Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame president and CEO Joel Peresman has denied that former DEEP PURPLE guitarist Ritchie Blackmore has been "banned" from attending the band's Rock Hall induction ceremony, insisting that Ritchie "is invited to come enjoy the evening and accept the award."
Blackmore claimed in a statement on his Facebook page that DEEP PURPLE's current manager has asked for the guitarist to be excluded from the ceremony in April. The statement read in part: "Ritchie was discussing the possibility of attending, until we received correspondence from the president of the Hall Of Fame, who said that Bruce Payne, management for the current DEEP PURPLE touring band, had said 'No.' Therefore Ritchie will not be attending the ceremony."
But in a new interview with RollingStone.com, Peresman explained that Payne is not in a position to prevent any inductee from attending the event. He said: "There is no way he is banned from the ceremony. That notion we would ever do that is patently untrue. We've never banned any inductee. He is invited to come enjoy the evening and accept the award."
Peresman also said that he reached out to managers for the current lineup of DEEP PURPLE and Blackmore to try and facilitate a one-off reunion at the ceremony. "DEEP PURPLE's manager Bruce Payne told me they were unwilling to perform with Ritchie," he said. "We've had many situations like this in the past and many times these things get worked out for one night, and then they go back to their neutral corners the next day."
Peresman relayed the band's position to Carole Stevens, who manages Blackmore. "I said to her, 'Maybe you can take the high road and reach out to them and see if something can be worked out as far as the performance goes,'" he said. "We would love to have them all play together. We always want to do that. We always want to see the actual inductees that haven't performed together in a long time, if they have the opportunity to come together for at least one night, to do that. We'd like to see it as an organization, and I'm sure fans would like to see it too."
The DEEP PURPLE members that are being inducted are: Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, Rod Evans, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.
This year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will take place on April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
HBO will air this year's ceremony on April 30.