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DEEP PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse says that he “combined” the playing styles of Ritchie Blackmore and Joe Satriani when he first joined the band more than 25 years ago.

Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including “Smoke On The Water”, but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure.

Morse effectively took over Blackmore‘s slot in 1994 and has since been in the group longer than Ritchie.

Asked in a new interview with FOX17 Rock & Review if replacing Blackmore in PURPLE was “intimidating,” Morse replied (see video below): “Actually, technically, I replaced Joe Satriani, because he finished the tour — they had some Japanese dates or something, and he finished the tour with them. And then they gave me tapes of Joe playing the set and Ritchie playing the set, so I kind of made this character of combining the two of them and their approach to the first gig. That’s what I brought — to make the other guys feel comfortable. I met them 24 hours before we did the first show. And my job was to be ready and go up and play.

“The first thing we did — thank god — was just… We were at the coliseum and we had the roadies set up the stuff in the dressing room — small amps, drums and everything. Ian Gillan was playing conga drums, and we just jammed. I’d play something and Jon Lord would play it back. I was, like, ‘Wow! He heard that, like a jazz keyboard player.’ And I’d play it back differently, and he’d play it back differently, then add do it. And I went, Wow! This is cool. We’re really jamming.’ So I was surprised by how good the band was, and they don’t like me to say that. But actually, I was surprised. Because a lot of people can live off their name and so forth and get soft, but they were going for it, and it felt so comfortable.

“Anyway, so I kind of combined those two guys’ approach on some of the classic things. And, of course, we’ve been doing originals also.”

Blackmore was absent from DEEP PURPLE‘s 2016 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He later posted a statement on his Facebook page in which he said: “I have my reason for not attending the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, although I appreciate the award.”

Despite Blackmore being a no-show at the Rock Hall, he was given several shoutouts during the induction speeches of the DEEP PURPLE members in attendance. In addition, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, who inducted DEEP PURPLE into the institution, praised “Ritchie fucking Blackmore” for one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time on “Smoke On The Water”.

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