Deep Purple are almost ready to begin recording the follow-up to 2013's Now What?!

The news comes courtesy of guitarist Steve Morse, who shed some light on the band's upcoming plans during a recent appearance on the GuitCast podcast. "We’ve been working on the material, several writing sessions, and we have one more session before we actually start recording," revealed Morse, who predicted that "the recording is gonna be about the middle of January."

Work on the next album, which will be the band's 20th studio LP, comes during a period of commercial rebirth for Deep Purple, who charted in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years with the Now What?! record. They put out a pair of live albums, From the Setting Sun ... (In Wacken) and ... To the Rising Sun (In Tokyo), earlier this fall — and as bassist Roger Glover told Ultimate Classic Rock prior to those releases, plans for a return to the studio have been in the works for a while.

Cautioning that they were "still in the discovery process" with new material, Glover said producer Bob Ezrin, who also helmed Now What?!, was "raring to go" on the next album. "He worked us. I think he inspired us. His two words were, 'Stretch out.' I think we did stretch out," said Glover of the Now What?! sessions. "We recorded all at the same time, none of this doing bits here and bits there and adding it all together and making it whole. It was a whole right from the beginning. It was just the whole band in the studio, playing guitar. It’s simple, you know. It’s almost like it should be, or it used to be."

Interest in Deep Purple seems likely to remain high in 2016, as the band were recently announced as nominees for the next round of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and what better way to celebrate receiving one of rock's highest honors than putting a new album in stores?

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