ianGillan Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan says the band would no longer exist if guitarist Ritchie Blackmore hadn’t quit in 1993 and he added that he has no desire to speak to his former colleague ever again.

Asked recently whether he might consider picking up the phone, in the light of keyboardist Jon Lord’s death last year, Gillan tells Vorterix Rock: “Not in the slightest.”

He continues: “If you want to talk about Ritchie, I guess we have to. Not many people do these days.

The truth of the matter is: the band was dying. If Ritchie had stayed it would have been the end of Deep Purple. The shows were getting shorter and shorter, the audiences were getting smaller and smaller.

We were playing in small halls, they were half-empty, and Ritchie was walking off stage every night. When he left it stopped raining and the sun came out.

Jon Lord, among others, started walking up straight – his personality re-emerged. So did Roger Glover and Ian Paice. They became the people they were originally, instead of cowering in case they upset Ritchie.”

Gillan says the band spent some time rebuilding after Blackmore’s departure. Now, that nearly two decades have gone by, they can live with the events of the past.

“The distance of time is so great that we just remember the good times,” he says. “We remember Ritchie as a great player, great performer, a great writer. I remember him as my roommate – I used to share rooms with him. But something happened with Ritchie.”

Gillan continues, “I have no desire to pick up the phone to Ritchie, or have dinner with him, or meet him “I hope he’s well and I hope he’s happy. And that’s the end of it.”

Listen to the audio below.

Blackmore’s wife and bandmate Candice Night recently said he was a better songwriter now he’d disengaged himself from “inspiration from darker places.”

Deep Purple – who launched 19th studio album Now What?! earlier this year – will release a live DVD shot during their Perfect Strangers Mark II reunion tour on October 14th.

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  • Paul M. Kotch on

    I wish Ian would do a “Born Again” tour with Sabbath….. it’s just not Purple anymore

    • richman on

      Ian cant hit high notes anymore and he sang high on a lot of those tracks most notably HOT LINE, which is the best track on that record. Check out Delude Edition of BORN AGAIN, with the SABS doing SMOKE ON THE WATER. That second disk is all your ever gonna get of a live reunion, unless KING DIAMOND has any interest

    • John G on

      I saw that tour! Bev Bevan from ELO donning the leather jacket! Quiet Riot opened up and was horrible. I’m sure Sabbath only gave them a percentage of the sound system.

  • Willie B Heard on

    OK OK OK Ian..We get you hate Richie.. Move on.. I will always support you guys but at the same time don’t tell lies.. You said you guys were playing small halls and no one was showing up.Well my friend that’s a complete lie..You guys were playing big places and sold out every night so please don’t lie just to get your point across..Were not dumb.. Your a hell of a singer and front man and we know Richie is a ass but don’t say you guys didn’t draw fans..

  • Lee on

    Morse can’t get the heavy riffs RB made famous. Bev out of ELO is ridiculous. Gillan lost his range years ago…..and audience. Get ’72 DP together with the guy from Vanilla Fudge on the keyboards.

  • Woody on

    I saw them in ’86 House of Blue Light tour. I dont remember seeing any empty seats in th venue. Unless Gillan is talking about the early 90’s which I cannot attest. I am a RB fan and I can say that watching some of the crappy solos he played in the Perfect Strangers video, compared to footage from Rainbow ( live in Munich, Live in San Antonio ’82) that Ritchie seems more “into it ” with Rainbow. I dont know if he is somewhat uncomfortable in DP or what. He shouldne be, he basically formed the band with Lord and Paice. I think hes the boss in Rainbow and that may be the difference. I dont see RB reuniting with Purple, unless he’s broke and needs the money, and thats not the case. He’s the boss along with his wife in Blackmore’s Knight, and I think he likes it that way. Look at Rainbow, when he felt the music was lousy or someone is not pulling their weight or meeting his standards, they are dismissed. I dont think he has that much say in DP and that might peeve him a little. The guys are nearing 70 years old, if they are going to do it, the time is now. It would be great from a fans perspective, and Im sure it would be sucessful, I just dont see it happening. I am sure as far as Blackmore is concerned, they have already been there and done that in the 80’s. I cant help but think there would be alot of money in it for them once agin though. i would buy tickets and go see them thats for sure.

  • RL Stratofvarious on

    I have been and will be a Deep Purple fan period, since their beginning and have bought anything they have ever released, new, so they receive all coming to them. The same is true of any Blackmore, Gillian, and any from the Deep Purple family tree, that I could find. I bought every Ian Gillian Band release, Steve Morse solo CD’s, Dixie Dreggs etc. etc. The latest DP offering was no exception. It’s a good CD and I’m glad I bought it but it is not great.
    Steve Morse is a phenomenal guitarist, he deserves his place among the best guitarist on the planet. It is a different band with him in it though. The debate about best guitarist is mute, because what figures into anyone’s choice is personal preference. If you ask a old school B.B. King fan who was best, they would say B.B.. They might consider Ritchie Blackmore or Steve Morse talented but they wouldn’t be there.
    Most guitar players like all kinds of guitarist, but the still have their favorites, and most people are fans of the music styles they grew up with. I grew up listening to Zepplin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Ted, and Aerosmith and so on. I now listen to guys like Vai, Satriani, Andy James, Anand Mohangoe, and among others, Ritchie Blackmore’s son J.R. Blackmore, I even listen to Keith Urban, though I’m not a big country music fan. But the style I most enjoy is Ritchie’s. So it is impossible for anyone to win a “BEST” debate. Influence is a different thing. Ritchie Blackmore has had a larger influence than Steve Morse, but less than many others, like Jimi Hendrix, for instance. There is an interview on Youtube, “Critics discuss Blackmore” or something like that, and they are correct in their assessment of Ritchie Blackmore’s place in the guitar world, he is under rated, and the styles he blends are unique to him and he owns that style. Others play in it, but it is his backyard. Speed is good (or like MAB said… it Lives… it Kills…), technical ability is good. Many have those, including Ritchie, but it is how you put them together with style and composition that counts.
    As far as the interview here with Ian Gillian goes we will likely never know the truth of the matter concerning the Blackmore/Gillian DP problems, only biased versions of truth. You can detect an air of disdain for Ritchie in his voice, even though he makes an attempt at civility. If you look at Ritchie’s 2013 interview with Candice Knight (it is referred to above) you see that Ritchie has a dark personality and a seriousness that has earned him the reputation he has, I would expect. But that, good or bad, does not change the fact that he is, in the guitar world, past and present, unique, and a true virtuoso of stringed instruments and a real musical genius. To me, Ian Gillian comes off here as snide and self-rightous.
    On a side note, if you haven’t already, check out Ritchie’s son J.R. Blackmore’s release titled Voices. He’s a bit different in style from his dad but it comes across very reminiscent of Ritchie in his Rainbow days. Thanks.

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