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So done with Ritchie

In a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock Joe Satriani reminisces about his stint as a Deep Purple guitar player.

Thinking about your brief time in Deep Purple in the ‘90s, how much, if at all, did that prepare you to be in a band like Chickenfoot?

Well, there are a couple of things that I learned while doing that. It was so much fun, [but it] was completely nerve-racking to try to even come close to replacing the iconic Ritchie Blackmore. Because Ritchie is so Ritchie. He’s the total opposite of a generic guitar player. Nobody sounds like him. He’s completely unpredictable, and his sound completely matches Jon Lord’s sound in that band.

There is a synergy between those two that when you don’t hear it, you go, “Well, something’s wrong.” This is me talking back in the day, in the mid-’90s. I can go on and on about what I learned technically about it. If I played a Strat into a Marshall with a souped-up pre-amp, I probably would have sounded more together with Jon’s amazing keyboard playing.

But there was no time for that. I had literally less than seven days to prepare for the first Japanese tour. I had to learn a show on two cassette tapes, half of which Ritchie had walked out on, so there was no guitar. [Laughs] All I had was the setup I was currently using, which was my Ibanez guitar into a DS1 into my Marshall 6100s turned up really loud.

They loved it. They were so done with Ritchie that they were like, “No, we want what you sound like.” But in my head, I remember thinking, “I don’t sound like Ritchie.” [Laughs] It was really hard on stage every night. Because I grew up listening to that band. I loved the band. They were such a great group of musicians. Just their immense talent and then the heart and soul was so great and they were so gracious.

Continue reading in the Ultimate Classic Rock.

The video is from Saarbrücken, Germany, June 16, 1994; courtesy of stargazer2080.

26 Comments to “So done with Ritchie”:

  1. 1
    maurane says:

    deep purple is no longer deep purple without ritchie…….

  2. 2
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Deep Purple is a longer and stronger Deep Purple without Ritchie….

    Ted :>

  3. 3
    Georgivs says:

    I had long thought of Satriani as an ultra technical player to the detriment of feel and emotion, but his work with Purple as well as his later releases are very impressive and just pleasant to hear. His solo in the video above testifies to that.

  4. 4
    PG says:

    No matter how you try to turn this up and down….Richie Blackmoore IS the readon why DP been so big. And DP without him aint the real stuff. Absolute an DISGRACE how the members threat Ritchie in the Hall of fame award….they dont Even give him the chance to play Just That one gig on Hall of fame….they have not even be close to be There without him.

  5. 5
    Peter J says:

    Thanks PG for making me laugh so hard.

    Ted answered already and as far as I know, Deep Purple became superstars with Gillan and Glover on board. You could say that without them, Blackmore was nothing and it would be as wrong : they became huge because they were FIVE superb musicians.

    Since RB left they’ve produced tons of fantastic music and to be fair, much richer and more adventurous. So we had to thank RB for being there before… And for not being there the last 25 years

  6. 6
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    PG @4,

    Sit back, take a great number of deep breaths, and give thought. Ritchie remains a genius but a malcontent. One does not need a psychology degree to comprehend it. Come Hell or High Water DISGRACEFUL opener in which he sour pussed his way onto the stage a good amount of time into Highway Star dousing a camera man with water. And the other four lad’s comments after the gig said t all. Do the math. Let me repeat, do the math. 4/5ths of the band commenting with truths about his shortcomings. And I, and soooo many clear thinking observers, have seen it here, and over, and over, and over again. Let me bring the obvious point home to end. And I’m guessing you, and so many other Blacker Disciples, of which I am, can’t comprehend this objective sentiment inside The Purple Camp! Ritchie needs to get on a couch with humility. Never too late….

    Hey MAESTRO Steve, place a witch’s hat on yer cocoanut, puss as opposed to yer usual positive joyous smile, keeping this Purple Machine cooking! Joking about said witch’s hat. Jon, Above And Beyond, and the other Purple Cats adore you and have expressed sentiment into overload. Will not end any time soon! :>

    Over and over again. Grab a Ticonderoga pencil #2 and do the math!

    Uwe, any support welcome! :>

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    Ted @ 6 – the Come Hell or High Water fiasco has nothing to do with what was initially mentioned here. It was all brewing well before then apparently. Gillan left the band twice in it’s career & the band kept going in different formats. It happens in certain band lineups at times. The Blackmore & Gillan personality differences has no doubt lead to some memorable moments in that band. Also, in regards to the other 4 members talking (to put it mildly) on camera about their frustrations in 1993, that was unnecessary. Keep it in house, no need to hang the proverbial dirty laundry out for all to see. In regards to a younger Blackmore initially insisting on finding a hard rock singer back in 1969, wasn’t it Blackmore who said ‘get him’ in regards to a certain hard rock style vocalist & Gillan along with Glover then joined the band. Something along those lines from memory. Without Blackmore, MK 2 as we all know it would never had existed. And don’t forget Blackmore initially had the name idea also did he not? Blackmore was the driving force so to speak & it isn’t all his fault certain things happened over different times in the bands career. Of course the chemistry was right for a few years & magic did happen with MK 2, all be it briefly but it did set them up for later shenanigans. On & on we rock ‘n roll into the abyss of the 90’s. They keep it going in 1994 with Steve Morse & then Jon Lord retires from the band & then here we are today with Don Airey. Blackmore’s legacy hangs large over that band, it always will & it must have been the hat he wore back then. Oh & the occult scenarios. Casting his evil spells over all & sundry. Surely you don’t need Uwe for support here, I will sort him out anyway, he he he. Cheers.

  8. 8
    sidroman says:

    Regarding @4’s expert input, I wouldn’t take him too seriously. He can’t even speak proper english and behaves like a Rhesus Macaque.

  9. 9
    Buttockss says:

    @ 6…. i got doused by Ritchie’s heinekin beer in 82 Straight Between The Eyes tour @ the Spectrum in Philly and loved it.

  10. 10
    Ted The Mechanic says:


    I just mentioned CHOHW as a glimpse into Ritchie’s “issue’s” going waaay back. And it does take 5 to tango….

    I enjoy all regular’s on the board comments including yours. Uwe brings the most smiles t’sall. :>


    Never went to see a single concert nor sporting event at The Spectrum, that with living a short trip up north here in New Jersey. It made enough sense for a quick train to The Garden.


    P.S. Shame on The F’rs removing the Kate Smith statue in this ever worsening Woke Insanity. And I state this as a Rangers fan….

  11. 11
    maurane says:

    sorry guys but i’m not the only one who thinks that since the departure of blackmore the music of this group is totally tasteless … moreover in concert you just have to see the covers of songs co-written with blackmore to realize….
    Another source which proves that I am not the only one to think this is the comments on youtube … for my part I only listen to the period 1968/1975 and 1984/1993, the only time when the music is of quality.

  12. 12
    Peter J says:

    @ MacGregor : I feel like people aren’t talking about the same thing.

    Nobody here doubts that RB was VERY important for the band, especially from 69 to 74 and in the 80’s. Without him no DP, for sure.

    All we say is : what a great thing he did for the band when he resigned in 93.

    He obviously ran out of new musical ideas (although he still had some good sparks on Battle and Stranger) and his departure led to 2 incredibly productive periods for Deep Purple, one thanks to the wonderful imputs of Morse (Purpendicular, what a masterpiece) and one thanks to Ezrin/Airey, cooking some fantastic music since NW?!

    Look at RB for at least 10 years : awful music and no drive or inspiration at all… No problem as he was great for 3 decades, but he’s FAR from the mk8 level.

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    sidroman @ 8 – what, so ‘proper english’ is the only spoken word? Many folk do not speak ‘proper english’ as their native tongue, it is NOT their first or preferred language. Disappointing comment. As to the final reference, enough said there. Cheers.

  14. 14
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 6

    You wrote a long piece to ebdorse something.
    But you mainly, like a beginner, build it on just 1 moment in time , that DVD and the low comments by the left over bandmember, without class.

    I d understand it if RB never wanted to talk again with Paicey.

    Wasnt it Lordy that was picturing Blackers as ” he evolved playingwise in “black and white” while it was the WHOLE band minus Gillan that peaked for the first time since the 70s?

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    Peter J @ 12 – we are talking about DP. I don’t listen to BN although 20 years or so ago I did buy the first 2 albums. I have recently dismissed them from my collection. I am just not into Blackmore’s take on that style of music. But to compare it to a rock band is utterly pointless. Blackmore didn’t run out of ideas, he becomes bored & has little interest as we have seen before. He simply had his thoughts & vision on something else. The same scenario as at the Stormbringer era, one eye on a Rainbow & a new band & direction with different musicians. Many rock musicians become bored with the same old same old, whether it is the music or other band members, the cycle of repetition, constant touring & loud noise etc, etc. It happens. Many musicians are always looking for something else, whether they find it or not is the search that continues. In Search of the Lost Chord or the search for the Holy Grail or the elusive Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, no pun intended!
    For the record I only own 2 records of the post Blackmore era DP, Purpendicular & Now What. The others I have listened to at times when they are released & sometimes a little as the years roll by. However it doesn’t float my boat. That doesn’t mean they are not a cracking band still, I keep tabs on what they are up to thanks to THS & a few ‘classic rock’ sites. I still appreciate the musicians, always will. Cheers.

  16. 16
    stoffer says:

    just the mention of the Man In Black brings almost everyone out from under the covers! LOL

    Happy New Year to DP and all the fans here 🙂

  17. 17
    Peter J says:

    MacGregor : interesting post, thanks mate.

    I still think Ritchie run out of musical ideas in 93 (even though I LOVE Battle) and that his departure led the band to some amazing music with Steve, Don and Ezrin, as he’s now officially the 6th member of the band. The band still explore new musical territories, we wouldn’t have that with Ritchie, no doubt about it, no matter how creative the guy was a long time ago.

    After 25 years of great music, no problem with me, but RB was clearly recycling old things and one could hardly argue that he has done great music since he left (with the exception of 2/3 tracks on Stranger in us all but that’s 26 years ago!).

    So God bless Ritchie for being there when he was a fantastic musician and God bless him again for quiting before becoming the sad parody of himself he is now.

    Even if you put BN out of the topic, the Rainbow ‘recent’ disasters show that he can’t compete with the mk 8 level right now, so everyone’s happy : DP is still delivering impressive music (on stage and in the studio) and Ritchie can do what he likes…because if Joe is right when he says that the band was so done with RB…I guess Blackmore himself was done with the band ahah

    Cheers !

  18. 18
    sidroman says:

    Regarding the current Deep Purple. As a touring band, they certainly do the music justice. As a recording band, Purpendicular and Bananas are my favorite post Blackmore DP albums, and I really like the current Cover Album, Turning to Crime. But as far as Blackmore’s Night. The Village Lantern was the last BN album I bought, and I haven’t listened to it in years. Even when Ritchie revived Rainbow a few years ago with Ronnie Romero, I personally didn’t care for the singer or the rest of the band either, especially having a guy with a mohawk as a drummer!

  19. 19
    Arthur says:

    Well said @stoffer, mention of Ritchie triggers us all, I wish him and everyone else who has ever been in the Deep Purple orbit a happy and prosperous 2022!

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    Peter J @ 17 – indeed Steve Morse covers many more different genres than Blackmore, so yes the door opened wider. I was glad for Morse to get a break so to speak, as he was not getting the coverage other so called guitar wizards were getting. Being a Dregs & solo Morse aficionado since the early 80’s it was a good setup. Don Airey as we know also adds a few extra strings to the bow. Jon Lord was old school like Blackmore, as irreplaceable as they both are in many ways. So yes the band DP these days can explore different genres. I was not surprised when Lord retired from the band, he had other musical endeavours he wanted to explore also , he was always more classical than rock in many ways. The songs are what interest me first & foremost, musical ability also has it’s niche of course. However I just don’t find the amount of great songs as much as I used to, Now What had a brief resurrection of that, pleasantly surprised there. Purpendicular was always going to be the go to album, being the first, new ideas & energy, sound etc. I just found it dropped off after their debut. Gillan has also ran out of ideas, recycling melodies etc, they all do it as time progresses, it spares no one. He is able to mix it in with the other guys music, weave it in & out & get away with it, so to speak. All musicians only ever have so much in the tank before it starts to sound very familiar. That is where Ezrin comes in, he is a musician & writer also, so he adds a different dimension to the current band. They were looking a little spent, lost perhaps before he turned up. Older musicians need different or younger musicians at times to reinvent the wheel, give them another push & shove, extra reinvigoration to write & continue. Diversity is always the key in my book, to find another spark somewhere if possible. Blackmore could have done so much better post Purple to me, if he really wanted to, he just couldn’t be bothered it seems. His attitude does him no favours at times, but that is who he is. Having said that, his attitude was what contributed to create so much music throughout his life. Good on him for that, although probably not the best for other fellow musicians at certain times though. Take care. Cheers.

  21. 21
    Anthony Naranjo says:

    Too bad Satriani did stay with Purple. I can get into it more after watching that live You T Tube video Knocking at Your Back Door. No offence to the Dixie Dregs guy, but I think He fit alot more with Ritchies Energy and Tone. Not at all a clone. As a Guitarist myself, theres certain ingredients to need to capture the Flavor of the Cake.

  22. 22
    Kidpurple says:

    The Battle Rages On !!
    Long live all Deep Purple!

  23. 23
    Tom says:

    The last time I saw purple was about 5 years ago.
    Toured with Alice Cooper. They were awful. It was sad watching my all-time favorite band going through the motions. Unfortunately old age crept in and it was one of the worst shows I ever attended. Vocals were horrible and the rest of the band didn’t sound much better. They should have stopped touring long ago.

  24. 24
    stoffer says:

    @Tom 23….I saw them as well in 2017 with Edgar Winter and Alice Cooper in an outdoor venue, AC and his young female guitarist pretty much stole the show, DP headlined but they definitely not at their best, uninspired and looked tired also seemed to rush the playlist (happens frequently with 3 majors on same bill). Move on to 2019 US tour with a no name opener and they were fantastic, energetic, embracing the crowd and mixed up the playlist too thus restoring my faith in my favorite band!

  25. 25
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Surely you don’t need Uwe for support here, I will sort him out anyway, he he he.”

    You have summoned me, Master MacGregor, how can I be of service?

    To steal a phrase, here we go again, going down the only road we’ve ever known … Ritchie or Steve blah blah blah. For me it’s Ritchie AND Steve (+ Tommy’s 15 minutes of vivid fame + Joe helping out and playing beautifully in, e.g., the above vid).

    While Blackers was around, he was the most vital component of DP, granted. But as yet another mortal, he was stifling as well (he grows tired of people quickly, beating even David Bowie at his game) – and he wasn’t always a brilliant songwriter or riff merchant, he could be dreary and mundane. Blackmore tends to subjugate people under his own – narrow – creative vision. He has an ear for young, undiscovered talent, but little ability and patience to develop them and let them bloom on their own.

    We can turn this round btw: Deep Purple was the most vital thing too that Blackmore ever did and he was never surrounded by more creative and challenging (in a good way) musicians than with the members of the various DP incarnations I-III. Hell, there is more brilliance and spirit of the moment in Blackmore’s solo in Hold On (a song he didn’t like) alone than on the eight Rainbow albums that followed. To me, Rainbow always felt restricted, constrained, relegated to a Blackmore (tunnel) vision. Ritchie is a devil of a guitar player, but he ain’t God.

    What people fail to see is that DP’s interplay as a band is so remarkable they can even elevate mediocre material (and sometime they use(d) that to rest on their laurels a bit, they can always hide behind their instrumental prowess and nifty improvisations – unlike Uriah Heep). But saying that anything Rainbow did is better than Purple is like saying that Sting is better than Police. No, he’s not. Police were a sonic experience.

    Ritchie has left Purple twice (and probably a few times more that we never heard about). Both times, nothing he did in the aftermath has validated (artistically or commercially) those decisions of his. Am I really that alone in finding that Stormbringer today sounds more contemporary, more varied and inclusive than Rising? Yet without him, we would have never heard the magic of In Rock, Machine Head and Burn. I love the man, but he can also be an unbearable, destructive prick.

    Moving on to Steve Morse: In hindsight they could have hardly found a guitarist more blackless (get the pun?) than him. And you know what? I applaud their guts in doing so. They are writing and recording a different music now (and have been for almost three decades now) though it retains some Purple qualities; I just wish they would also PERFORM it more often! My only gripe with present day Purple is how they rely too much on 70ies Mk II material. I’d much prefer if they stuck to say five or six Mk II chestnuts and play Mk VII and VIII material for the rest of the evening. As they have always done in the past: When Mk II was a fledgling line up, they kicked out almost everything from Mk I, same with Mk III following Mk II or Mk IV following Mk III. They always dared to be new. (Come to think of it, the 1984 reunion tour was already too reliant on old Mk II material.) On the early Purpendicular and Abandon tours they did the same thing, but ever since then they have an Mk II albatross flapping around their neck (the Bananas tour early on also had refreshingly many new set entries, but they fell away as the tour progressed). These days, when I see DP, I’m not undernourished for Blackers, I’m undernourished for more Morse/Airey material! I by now know that Mk VIII can play a decent version of Highway Star, vielen Dank. (I’ve heard Blackmore mess that song up live quite a few times – the version at the Loreley Rainbow reunion gig was embarrassingly bad and had me cringe -, yet I’ve never heard Steve mess it up, so there!)

    May I withdraw to my chambers now, Master MacGregor? ‘Tis getting late.

    PS: While I’m typing this, I’m listening to a David Gahan – yup, the singer of Depeche Mode which I like as well – solo recording and my mind wanders how great it would be if Blackmore had lent his elegic solo outings to a couple of these somber, morose and melancholic-plaintive songs. Why the hell doesn’t he ever step out of his comfort zone anymore? The man who once surprised the world with the aural assault attack of In Rock? Carlos Santana, no spring chicken either, plays in different musical environments all the time (with results that veer from bad to brilliant, but at least he tries).

    It’s only been (sigh … now considerably more than) an hour (more like 30 years, Candice!) since she’s locked him in the tower of complacency (or at least doesn’t kick his butt to do something different) …

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    Yes Uwe, the Blackmore dilemma, again. He just doesn’t seem to care at times it seems, a victim of his own moods etc. When I purchased the first BN I thought it was a solo album & I enjoyed it at the time, even Ian Anderson was a guest on one track. Then the second album came out & by then the BN thing seemed to be Blackmore’s ongoing ‘new’ thing. I was hoping he would do something different is some way, get out & about more.
    In regards to Blackmore changing band members so often, yes Bowie is one who has done that often, Neil Young also, Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Ian Anderson in Tull, Yes with various lineups. There are some musicians who seem to be chasing the elusive ‘holy grail’ & good on them for adapting & taking risks. I do like diversity, although that is to say I don’t necessarily like everything they do. Regarding DP Mark 8 not playing more of their own material, yes I have often wondered as to why. Some bands from the 70’s don’t play much at all from their glory days when different versions of the band are active in later years. King Crimson 80’s, 90’s & early 2000’s abandoned almost all of the classic early Crimson, Neil Young has gigged at times not playing anything from his popular 70’s music. No doubt Zappa also did that at times. Some artists don’t mind doing that, I am not sure how many tickets they sell at the concerts though. I think most celebrated artists benefit in still representing a fair bit of their known material over the decades. Are they playing it safe perhaps, popularity wise. Maybe they don’t want to risk alienating the fan base too much. Or they just simply enjoy playing the favourites with ‘new’ musicians. It is a fine line no doubt. Cheers.

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