STEVE MORSE Announces Farewell to DEEP PURPLE – “I’ll Miss Everyone in the Band”

Deep Purple has announced that Steve Morse is retiring from the band after being a guitarist for more than a quarter of a century.

Steve’s personal circumstances have made it impossible for him to stick to the band’s schedule for 2022 and beyond. A few months ago, Steve openly shared with the band’s fans the sad fact that his wife Janine is battling cancer and in his own words, “I just need to be with her.”

Since joining the band in 1994, Steve has written and recorded eight studio albums with the band.

Steve Morse:

“Last fall I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife had a real medical crisis. Almost a year later, we are learning to accept aggressive stage IV cancer and chemotherapy for the rest of her life. We both miss going to shows but I just couldn’t commit to long or distant tours as things can change quickly at home. I suggested hiring a backup guitarist last fall in hopes we could see the miraculous cure for cancer we’ve all heard about. However, after 28 years in the band, over time I could see the direction things were going.

“I already played my last show with Purple in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise. I want to thank the listeners who have been so supportive of live music and turned each show from a dress rehearsal into a thunderous, exhilarating experience. I will miss everyone in the band and crew but being Janine’s helper and advocate has really made a difference on many important fronts.

“As Janine adjusts to her limitations she is able to do a lot of things on her own so we will try to play some shorter concert tours nearby with friends to hopefully get us both out of the house! I know Simon already has the gig firmly in place, but I’m now handing over the keys to the vault that holds the secret of how Ritchie’s “Smoke On The Water” intro was recorded. I guess you have to jig the key just right because I couldn’t get it open.”

Ian Gillan:

“It’s usually difficult to find the right words in such circumstances, but not in the case of Steve Morse; i know what i want to say

“He came from a different background than the rest of us at Deep Purple, yet somehow his musical genius was compatible and played a big part in the new direction the group took when he joined us in 1996 and made his first album with us. and then on, for over a quarter century, he enjoyed the longest tenure of any DP guitarist and contributed to the longest unchanged line-up that began when Don Airey replaced Jon Lord – who retired in 2002 – to date.

“I first became aware of Steve through the Dixie Dregs, specifically the track ‘Take It Off The Top’ which was the theme tune for Tommy Vance’s BBC rock show and really impressed me. Little did I know at the time that I would one day be lucky enough to be on stage with Steve and enjoy his consummate skills up close and dangerously.

“I found him to be a very kind man, full of ideas and patient to see them develop. He would say, “You never know until you try”. We certainly had fun discussing this approach, but mostly in good spirits and he always gave as best he could.

“Steve has a legacy with Deep Purple that will never be forgotten and that smile will be missed. It would be wrong to comment on his personal circumstances, suffice it to say that he is unwell right now, but he is bravely dealing with it as best he can; we all admire his dedication; He was a strong family man all his life.

“All of this came at a terrible time for everyone, including the other Deep Purple musicians. After two years off-the-road due to quarantines everywhere, we had to get back to what we do, which is performing live around the world and making music like we’ve always done since 1968. As we get older, we realize that we are much closer to the end, and that creates an urgency that cannot be contained. From Steve’s point of view, I can only imagine that there is no “nice” way to move on with a new man, but it’s either that or it’s over, because the lack of momentum gradually became something more significant; it felt final. The best way I can describe it is in Steve’s own words; When I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird being home while we boys were out there, but “reality kicks in”… and that’s exactly what happened. I can only radiate love and respect and positive vibes in the memories of good times together.”

Ian Pace:

“From the moment Steve joined Purple it was obvious that he could open up new musical possibilities for us. Like most great creative musicians, he has the ability to come up with musical ideas that no one else has thought of.

“I think the easiest way to say it is that he’s always ‘thinking outside the box.’ Not many of us can do that!

“We have learned that he is also an incredibly nice man who has endured with great patience our lack of knowledge of US sports teams and stars and our constant chatter about British football (football to our US friends!). But there is an important truth here, and that is family first. Steve is living up to that truth with his wife Janine’s health situation. We will miss him.”

Roger Glover:

“In the early 80’s, when I was touring Germany with Rainbow, I heard ‘Go For Baroque’ by the Dixie Dregs on the car radio. I was intrigued and immediately bought Unsung Heroes. Then I bought Steve’s first solo album. What a guitarist. I never would have dreamed that twelve years later we would be in a band together.

“Deep Purple was at a pivotal point in the mid-90s and needed to reinvent itself. Steve was a brilliant choice and brought to us his talent and boundless imagination – demonstrated by Purpendicular, a favorite album of mine – and allowed the band to embark on an amazing journey for the next twenty-eight years… no easy feat. He is a teacher, he has inspired us, especially me, with his energy, encouragement and wisdom, and his contribution and legacy to this band is indescribable. We will miss him, but our friendship will remain.

“Unfortunately, life has intervened and various challenges are ahead of us. Janine needs him now and my best wishes and thoughts go out to her.”

Don Airey:

“Thank you Steve for being such a shining light to me both musically and personally over the last few (20!!) years. I can only wish you and Janine the best for the future on the new path your life has taken. I know it would take a lot more to wipe out your talent and music, so hopefully we’ll see each other a little further.”

(Photo – Bob Mussell)

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