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Ian Gillan Comments on Deep Purple’s Decision to Perform With Current Lineup at Rock Hall Induction

Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan has issued a statement regarding the band’s decision to perform with only the current lineup when it’s inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April — a decision that prompted former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore to claim that he was barred from playing with the group he helped form.

“We were faced with a hard decision when we heard about the Hall of Fame inductions,” said Gillan (via Blabbermouth). “It was a surprise to us that [current guitarist] Steve Morse and [keyboardist] Don Airey did not qualify as inductees. Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover decided upon the offer of a compromise which has been agreed with the Hall of Fame and enables us to turn up on the night. Deep Purple inductees will accept the awards and then the living breathing Deep Purple will perform. “It should be stressed that there is no slight intended nor any desire to upset anyone regarding this decision. it is purely a mark of respect to Steve and Don.”

Blackmore’s Facebook page earlier stated that the guitarist “was honored by the offer of induction. He was discussing the possibility of attending, until we received correspondence from the President of the Rock Hall of Fame, who said that Bruce Payne, management for the current Deep Purple Touring Band, had said ‘No……….!!!!!’ Therefore, Ritchie will not be attending the ceremony. He sincerely thanks all the fans that voted for him for their support.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Joel Peresman later told Rolling Stone that he contacted the band’s manager, who told him that “they were unwilling to perform with Ritchie. We’ve had many situations like this in the past and many times these things get worked out for one night, and then they go back to their neutral corners the next day.”

Peresman stressed, however, that Blackmore wasn’t banned from the inductions. “I don’t know how that impacts his ability to play even if he did come, but there is no way he is banned from the ceremony,” he noted. “That notion we would ever do that is patently untrue. We’ve never banned any inductee. He is invited to come enjoy the evening and accept the award.”

When Deep Purple are inducted into the Rock Hall on April 8, past and current members Blackmore, Gillan, Paice, Glover, David Coverdale, Rod Evans, Glenn Hughes and Jon Lord will be the specific members whose names will be announced at the ceremony. (More than a dozen members have been part of Deep Purple since their formation in 1968.)

“I spoke with David Coverdale last week and he expressed complete understanding of the way it was being handled,” Gillan concluded in his statement. “Thanks, David. You’re a gent. Outside of this event, there are no circumstances under which a ‘reunion’ could or would take place. So, let’s all get up there, shake hands, smile for the cameras and get it done with dignity and respect for all the existing and past members of a very special family.”

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