Due to “a family matter,” guitarist Steve Morse will be taking a temporary hiatus from DEEP PURPLE live shows but remains a full member of the band. Steve‘s replacement for PURPLE‘s upcoming dates in May, June and July 2022 will be guitarist Simon McBride, who has previously toured with both Ian Gillan and Don Airey, among others.
Morse said in a statement: “Hello, everybody. I’ve just done a few gigs with the band, after years (!?) of not playing live. It’s a bittersweet, wonderful time to get together. However, my dear wife Janine is currently battling cancer. At this point, there are so many possible complications and unknowns, that whatever time we have left in our lives, I simply must be there with her.
“I am not leaving the band – I hope that after she gets a clean bill of health, I can re-join the tour. However, I am not seeing any likely situation which would allow me to do overseas touring in the immediate future.
“I continue to be privileged to be a part of the PURPLE family tree, and also to get to feel the amazing support of so many loyal fans and the rest of the band. There’s a certified world class guitarist ready to take over for the live shows whom everybody will surely be happy to hear.
“I appreciate all your sincere prayers for Janine and thank you all.”
Added the rest of the band: “All of our thoughts are with Janine during her fight against cancer and also with Steve while he supports his wife at a very difficult time. We hope that Steve will be able to join us back on the road later this year.”
McBride said: “I’m deeply honoured to be asked to stand-in for Steve and play for such an iconic rock band like DEEP PURPLE. They are amazing musicians and amazing people… I’m very excited to get out and play all those iconic songs and rock the stage with such legends. My thoughts are with Steve and Janine and their family.”
Morse effectively took over Ritchie Blackmore‘s DEEP PURPLE slot in 1994 and has since been in the group longer than Ritchie.
In a 1997 interview, Blackmore stated about Morse: “I’m just glad they [DEEP PURPLE] found a guitar player to carry on because I thought I was going to be shackled to this band for the rest of my life. It was like a ball-and-chain thing, and luckily, they said, ‘Well, we found someone.’ ‘Thank God, I can get out!’
“I haven’t listened much [to DEEP PURPLE‘s recent recordings]. I just know that Steve Morse [is a] brilliant player. I remember Steve Morse with the DIXIE DREGS; they’re fantastic.”
Morse‘s solo career has encompassed rock, country, funk, jazz, classical and fusion. Having started playing guitar around the age of 11, he later on attended University of Miami’s School of Music, where he studied classical guitar and jazz. A “guitarist’s guitarist”, he was voted “Best Overall Guitarist” in the Guitar Player Readers’ Poll for five consecutive years, before being removed from eligibility to open the award to other musicians, and being inducted into their Gallery Of Greats. His work has received seven Grammy Award nominations, and he has appeared on over 200 albums.
DEEP PURPLE‘s latest album, “Turning To Crime”, came out in November via earMUSIC. The LP contains DEEP PURPLE‘s versions of great rock classics and musical jewels — including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Seger, CREAM and THE YARDBIRDS — carefully chosen by each member of the band.