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Steve Morse in Guitar Interactive

Guitar Interactive Magazine issue 55

The latest issue of Guitar Interactive magazine (#55) features an extensive interview with Steve Morse recorded last November in Stockholm. There does not appear to be a way for us to show it here, so head over to their website to watch it.

steve morse interview for guitar interactive

Thanks to Yvonne for the info.

15 Comments to “Steve Morse in Guitar Interactive”:

  1. 1
    Adel says:

    I urge everyone to watch and listen to this interview carefully. It clearly demonstrate that Steve has no influence or say on any DP recording. That’s very sad to hear as if the current MK2 members who suffered a lot under Blackmore stubborn leadership don’t want any challenges from the new kid on the block who served the band for 25 years.

  2. 2
    Kim Peters says:

    Watching the making of Infinite….it sure looked like Steve Morse has influence via endless ideas.

  3. 3
    DeeperPurps says:

    Adel @ 1. In fact Steve mentioned that his idea of the central part in The Surprising was accepted by the rest of the band. As well, the guitar intro to Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming iss something the band liked and developed further. Those are just 2 examples of ideas he brought to the band and which they built upon.

    Yes Steve does mention that many of the ideas he gives to the band get tossed to the side, but that is understandable – though his ideas are probably very musical, they might not always fit well with the Deep Purple style and sound. Those same ideas might however work well in Dixie Dregs, Flying Colors, his own solo projects, etc; but again, not necessarily work within Deep Purple. That is a normal occurrence with any band I think. That is why band members often do their own solo projects on the side, so that they can give life to those ideas that won’t normally work well within their regular band.

    Note that it is not just Steve Morse whose ideas get rejected or reworked…. Tommy Bolin explained something similar way back in 1975/76 about how his ideas had to be worked into the “purple vein”. And even Blackmore has the same issues way back in 1975 with Black Sheep of the Family – Purple Mark III wouldn’t entertain the idea, so he developed it in Rainbow.

    It is all about putting one’s ideas out there and following one’s muse. As well, it is about collaborating, cooperating and co-existing with one’s band mates.

  4. 4
    Marije Essink says:

    See http://bit.ly/GuitarInteractiveIssue55

  5. 5
    Tommy H. says:

    @ #1, Adel:

    What Steve tells us about the songwriting process here is what it was from the very beginning he joined the band. He or the band didn’t make a secret of it.

    There’re numerous musicians out there who are very skilled instrumentalists but only very few understand what makes a great tune and how to create one. And even if sufficient understanding is there, it still very difficult. A great song is like a mathematical formula. In other words, what might sound great to you doesn’t necessarily sound great to others or a specific set of people who have to work out an idea. Only if everything fits like a jacket a band can make something of it. There’s nothing you can possibly critise about that, it’s actually a very common thing that is exceptionally hard to master.

    Also, after about 4:30 min into the interview Steve talks about “Sometimes I feel like Screaming” and that he was surprised that the band liked it so much although he was just fiddling around. This reminded me that some of the best ideas just arrive when you don’t force it. However, the “take-home message” is the exact opposite of what you suspected.

  6. 6
    VSD says:


    It is clear if you watch From Here to InFinite that Steve is pretty much bossed around and does not have that much creative input anymore. Ezrin bent his playing out of shape (even more on InFinite than Now What) and, honestly, it makes the album a lot less fun to listen to. Not only that, but it appears that the creative process went from jamming and playing off each other riffs to pretty much Steve and Don pitching ideas to the other guys, and having them choose what sounds more “Purple-like” (at least, that’s what I get from recent Steve interviews).

    I wasn’t there, so I can’t know for sure, but I don’t think that Purpendicular was written like that. There’s a reason why it remains as the best “post-Blackmore” album (imo, one of the finest Purple albums, period), and that was the band’s willingness to take risks and letting Steve’s creativity flow with little to no bounds.

  7. 7
    Buttockss says:

    Steve found his stolen guitar….that’s wonderful…cheers!

  8. 8
    Adel says:

    @3, 5, 6
    There is nothing of what you have mentioned that I don’t agree with. My point that Steve is producing a collection of jamming riffs and the band is taking what they like and forming ideas that leads to a song.
    As if he is taking a back stage when it comes to the formation of the song. He is not forcing ideas he believes is right and worth taking seriously. As for the final production and how his guitar playing is heard of some of the albums you only have to listen to Bannas and ROTD to get your answer. Compare this to the MK2 recordings when everyone was fighting to be heard in the final production. In summary Steve is very nice talented guitarist who have never challenged and fought for a specific idea to be a recording material in a specific song. Even Bob Ezrin was dictating how his guitar sounds and played on the infinite song judging from the making of the album movie.

  9. 9
    DeeperPurps says:

    Adel @ 8. You make some good points there. I think that though Steve Morse is an incredibly fine guitarist and is obviioulsy well respected by the other band members; I am not so sure that he feels as though he is 100% part of the band, or that the other members see him as such either (though I am sure they might dispute that particular point).

    Firstly, he comes from a different culture than the other four (ie: USA vs. UK), and therefore does not necessarily share the same social interests (ie: talking football (soccer), worldview, etc. That particular matter has in fact been spoken of in a previous video interview I saw about 4 or 5 years back (I will try to locate it to post here for future reference). While the other four do spend time together, Steve is more solitary and spends time practicing and doing other pursuits.

    I have witnessed the foregoing to a certain degree a few years ago after one of Purple’s concerts in Singapore. After the show Gillan, Glover, Paice & Airey along with a few members of the crew all convened at a hotel bar. They interacted and joked with each other, and for the most part were left alone by the bar patrons. Paice did do a quick SOTW guest spot with the house band and returned to his beer with the other band members. During that whole time (circa 3 hours or so), Steve was nowhere to be seen. I believe he had probably gone to his room for the night after the show.

    The point is that Steve, though a highly gifted guitarist and full member of Deep Purple who has made some very fine musical contributions to the band’s legacy, may not feel fully part of the Purple “family” so to speak. I do not believe there is any personal conflict, it is simply a function of cultural differences, interests, and different personality types.

    And so this brings us back to the music that Steve and the band make together. Obviously in 1995/96 Steve was seen as a breath of fresh air after the tumultuous final Blackmore years. There was excitement and organic chemistry that flowed between musicians getting acquainted with each other for the first time. This led to a very good album in Purpendicular. Other albums that followed still had the Morse stamp on them but honestly, the same magic from Purpendicular did not transfer as well to those subsequent albums.

    Now What!? was certainly the most inspired album post Purpendicular, and it also was the product of the band jamming out various ideas, lots of them Morse’s, but many more of them Airey’s. The difference that time around was that Ezrin was forcing the band into the Purple Box and constraining and honing their sound. Tbe resulting album turned out wonderfully, but there is also something that feels a little unnatural or contribed about it.

    The same goes for Infinite. A good album but in my estimation, not as strong as its predecessor Now What!? There are some excellent songs on it: Birds of Prey, The Surprizing, Get me Outta Here, Time for Bedlam; but the rest of the album to my ears just does not come together in a cohesive whole the way Now What?! album did. Again Ezrin was in the mix, squeezing all the elements together into the most Purple sounding, accessible album as possible. Ezrin is a more aggressive producer than most, and does get good results, but I sense that his manner with the band can be somewhat stifling as well.

    In sum, the cultural differences within the band, the songwriting challenges and the somewhat oppressive studio experiences probably contribute somewhat to the perception that Steve might be feeling musically frustrated within the Purple model.

  10. 10
    Adel says:

    DeeperPurps @3
    Thanks for the great in depth analysis which I don’t think any hard core DP fans would dispute a single word of what you said.
    I recall Ian Paice interview recorded before one of the shows in 95 when they asked him about the process of selecting a replacement for Ritchie and his answer was ‘ we all had (Paice, Glover,Gillan,Lord) to come up with a list of names of guitarists on a piece of paper and Steve Morse name was on every list’
    It showed they all believed in him hence why ‘Perpendicular’ sounded full of life and Steve was shining on the album. But it went down hill after!!
    I guess the main reason as you mentioned that Steve doesn’t feel part of the family is due the fact that the band live set lists in 99.9 % of the shows they did in the last 25 years only included 3 songs from the Steve morse era on a good day. As a guitarist it will leave you very dis hearted when you start recording a new DP album. As you might say to your self why bother getting excited about presenting new material as the rest rest of the band will decide what to put on the album and what to play live on stage.
    Ian Gillan was so annoyed and disappointed with the Rock and roll hall of fame panel for not inducting Steve and Don, I think that’s a bit of hypocrisy from him when you only play 3 songs live on stage from Steve Morse era that contains 6 albums!!!
    I wish the guys (Paice, Roger, Gillan)would have the guts to do a one off live show that only includes songs from Purpendiuclar up to Infinite in honor of Steve contribution, Even if it’s done in a small venue. Hard core fans heard all Mk2 songs played live several times and they would defiantly pay to hear Steve Morse era songs.
    That’s how you make Steve feel part of DP family tree for sure. I think

  11. 11
    DeeperPurps says:

    Yes Adel @10, those are also valid reasons why I believe Steve feels somewhat distant or apart from the band.

    It is understandable that Purple would want to highlight many of the songs from their Mark II catalogue as 3 of 5 current members come from that era, and it is arguably the best known era in terms of recognizable songs. People attending concerts do certainly want to hear “the hits” or at least some of the biggest ones.

    However, if the band is to portray itself as a living, breathing, evolving organism, it must also showcase other songs from its back catalogue. Now understanding that maybe some of the Morse / Airey songs are not as “catchy” or hook-laden as the Mark II material, there nevertheless seems to be a quite strong inventory of music from past Morse albums, in some cases, some real gems, which could see at least 5 or 6 of them being inserted into shows, rather than only 3 or so from the most recent album. So I could understand if Morse might be somewhat frustrated that his contributions to the band are not as highly valued as the older material.

    Another point which tends to make me think Steve has a lesser status within the band than is actually acknowledged is his interview last year wherein he stated that he would be open to Ritchie Blackmore playing with Purple in a reunion show(s). That idea was quickly and summarily shot down by Ian Gillan not long afterward. It seems that Gillan exerts his dominance on the other band members and they all fall into line (the refusal to have Coverdale, Hughes or Blackmore jam with Purple at the RRHOF induction ceremony was another example).

    The band publicly portrays itself as democratic, which to a certain degree it is – nevertheless Gillan truly is the leader, the assertive alpha male of the group. The others are more reserved and passive; hence Gillan’s unquestioned leadership role. As such, Steve Morse’s role is to be a band member, write music and play concerts with Purple, but not hold an undue influence over that band’s direction and image. This is similar to Joe Walsh’s role within the Eagles. Walsh came to that band a few years after it had been established. As an established player himself, he was/is acknowledged as an Eagles band member, and he gets a tune here and there inserted onto albums and into concert playlists. However, Don Henley & the late Glenn Frey were the unchallenged leaders who always set the direction of the Eagles. Walsh therefore is a second tier member, as is Timothy B. Schmidt, and as was Don Felder until he was thrown out of the band in 2001. Felder’s replacements since that time have been generic no-name journeymen guitarists who do not get star billing in spite of impressive skills.

    Now that brings me back to the case of Steve Morse. His role within Purple is undisputed as a well known “name” virtuoso guitarist. As was Joe Satriani in 1993/94. As was Tommy Bolin in 1975/76. He adds star quality and incredible chops to the band. However it does seem undeniable to me and many many others, that Deep Purple, its legend and legacy and reputation, are inextricably linked to Ritchie Blackmore and his time in the band. Rightly or wrongly, that is the simple truth. It is hard for any guitarist, no matter how good, how skilled, to replace such a powerful force, an icon, in a band such as Purple. It is similar to how Black Sabbath fans regard Ozzy is the true voice over all others, no matter how skilled (Dio especially comes to mind) subsequent singers were or how strong their material.

    Now on a positive note, at least Steve Morse does get star billing with Deep Purple. Imagine those situations such as in Genesis wherein incredible guitarist Daryl Stuermer is simply a sideman and never identifed as a member of that band. Or the Rolling Stones who only use no name sidemen for bassists since Bill Wyman left 25 years ago.

    Here’s hoping that Steve Morse and the other members of Purple still have a few more song ideas for another album release, or at least an EP; and another cycle of touring in 2018 / 19.

  12. 12
    Adel says:

    DeeperPurps @11
    I totally agree 100% with you as your stated facts are for real. Yes Gillan seems to be the driving force and the man with the first and final word on all DP aspects as the rest surely believes that DP without him is finished in terms in pulling big crowds and filling large venues and bringing in big money.

    I still believe there is more life in Blackmore and Gillan to fight it out for supremacy to the grave. Blackmore is not finished and he will grow a bigger pulling more audience with his young singer and keep touring as Rainbow/DP.

    That’s why Gillan will be thinking very hard about a new album and a new world tour at the end of 2018 after all the last thing he wants to see that his audience who are thirty for exciting live shows switching to Blackmore’ s Rainbow/DP
    Hence why the battle rages on!!! Or as Gillan once described DP family as a F**king Jungle.

  13. 13
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Yes indeed, great news!!!!



  14. 14
    DeeperPurps says:

    Adel # 12, yes I think you are right about Deep Purple members knowing that when Gillan leaves, it will truly be the end of the band as a major draw. Gillan is essentially “the voice” of Deep Purple. A voice that is very hard to replace.

    Take for example the band Journey. As hard as they try to continue onward with new singers, they will forever be associated in people’s minds, with singer Steve Perry – he was the real voice of Journey. Without him, the band, all fine players in their own right, especially virtuoso guitarist Neil Schon, are simply a small venue attraction now, and have been since Perry left 20 years ago.

    The same thing would most probably happen if & when Gillan leaves the Purple. He is the singer & co-writer of the most well-known music from the Mark II, & Mark II reunion days as well as the highlights of the Morse and Morse/Airey years. As much as Morse & Airey are the virtuosos of the band now, they simply do not have the Purple star power to carry the band onward as a major force. Bringing in a new singer, even if a Gillan clone, or some new young superstar would seem very artificial, very contrived. It would not seem legitimate and I doubt fans would buy into it.

    And as much as Roger Glover is a good music co-writer/ bassist, and Ian Paice is still an excellent drummer whose legacy takes Purple back to its original formation in 1968, they are the rhythm section, albeit a very good one; but, it is very difficult to move a band forward based on rhythm alone, it needs melody and a distinctive voice. Morse & Airey provide the musical melody and virtuosity. But it is Gillan who provides the known voice, the vocal melody & phrasing, and the star-power legend. Once Gillan is gone, I really do think it will truly be the end of Purple.

    And as much as Ritchie Blackmore is still a fine guitar player, he is no longer the virtuoso he was in the 1970’s to 90’s. Time has taken away his speed, his passion for rock, his aggression, and his fire. Understandable – he is now 73 years old, time waits for no one. Blackmore functions quite well with his new Rainbow band right now, as they do not play with the intensity of Deep Purple. Having seen him play with the new Rainbow band in concert, and having heard his live CDs from 2016 & 2017, though the music is good and well played with Ritchie doing some nice soloing on certain songs, it simply is not the stuff of legend that it was 20 to 40 years ago.

    I really don’t think Ritchie could now come back to Deep Purple and be able to play with the intensity, speed, and dexterity required that the band is currently operating at. Deep Purple in concert is still a majestic, powerful, exciting and fast beast to behold. I honestly don’t think Ritchie could keep up with them now. The current Rainbow band is playing at a reduced level of power to fit in with Ritchie’s current abilities. I don’t think Ritchie could bring up his level of speed and dexterity needed for the present Purple sound. Ritchie is 10 years older than Steve Morse, so naturally Morse still has the edge on speed and nimbleness of technique.

    Another Deep Purple member who is still out there flying the Purple flag on tour right now and playing with intensity and passion is Glenn Hughes. He is a fantastic bass player, hugely underrated in that regard. I don’t think most people realize just what a virtuoso musician he is on that instrument. And of course his voice, “the voice of rock” is a freak of nature at his age, 67 years old. Unbelievable.

    But Glenn is a very polarizing figure for Purple fans. Many love him, but there seems to be an equal number who don’t care for him at all, whether it is because of his over-the-top screaming on songs, or his persona, or some other reason. Whatever it is, I am not sure that hiring Glenn Hughes to take over from Gillan once Ian calls it a day; would be an acceptable solution for Deep Purple to continue as an entity. Though Glenn still has the chops, and legitimately can call the Mark III and IV legacies partly his; I am not sure that Deep Purple could draw on the concert circuit the same way with him as with Gillan. It would certainly be an interesting experiment though.

    Whatever happens, I think it is important for fans to get out and see Purple, Rainbow and Glenn Hughes play right now. There is only another year or 2 left to catch a final glimpse of these legends before they retire for good. And here’s hoping that we still might hear some more new studio magic from all 3 of these fine artists in the coming year.

  15. 15
    Gr8gonzo says:

    Lots of interesting comments, views and theories. I think theres little doubt that this will be the end of DP when the current tour winds up – whenever that may be. Us fans way down here in Aus are waiting to see if any dates will be allocated. Unfortunately we suffer from the tyranny of distance – its a long way and costs a fortune to tour here. But we live in hope.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Steve is simple “hired help”. Its not that unusual in this business – have a look at Hired Gun on Netflix. He probably gets a cut from any writing input but apart from that he’s probably in the same situation as Don. Nothing wrong with that, its just business. If neither of them were happy with the arrangements Im sure they would walk – both would be in high demand if available. Or they could both do their own thing.

    One thing I believe people overlook is that these guys are now officially OLD. Still recording / touring in your 70s? Great effort but its not the same. And don’t expect it to be. Too many people longing for days that are long gone. Time to let it go. We should be thankful that we have access to plenty of historical live video that we can indulge in and marvel at what the band was. Thats not to say that I don’t enjoy the current line-up – I do. In fact Id be very happy to see them play a show entirely of Morse era songs.

    One last thing – can we stop the endless ragging on Blackers? We all know his character, his quirks, his slightly bent sense of humour, his intolerance of fools. Thats just how he is and I doubt he gives a flying f##k what anyone thinks. Time to stop obsessing. Me too to an extent. Im still trying to figure out a couple of solos from back in the 70s…

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