Singer Ian Gillan of legendary British hard rockers DEEP PURPLE has slammed as "very silly" the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's decision to exclude guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey from the band's upcoming induction.
DEEP PURPLE — which has been eligible for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for two decades now — will finally enter the Rock Hall as part of the class of 2016. The band's first three lineups are being inducted, including drummer Ian Paice, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, late keyboardist Jon Lord, and various singers and bassists — Rod Evans; Ian Gillan and Roger Glover; and David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes.
Writing on his official web site, Gillan.com, Ian said about DEEP PURPLE's 2016 Rock Hall nod: "Putting the past shenanigans to one side, the induction is not — in clear fact — for DEEP PURPLE. It is an arbitrary selection of past members, which excludes Steve Morse and Don Airey; both of whom have been with the living breathing DEEP PURPLE for a very long time.
"Obviously, this is very silly, and so my response is quite simple: 'Thank you very much.'
"And… what a coincidence… This morning I got an invitation to a wedding from some dear old friends. Unfortunately, my family was not invited and they said that I would be required to sit next to my ex (we divorced decades ago) at the wedding feast.
"They were shocked when I called to thank them and decline the invitation."
Morse has been part of PURPLE since 1994, while Airey replaced Jon Lord in 2001.
Paice told Rolling Stone about DEEP PURPLE's current lineup: "We don't have salaried guys with Don and Steve. They are fully accredited members of the band and they share in everything, and into decisions as well."
He added: "This is the longest we've ever been together. We're having fun. We have a finite article here. That ticking of the clock, you can't ignore it. And one day it won't be possible, but right now that day isn't on the horizon yet. As long as we're enjoying it and as long as the people want to see it and as long as we believe we can do it to the standard that people would expect, we'll keep doing it. That's the important thing."
It's common knowledge that there are certain factions within the extended PURPLE family who clearly do not get along. Despite this, Paice told Billboard that he is hopeful everyone will be able to put their differences aside in time for the Rock Hall induction. "I see Glenn quite frequently," the drummer said. "I haven't seen [Coverdale] in a long time, but I don't have any problem with David. And after all this time, I don't have a problem with Ritchie. I really hope he's happy in what he's doing. At the end of the day we're far enough along in our lives now that I just hope everybody's having a good time. The crap that went on before, that's what it is — it's before."