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Worn in, but not worn out

Steve Morse with his MusicMan Y2D, London, Ontario, Feb 11, 2011; photo © Nick Soveiko cc-by-nc-sa

A short, but sweet interview with Steve Morse in Beaver County Times on the occasion of a couple of upcoming SMB gigs in Pennsylvania.

I quit (Deep) Purple because the tours were too long and we had a health emergency in my family with my wife having Stage 4 cancer. I told those guys ‘I can’t do this’ and they were upset for like three to four seconds and then moved on. That’s life, I and I wish them well and they’re doing great. But back to me and this band. I had always been told that we couldn’t do weekends only. That it just wouldn’t be possible to pay everybody and not be paying out of pocket to play. However, when we did the math with three people it was possible in many cases to make it work.

Read more in Beaver County Times.

51 Comments to “Worn in, but not worn out”:

  1. 1
    Matt says:

    To me that sounds that things weren’t great in Deep Purple. It’s a shame. I love Steve’s playing and all the albums he made with DP.
    Keep on rockin’, Steve.

  2. 2
    Andy says:

    I’m looking forward to the possiblity of new material from Steve. It is suprising at how quickly the band moved on from him. It’s almost as if they couldn’t wait to play without him. Throughout Steve’s tenure they all spoke about how well they got along and Gillan spoke to the fact that the Don and Steve line up was the longest running for the band. The music still stands, but to me, the transition somewhat tarnished the image.

  3. 3
    Andrew says:

    Not exactly an entirely amicable split then?

  4. 4
    Noe Nunez says:

    I have nothing but gratitude for Steve Morse, he joined Deep Purple when things were not going so great for the band and put in countless hours and miles of touring, going places they had never been before , he and the band rebuild their name and reputation around the world putting Deep Purple were they are now, I was lucky enough to shake hands with him a couple of times here and there over the years and he’s one real gentleman, thanks for keeping Deep Purple alive all this years Mr. Morse

  5. 5
    Gregster says:

    Great to hear from SM once again, & that he’s found a way to play, & pay everyone’s bills, whilst having the necessary time-at-home too. Very fortunate indeed, & I hope that everything is as best as possible at home.

    Peace !

  6. 6
    George Martin says:

    I believe the split was for the most part was amicable. If you remember last fall Steve told the band that they need to start looking for a replacement because his wife was not doing well and he can’t commit to these long tours far away from home anymore. I think they asked Simon if Steve left would he be interested and he obviously said yes. So when the time came the guys in Purple were prepared for him to leave. It did not come as a surprise to them. Maybe I live in a fantasy world but I believe these guys are all cool with each other. I wish nothing but the best for all of them.

  7. 7
    Phil says:

    @ 6. Totally agree with you George. I don’t think there is anything to read into here. The on stage chemistry was still strong between them. Steve did say some time back that he wanted to be the last guitarist in the band but things have changed for him since then and family comes first.
    Phil (NZ)

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    I cannot for the life of me think that just because someone leaves a rock band or any other musical ensemble, that there has to be an issue there. Musicians move around for many reasons, it happens. Nobody has to sign up forever do they? Life itself is much more important. Cheers.

  9. 9
    Georgivs says:

    The thing with the modern version of DP is that they soldier on no matter what. It took them about 15 min to decide they would go on without Ritchie and I believe same thing happened with Steve. Only this time it was amicable with no hard feelings involved.

  10. 10
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    I agree with Andy. I think this did tarnish DP’s image. Steve did a GREAT Job with DP. I’m looking forward to more albums from him. As for DP, they’ve been my favorite band since 1973 but I am really losing interest in them with their new guitar player.

  11. 11
    Rascal says:

    DP simply dont have long left. Age isnt on their side. When Steve left what were the remaining members supposed to do? Sit around with sad faces for a few months?

    Hats off to Steve, he joined an ailing band and helped create some great music and albums.

  12. 12
    Nino says:

    Considering they didn’t wait for Jon Lord because they were too old to stop, I don’t think Steve believed they would stop after 21 years. Although I like Simon, but I would prefer that the group continued in the old line-up – I’m one of those who really like and love Morse.

  13. 13
    Simon says:

    In retrospect, Purpendicular has become a classic Deep Purple album. They did it wrong. Steve should be a permanent studio member and always have the opportunity to play live.

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    What Rascal said. They were optionless unless they wanted to put the band on hold indefinitely after the already long pandemic break – biology is running out on these guys, they simply can’t afford the time.

    No one could/can ascertain how long Steve would/will need to be off the road, yet Purple can’t go on indefinitely with just a deputizing lead guitarist – they are an iconic guitar- and organ-driven classic rock band where people expect the six-stringer to be a member just like Blackmore, Bolin and Morse were. (Remember that Purple even wanted Satriani to join indefinitely, but he couldn’t commit and saw the role as too confining/overshadowed by Blackmore’s legacy.)

    “I told those guys ‘I can’t do this’ and they were upset for like three to four seconds and then moved on.”

    That is/reads of course ouch!, but what Steve might have perceived as a lack of empathy/callousness on the part of the other members, is just their way of life: They’re touring gypsies. Big Ian’s wife had a cancer condition for years, it didn’t stop him from touring. Phil Lanzon of Uriah Heep lost his eldest son – how horrible as a parent – to cancer, he missed two gigs with Heep (with Don Airey standing in) and he was back on the road. It’s not that these people can’t grieve, but they resume everyday life just like non-rockers resume working in the office or the factory after the loss of a loved one.

    We’re not all cut from the same cloth and everybody handles loss or threat of loss differently. Steve had laudable priorities for his life and Deep Purple are in reality an international touring enterprise that only still record an album once in a while to keep old geezers like us happy.

    Time for a compilation of Steve Morse era material (“The Morse Code”?) now, ain’t it?

  15. 15
    Andrew says:

    The thing is it makes me wonder if they would simply plough on without Ian P or Roger or even Ian G. Entirely their decision of course but the whole situation becomes a bit hard for long time fans to swallow as per Quo without Parfitt for example or tbe Stones without Watts. The parting of ways with Jon Lord on the other hand was an example of best practice in how to handle a changing of the guard. I think Steve may have been under the impression that the Long Goodbye tour meant that the end was nigh but on and on they go.

  16. 16
    Acey Striker says:

    Steve Morse is a wonderful guitar player, unlike McBride.

  17. 17
    Bernie B says:


    It’s the same for me.

  18. 18
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Steve had a good and musically valuable run with DP, but he is just as entitled to call it a day as they are entitled to plough on.

  19. 19
    AG says:

    This quote from Steve is (to me) an indication that things may not have been entirely well in the band, in terms of personal relationships.

    Another such indication is from a recent interview with Don, where he says that, after Steve’s departure, “The change in the band has been unbelievable, like everyone woke up and started rocking again. … There’s a smile on everyone’s face again.”

    A certain mutual bitterness seems quite apparent.

  20. 20
    al says:

    I have given all the lineups of Deep Purple the benefit of the doubt.I would like to hear the new album at some point next year with Simon. This band wants to play live and tour as they have nothing else to do.Steve moved on and I’m hoping to see some music from him soon

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think it’s fair to say that Steve never integrated fully into DP on a personal level. He’s an introspective person and he is an American. Little Ian once said post-Mk IV split that having an American (Tommy) in the band proved to be a much greater issue than they initially thought: “It’s the way they grow up and the way we grew up.”

    Also Steve’s parting statement that he wished his successor the best and to be fully accepted, something he felt he never quite achieved with the fans.

    And there is another episode that I think of often since he left: A few years ago, it must have been around the Infinite album, there was a long, very thoughtful piece on DP in Classic Rock (the magazine) revealing that Ian meanwhile has a daybed behind stage on which he rests lying down during breaks when he’s not on stage during his performance. And that he no longer visits places because he’s seen everything at least once. It was an article full of empathy and respect for the aging, but content band, how Little Ian spends his time reading in the seclusion of his hotel room and how Airey Senior & Junior go on city hikes together all the time shooting photos or that Roger is still bemused by being a part of Purple and doing this for so long.

    Anyway, each member was interviewed for the article and had a separate chapter and then the last chapter, namely Steve’s, starts with something like this: “Over the several days I spent with DP on the road, Steve Morse, their American guitarist, seems to have formed the opinion that he is the only current DP member I will not have a conversation with. The management seemed to think so too. No one spoke to him. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, he was always on my list, yet he seems genuinely surprised when we finally sit down and talk.”

    When I read that, it really made me wonder. By that point, Steve had been decades in the band, yet he still seemed to have (perfect) stranger anxiety and resigned to being the new boy (when in fact Don was). And the last chapter did of course not fail to mention that Steve was the only one who found tour life tasking and missed his home and family, worried about his hand condition and grimacing at one point how “Ian (Gillan) probably wants to die while on tour”. Which I personally wouldn’t rule out, it has become so ingrained with him. And at the same time, the touring routine provides for a certain structure and daily cycle in your life once your children are grown up and there is nothing to repair anymore at home.

    So Steve and the others might have indeed become a bit estranged from one another over the years – I would imagine that the pandemic isolation didn’t help either (and I thought it striking that he wasn’t seen in the ‘Oh Well’ vid, even under pandemic conditions they could have somehow CGI’ed him into it) -, but they are not washing dirty laundry in public about it so that’s good.

    DP is and has always been more than the sum of its parts and the organism continues to thrive. And Steve is hopefully after all his years with the band in a financially comfortable position and can be there for his wife.

  22. 22
    Rock Voorne says:

    People wondering a lot about the ones we follow but never come to know really.

    I m still pissed about Gillans lies on the TBRO tour.
    Had I known they would peak I d have seen more than 3 shows.

    Although I think Steve is a great human being …….


  23. 23
    DeeperPurps says:

    Uwe @19, You make very good points. I attended a Purple concert a few years ago and had the chance to briefly meet and chat with both Steve Morse, as well as Ian Gillan outside at the loading area after the concert. Later the same evening I was at the local hotel bar and all four Brit members of Purple were there enjoying their beverages of choice and chatting with the road crew and assorted others. At no point in the evening did Steve attend the bar to join the group. I don’t know if that was the usual routine while on the road, or if it was exceptional; but based on what you have written above, I have a sense that maybe Steve might have been somewhat the loner in the group.

  24. 24
    Jim Sheridan says:

    Deep Purple had become an incredibly tight, well-oiled live machine. Always enjoyable, but I’ll admit that after seeing them with Steve 4 times, I was not dying to see them much more. The sets were too heavy on oldies.

    I love the Morse-era studio albums. Those I will miss. They were adventurous and fun.

    I saw the Steve Morse Band earlier this year. They were on fire. Intense playing, immense joy, and an audience that hung on every note. I’d see them again in a heartbeat.

    Steve brought a great element to Purple, a willingness to experiment, a serious work ethic, a very different sonic flavor. I will miss it. I will certainly give the McBride lineup a fair shot, but this is the end of a remarkable era.

  25. 25
    Ivica says:

    Steve was in DP for 28 years…(which is the time period of the original line-up together of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath). In my opinion, he is the most responsible for DP reaching a high studio (and performing) level. I am also his fan.
    My top 10 SM (1994-2022)
    “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”,”Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover (Live At The Olympia 1996), “Don’t Make Me Happy” ,”Well Dressed Guitar” (live), “Doing It Tonight”,”Clearly Quite Absurd”,” Uncommon Man”,”Time For Bedlam” ,”Birds Of Prey” (Live at Hellfest 2017)”The Power of the Moon”
    Thanks Steve and I hope Jannie is much better..good luck

  26. 26
    Micke says:

    @ 19 never heard what you mention, interesting. Personally I belive they parted as friends and they just dosen’t want to talk much about it. With the situation in family matters for Steve. The “three – four seconds” remark could just be a way to be funny from Steve. Since they are a busy touring band. Steve must have a very good pension fund indeed.

  27. 27
    Mike Nagoda says:

    Yeah, I’m also getting the sense the split was less than amicable – between Steve and Dons comments previously mentioned, the fact that there are less and less Morse era songs, and the fact that Steve refused to join them recently in Florida, leads me to believe that something was seriously amiss here.

    I think part of the reason Steve left too is that over the years, Purple has become less creative and musically free. He can’t express himself the way he wants to. When he first joined, he was taking risks and daring to play things like the solo in Highway Star very differently from how Ritchie did. Compare that to the last few years he was in the band, and he’s playing Ritchie’s solo almost note for note.

    Ever since Jon left, his opportunities to take risks on stage and express himself freely got clamped down on. He can’t have been happy about that.

    Honestly, I hate to say it, but the current version of DP is the very thing they used to rail against – a legacy act playing their greatest hits. Dinosaur rock, basically.

    It’s sort of sad too that when they hired Steve, they didn’t want a clone of Ritchie, and now they’ve replaced Steve with someone who is much closer to Ritchie than Steve ever was. I love Simon, but he’s pretty much their to satisfy the Blackmore die hards. It’s a shame they didn’t go with someone who dated to be original like Steve was.

    I think at some point Steve realized this was not the same band he joined in 94, and left. I have total respect for him because of that.

    This current version of DP seems less musically open, free and creative overall, and that’s a shame. I hope they rediscover who they are with Simon, and find a way to ditch the greatest hits nonsense. In a way, what they’re doing is almost a betrayal of what they once stood for: musical freedom and expression that dares to keep moving forward, and screw being a legacy act!

    I hope they will right this error, because I honestly feel their current direction is a big mistake – I say all of this as a fan of nearly 20 years who loves this band, and is very disappointed in what he’s seeing currently.

    Steve did the right thing by leaving, all respect and power to him – not just for his family but for his own principles, I think. He is a man of integrity, hands down.

  28. 28
    janbl says:

    Would Steve ever play any DP tunes (I don’t think so myself)?
    If he does, what tunes might be fun to hear him play?

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    When I saw Flying Colors in Essen in December 2019, shortly before the Pandemic began to hit hard, I saw a Steve Morse who was elated throughout the gig and truly enjoying his sophisticated parts, playing at his most inventive. It was a great gig, the small size, but no longer club hall was packed to the brim (1.200 people?) with possibly more Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy than Purple fans and I mused driving home that I hadn’t seen Steve as happy in ages.

    As for Steve not hitting the bar after gigs, he’s a health-conscious teetotaler and I guess that kind of alienates you from British pub culture. I’ve also read from him that he never participated when the other band members discussed politics (not band politics, but British politics) because he felt he couldn’t add much and that the other four have this “soccer & 50ies/60ies/70ies English TV culture”-cultural bond he cannot share in.

    I don’t think that Simon was a conscious “let’s get someone more Blackmore” decision by the other Purple guys, I think he was most of all a convenient and reliable choice because he had been road-tested by Don (who has played with a wider assortment of sometimes difficult guitar heroes than any other Purple member) and Big Ian on the – brilliantly named! – ‘Contractual Obligation’ tour. He also knew a lot of their stuff and was/is versatile (playing Blackmore, Randy Rhoads, Gary Moore of all eras, John Sykes, Steve Morse and Michael Schenker stuff as he did with Don). At this stage in their career, you don’t want to undergo experiments in the line-up.

    And I don’t see Simon aping Blackers at all, if anything he is a “Gary Moorist” with a touch of Rory Gallagher. Let’s face it, if Ritchie is your guitar god then you are not going to be seen anywhere near stage with a friggin’ Paul Reed Smith guitar! (I actually like it that Simon defies convention by playing neither a Strat nor a Les Paul.)

    Simon doesn’t seem overawed by the Blackmore legacy at all (he has said in guitar mag interviews that he doesn’t find the Mk II material all that demanding to play) nor does he feel that – shock, gasp, horror! – Blackmore is the be-and-end-all of all rock guitar playing. But he certainly has a more rugged-rambunctious, devil-may-care-approach than either Steve or even Ritchie (these days; my gosh has Candice domesticated him …) and I believe that was a testosterone shot for DP they had perhaps been missing for a while.

    But the proof is in the pudding of the next album which might well be their final one.

  30. 30
    Gregster says:


    Some interesting comments & POV’s posted here, & thankfully mostly speculative reasoning to a circumstance that may not even exist…

    1. I suggest that after 28-odd years, the boys got-on quite well together. It would be hard to hide any troubles from anyone, & after all that time, any troubles would be taken care of ASAP.

    2. Steve “had” to prove himself in the early-days for-sure, & the fresh solo’s to the early classics would have been a “breath of fresh air” for everyone to enjoy hearing. He has a great musical mind, & adapted inspired alternate solos to suit the Mk-II tunes, perhaps often even bettering the originals in some instances.

    3. Steve certainly encouraged the whole band to grow musically, & stay in-step with the times, & perhaps leaping-ahead of the times too on occasion.

    4. The only drop-off in recording efforts was for 7-8 years after “Rapture of the Deep”, & then it was full-swing ahead once again, & new & exciting material was delivered.

    5. COrona VIrus Disease 2019 was the real deal-breaker imo as to Steve’s decision making process, & the anxious time at home can’t have been easy, especially with such an over-worked medical system State-side.

    6. The boys are likely playing more of the early DP music for 2-reasons, 1 being it’s far easier to play than the music from Steve’s period which helps Simon out, & the second being that the band knows that the crowd likes the old stuff, with some new tunes from a soon-to-be current album.

    7. It’s too early to say how Simon compares to anyone really imo, but the South American show available to watch here in another thread via You-tube indicated he’s just as capable as RB, TB, JS & Steve were…You only need to watch “Hush” from the encore of that show to realize that the whole band is doing just fine, thank-you very much 😉 !

    8. And as for Steve not special-guesting for the Florida show, it was possibly a professional courtesy gesture to help Simon & the band out into feeling settled. And as mentioned earlier, Steve’s music with the band is complex, & “needs” to be rehearsed to be played successfully, & I guess that wasn’t possible.

    Peace !

  31. 31
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Wasn’t Morse playing with the Dregs in another part of the US when DP played Florida?

  32. 32
    Uwe Hornung says:

    He was. Whether that was bad coincidence or lucky convenience is anybody’s guess.

    The guys in Purple are all decent, adult people. There is no need to get messy about Steve’s departure and they haven’t nor has he (he just made a wry comment, but no one is irreplaceable). After three decades or so playing together, I’m sure there was a whole mix of sometimes even conflicting views and motivations in the band and not even Steve’s wife’s condition is perhaps the sole reason. A couple of years ago, Steve mentioned in passing that it was easier for him to slot in with Jon than with Don because Don takes up much more room sonically (that was always one of Jon’s fortes, leaving room to the other guy, it’s what he did so excellently on Come Taste The Band). Yet like it or not, prior to Steve’s departure, Don was the fresh blood driving force in the band. And now there is likely an Airey/McBride faction/power center.

    Quite a few Purple departures – forced or otherwise – haven’t really been ‘nice’, Ritchie’s and Jon’s (both voluntary) being the exceptions from the rule, but by and large the band and its leaving members have always observed decorum . No War of the Roses, very little pettiness, no bashing the successors/new wives/departees/old wives. I mean just go to a Wishbone Ash/Andy Powell or ‘Martin Turner playing the music of Wishbone Ash’ gig and at least half of the respective audience will tell you how much they hate Andy Powell or Martin Turner (and would never see one or the other). That to me is like loving Lennon, but despising McCartney, and it is a choice I would have never wanted to make as a Purple family archaeologist. The only time I experienced something really silly and petty was when at a BN gig an audience member was asked to take off his Purple T-shirt by the entourage “because Ritchie doesn’t like it”. They offered him a BN T-shirt for free – I think he took it. (The RRHOF debacle was to me more of an unprofessional car accident than ill will from any one side. Any PR consultancy would have advised them to handle it differently.)

    So all might not have been perfect within the Purple camp prior to Steve’s departure, but what on this world is? I don’t see a slagging off match either. Purple has always looked forward and Steve’s contribution in the last quarter century was immense – I can let both stand.

  33. 33
    Nino says:

    I remember an interview with Morse, where he joked that these Englishmen are simply immortal, meaning that he was tired and his arm hurt, and older men do not bother at all. I also remember him joking about being an outsider and new to the group until Don came along and Steve was finally fourth, and then very soon the guys started talking about English football and he was last again. And although he said all this jokingly and with his sweet smile, we all know that there is some truth in every joke and this bitterness was always felt. But anyway, it seems to me that he would not have left the group if not for his wife’s illness and the covid pandemic, which forcibly showed Steve the charm of his home, and his wife how good it is to have a husband nearby, especially in difficult times.
    As for the limitation in style, I don’t believe there could be. I remember Airey saying that he was fascinated by the fact that Gillan asked to improvise more, and Simon, compared to last year, seems very loose and improvises a lot more.

  34. 34
    MacGregor says:

    @ 27 – Any decent guitarist with years of experience can ‘play’ the older rock guitarists, if that is what they want to do, but do they get it? McBride still sounds like a young modern day player copying an old school slinger & that is what it is. It will always have those missing ingredients. He is fine guitarist no doubt. “But he certainly has a more rugged-rambunctious, devil-may-care-approach than either Steve or even Ritchie (these days; my gosh has Candice domesticated him …) I notice you mention Ritchie these days. Surely not from the avant-garde days of yore. There were many ‘rebellious’ guitarists from those days, that was part of the magic. These days, not so. McBride is more of a ‘rock’ player & we all know Steve Morse isn’t, he is most things but not a typical rock guitarist. so yes McBride does ‘fit’ the mould better in regards to the older classic DP material. Cheers.

  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    I do remember all those years ago reading about Steve Morse being stoked that he was in a band with his all time favourite keyboard player. I would think that he could have possibly been the most disappointed band member when Jon Lord announced his imminent & predictable retirement. However these things happen & they move forward & then take it on as a challenge of sorts. At least he won’t have to put up with Ezrin saying ‘no Morse, leave it for your solo material’ or words to that effect. The complexities of being in a musical ensemble eh! Especially from an outsider, whoops, there I go again, the typical suspect Bob Ezrin comment. We had better start a petition of sorts, ‘leave Bob Ezrin alone’. These outsiders, can they be trusted infiltrating the ranks & getting up to god knows what. Cheers.

  36. 36
    Gregster says:

    Uwe said…

    qt.”The only time I experienced something really silly and petty, was when at a BN gig, an audience member was asked to take off his Purple T-shirt by the entourage “because Ritchie doesn’t like it”. They offered him a BN T-shirt for free – I think he took it”….

    Now that made me laugh so hard, I nearly spilled my coffee everywhere LOL !

    Nino said…

    qt.”(But anyway), it seems to me that he would not have left the group if not for his wife’s illness and the covid pandemic, which forcibly showed Steve the charm of his home, and his wife how good it is to have a husband nearby, especially in difficult times.

    +1 here.

    Peace !

  37. 37
    MacGregor says:

    And continuing on I am going to say something that I have thought about for many years. I was surprised that Steve Morse stayed in DP for as long as he did. A comfort zone perhaps & good for him from day one for that & more. But was the challenge still there? The risks etc, the not knowing but forging ahead anyway. When he initially joined in 1994 I was excited to see what would happen & very glad for Morse for many reasons that I have commented here before on. However in the back of my mind I was also wondering ‘how is this going to pan out” musically. He has done well to last as long as he has in my book. Good luck to him. Cheers.

  38. 38
    Frater Amorifer says:

    Can’t take sides between the 4 Purple guitarists, but after seeing them 6-7 times during the Morse era, all I can say is they always played far too many of the Machine Head songs. They never really gave the Morse material or the more obscure Blackmore material a chance. Plus Gillan’s selfish refusal to sing Mk III and Mk IV material. I would have loved to hear Gillan singing Gettin’ Tighter or Why Didn’t Rosemary. Great songs, consigned to the trash heap by Gillan’s stupid selfishness.

  39. 39
    Gregster says:

    @35…In retrospect, DP picked-up & had the best guitarist that they ever had with Steve, & in years to come, his efforts will shine the brighter imo than RB’s…And now Simon has an opportunity to shine too, & he’s delivering the goods really well imo.

    Once we’re long-gone & the band is long-gone-too, there will be plenty of awesome music for anyone new to get-a-hold-of & be impressed with…Every DP album kicks-ass in its own way & will impress anyone that takes the time to listen to them. And since Steve’s body-of-work started in the digital-age, where every album is around 50% or more longer than previous recordings, he’s got a lot more music down on record than any other guitarist before, & likely after him will ever put-down. The odds suggest that new-fans in the future will have a fair share of SM to listen to, & likely listen to the newest recordings first as a taste-test…

    @36…Don’t pick sides Frater, just enjoy what’s there ! And perhaps IG was being respectful to those guys in Mks III & IV, by leaving their own stuff their own. IG has the lions-share of his own material to choose from any decade, so why bother with other marks ?

    Peace !

  40. 40
    MacGregor says:

    @ 37 – that would depend on your definition Gregster of ‘best’? Technically & versatility yes, song writing, riff, iconic solo’s & sound wise, no. Shine the brighter? While I do not posses a crystal ball or have any magical ability to look into the future, I cannot see that happening in my thoughts on that subject. Each to their own. Whilst Frater’s post was at another section, I do agree with you, why would Gillan bother to sing MK3 or MK4’s music? It would be utterly pointless. Cheers.

  41. 41
    Gregster says:

    @38…I guess what I’m alluring to is the same aspect that resides within the Pink Floyd camp, where there’s Syd Barret, & David Gilmour, & folks remain divided as to which line-up delivered the goods & is a preferred choice, & yet both were important ingredients…

    For sure there was Tommy Bolin too, who’s most important contribution to the band was the realization that there was life after RB, & awesome music could still be made, which then led the way for Steve…( I probably like Mk-IV more than Mk-III, & for me CTTB does it better for me than any Rainbow album ever has, yet alone Blackmore’s Night )…

    I’d suggest that if you were born in 1990, & got into DP say around 2005, Steve would make a stronger & deeper impression on you than RB…And when you learned about RB’s antics through the years, you may not particularly like him too much, & be more than happy that he left, so that the band could get-on with the music.

    Peace !

  42. 42
    Andrew says:

    He does sing MK1 material however.

  43. 43
    Chip says:

    Good commentary. Steve alway joked about not fitting in. But they all got along professionally. It is a business after all.

    I love the Morse era studio albums but I’m thinking Simon will kick out a different kind of album and keep things fresh for the remaining time the band has left.

    I’d still like to see a one off show with Morse and the band doing an evening of only Morse era material…🤷‍♂️

  44. 44
    Mike Nagoda says:


    You make a fair point about Simon imitating older guitarists and that coming through in his playing – he does feel still a little bit “paint by numbers” to me, but I think his originality is starting to come through more and more – I’m not sure if he has more of a devil may care attitude than the Ritchie of old though – I’m not sure anyone can match, let alone beat, Ritchie’s gold era swagger on stage.

    I disagree with you about Steve not being a rock player – though he does come from a country guitar and fusion background, Steve I think is a really great rock guitarist, just a different, original and innovative one – he sounds unique, and I love that.

    If I’m being totally honest, my favourite DP studio album is actually Purpendicular, with In Rock a close second. I think it is overall, the band’s best work. People will call me crazy, whatever – it’s my personal favourite in their whole catalog.

    If you ask me which guitarist I prefer in the band, it’s Steve. And I’ve never heard anything from his solo material or previous work in Kansas or the Dregs – DP was my introduction to him, and he remains my personal favourite DP guitarist because of the unique, fresh and different approach he brought to the band – in many ways, to me, Steve’s musical ethos and what he’s about is the most in alignment with what the band used to represent – creativity and free, unhindered musical expression. To me, he was always the best guitarist for Purple.

    If people disagree, that’s fine – preference is preference, and Steve is mine. I love him, and am really sad he’s no longer in the band.

  45. 45
    Uwe Hornung says:

    No one calls you crazy, Mike, Purpendicular is one of the strongest, most vibrant and versatile Purple albums through the ages.

    For me, the major difference between Steve and Ritchie is that irrespective what scales Steve plays, it always sounds like his guitar is smiling, and with Blackmore – even if he plays in major keys, which he rarely does, the G-Blues is an example for the exception from the rule – it always sounds like he is is frowning. That sums both of them up – beyond the different techniques and different musical upbringings.

    Deep Purple was always a band with a dark musical streak – not Sabbath doom & gloom, but darker than say Led Zep, Cream, Bad Co, Nazareth or Grand Funk Railroad. Even Jon’s neo-Edward Elgar pastoral English influence could not keep Blackmore’s somber style from dominating the Mk II and early Mk III sound. It’s my pet theory why DP is nowhere more popular than in Germany, it appeals to our national psyche.

    Steve has nothing dark in him – that’s just the way he is. For anybody looking for a guitarist to replicate Blackmore’s musical aura, he was the anathema choice. I don’t believe for a minute that the remaining Purple guys did not realize this when they made Steve the offer to join. They were prepared to do something wholly different.

  46. 46
    Gregster says:

    @44 said…

    qts. “I disagree with you about Steve not being a rock player – though he does come from a country guitar and fusion background, Steve I think is a really great rock guitarist, just a different, original and innovative one – he sounds unique, and I love that”…

    “If I’m being totally honest, my favourite DP studio album is actually Purpendicular, with In Rock a close second. I think it is overall, the band’s best work. People will call me crazy, whatever – it’s my personal favourite in their whole catalog”.

    “If you ask me which guitarist I prefer in the band, it’s Steve”.

    “Steve’s musical ethos and what he’s about is the most in alignment with what the band used to represent – creativity and free, unhindered musical expression. To me, he was always the best guitarist for Purple”.

    *Very well said !!!

    Have no doubt you’re not alone here in your thoughts, & I hope many people people speak-up in support of Steve…( And Simon too ).

    I’m a huge RB supporter, & have been since….But I’d be very foolish in trying to bullshyte myself that he’s the better musician. Steve is in another league all-together, that leaves RB swimming hard in his wake trying to catch-up…And that is RB’s issue, he stopped trying at some point imo. Or perhaps it’s better said that Steve & the rest of Mk-II DP were far better aligned to keep kicking major ass in R&R for the next 30-years.

    RB accomplished many good deeds in his life, by opening the door to the big-time for many, many people. Perhaps he didn’t realize that when he’d had enough of R&R, he had no right to try & close the door on others who still wanted to rock !

    Peace !

  47. 47
    MacGregor says:

    I did say in my comments at 34 that – ‘McBride is more of a ‘rock’ player & we all know Steve Morse isn’t, he is most things but not a typical rock guitarist. so yes McBride does ‘fit’ the mould better in regards to the older classic DP material”. With respect that is what I meant, Morse isn’t the typical rock or hard rock, rock ‘n roll sort of guitarist. That is one of many reasons I enjoy his Dixie Dregs, The Dregs & earlier SMB material. Also his foray into Kansas for two albums & with DP the Purpendicular & Now What albums. @ 44 – that must be a grand thing to not have known any of Steve Morse’s music when hearing him for the first time in DP. No pre conceived expectations or the like. It does happen to most of us, if we know something & then it reappears, we have a memory or knowledge of a pre existing scenario. I do think that one of the reasons Purpendicular is such a strong album is that it is the first, Morse was let run on that in many ways. Has that happened since I am not so sure. Other things can get in the way & as we are not privy to such details, we hypothesise on what music we then hear. As Uwe stated Morse is a brighter individual both personally & musically than the darker ‘Man in Black’.
    @46 – What I tend to do is focus on the song quality, how good is it, do the songs grab you & not let go, for want of a better description. Blackmore was a song based performer as well as a improviser of sorts. Morse is a improviser & a cracking versatile instrumentalist but is he into vocally enhanced songs. His musical history doesn’t say so in most of what he has been involved in. He worked with Steve Walsh in Kansas, then that bands most experienced songwriter & there are cover songs on those albums also, particularly the second album In the Sprit of Things. Within DP Morse has to dance around & work with Gillan & Glover predominantly no doubt. The most recent 10 years the Bob Ezrin character & his influence. It is a totally different scene than with Blackmore years gone by. Obviously the Man in Black had many more ideas for songs than Morse does or was it that Blackers was more ‘influential’ in getting those ideas across. Maybe Gillan & Glover did also back in the day. It is horses for courses again. Some like the post Blackmore DP songs, some like both eras, some prefer the Blackmore era songs. As most people here are aware, I am of the previous ‘darker’ era in many regards as to what I prefer to for stronger song quality etc. There are a few good stronger songs on a few other Morse era albums, but few & far between for my liking. So while the ‘debate’ can lurch at times into the guitar skills & musicality etc, I also include songwriting in that as it is a integral part of the musical vocabulary, the complete package. Each to their own.
    “RB accomplished many good deeds in his life, by opening the door to the big-time for many, many people. Perhaps he didn’t realize that when he’d had enough of R&R, he had no right to try & close the door on others who still wanted to rock !
    Now that comment Gregster has me throwing away the handbag & putting on a pair of boxing gloves, so look out, he he he. With respect how did Blackmore try to close the door? Cheers.

  48. 48
    Gregster says:

    @47 asked…

    qt. “With respect, how did Blackmore try to close the door ?… Cheers”…

    G’day mate, a fair enough question to ask, & I’ll reply with the little history that I do recall without re-watching DVD’s & / re-reading “Darker than Blue” #50 lol !

    1. He tried closing the door on IG during the “Battle Rages On” recording sessions, & when the record company asked, “how much money would it take for you to work with IG ?”… – He replied with a significant figure, & they paid him that amount asked…As long as went on tour to support the album.

    2. RB initially thought the figure was way-too-high, & that they would never pay him that amount, but they did…So poor JLT was both fired & he resigned at the same time…( One door closed on JLT )…

    3. RB didn’t complete the tour in 1993, so the door closed on many people, including countless fans…And Satch played with the band for around a year. ( And in hindsight, Satch would have accomplished quite a bit with DP imo, & would have been a solid fit. But SM got the job thankfully, as we got 30-odd more years & counting from the boys ).

    4. RB inevitably reformed Rainbow once again, & as Doogie will tell you, everything was fine right up until the first time they didn’t agree on something, & it was over as quick as that. So more doors unexpectedly closed.

    But I’m certainly not here to paint this picture or that, only support the picture that’s painted to my eyes with the information provided.

    I would certainly be far more restrained in my POV, except that RB left the band whilst on tour, & that I thought surprisingly unprofessional of him to do, especially after being secretly paid “x” amount to do the tour.

    IG was in great form during that tour & making a great effort delivering-the-goods along with everyone else, so RB disappointed many, many people here in this instance.

    That said, I fully understand when enough is enough, & when it’s time-to-go, it’s time-to-go.

    And so Steve joined, & the band went from strength-to-strength.

    Peace !

  49. 49
    robert says:

    I think in discussing Steve’s departure from DP, you can’t underestimate that his wife had stage 4 cancer. That is usually a death sentence. Obviously, he didn’t know how much time they would have together. The band didn’t know how long that would be either and they choose to move on. I’m hoping that Steve’s return to touring is a sign that his wife’s cancer is in remission.

  50. 50
    Gregster says:


    Well said, & I’m sure that everyone hopes that Steve’s wife & family are coping as best as possible.

    And the decision to leave wouldn’t have been an easy one at all, for everyone concerned.

    And the band itself “has” to keep moving forward, especially since that disgraceful COrona VIrus Disease 2019 messed everything up for everyone.

    The band & music is the life-blood for itself & many others around the globe, & I’m sure that we’re happy to have them keep-on-going, especially knowing that IG wife moved-on in the midst of all this time-frame.

    Well done Ian & Steve for making correct decisions. And kudos to everyone for opening the door for Simon…Great player indeed.

    Peace !

  51. 51
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Don is now sort of the central man connecting all the bits and pieces: He’s played with Roger in Rainbow, with Little Ian in Gary Moore’s band, with Big Ian in the Gillan/Airey solo venture and with Simon – well, Simon was his employee for a long time! (The Purple management will probably have a say now whether Simon can continue to tour on Don’s own outings, I’d have issues with that if I were the management.)

    Hadn’t Steve’s wife’s life been threatened by the disease, I’m sure he would have soldiered on a while longer with Purple. The trio of Bob Ezrin albums with own material released in 2013, 2017 & 2020 (all in April of those years) plus the Turning To Crime pastime in late 2021 is not a weak 9 year legacy to look back on. And that is just the late era Steve.

    I do regret though that as live renditions go, the Whoosh! material has fallen through all the cracks. Pity for such a good album.

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