DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan has once again shot down the possibility of a reunion with Ritchie Blackmore, saying that "the rain stopped and the sun came out for the band" once the guitarist left the group.
Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including "Smoke On The Water", but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure.
Steve Morse effectively took over Blackmore's slot in 1994 and has since been in the group longer than Ritchie.
During an appearance on "The Vinyl Guide" podcast, Gillan was asked if there are any circumstances under which he would be open to playing with Blackmore again. He said (hear audio below): "Well, you know, [Ritchie has] been playing minstrel music for twenty-five years nearly. He got together RAINBOW for a few shows recently. I've got some friends, or acquaintances, to whom Ritchie is god, an absolute god, and they think he's not playing rock and roll like he used to. And I'm putting that as kindly as I can, because Ritchie and I are getting on okay these days; there's no great animosity anymore, and I've publicly wished him well as often as I can. We nearly had dinner together a couple of times.
"The answer to your question is no," he continued. "There's no reason.
"Put it this way: for all those years, the wounds would have healed within a year. But if somebody keeps poking a wound, it won't heal — it won't, if you keep poking it with a stick.
"We're happily married now. Ritchie and the band got divorced. He walked out in the middle of a tour, and the rain stopped and the sun came out for the band. It was like that."
Gillan added: "Ritchie was a difficult character; there's no denying that. And suddenly Ian Paice [drums] came alive again; he was a happy guy. And Jon Lord [keyboards] regained his gravitas. And Roger [Glover, bass] came out from under a rock. Everyone started being their normal person again. It was a big cloud on the social and musical and professional scene.
"As Ian Paice puts it best: why would I go back to that misery again? It's like somebody saying, 'You're happily married now, but we want you to get back together with your divorced wife, with which there's been much bitterness over the years — just for the sake of the fans.
"It's not gonna happen."
Blackmore was recently quoted saying he woud like to play one last show with DEEP PURPLE "for nostalgia reasons." He also previously suggested that the band's manager had blocked him from joining them onstage during the 2016 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, and he used that as an excuse for not attending the event.
Despite Blackmore being a no-show at last year's Rock Hall, he was given several shoutouts during the induction speeches of the DEEP PURPLE members in attendance. In addition, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, who inducted DEEP PURPLE into the institution, praised "Ritchie fucking Blackmore" for one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time on "Smoke On The Water".