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Airey: “Deep Purple are back where they belong”

imgp0547-airey-purple.jpgClassic Rock Revisited has a recently published interview with Don Airey, done by Jeb Wright. Don talks about his solo album A Light In The Sky, his life, his illustrious career over the years, and the circumstances of replacing Jon Lord:

Jeb: Was Jon an influence to you growing up?

Don: I always loved Purple and I loved what he was doing. Even though Jon is a virtuoso, it is what he doesn’t play that I love. Jon is the second best Hammond player I have ever heard, with Jimmy Smith being the best. I loved what Jon did on the early Purple albums but he changed his style when they did In Rock. The guy that really inspired me was Keith Emerson. He just blew me away and he still does. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years ago and I was charmed.

Read the interview at Classic Rock Revisited.

Thanks to Mike Garrett for the info.

20 Comments to “Airey: “Deep Purple are back where they belong””:

  1. 1
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Jeb: From the fans perspective, you are not only the obvious choice, you are pobably the only choice they could make and keep things legitimate.

    Don: I am not sure if they even looked for anybody else. I got it by accident. I would have thought that Brian Auger would be the more obvious choice. Jon was ill the summer before on tour and I stepped on stage with only 24 hours notice. After about ten seconds, I decided to stop trying to sound like Jon and started trying to sound like myself. It worked out very well and I enjoyed playing with them very much.

    They did have a first choice but especially after pplaying with Don, Morse convinced the others to go with Don instead of “Peter Robinson” of “Quartermass.”

  2. 2
    George says:


    Gillan, Morse, Glover, Airey – 4 of them already sent alert to us about NEW DEEP PURPLE ALBUM IN 2009!
    at least….
    can’t wait 🙂

  3. 3
    Roberto says:

    Brian Auger?
    he is too rythm and blues for deep purple…
    I always loved more Jon Lord than Keith Emerson…because I love hammond sound and Jon transformed it on an “Heavy sound machine”…I love Jon?s style…His best solos in my opinion are the ones from:
    flight of the rat
    high ball shooter
    highway star
    and from the album ‘sarabande’…

  4. 4
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Again, Peter Robinson is who Gillan/Glover/Paice were going to approach, Glover and Paice knew Airey from recoding with him, but Gillan did not and wanted to see how he would fit in personally, aside from playing with them… he instantly found out it was a no brainer there, infact he realized they have the same background when it comes to people they’ve recorded with and hung out with, so it sealed the deal.

  5. 5
    Crimson Ghost says:


    ‘Flight Of The Rat’ organ playing never got any better than that, what a burst of excitement and energy there, massively underrated, he batted the hell out of the keys on that!

    ‘Hush’ is another top moment for Jon as well, often underrated.
    The others mentioned are obvious high point solos as well.(someone once said he ruined ‘HBS’ with his solo… some peoples children, must have bee trying to take the piss! lol!)

  6. 6
    Bo says:

    Jon was – and will always be THE Deep Purple keybord player – BUT Don you are doing a GREAT GREAT job. Nobody, but you could have taken Jons place. Please stay with DP, it’s always (like in the “old” days) great to see you and meeting you.

  7. 7
    Maybe I'm A Leo says:

    Don is the only choice and is Jon’s replacement. What a great guy. We love you Don! We need a 2009 new Purple album, please.

  8. 8
    marcinn says:

    Maybe they had someone else on their minds before Don. But he proved to be the right guy in the right time with the right frame of mind 🙂 No wonder it sparkled right away. Don is a great chap to hang out with and fabulous musician. Rapture is driven by the sound of his organ, god I missed the sound on Abandon and Bananas. Both are great albums, though.

    A Light in the Sky is a terrific one as well. It doesn’t belong to the category of records that grow on you immediately after the first listen. This album needs more, it requires absolute focus from the listner, and contemplation of music, since it is a contemplative thing indeed. The diversity of musical styles deliverd on this album is just outstanding, as well as Don’s usage of keyboards, synthesizers, and classic Hammond. He experiments with the sound and it works out well. For me his best solo album.

  9. 9
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Well, Peter is one bad ass hombre himself! He should not be dismissed as a talent anyway. Recognize the tune, we should all know it.

    Peter is Hammond perfect himself!

  10. 10
    AndreA says:

    One thing I miss of DP’s concerts is spme piece from THEHOUSE OF BLUE LIGHT; the reason is that this work contains more synth than Hammond and Don Airey is one of the best players of synth in the world. He has been always an experimental musician ,progressive and futuristic sounds in the sense of “space” as demonstrated by the titles of his works often. Gillan had prog sound in the past with is solo career,mainly until “magic” that is full of Keyboards. So I think that harmony between Gillan/Towns may be repeated Gillan/Airey with best wishes and better implementation. They could make a real good modern work.

    THOB perhaps it is not the Top of the discography but I think that is a good album,more than others.
    I think that on next Airey and Morse impress us very much.

    Maybe I should stop with the imagination but this is due to the fact that just thinking about this music, this band, my brain never stops, so DP always send a lifeblood for many years and every time you expect a new disk that is coming, day after day, the adrenaline is always stronger…


  11. 11
    Crimson Ghost says:

    I think ‘THOBL’ is underrated, and btw… I have a built in shield concerning it, so let the bullts fly!!!!!!!! The Spanish Archer, Strange Ways, and TUL, together they blow the entire S&M album away.

  12. 12
    alf+ says:

    In THOBL all members use and abuse synthesizers, bass, guitars, and abvious the keys.
    for me THOBL have the best sounds from lord ever (’84-’98 era) and contains no only the same hammond sound.

  13. 13
    AndreA says:


    I like what you write, I agree,I would say the same before:
    I like THOBL for these reasons,because it is a innovative work,a good mixture of sounds different from usual, which may be repeated by the talent of Airey, Morse and Co.

  14. 14
    AndreA says:

    For the same reasons why DP don’t play piece from THOBL on stage,I find strange that even Gillan on Gillan’s Inn and LIVE IN ANAHEIM does not play any piece from that work…

    I am a little bit disappointed..


  15. 15
    Roberto says:

    HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHT:too much 80 production for my taste…but live version of hard lovin’ man is great…
    I like a lot ‘mitzi dupree’ ‘mad dog’, ‘the unwritten law’ and the wonderful ‘spanish archer'(with a great Blackmore).But the album is not a masterpiece…one of their worst with ‘slaves and master’, ‘abandon’ and ‘rapture of the deep’…

  16. 16
    Crimson Ghost says:

    …and Stormbringer, and most would say CTTB, but I rate that one rather higher, THOB is above all of them to me. As in the case of some of these, some people hear the ‘masterpiece’ within, some don’t. The only songs from THOBL that I don’t care for are:

    COTW – cheese
    HLW – sleeze

    Mad Dog, I sometimes skip, the rest is great as far as I’m concerned.
    Someimes two or three sub par tracks can ruin an otherwise good thing.

    Not bad I’d say!

  17. 17
    HZ says:

    THOBL is great album for my taste – agreed for COTW, Chrimson Ghost, but the rest is OK with me, and Spanish Archer is one of my favorits, solo is masterpiece.

  18. 18
    AndreA says:

    I like Mad Dog (very much),simple rude evil rockNroll piece,I thought it was good for Gillan’s Stages..but not even!

  19. 19
    deep lavender says:

    HOBL is a very good album; it had a lot to live up to following Perfect Strangers. “Bad Attitude” is a great album-opening rocker, much like Highway Star and House of Pain. The guys in the band don’t like HOBL because of the inner turmoil within the band during that time, but it nevertheless contained good musicianship and songs. They would do well to play a song or 2 from it during their live shows these days.

  20. 20
    AndreA says:

    Also Gillan
    could play a song from THOBL with his band..

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