David Coverdale has expressed his exasperation at DEEP PURPLE for how he and Glenn Hughes were treated by their former band ahead of their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2016.
The WHITESNAKE frontman made the comments while speaking to Eonmusic about the band's new album, "Love Songs", which will be released on November 6 via Rhino Records.
Coverdale said that initially he was going to decline the invitation to attend the event if founder Ritchie Blackmore was going to turn it down. He explained: "[Ritchie and I] had been talking about it. We'd been nominated before and never got in, and I said, 'Are you going to go?', and he said, 'Nah.' I said, 'Well, I won't go then.' [Laughs]".
He continued: "But what had happened in 2016, literally, once it had been announced that we were officially being inducted into it, the current DEEP PURPLE refused to go if Ritchie Blackmore was going to be there. And this was, like, 72 hours before, when I was ready to fly with my family. And this cost me, like, $75,000 [or] $85,000, because you have to pay for all the tables apart from the one you're on, and I had my daughter fly in from Germany, my son came out of college. It was a family affair."
The singer, who played with DEEP PURPLE along with Hughes from 1973 to 1976, went on: "Suddenly, Glenn Hughes and I were told, 'Well, we don't want you singing with us.' Initially, I'd spoken to Ian [Gillan] about coming up and singing the backgrounds of 'Smoke On The Water', because originally they were going to close the show. So, that suddenly was pulled, the plug. They tried to stop us doing speeches, and my wife was fucking furious, apart from the fact she spent a fortune on posh dresses. [Laughs] And I said, 'Fuck it! Nobody's going to keep us off.' I got in touch with Carole, Ritchie's manager, and I said, 'Tell him to come with me. Nobody's going to fucking touch him. Tell him to come with me,' and he didn't want to do it."
Coverdale added: "The first thing I said when I was up there, was, 'None of us would have been standing here without Ritchie Blackmore,' and I made sure of that point. Steve Morse and Don Airey [current DEEP PURPLE members] were more complimentary to Glenn and I than the other guys. We had a blast; we had a fucking great time. I'm very happy that I am who I am, and I just talked to Glenn the other day about it: 'What the fuck was up their ass?!'
"So we didn't get to jam, which was fine," he said. "We were back doing press while they were performing, just having a good old time like the unrighteous brothers always do."
Making a final point about Blackmore's towering contribution to DEEP PURPLE, David said: "He doesn't give a shit, and he knows he was responsible for the majority of the music there, and it's true — none of us, none of us would have been on that stage without Ritchie Blackmore. None of us."
Read the entire interview, where Coverdale talks about the bucket list guitarists he'd like to work with, and plans for his farewell "gratitude and appreciation tour," at Eonmusic.
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.
Morse effectively took over Blackmore's slot in 1994 and has since been in DEEP PURPLE longer than Ritchie.
Despite Blackmore being a no-show at 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".
DEEP PURPLE's first three lineups were inducted into the Rock Hall, including Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Jon Lord, and various singers and bassists — Rod Evans, Gillan, Roger Glover, Coverdale and Hughes.
DEEP PURPLE's acceptance speeches included turns from Gillan, Glover, Paice, Coverdale and Hughes before the current lineup of DEEP PURPLE — Gillan, Glover, Paice, Morse and Airey — took the stage and played a short set consisting of "Highway Star", "Green Onions" (with an image of Lord behind them), "Hush" and "Smoke On The Water".