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Deep Purple Keyboardist on Rock Hall Snub: ‘I Don’t Think the Band Really Care’

Deep Purple
Jo Hale, Getty Images

It’s been an up-and-down year between Deep Purple fans and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — the band was finally nominated for induction into the Hall, but didn’t make it in. Keyboard player Don Airey seems to be taking it all in stride, though; as he put it during a recent interview, “I don’t think the band really care, actually.”

Speaking with the Straits Times (via Blabbermouth), Airey insisted, “It’d be nice but there’s been no ‘awwwww’, no disappointment. The gig’s the thing with this band, the next concert. That’s what it’s all about and we’re looking forward to Singapore.”

Airey went on to comment on this year’s Hall of Fame class, including Randy Newman and Donna Summer. “Newman’s fantastic but he’s not really a rock act, is he? Neither is Donna Summer, although she made one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard. If you’re going to have a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, let’s have some rock and rollers in there.”

Recalling the “ripple of excitement” that passed through the band after their nomination was announced, Airey said it quickly faded when singer Ian Gillan pointed out, “Don’t worry, we won’t get in.” And Gillan echoed those sentiments during a chat with Noisecreep (also via Blabbermouth), insisting that “These awards and honors are usually not decided by the fans, but by a cartel of influential people.” Still, he admitted, “It hasn’t affected our career but it does concern the fans — that’s who I feel for.”

One of those fans is Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, who got on his Purple soapbox during a recent Radio.com interview (yet again via Blabbermouth). “How many people started playing guitar because of the riff to ‘Smoke On The Water?’” Ian pointed out. “You can pinpoint that riff as the starting point to more guitar players than any other song in the history of rock. So it’s just amazing to me that a band like Deep Purple isn’t in.”

Equally offensive to Ian is the continued exclusion of Kiss. As he argued, “I was reading an interview with someone from the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, and he said that one of the main criteria to be considered into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame is what influence have they had on music? Kiss has influenced bands that are already in the Hall of Fame! They’re one of the most influential bands of the last forty years!”

Next: The 100% Fan-Voted UCR Hall of Fame Election

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