DEEP PURPLE'S IAN PAICE: 'WHEN RITCHIE BLACKMORE DECIDED TO LEAVE THE BAND, THAT WAS PRETTY TRAUMATIC'

In a brand new interview with Darren Paltrowitz, host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz"DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice was asked if there was ever a period when he and his bandmates were worried about not having another "hit" song and not being able to sustain their longevity. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't think we were worried about having hits in the first place. It was a time when pop bands made singles and rock bands made albums. So long as we kept coming with albums that people seemed to like, we weren't worried about having a Top 40 hit; if they came along, it was like a bonus. Now, the only time we got concerned was towards the end of Ritchie's [Blackmore, guitar] tenure with the band, as he was losing interest and the performances from the band were not great because you need everybody helping each other out; you can't be a passenger. And we just saw the audiences getting smaller and less impressed, and that was worrying.

And when Ritchie decided to leave, that was pretty traumatic, because [we didn't] know what to do then. And had we not been contracted to have to go to Japan, it might all have fallen to bits then. But we had to go to Japan, with the wonderful Joe Satriani [filling in], and it proved that there is life after even somebody as great as Ritchie is. He didn't wanna be there, but it was just as much our band as it was his. And we were still having fun. We started to have fun again when Joe turned up and just became a fifth member of the band, pulling his weight. So that was the light at the end of the tunnel."

He added: "Everybody knows to try and recapture those days of the early '70s, that's never gonna happen. The world moved on to a different place and music moved to a different place and we're different people. But it's all about having fun. And if you make some other people enjoy it with you, that's okay — that's a good end product."

Paice's comments echo those made by DEEP PURPLE bassist Roger Glover, who told U.K.'s Planet Rock in a September 2020 interview that it was a "turbulent time" for him and his bandmates when Blackmore left the group for the final time in November 1993 after a concert in Finland. "It was surprise to me when Ritchie handed in his notice and said he didn't wanna play any more gigs after Helsinki," he said. "And we were on tour at the time. It was so difficult to take in. Somehow we were determined to carry on, if he was gonna do that. Joe Satriani was a temporary replacement, which did show us the way that we could exist without Ritchie. But I felt very strongly that you can't replace Ritchie. He is who he is, and there's no way you can replace him."

He continued: "If you get someone to play like him or similar or something like that, it would have been a horrible comparison. We needed something different. And to me, the character of PURPLE always was Ritchie and Jon [Lord, late PURPLE keyboardist] as instrumentalists, and they're both virtuosos. So you've gotta have a virtuoso. There's thousands of guitarists who can play, but there's very few who stand out as being very individual and different to everyone else. And I felt Steve [Morse, current PURPLE guitarist] presented that. He asked me when we first met, he said, 'What do you want from me?' I said, 'I want you to be yourself. You can't be in the band unless you're yourself, a hundred percent.' And he said, 'So I can play anything?' I said, 'Yeah. Anything will do. We'll let you know if we want it or not.'"

According to Glover, the lineup change had an immediate effect on the band morale.

"'Purpendicular' was one of the happiest albums I've ever made, because suddenly we found ourselves writing songs we could never have written before," Roger said, referring to DEEP PURPLE's first LP with Morse.

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.

Blackmore previously suggested that PURPLE's manager had blocked him from joining his former bandmates 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 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 next studio effort will be an album of covers titled "Turning To Crime". Due on November 26 via earMUSIC, the LP will contain DEEP PURPLE's versions of great rock classics and musical jewels — including songs originally recorded by Bob DylanFLEETWOOD MACBob SegerCREAM and THE YARDBIRDS — carefully chosen by each member of the band.

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