airey fan. Airey is a wonderful musician, but he nothing compared to lord. He is right they are mark 8 beccause he is a part of the band, but sice airey has come into deep purple i dont have as much of a passion for listening to deep purple as i used to. Lord had fantastic improvisations and ideas. Airey cant capture the fantastic intro to perfect strangers as lord did. To me airey still seems like a stranger in the band. Airey solos are blank and not intersting, whereas lords solos where magnificent and always fresh. Airey is not a bad musician but he is no lord and never will be. He is mark 8 but in my opinion he shouldnt be.

  3. 3
    Eric says:

    Indeed Don is, like Steve, a great musician. But I can’t understand that pro’s like them are happy playing for years songs they had noting to do with while the stuff the wrote is not performed live.
    Besides that they both lack any kind of stage apppearance. They just stand and play (and smile). Nothing wrong with that but not what we used to see.

    You can think what u like about Richie but any time he walks on stage u can feel a shiver go through the audiance, even before he played one note. That kind of charisma miss Don and Steve.

  4. 4
    Marko says:

    I have to agree with Eric. I am unfortunate not having seen Richie on stage, but even concert material on DVD shows his charisma.

    Instead, I have seen Steve play with DP four times, and the first one really was a treat. Since then, it has pretty much remained the same, excitement is not always there. It is a bit like watching a re-run.

    One would also expect the band to alter the set list more, after all, Steve’s interpretetion of older songs in the beginning made it really interesting. For example recent inclusion of Battle Rages On in the set list again was very welcome, but I think there’s much more where that came from…

    They play good gigs, but still… Rock & Roll is not only about playing well.

  5. 5
    Rascal says:

    You may feel a shiver when Blackmore walks on stage………………im not sure if thats down to excitement, or just the crowd holding their breath hoping that he wont play with his back to the crowd, or throw a mood, or walk off before he completes his set. Charisma??? LOL

    Don and Steve are excellent musicians, exciting musicians, and dependable professionals…………………….

  6. 6
    69 says:

    I see absolutly no releation between a professional performer and a songwriter always eager to share his own and newest material with the world.

  7. 7
    Sami says:

    Charisma & stage presence are something you are born with…unpredictability and that certain magic is missing in current Purple line-up. Morse & Airey are Excellent musicians, but when it comes down to shivers down the spine, they
    are no contest to Blackmore & Lord!!
    ‘A happy go lucky’-band is better than no band at all, but ‘that certain elusive element’ doesn’t
    always go hand in hand with content!!

  8. 8
    Cranberry says:

    The current DP line up maybe missing the Blackmore/Lord magic, but it does have Morse/Airey magic in its place. Not the same granted.

  9. 9
    Mark Bryant says:

    Well, Morse-Airey would not even be in Deep Purple (opinion) if not for the success of Deep Purple under Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice (1969-1973 and 1983-1990 and 1993) and even Blackmore/Evans/Lord/Paice/Semper (Hush is still a big song in the USA). But, one cannot, in my opinion, compare Blackmore/Lord to Airey/Morse. The only thing that is different is that Lord carried Blackmore (when TMIB was ticked and refused to play) while Airey/Morse compliment each other practically EVERY night. Now, that is what I like about the current line-up. I know that they’ll be hot/doing their best every night. So, paying $100 for a ticket is worth it to me.

  10. 10
    Rascal says:

    Blackmore and upredictability vs Morse and dependability

    Sure Blackmore, and Lord could inject a certain excitement, but at least you know Morse and Airey will finish the show, and give their all.

    Lets face it what better replacements to for a band that had been pulled apart by a moody guitarist.

    I guess the alternative was to retire the band when Blackmore left, or when Lord left. At least that would stop the whining that this community delivers when aked about Morse and Airey.

  11. 11
    Sami says:

    Whining!?just questioning, mate.what about your “intelligent” comments on JLT?!a really cunning linquist…

  12. 12
    Sami says:

    Morse & Airey are still the replacements one could hope for Purple…excellent musicianship & they truly deliver.I’d still prefer TMIB & Lord, though.

  13. 13
    Sami says:

    …the Best replacements…

  14. 14
    Rascal says:

    Yeah but thats just JLT………………..

  15. 15
    Mark Bryant says:

    I don’t consider Morse “the replacement” any more — he joined in 1994 as JS left to fulfill contractual requirements on his label (if you ever saw DP with JS on lead guitar, then you’ll agree that JS was nobodies replacement). Anyway, that’s 13-years. TMIB was with DP 1968 – 1975 (7-years) and 1983 – 1993 (10-years) — that’s 17-years. So, in 4-years Morse will be tied with TMIB for longevity as DP lead guitarist . . . he is not the replacement any longer. DP now has the Morse mark all over it and because of him is playing songs the TMIB would NEVER play with enthusiasm and fun.

    Airey, on the other hand, is JL’s replacement — the band members will be in their 90’s before he has as much longevity as did JL.

    A hot RB complimenting an always solid JL is a sight to behold. I concur.

    On JLT — S&M was still a good album IMO. TMIB was still a rock guitarist sans a medievil guitarist . . . the instrumental side was excellent. JLT is a good singer, but NOT a DP singer. Just like IG is a great singer, but NOT a Black Sabbath singer. If that makes sense of course.

  16. 16
    Sami says:

    That makes perfect sense, Mark Bryant…well put.

  17. 17
    Cam!lle says:

    Yes, Mark Bryant. That’s right.
    Well, in this I understand each point of view — just because I got all those contrary thoughts in my brain myself. I’m a Blackmore fan. As a musician, that is.
    May I refer to my (small) personal experiences with Purple ?
    I started to love them as a teenager, just after Mk II reunion. Bl/Gi/Gl/Lord/Paice, that’s just THE lineup, man. Well, it is for me as it is for 80% (?) of purple fans.
    But then this: My first show in 1987: Blackmore refusing to do an encore. Why ? official: “guitar broken”. What a pity … I remember Lord/Glover playing the riff of Smoke … I was young and quite a fan, but just imagine how I felt, after paying my ticket (and working bits and pieces to do so )…
    Next time it was 91, and Joe Lynn Turner (who is OK, but pays tribute to the circumstances of Gillan’s “departure”). The band were good (of course), but it was obvious they were finished ; just like the Coverdale era, it just wasn’t right, although there is nothing much to say a priori about switching to another singer … or “banjo player” or “piano man”. Except (many won’t agree) a singer is so much important to the sound that there is nothing in terms of line-up that can be as much an earthquake to a band.
    An important decision, a 10 years change of style and sound ? And then Gillan came back, just after an album. It made no sense.
    So I ended up dazed and confused with “The Battle …”, which I just listened to a couple of times, before deciding I understand nothing and prefer dropping the modern days band, listening to the old stuff.
    So when I heard of them again it was …. 2007 ! Incredible, isn’t it, for I really, really loved them for all these days (and never stopped buying stuff, Gillan, Rainbow, Whitesnake). And I was surprised, and I had to work myself into the band’s history of the past 15 years or so. By now I got everything, and it’s mostly good, some of it excellent. And the march 07 show I saw was much better than the two before, in terms of joy, feeling …
    Well, they’re good again, as most of you have known and noticed just 10 or 12 years ahead of me, being die-hard fans or true followers.
    So the thing is very simple: would there be Deep Purple today (40 years !!!) WITH Blackmore ? So let’s enjoy Steve Morse and Don Airey, and dream of paradise in other worlds.

    PS: How Glover (and Paice) grew since 1993 is incredible; Gillan’s not the only happy man with this whole Blackmore farewell.

  18. 18
    Sami says:

    You hit the spot(somehow), Camille…but I still think that Mk3 with Coverdale & Hughes was something amazing, and so was Mk4 with Tommy Bolin…what a Great Talent & what a waste……

  19. 19
    Rascal says:

    Exactly Camille, we should celebrate , and enjoy DP.

    And if any of you want TMIB………………….well look out for a tight wearing, pointy hatted, moustached, mandolin player, and asked him if he remembers which end of the fender is which

  20. 20
    Sami says:

    Hahaa, Rascal…’a really cunning linquist’. well as we know, Ritchie has the freedom to wear and play whatever he wants to… except Dixie Dregs & Steve Morse band “songs” that is!!!

  21. 21
    Sami says:

    To cut a long story short : Steve Morse is a great musician…his playing style just isn’t suited for Purple the way TMIB’s was, in my humble opinion.you’re free to disagree, but to me DP was over when Ritchie left(although Purpendicular is a fantastic album in it’s own right!).

  22. 22
    Rascal says:

    Hey Sami !! your right their, Blackmore doing Dixie Dregs & Steve Morse Band………………….NO WAY…………….He’d leave that for JLT to poach!!

  23. 23
    Rascal says:

    DP will never be able to win over the narrow minded. If DP had finished when RB left, you wouldnt be happy. If they had named the band Gillan, or Morse, or whatever, and never played a DP classic, you’d still say its a DP clone, youd complain that you’ll never hear ‘Speedking’ again.

    DP arent pretending to be the classic MKII lineup, but fans still want to hear the classics………………….and why ? Because those classics are from a time when rock music ruled, it doesnt anymore, and you can hardly blame DP for that.

  24. 24
    S72ven says:

    It is funny: although firstly, it was about Don Airey, it turned again into a discussion mostly about obviously (???) question number one: Steve or Ritchie…..

  25. 25
    Cranberry says:


  26. 26
    TruthHurts says:

    Personally I think Mark V with Joe Lynn Turner was an excellent incarnation of Deep Purple. “Slaves And Masters” was a fine album, and deserved to be a massive commercial success like Whitesnake had been a couple of years earlier.

    Live it was great to hear “Burn” for the first time in 15 years, and there was lots of excellent playing from Lord, Glover, Paice and Blackmore, on newer songs like “The Cut Runs Deep” and “Fire In The Basement”. JLT performed well on “Perfect Strangers”, “Lazy”, the “Black Night/Child In Time/Long Live Rock’n’Roll” medley etc.

    JLT had the looks, a powerful tuneful singing voice, arrogance and attitude…if they stuck with him for longer there probably would have been no need to replace either Blackmore or Lord…

  27. 27
    leo says:

    hi, im leo from argentina. deep purple lost his own proud. this incarnation to the band is a bad joke to the fans…. its a lack of respect to his own history.
    jon lord and ian paice are irreplaceable. I am very disillusioned with the rest of the group.

  28. 28
    Sami says:

    Just been listening the Live at Montreaux 2006-cd all weekend at our summer cottage(to my pregnant wife’s utter bemusement, hah), and I think it’s
    A Great performance…Wrong Man & Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye are absolutely
    stunning!!so is a version of Pictures of Home…Airey plays like the professional
    he is, although I sometimes still miss Mr. Lord’s individual touch of that
    legendary hammond!

  29. 29
    Sami says:

    You’re right TruthHurts! I like Slaves&Masters very much too, and it should have been a bigger success…although, Gillan’s return to the ranks was inevitable and it’s true that the S&M-album was a little bit too Rainbow’ish in places.TBRO-record ,for that matter, was utterly bad in my opinion…except for The Battle Rages on & Anya-songs, that is.the rest is recycling of old riffs and ideas, and sounds quite forced & tiresome.

  30. 30
    Sami says:

    Thanks for the tip, TruthHurts…been listening to Akira Kajiyama and
    have to say that he’s very impressive.He seems to have the understanding
    & the licks of the 70’s style of playing, and it’s very comforting to hear someone play like that…there’s no need to try to sound so ‘modern’ like
    everybody else these days.
    The Fire without Flame-cd with JLT is Great…classy hard rock delivered with

  31. 31
    Jerry J says:

    I just saw the show last nite (8-12-07) in Costa Mesa, CA and I must say that Mr. Airey’s performance was MUCH better then when I last saw them here in the states a few years ago while they were touring with the Scorpions. He had just taken over back then and even though he obviously knew the band and the tunes, he just didn’t seem on top of it. (Maybe even a little nervous filling JL’s shoes?) Last nite he was on top of it. No he is not and will never be the best keyboard player the band will ever have, but he is a nice and deserving fit ( better then Edgar Winter who was the opening act and who also played a lead sax solo with DP on Smoke)

    p.s. The opening to Purfect Strangers was SWEEEEET.

  32. 32
    adaG says:

    don’s brilliant and steve too! long live deep purple!!!

  33. 33
    richard elprupdeep@wanadoo.fr says:

    hello little funny guys .let me tell u something if don wasn t here (or steve first of all) there will be NO DEEP PURPLE NOW so just listen be happy and go to see them its very good. and like they said in australia IS DON IS GOOD (commercial).cheers and long live DP/

  34. 34
    Claudio Caracci says:

    I’m an Italian Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band (and Deep Purple) fan. Sometimes I feel just like you, purple fans, don’t deserve the genius of Steve Morse and Richie Blackmore.
    Better Beethoven or Mozart? More clever Einstein or Newton?
    Go and listen to music records. There’s much more to know and it’s more useful to listen than speak boring sentences about who is the best.

  35. 35
    andresihotang says:

    Hey..hey, Blackmore/Lord vs Morse/Airey. Comments above I think should not make conclusion about which one is the best, because they are all made from only one or two perspectives (stage presence, fit replacement). Please compare by musicianship, songwriting, face expression on stage, improvisation, ‘up or down to earth’ attitude, age, history,and many things we never said0. So there’s no conclusion. All above just our comments, opinions, senses, feelings, which not enough to make sense at all!

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