By Brian Ives (Radio.com) and Alisha Jackson (WZLX, Boston)
Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan doesn’t seem overly impressed with the band’s long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In a letter posted on his website, he expressed annoyance with the Hall of Fame for opting not to include two of Purple’s current members – guitarist Steve Morse (who has been with the band since 1994) and keyboardist Don Airey (who joined in 2001) – in the induction.
In his letter, Gillan said,
“Putting the past shenanigans to one side, the induction is not – in clear fact – for Deep Purple. It is an arbitrary selection of past members, which excludes Steve Morse and Don Airey; both of whom have been with the living breathing DP for a very long time. Obviously this is very silly, and so my response is quite simple: ‘Thank you very much’.”
He then added, “And….what a coincidence…This morning I got an invitation to a wedding from some dear old friends. Unfortunately my family was not invited and they said that I would be required to sit next to my ex (we divorced decades ago) at the wedding feast. They were shocked when I called to thank them and decline the invitation.” Which may have been a cryptic way of saying, if he his only option is to play with past bandmates, and not current ones, he’d rather not attend. Which doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a Purple performance: original singer Rod Evans is also included (although per drummer Ian Paice’s recent Rolling Stone interview, no one seems to know his whereabouts), as is Gillan’s replacement, David Coverdale.
For his part, Paice seemed unsure whether the band’s former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would show up, but he also seemed annoyed that only some members were included. “All these people, from the very beginning to the current lineup, [have] helped maintain Purple as a viable touring entity that a lot of people around the world really enjoy. So to pick some over others, I wouldn’t have done it that way.”