IAN GILLAN: 'I Don't Think RITCHIE BLACKMORE's Playing Great These Days'

IAN GILLAN: 'I Don't Think RITCHIE BLACKMORE's Playing Great These Days'

Three members of the classic DEEP PURPLE lineup have shot down the possibility of a reunion with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

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 yesterday's (Tuesday, August 29) SiriusXM Town Hall, DEEP PURPLE's Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums) and Roger Glover (bass) were asked point blank if they would be open to playing with Blackmore again.

"Me personally, no," Gillan said. "I mean, I get on great with Ritchie these days, but I don't think Ritchie's playing great these days. And for that reason mostly, I don't think it would work."

Gillan clarified that he is only in contact with Blackmore "through our offices, through our connections and everything else" and added that "we have invited each other to dinner a couple of times, but we haven't been able to make it because I'm in London, he's in Long Island." He then reiterated: "But, no, I'd be against [a reunion]."

Paice was equally resistant to the idea, explaining: "I enjoy going on stage every night knowing that I'm [there] with my four friends and they're all gonna play every night. That wasn't always the case [while Ritchie was in the band], and I wouldn't want to go back to that again. It's just the way the man is. He is a man of great emotions. He works it out in black and white; there's no gray areas to Ritchie: 'I will or I won't,' 'I like it or I don't like it.' Sometimes your bandmembers can't suffer from that. And I wanna go on stage and have fun. I don't wanna go on stage and come off feeling so down and miserable. I'm not prepared to go back on that route again, no."

Glover, for his part, revealed that he hasn't spoken to Ritchie in "twenty-odd years," but insisted that he would "be happy to talk to him." Attributing their lack of personal interaction to the fact that Ritchie has "made himself very private," Glover added that "I don't think he approves of me very much, because of the remixes and the remasters that I did of the older albums. That's what I've heard anyway."

As for the prospect of PURPLE performing with Blackmore again, Glover said: "You can never say never, but I would doubt it very much."

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".

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