DEEP PURPLE SINGER IAN GILLAN DISCUSSES HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH FORMER GUITARIST RITCHIE BLACKMORE
Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan was a recent guest on Tales From The Road, where he discussed former guitar player Ritchie Blackmore. Highlights from the chat appear below (as transcribed by blabbermouth.net).
When asked if he is still in contact with Blackmore and whether there is any chance that the guitarist will ever sharing the stage with Deep Purple again, Gillan responded, “…The answer to your question is yes, we are in touch. Tensions eased quite a lot after we got hold of our business affairs and sorted everything out. There were previous managers from the past who had not done things exactly as you would like. I didn’t get paid for ten years when I was with Deep Purple — in the big years — and goodness knows what happened to all that. And there were other tensions, too. And needless to say, it was all pretty nasty when we finished and Ritchie walked out. But, we’re too old for that now. We’ve both written some pleasant notes via our managers. I can’t write to Ritchie, or phone him, because he doesn’t have a telephone, he doesn’t have a computer. He lives in a world of greensleeves — he lives in a medieval world, and he has messages given to him and that sort of thing. But he’s sent some pleasant words to me, and I’ve sent some pleasant words to him. There are still issues; there are still bones of contention. I’ve seen a lot of rubbish being spoken — it’s not worth even rising to the occasion — but I hear [former Deep Purple singer] David Coverdale and others talking about what happened at the Rock And Roll Of Fame. Well, we were very kind to everybody, the current band. And we did invite Ritchie to play Smoke On The Water with us at the ceremony, but he declined. So, [those] are just opportunistic remarks from the others.”
“We’ve never had any antagonism towards Ritchie,” the singer clarified. “He has his own interpretations, and the rest of us have our interpretations, so it’s really not worth being fired up about it. But, I think probably this late in our career, and with things moving along so pleasantly for the band, it would naturally enough — we discussed this years and years ago when it was first talked about — it would be a circus and it would be a distraction to everything we’re doing, to be honest. It would be no fun at all, because we don’t work that way anymore.
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.