After years of being completely overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, pioneering hard rockers Deep Purple received word last week that they are among the nominees this year. But if you're hoping for an epic reunion jam on 'Highway Star' at this year's ceremony, not so fast -- in a new interview, former Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore says he has no interest in whether the band is inducted or not.

"Personally, I couldn't care less," the guitarist tells Billboard. "I would never go. I'm not really a fan of that stuff. Considering some of the people that are in the Hall of Fame, I'm not sure if it's a good idea, so I don't care one way or the other, actually."

Blackmore joined Deep Purple in 1968, and his innovative approach to guitar, which fused elements of classical music with traditional blues rock, helped propel the band to massive commercial success. His heavy intro riff to 'Smoke on the Water' is widely considered one of the key riffs in the history of heavy rock. But after a decades-long on-again, off-again relationship with the band, Blackmore departed for good in 1993, and has since been increasingly reluctant to even talk about Deep Purple in interviews.

The group have been eligible for the Hall since 1993, and this is their first nomination. Blackmore acknowledges the honor is long overdue, but says that he is simply not interested, preferring to focus on Blackmore's Night, his Renaissance folk project with his wife Candice Night.

"I think our fans seem to care more than I do," Blackmore observes. "They're always saying, 'You should be in the Hall of Fame. You should be in this, you should be in that.' If I can pay the bills, that's all I care about."

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