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Sound advice from Steve

Steve Morse 2009. Photo: Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

Music Radar has tips to budding guitarists from Steve Morse. Some of which are very much applicable to life in general.

Nothing irritates me more than a lack of professionalism. For example, when somebody says, ‘I’ll be there at 2 pm.’ Does that mean 2:30? Does that person think they can just roll in whenever and expect everybody to be in a good mood, knowing that they’ve sat there for 30 minutes? I don’t think so.

A lot of the times you can tell how somebody is going to act as a musician by how they budget their time. If they can’t show up when they’re supposed to, can they be expected to be prepared musically? From my experience, the answer tends to be no.

If you’re in a band, you’ve got to pull your weight – everybody equally. Let’s say you’re going to play a cover tune, and all the other guys have learned the song. They’ve listened to it, played it, and they’ve got it down. But one guy shows up for rehearsal, and he’s not prepared; he thought he could just follow along and fake his way through it. So what’s he doing? He’s wasting everybody’s time, because invariably somebody is going to say, ‘Hey, that part is wrong; it’s supposed to go like this…’ And then you spend part of the rehearsal showing the guy what he should have known walking in the door.

Whatever it is, whether it’s learning material or just being where you’re supposed to be, do what you say you’re going to do.

Read more in Music Radar.

Thanks to Andrey Gusenkov (deep-purple.ru) for the info.

39 Comments to “Sound advice from Steve”:

  1. 1
    Scott W. says:

    I love this and have a new respect for Steve after reading this! Why nobody else has addressed this until now I don’t know! In my 20 plus years playing drums I have personally experienced this countless times. It seems we were always waiting for the bass player and or singer who would rarely show up. Usually me and a guitarist would just jam by ourselves after giving up on others to show. ANYONE who plays music even on a small time level has been thru this, some more often than others. Hell, me and one of my guitarists even thought of naming our “Band” “FLAKE US” due to people flaking out on us when jam sessions were set up. This is a big reason why right now, I am currently not playing with other ‘musicians’ and the fact that my guitarist recently lost half of his ring finger on his fretting hand! I told him if Tony Iommi and Django Reinhardt can do it, so can he…

  2. 2
    LRT says:

    I’d like to know just how many times and with whom over the last 20 years he’s had to deal with such a thing. Not a nice thing to say, so probably better he didn’t mention any names. 🙂 However, when you join a band that is already ten times ahead of you by way of their background when you come in, it’s never easy to call any shots on them, and usually not recommended unless they joined your band. 😀 I’d sure like to know who he’s talking about with comments like “faking your way thru it.” This is a specific burn that demands a name check. lol

  3. 3
    Larry Toering says:

    You have to wonder who the hell he’s specifically jabbing on here. 🙂 Not sure I like his vague tone. lol

  4. 4
    Ivica says:

    I love Steve’s guitar playing, which is not only klasisicni heavy / hard rock guitarist, therefore compatible with the guys
    Besides good playing in the band brought calm, smile so visibly on the stage, which is rarely seen him before
    More than 20 years in the band, the band still playing top “as in his best days”
    The question is?
    instead, with a bunch of other guitar, “guitar hero big ego”?
    whether the band lasted all these years?
    It was so hard to replace someone who is called Ritchie Blackmore

    “Steve is a man”

  5. 5
    Tommy H. says:

    I feel it’s not only a lack of professionalism but inconsiderate to be late to rehearsals again and again, more so if you’re not well prepared too. It very much shows your appreciation for what you’re doing. In my experience people who are truely excited about something are focused, never late and know exactly what to do, it’s simple as that. Still, the question “Is it worth to put up with that?” is a difficult one to answer. It’s hard not to put somebody in a drawer.

  6. 6
    JohninNJ4you says:

    Wasn’t it once reported that Jon Lord used to like to arrive “fashionably late” in the studio? I wonder if Jon was ever late for a rehearsal with Steve? I’m guessing Steve wouldn’t have needed to say anything like this to Jon though ;-P

  7. 7
    al says:

    Gillan might be one of them too.lol

  8. 8
    Marije Essink says:

    Just read Steve’s two Open Ears books, with collected columns previously published in Guitar for the practicing musician magazine! They are full of this kind of stuff, a lot of really wise words and very sound advice, applicable also for non-musicians. A lot of people can learn from Steve about things like working hard, having respect for others, being professional, and always doing and giving your best!

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    Morse is talking about ‘his experiences’ in that sense. This ‘attitude’ that certain people have in life with a ‘devil may care’ way of doing things, is prevalent in most things in life, unfortunately. It is very annoying when people are not organised, on the ball & with it! I detest it, some people are always late, never organised, leave things to the last minute & some talk utter rubbish to convince other people they are up for the job. When the ‘shit hits the fan’ they are usually found out. And as Morse says, it affects the people who are ‘professional’ until something positive is done about it!
    In regards to a couple of comments as to how Morse would have handled the late comers from Purple’s earlier career, it is hard to imagine him being back in the late 60’s through to the mid 70’s. It was a lot ‘different’ back then indeed. So yes, he may have found that period very annoying, if he was involved in it! Cheers!

  10. 10
    Henrik says:

    Whom is he referring to?

    I’ll give Steve some advice: Practice a bit more, so you don’ t have to make a living copying and playing Blackmorre’s riffs.

  11. 11
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    A great read for sure and one need not be a musician. A spot on review from Amazon a few years back….

    “I have been a huge fan of Morse since High shool when “What If” came out and our bassist sprang it on the rest of the band at a rehearsal break. That was about thirty years ago and Morse has been a major influence and inspiration to me ever since.
    Not only as a guitarist, but as an overall renaissance man who exemplifies professionalism and impeccability in all endeavors whether in music, engineering, flying or even motocross racing(!)This book is like a guidebook on how to be a pro at whatever you do: No shortcuts,
    no excuses, no whining. Just get the job done and done well.

    But for me the most astounding parts are the chapters on creativity and how to compose. That is, he takes one of the most mysterious and hard to explain processes and details real concrete advice on how to get the music inside you out and down onto paper or tape or whatever and make it a reality. This was a major light bulb moment for me and shows Morse’s towering musicianship and utter command of the creative process.

    Just buy the book. You will read it in one night and come back to it like a reference. Don’t cheap out and get a used one, either.
    For twelve lousy bucks you are supporting a real, honest-to-god working musician who has always given it 100% from the start.”

    Phillip L. Milner


  12. 12
    Scott W. says:

    It seems a lot of posters here wonder if Steve’s comments are pointed at a DP member past or present. People love the drama they can get online since apparently their own lives are empty and boring. I would bet he is referring to a musician (or 2) on one of the many (and dispensible) albums of cover tracks found on ‘Tribute’ collections. Lord knows Steve, Joe Lynn and Glenn are on a TON of these. The ones I do own get played once and shoved to the back of the cd rack forever. I am just speculating but his comments in the article give me the impression of Steve waiting to do his part with others, only to wait for a ‘big name has been’ to saunter thru the door late and unprepared to contribute!?!

  13. 13
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Henrik 🙂

  14. 14
    Svante Axbacke says:

    I don’t think many, if any, of those tribute albums are done with the musicians in the same place. I think they are mostly done by people sending files back and forth and recording at home.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    Svante @ 14- Yes I agree, the internet has sort of replaced the in house jam or recording session to a degree. Sheesh, from what I read a year or so ago, that Tony Levin, David Torn & Alan White album they did, it was completely recorded individually by each member & then sent online to someone for the final completion. They have never actually played live together for those tracks on that album. I almost find that way of recording unbelievable in some ways, but it it happening! They are are all very busy people no doubt & the net makes it ‘easier’ so to speak! What ever happened to the get together for a jam etc!
    On a joking sort of level, some people may even be ‘lazy’ in sending their files online. Late, leaving it to the last minute, promising to get it done asap, blaming their computer system or the internet keeps crashing etc! Even that could be annoying for some individuals. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Scott W. says:

    Svante, You are probably correct. Who knows if he is referring to anyone in particular. Just musicians in general like I have personally experienced. Maybe one of us will get a chance to ask him ourselves some day!

  17. 17
    Rob Hodgkinson says:

    Just to set the record straight, he’s not referring to any of the band. If they have a rehearsal or sound check, they are always on time, and sometimes actually early, which can be a bit of a problem if we haven’t actually finished setting up!
    The comments are general, not specific. How do I know?…….because as a long term crew member we are always earlier than the band 😉

  18. 18
    stoffer says:

    @17 Rob…thanks for clarifying… #’s 10 and 13 SORRY to ruin your day :{

  19. 19
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    @ 10 & 13. It’s never too late to find a clue. The majority of us posters just get off on the negative garbage spewed directly or indirectly, he typed facetiously. There lies a beautiful world out here beyond that Black barrier. :>

    But with that said,


  20. 20
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    Henrik @10 and purplepriest1965 @13:

    I’m pretty sure it takes Steve a lot less practice to cover Blackmore riffs than it would for Blackmore to cover Steve’s riffs. Yes, I would just love to hear Blackmore cover Steve on all the songs from ‘Purpendicular’. You know that ain’t possible…. ;(


  21. 21
    MacGregor says:

    @20- 100% pointless comment! Morse HAS to copy Blackmores lick, riffs etc, he doesn’t have a choice if he wants to play in Deep Purple! Blackmore doesn’t have to copy anything of Morse’s, why would he waste his time doing that? Here’s another angle on it, does Morse play Blackmore’s parts correctly? He plays them how he plays them, that is why it sounds so different. It has NOTHING to do with anyone playing anyone else’ guitar parts 100% correctly! There is no point to that at all. It has never been a competition! Cheers.

  22. 22
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    Hey Priest,

    For some reason I haven’t been able to answer your question on another subject link (see below). It keeps kicking it back.


    You asked about the Gillan 1982 gig that I said I had. Here is the answer I tried to submit but it wouldn’t take….

    “Priest @18;

    Sorry bro but I guess I was confused with the 1992 Romania concert. But, it wouldn’t surprise me if I do have it tucked away in my mountain of storage boxes though. Someday I will have to put on my Archeologist Helmet and begin excavating through it all. Hell, one day? More like a week…..


  23. 23
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    @21 MacGregor:

    100% pointless? Apparently you OD’d on Blackmore Cool-aid and it deadened your reading comprehension as to why I made the comment in the first place. It was 100% in response to Henrik @10, whereby he wrote:

    “I’ll give Steve some advice: Practice a bit more, so you don’ t have to make a living copying and playing Blackmore’s riffs.”

    I believe my entry was spot on regarding that “pointless comment” (as you suggest). That comment is what inspired mine. His was the actual pointless one which came from nowhere other than a typical ‘Morse Hater’ whom then of course got the nod from the King of Morse haters, ‘purplepriest 1965’. You want to be the ‘PC Police’ here? Start there with them.

    As for your expansion on the issue, I didn’t state anything about playing another person’s guitar parts 100% the same. Again, re-read my entry. It was in response again to #10 as I reprinted above, yapping about practicing more so he doesn’t have to copy and play Blackmore riffs. Nobody practices more than Steve Morse. He does his own stuff and Blackmore’s stuff. Yes, he does have to play those songs. He has a tough job. He plays his own Purple songs and also has to play Blackmore stuff. He does it well. No, not 100% like Blackmore. His way, but when needed, he does pull it off. I wish he would take on a Tommy Bolin tune or 2 also. Competition? As long as there are guys like Priest and Hendrik out there making remarks like that, yeah I guess there is a competition and they lose every time because their hero has left the Purple building and aside from the same old Blackmore riffs, all is well without him and all their whining won’t put their humpty back together again. You are correct about one thing though. Blackmore doesn’t have to copy Morse. Lucky him because as I stated above, he would need lots of practice for that. A lot more than Steve needs to play his stuff. I’m not talking 100% or note for note. Just his style. Here is a hypothetical for ya….. Steve leaves Purple, Blackmore returns. !Now What?


  24. 24
    Dpfender says:

    Henrik, to even suggest that Steve practice more is ridiculous in and of itself.

  25. 25
    MacGregor says:

    Tracy@ 23- I know why you replied to @10 Henriks comment & also pp1965, i just laugh at a comment like that, after all he can’t be serious, surely, but then again. My 100 % pointless comment was in regards to the ‘Yes, I would just love to hear Blackmore cover Steve on all the songs from ‘Purpendicular’. You know that ain’t possible…. ;. Personally I find that comment 100% ‘pointless’. There isn’t any Purpendicular track that isn’t playable by a competent guitarist. It is pretty straight forward playing from Morse compared to his Dregs & Trio band! It has to be as it was in Kansas, they are vocally arranged songs, not ‘fusion’ type of instrumentals. But to say ‘that ain’t possible’ is pointless IMHO. Blackmore like any other decent guitar player would be able to knock that out no problem, I would imagine. Not the same as Morse of course as it is his material, so as I suggested, no guitarist can play 100% ‘correct’ the original material of another guitarist, as in nailing the subtle nuances, & other little things that an original guitarist does. That piece of my comment wasn’t to imply you said anything about that, that was my take on it. Guitarist can play the chords, riffs, lead & other things from a copying perspective, but to my ears & it is a normal thing, it will always be different & not as good! Trevor Rabin in the 80’s Yes, had to play Steve Howe’s 70’s material, he could play it no problem, but it wasn’t the same technique wise. Ozzy’s guitarists post Randy Rhoads, they can play it similarly, but not like Rhoads did. There are many examples I could use, but you know what I mean. I get tired of the comparison thing also, I still can’t take to Morse playing Blackmore though, but that is the reality of life. He plays it how he plays, his technique is miles different to Blackmore’s as we know! Always enjoy Morse’s guitar playing on his original material though! Cheers.

  26. 26
    henrik says:

    Either way!- Blackmore doesn’t bother to play his own riffs anymore. He has people doing that all over the world for him. Steve Morse included.

    Many make a living playing Ritchie’s riffs. Nothing to be ashamed of…

  27. 27
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Pathetic efforts , Tracy.

  28. 28
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    Hey MacGregor, Dpfender made it simple and sweet……..

    Not whipping a dead horse here, just point clarification….. 😉


  29. 29
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    Yes MacGregor, my response to a totally ridiculous statement #10 was the point. Kind of like that old adage: “Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer”. As for comparison, I whole heartedly agree with you. I have never criticized any guitar player for not pulling off exact note for note interpretations of other guitarists when covering their material. The beauty of different guitarists playing other’s tunes is the different takes or versions. Same with singers. Do I miss Blackmore’s sound from time to time? Of course. Am I satisfied with Steve Morse’s interpretation of Blackmore’s tunes as well as his own ownership as Purple’s permanent axe-man? Hell Yeah! The constant blabbering remarks about Morse having to play Blackmore songs is old a tiresome. I addressed it and will obviously do so again because as long as there are those meddlesome individuals as Hendrik and purplepriest 1965 out there just waiting for their opportune moment to poke their jab, I will be around to return with an uppercut. Normally “Compound W” is an easy remedy for removing warts. Unfortunately cyber warts just keep returning.

    priest @27….. you know what my effort was about. What actually is pathetic is that you are actually defending your part in this. SOS wouldn’t you say? Don’t you get tired of being so unhappy with this band? If I was as dissatisfied as you are, I surely wouldn’t be wasting my time here. I don’t hang around bars that play music I don’t like and bitch about it. I find another bar……


  30. 30
    Scott W. says:

    I find it hard to believe that the conversation has stooped to the ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ type of comments. I like both guitarists and Ritchie would NEVER have to play Steve’s parts as he would never put himself into a position to have to do so. (to imply he is not good enough to do so is laughable BTW!) Ritchie has his own style and has influenced many more guitarists than Steve. Nothing against Steve of course, but when RB plays you know it’s him, and when you see him play live, the impression is never forgotten. Ritchie influenced Steve, not the other way around. IF RB played some Steve material, he would make it his own, owing to the fact that he never plays HIS OWN material the same way twice. That is what makes him special…the fact that you do not have the same note for note solo or arrangement every night unlike MANY guitarists. That said, he himself knows if he is distracted/pissed off, then he may go thru the motions on that given show. He is human even though at times I personally feel he ‘talks to god’…

  31. 31
    MacGregor says:

    Talking of a guitarist playing another guitarists music, here is a link that some may not have seen if they are interested. A eulogy perhaps to the passing last week of Jack Bruce, bass playing maestro, wonderful vocalist & songwriter. Great band here with Gary Moore enjoying the privilege of playing Eric Clapton’s parts, & a very good job he does indeed! Note the superb tone from the SG guitar Moore is playing. Gary Husband on drums who would team up with Bruce & Robin Trower for the Seven Moons album. What does this have to do with DP, it is classic ‘old school’ rock from great musicians from that era!
    RIP Jack Bruce & Gary Moore. Sheesh, there will be none of the greats left the way things are going! Cheers.


  32. 32
    Ted The Mechanic says:


    Pathetic comment….

    With that said, this Morse vs. Blackmore back and forth is old and tiresome.

    An armistice perhaps? :>


  33. 33
    MacGregor says:

    I finally watched some of the 1994 concerts with Satriani playing in DP last night on youtube, a German gig from mid year, June I think it was.
    I have to say I was impressed with Satriani’s playing of the TMIB & his sound was brutal indeed. I have to admit it has been something that I have had very little interest in & years ago when I searched a little, I could only find appalling footage of bits & pieces of concerts, so I let it go! Also forgot he had hair back then, as did Gillan with his ‘mane’ still present. I enjoyed it, hard to believe it was 20 years ago. Cheers.

  34. 34
    MacGregor says:

    Regarding the turning up late comments, wasn’t Glover late to a WDWTWA session when he missed an exit on the autobahn (freeway). Therefore, Blackmore picked up his bass guitar & we now enjoy that wonderful jam piece involving him, Lord & Paice! It isn’t always a ‘bad’ thing when someone is late, for whatever reason. Cheers.

  35. 35
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Yes Ted @32,

    It is tiresome, but I won’t allow those such as #10 and #27 get away with it. They stir, I flush…..


  36. 36
    purplepriest1965 says:

    If this was a bar I d get angry because I never got something to drink here and I have to wait days/weeks to see a reply.

    There is no flow.

    Where are the drinks?

  37. 37
    Tracy (Zero the Hero) Heyder says:

    PP I have a feeling you are a lightweight and 1or 2 drinks would put you under the table, then another day with a hangover, drowning in your Man in Black sorrows….

  38. 38
    stoffer says:

    @36 “IF THIS WAS A BAR” oh my, that would be soooooooooooooo interesting!! LOL LOL

  39. 39
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Tracy, One can’t make this stuff up! Continuous flushing required.

    This guy walks into a bar and says, “Ouch, who put that there?”

    — — .-. … . .. … – …. . — .- -.! -… .-.. .- -.-. -.- –. ..- -.– – — — A certain code if you will…. :>

    What’s that song I used to like?



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