Ritchie Blackmore's wife says that the legendary guitarist "would be willing to go on stage" and play "a couple of concerts" with DEEP PURPLE before the iconic hard rock band calls it quits.
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.
Candice Night, who has been married to Ritchie for nine years but has been together with the guitarist for nearly 30, told 95.9 The Rat in a new interview that her husband harbors no ill will toward his former bandmates. "Honestly, from our perspective… You probably can read a lot of the interviews that Ritchie's done in the past… since he hasn't been with PURPLE anymore. It would be hard to find one [interview] where Ritchie doesn't say something [positive] about [DEEP PURPLE singer Ian] Gillan; he just doesn't talk about him in a negative context — he never does," she said. "Every once in a while, we'll be told by somebody or something will come up on a flash on the Internet where one of the guys over there [in the PURPLE camp] will say something [negative] about Ritchie, and we're, like, 'Why?' Like, 'Here it comes again. Why?' I mean, it's never coming from over here. He's so far beyond it.
"Ritchie's always in the now; he's in the present," she continued. "He's doing what he's doing and he doesn't have time for the B.S. of whatever else is going on — gossip and rumor and all that stuff. But at this point, I would say that things are cool with everybody — I would like to say that. As far as I know, they are."
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.
"I think Ritchie's talked… For a few years, he's said he would be willing to go on stage and do a couple of concerts with PURPLE; he said he would have no problem with doing that," Candice confirmed.
As for Ritchie's absence from the Hall Of Fame induction event, Candice, who has been recording and touring with Ritchie as part of the internationally heralded Renaissance rock band BLACKMORE'S NIGHT for the past two decades, said: "It was a very tenuous situation… I think there was a couple of things, building blocks that happened. One of them was that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame waited so long that [DEEP PURPLE's original keyboardist] Jon [Lord] was no longer with us. That is just awful. And the fact that PURPLE… It's not like they're a new band; they've been around forever. They were one of the first ones to incorporate classical… I mean, listen to the classical riffs and progressions that he's doing on 'Highway Star'. They created their own genre; they were amazing. This is not a little band that you're just discovering and going, 'Oh, let's bring some attention…' These guys were a staple; they were a force to be reckoned with, and they've been around for decades. So to wait this amount of time and then for Jon to have gotten pancreatic cancer and died, so he wouldn't even be able to enjoy that honor. I think that kind of got to Ritchie where he was, like, 'You know what…' Ritchie was a founding member with Jon — it was the two of them that started this whole band. So I think that really kind of was like a big knife in the heart for Ritchie to see [what happened] with Jon."
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".
Gillan recently shot down the possibility of a reunion with Blackmore, saying that "the rain stopped and the sun came out" for DEEP PURPLE once the guitarist left the group.