It seems that guitarist Ritchie Blackmore didn't break up with just Deep Purple two decades ago. He also broke up with drummer Ian Paice, once his oldest friend in the band. But not anymore, Paice said. "I don’t have his phone number, I don’t have contact with him," he told TeamRock Radio. "Friends keep in contact."

Blackmore and Paice co-founded Deep Purple in March 1968 along with the late Jon Lord, bassist Nick Simper and singer Rod Evans. This group would take a rocked-up cover of Joe South's 'Hush' to No. 4, creating a launching pad for Deep Purple's better-known later lineups.

Blackmore and Paice played together in Deep Purple until 1975, and then again between 1984-93. After this second, more acriminous split, Blackmore jump-started Rainbow and has, more recently, co-led Blackmore's Night, a renaissance-themed folk band. Meanwhile, Deep Purple have continued forward with guitarist Steve Morse, most recently releasing 'Now What?!' in 2013.

Apparently, no one has heard from the band's erstwhile original guitarist in a while. "It’s sad because it’s unnecessary," Paice said. "I hope I’m wrong. If Ritchie reads this, and gives me a call and says, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I’ll go, ‘That’s fantastic.’ But I’m not hanging by the phone."