DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice says that “there’s no point” for the band to consider a reunion with Ritchie Blackmore, explaining that he wouldn’t be able to guarantee that every day with the notoriously moody guitarist would be fun.
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.
Asked by “The Rock Brigade” podcast (Facebook page) if DEEP PURPLE could, or would, ever play with Ritchie again, Paice responded (hear audio below): “Of course, the answers to both of those are ‘possibly.’ But when Ritchie left, nobody fired him, nobody said, ‘You have to go.’ It was his choice. And so the band continued, the band moved on. Ritchie started doing his thing, which is great. He was obviously happy doing it, and we’ve been happy doing what we’ve been doing for the last twenty-three, twenty-four years, ’cause that’s how long ago it is.”
He continued: “Quite honestly, there’s no point for us to consider that. We have a wonderful feeling within the band, everybody’s very friendly, and all we have to do is go on stage and make the music; there’s no other considerations to worry about. I think Ritchie‘s life doesn’t work like that. I think it’s a little more complex. And at this stage of my life, I don’t need cloudy areas. I like it to be clear and crystal and know that it’s gonna be fun. I love Ritchie to death, but I can’t guarantee every day with him is gonna be fun.”
Paice also talked about the “classic DEEP PURPLE sound” which can be heard on the band’s latest album, “InFinite”. “Well, I think that’s always the marriage of the Hammond organ and the guitar,” he said. “Don [Airey, current DEEP PURPLE keyboardist] was a great friend of Jon Lord‘s [late DEEP PURPLE keyboardist], and had it not been for Jon, maybe Don would not have moved from the music he was learning to play back when he was a kid to becoming a great rock and roll keyboard player. So there is a logical connection there between the two guys. Plus they were great friends. Steve [Morse, current DEEP PURPLE guitarist] and Ritchie, it’s a different thing. The thing they have in common is they’re both brilliant guitarists, but they are different, and that’s the important thing with Steve. To try and replace Ritchie would have been impossible and pointless to replace him with a Ritchie clone. So if we were gonna have to bring a guitarist in, he had to be of the same level as Ritchie, but he had to have his own style. And that’s why Steve fit the bill perfectly.”
Blackmore was absent from DEEP PURPLE‘s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year. He later posted a statement on his Facebook page in which he said: “I have my reason for not attending the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, although I appreciate the award.”
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”.