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A smoothly run operation

Don Airey Band, Vienna, Austria, Sept 21 2012; image courtesy of Christian Shoen

Sleaze Roxx has a fresh interview with Don Airey, done on the occasion of the band’s upcoming shows in Brazil. And in this one, questions dig a bit deeper than the usual fare.

Sleaze Roxx: I would like to begin by thanking you for your time and willingness to answer the questions below. First, could you assess Deep Purple’s current momentum, please? The band comes from a very good sequence of albums produced by Bob Ezrin, but also suffered the loss of Steve Morse. In short, you win on one side and lose on the other. What would you say?

Don Airey: It’s a musical fact of life that bands’ line-ups are ever changing. The circumstances in which Steve had to retire from Deep Purple were sad indeed, but a bit of new blood seems to have revitalized the whole operation — band wise, crew wise, management wise — so musical life goes on and we are looking forward to getting back together with Senor Ezrino sometime this year.

Sleaze Roxx: About the albums produced by Bob Ezrin [2013’s ‘Now What?!’, 2017’s ‘Infinite‘, 2020’s ‘Whoosh!’ and 2021’s ‘Turning To Crime’], in what aspects do you believe they differ from those the band had been producing before his arrival? Do you believe he has sort of taken on an unofficial sixth member role? What could you say about working with him and the albums resulting from this partnership?

Don Airey: We connected with Bob after a concert in Toronto in 2012. He was obviously impressed and got down to work with us almost immediately. He is a tough taskmaster but very sympathetic too, and just told us to be ourselves, do what comes naturally, but squared! Yes, he plays quite a creative part in the construction of the songs, but I wouldn’t say — nor would Bob — that he is the sixth member. There is a sixth member incidentally, but nobody has really seen him – felt his presence, yes! The albums have been very successful sales wise and well received when playing them live – the best in my humble opinion being ‘Whoosh!’.

Continue reading on Sleaze Roxx.

15 Comments to “A smoothly run operation”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Lovely interview. Don always has interesting and nice things to say.

    McBride has really given them a dose of Viagra apparently.

  2. 2
    James Gemmell says:

    “Done” Airey? Just ribbing you on the typo in the headline.

  3. 3
    Kidpurple says:

    Have to agree. Whoosh has the Power of the Moon

  4. 4
    Gregster says:

    @1…LOL !!!

    Don is quite good with the interviews, being honest, humble, appreciative & yet direct too, not unlike R.G. ( Though all-the-boys are like this more-or-less imo ).

    It must be nice to know & acknowledge that Jon’s floating around there somewhere helping out !

    Looking forward to the new album, should be another awesome release !

    Peace !

  5. 5
    Kidpurple says:

    Have to agree. Whoosh has the Power of the Moon!
    Looking forward To something New with as they kept calling Steve – the new guy !

  6. 6
    ivica says:

    Yes …”Whoosh!” great album (for their age), the best album in the era of Bob Erzin. Gillan great, four instrumentalists too, a lot of musical landscapes, a wide album, the album does not have a song that is a classic, but there is no weak moment, a smooth album, easy to listen to. Better than a very good “Infinite” album where four songs dominate the rest of the songs (“Time For Bedlam”,”All I Got Is You”, The Surprising and Birds of Prey”) That’s why I’m sorry that Steve left, NO of his stage performances , MORE missing Stevie’s work in the studio.
    Simon McBride has a heavy burden.

  7. 7
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Uwe @1
    I would think they are all Viagra free
    With a combined age of 350 years I think all five are capable of stiff fishing rod
    Peace ✌️

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    But Adel, a little bit of tailwind goes a long way!

  9. 9
    Micke says:

    @6 I think Hip Boots and One Night in Vegas are just as good as anything on Infinite..

  10. 10
    eiricd says:

    the band is all smiles again?

    trouble in paradise that we didn’t know about?

  11. 11
    George Martin says:

    I don’t think Don meant anything bad by saying “the band is all smiles again”. I think what he was trying to get across was the band was re-leaved that they had a great guitarist to step in and keep the Purple touring and hopefully recording machine going. I know what you mean though. Sometimes things read a lot worse than they sound but he could have said it a little better.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Just because Steve and the other guys are essentially nice, sensible guys, doesn’t mean that there weren’t conflicts simmering underneath the surface, even without any Blackmore’sque drama and temper tantrums being thrown. Some people can be quietly unhappy.

    Steve has always had issues with the touring schedule of Purple, he said so in numerous interviews. To the other guys, touring is a way of life, but Steve never had that type of tour-heavy career before he joined DP. And his wife’s condition can only have exacerbated his reluctance to be away from home for long periods. Yet Purple is a touring machine, it’s what they do. You have to buy into that if you are a member.

    And if one guy is simply unhappy touring, then that can of course affect the mood of the others as well. Maybe the pandemic brought back to him how much he prefers not being away from home so often. and so long.

    Steve & Purple had an excellent run. After the two Ians, Roger and Jon, he was (and will likely remain) the longest-serving member with a substantial body of work to always look back on, he shaped Mk VII’s and Mk VIII’s sound. But People are allowed to change and set themselves new priorities.

    To Simon OTOH, all this must be new and exciting, large venues and crowds, seamless tour organisation, staying at top notch hotels and going to countries he’s never been before, watching all the time your bank account looking better than ever and building a solid economic foundation for your family. What’s not to like if you’re 44 and haven’t been doing this for the last 20 years? (Steve is 25 years older than him.)

  13. 13
    Quarryman says:


    Very well-said. I think Steve Morse left because of his wife but mainly because he was bored of touring and being away from home for long periods of time. Abnd also always playing the same tunes and not enough Morse-era songs.

  14. 14
    eiricd says:

    I know Steve wasn’t thrilled with the touring schedule, and sometimes the setlist choices. (especially on some of the tours between Rapture and NW)

    I definitely feel the Ezrin era re-energized him and the band though, and it seems to me like 2013-2019 were the best years since 2003-2005 (when Don became a permanent member)
    On the surface, they seemed very happy about where the band was at.

    Of course, what went on behind the scenes, with Steve being drawn between the serious challenges at home VS heavy touring, is another matter.
    I’m sure the business that is Deep Purple wanted more from Steve than he initially wanted to give, regardless of what went on on a personal level

  15. 15
    Johnny b says:

    Would love to hear what Andy Sneap would do as a producer for an album.

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