Don Airey says that fans shouldn't count on seeing a DEEP PURPLE reunion with 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 an appearance at this past Wednesday's (January 24) Hall Of Heavy Metal History event in Anaheim, California, the DEEP PURPLE keyboardist was asked by Eric Blair of "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" about the possibility of Ritchie returning to the band before it completes its ongoing "The Long Goodbye" world tour.
"I wouldn't count on that happening," Airey said (see video below). "I think Ritchie feels that he would like to do one gig with the band. And Steve Morse has said, 'Well, it's not a bad idea. [It would] give him a bit of closure.' But I just don't think it will happen. Not for any other reason than trying to organize something like that. It's so complicated, and you're compromising the band we've got. You've gotta fly Ritchie in and then you've gotta fly him out and then we've gotta rehearse. It's just too much for a traveling band.
"We just like our routine and we just keep going," he continued. "All we wanna do is play. We're playing some nice places and it's a very good band. It's not like we're living on our past reputation. We're a proper band and we think about the music and we talk about it. It's been the pleasure of my life, actually."
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 the 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 singer Ian Gillan recently shot down the possibility of a reunion with Blackmore, saying that "the rain stopped and the sun came out" for the band once the guitarist left the group.