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Steve Morse – Ultimate Guitar interview

A lengthy, technical at times, and very interesting interview with Steve Morse has appeared on the website of Ultimate Guitar.

UG: What’s the Purple album and solo you’re most proud of?
Steve: I don’t know. I don’t dwell too much on the albums or the solos. In a way it’s like children you give up for adoption. You love ‘em and you’ve been waiting for them to have their life but once they’re on their own, you can’t do anything more with ‘em, hahaha. They’re done. But I think Purpendicular was magic because it was the newness of being in the band and there were the most question marks. Like, “What’s it gonna be like? What’s gonna happen?”
UG: Nothing ever compares to the first time.
Steve: There’s a song called “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” and it was so far out of left field because it was something I was practicing as a little guitar thing and not as a Deep Purple idea. Jon heard it and we went from there and he was like, “Let’s take this further. Let’s modulate and change this” and that was really cool.

UG: Do you remember the first time you heard Purple?
Steve: I heard “Hush” and living in the South at that time, we heard the original version of “Hush” too [by Joe South]. That was when they had Rod Evans singing and he sounds more like a pop singer and it didn’t hit me until the organ and Ritchie’s happened and that it was like, “Oh, OK. Cool. This is a heavy version of it.”
UG: Had you done Purple songs in cover bands?
Steve: Oh, yeah. We were jamming on “Hush” the minute it came out. Of course, I paid for my first car by playing “Smoke On the Water” in cover bands.

UG: Have you ever picked up another guitar like a Strat or a Les Paul?
Steve: Actually, I pick up a Les Paul from time to time. Bob’s got his favorite Les Paul that he’s convinced has to be on every record so we double some parts with that but it’s generally like power chords. As long as he knows it’s there, he’s happy.
UG: You’ve just described your live sound and your guitars. Achieving a great guitar sound is really a lifetime pursuit, right?
Steve: Yeah. I try to play to the vision too. For instance, I’m always doing little subtle things that no one would notice but it does make a difference. When Ian starts singing a verse and there’s a big chord, I’ll hit the big chord then roll off the tone control on the next drum beat or the next snare beat. What that does is give him a lot of top end to sing over and makes me a little less obvious in the mix. When I’m doing a line I’m trying to bring out, I push down on the pedal for the short delay so it’s suddenly coming through two amps in what sounds like a stereo chorus. When you have one dry and one modulated, that’s basically the way the old Roland Choruses [amps] were. They were stereo: one was straight and one was modulated. Your ears hear it as stereo.
UG: These are effects you would do on the fly while recording the track?
Steve: Yes and sometimes it annoys the engineers because they think they have to do everything like you can’t fade out your own chords because they want to fade it out in the rare event they get that way. But in general they like if I shape the tone and do it the way I do it because that way there’s one less decision.
UG: That would absolutely make an engineer’s life easier.
Steve: Also with the long airy delays when I’m hitting a clean chord, I’ll push down the long delay and I can make it stop instantly when the next bar comes.

More to be found over at UltimateGuitar.com

Thanks to Yvonne Osthausen for the info.

4 Comments to “Steve Morse – Ultimate Guitar interview”:

  1. 1
    Ivica says:

    A great rock artist.
    “The Long Goodbye Tour,” one of the highlights of the concert is his solo In “Birds of Prey” / damn …it’s not a bit longer concert solo / fantastic Steve !!!

  2. 2
    Buttockss says:

    Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming………..Makes me still cry to this day, what a heartfelt song.

  3. 3
    RB says:

    ‘Purpendicular’ is easily the best out of the Morse era, such a diverse album, and ‘Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming’ contains one of the most beautiful melodies I have ever heard. I was so excited about hearing it for the first time. A friend worked in a music shop, and although the album wasn’t officially out for a couple of days he played ‘Ted…’ for me in the shop and it blew me away! The first half of ‘Abandon’ is excellent and ‘Now What?!’ and ‘Infinite’ are great, and even though the band will always be my favourite and I am still passionate about them, I haven’t really experienced that same exhilaration since ‘Purpendicular.’

  4. 4
    Jörg says:

    Thank you Steve Morse keeping up with Purple all the time. I never missed Blackmore.

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