DARK PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse officially left the band to take care of his wife, Janinefighting cancer.
Morse‘s latest announcement comes four months after the guitarist said he was taking a break from the band, hoping to rejoin his bandmates once his wife’s health improves. He was then replaced en route by an Irish blues rock guitarist Simon McBride.
Today (Saturday, July 23)DARK PURPLE released the following statement via social media: “DARK PURPLE announces that Steve Morse will be retiring from the band after being a guitarist for more than a quarter of a century. steveHis personal circumstances have made it impossible for him to commit to the band’s schedule for 2022 and beyond.
“A few months ago, steve openly shared with fans of the band the sad fact that his wife, JanineShe is battling cancer and, in her own words, says: “I just have to be with her.”
“Since I joined the band in 1994, steve wrote and recorded eight studio albums with the band: ‘Perpendicular’, ‘Give up’, ‘bananas’, “Rapture of the Deep”, ‘What now?!’, ‘infinity’‘Whoa!’ [and] “Turning to Crime”. Additionally, steve has also recorded many live records DARK PURPLE over the years.
“steve will be greatly missed by the band, crew, management, record label and everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him over the years.
“steve was always very grateful for the support and love from DARK PURPLE fans around the world.
“A true master…”
Morse said in a statement: “Last fall I suddenly left the VIOLET 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 being at concerts 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 cancer heal we’ve all heard but after 28 years in the band I’ve been able to see where things are going over time.
“I’ve already played my last show VIOLET back 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 except being Janine‘s Helper and Advocate has really made a difference on many important fronts. As Janine gets used 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 nailed the gig, but I’m now handing over the keys to the vault that holds the secret of how richie‘s [Blackmore] ‘Smoke on the Water’ Intro was recorded. I guess you have to jig the key just right because I couldn’t get it open.”
DARK PURPLE Singer Ian Gillan said: “It’s usually difficult to find the right words in circumstances like this, but not in the case of Steve Morse; i know what i want to say
“He comes from a different background than the rest of us DARK PURPLE and yet his musical genius was somehow compatible and played a big part in the fresh direction the group took when he joined us in 1996 and made his first album with us, and then enjoyed over a quarter century the longest incumbent of any DP Guitarist and contributor to longest unchanged line-up since when Don Airy replaced jon sir – who retired in 2002 – to this day.
“I became aware first steve through the DIXIE DREGSespecially the train ‘Take it off the top’ that was the theme tune for Tom Vance‘s BBC rock show and really impressed me. Little did I know then that one day I would be lucky enough to be on stage with him steve and enjoy his consummate skills up close and dangerous.
“I found him to be a very kind man, full of ideas and patient to see them develop. He always said ‘You never know until you try’ humor and he always gave the best he could.
“steve has a legacy with DARK PURPLE that can never be forgotten and that smile will be missed.
“It would be wrong to comment on his personal circumstances, suffice it to say he is in a bad place right now but is dealing with it bravely and 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 musicians DARK PURPLE.
“After two years off-the-road due to quarantines everywhere, we’ve 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 we’re much closer to the end, and that triggers an urgency that can’t be tamed.
“Out of steveFrom my point of view, I can only imagine that there is no “nice” way to move on with a new guy, but it’s either there or it’s over, as the lack of momentum gradually became something more significant; it felt final.
“The best way I can describe it is by using 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.”
DARK PURPLE drummer Ian Pace said: “From now on steve joined us VIOLET, 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 put 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 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 sticks to this truth with his wife Janinethe health situation. We will miss him.”
DARK PURPLE bassist Roger Glover said: “In the early 80’s on tour with RAINBOW In Germany, I heard “Choose Baroque” until DIXIE DREGS on a car radio. I loved it and bought it straight away “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.
“DARK PURPLE was at a crucial juncture in the mid-1990s and needed to innovate. steve was an inspired choice and brought us his talent and boundless imagination – proven through ‘Perpendicular’, a favorite album of mine – which allows 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.”
DARK PURPLE keyboardist Don Airy said, “Thank you steve for being such a shining light to me both musically and personally over the past (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 you further down the road.”
Morse effectively adopted Ritchie Blackmore‘s DARK PURPLE Slot in 1994 and has been in the group longer than ever since richie.
MorseHis solo career spans rock, country, funk, jazz, classical and fusion. He began playing guitar at age 11 and later attended the University of Miami’s School of Music, where he majored in classical guitar and jazz. As “Guitarist’s Guitarist” he was voted “Best Overall Guitarist”. guitar player Polled readers for five consecutive years before being disqualified from opening the award to other musicians and being included in their Gallery Of Greats. His work has received seven Grammy Awards nominations and he has appeared on over 200 albums.
DARK PURPLE‘s latest album, “Turn to Crime”appeared in November about earMUSIC. The LP contains DARK PURPLE‘s versions of great rock classics and musical gems – including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Segler, CREAM and The Yardbirds – carefully selected by each member of the band.
Deep Purple announce that Steve Morse will be stepping down from the band after being their guitarist for more than a year.
Posted by Deep Purple on Saturday July 23, 2022