July 21, 2024

Ian Gillan Opens Up on Strained Relationship With Ritchie Blackmore, Explains What Makes Simon McBride’s Work in Deep Purple So Great

Deep Purple has had a long line of exceptional guitarists pass through their ranks: Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, and now, Simon McBride. But since Blackmore was the first and the one responsible for Purple’s greatest riffs and most recognizable solos, all who have followed in his wake have had to replicate his guitar parts in concert.

During an interview with Made in Metal, longtime Purple singer Ian Gillan explained the preferred way the group’s guitarists should replicate Blackmore’s iconic parts. And also, he recalled a memorable quote from Morse concerning stepping into Blackmore’s shoes (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar).

“When you’re playing a well-known solo, or a well-known guitar part, or any part for that matter, the trick is to play the recognizable parts. The parts that everyone knows that are significant in that solo, and then you can freeform in between. But you’ve got to pick up and show respect for the song and the original record because that’s how people like it. If you meander around a bit in the solo, that’s also fine, but you’ve got to start and, in the end, do the bits that people know.”

“Steve Morse said a good thing when he joined the band and somebody said, ‘How’s it feel like stepping into Ritchie Blackmore shoes?’ And Steve said, ‘You know, I think Ritchie took his shoes with him when he left.’ And that applies to everyone. That applies to Simon now. Simon’s unbelievable. We’re so lucky to have him. He’s just amazing.”

Additionally, Gillan used the word “genius” to describe two specific Purple guitarists and touched upon his troubled relationship with Blackmore.

“Simon is a genius,” the singer added. “He’s absolutely fantastic. He’s got all the energy and articulation and musical skills and creative skills that you could ever dream of. You can’t compare Ritchie with Simon, or with Steve Morse, or with Joe Satriani, the players that we’ve had in the band.”

“And I think that Ritchie has to have all the credit in the world. He’s a genius. He was fantastic. I thought he was brilliant. He was my roommate, and we partnered and we shared a lot together. And then things, for some reason, went wrong later on. And I’m sure half of it was my fault. Those days were dim and distant.”

Deep Purple will be releasing their first studio album with McBride, =1, on July 19th via earMUSIC.


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