Ian Gillan has once again emphatically ruled out the possibility of a Deep Purple reunion with Ritchie Blackmore.
Speaking to Italy's Radio Rock FM 106.6 ahead of Deep Purple’s shows in Verona and Turin next week, Ian compared reuniting with Ritchie to opening an old wound and insisted that it’s “too late” now anyway.
Asked about the possibility of a reunion, Ian responded (via Blabbermouth): "Let me give you an example. Say you were divorced, say you got divorced, and there was acrimony and difficulty. And lots of relatives and children were affected, and life went on. Then you got married again. And then someone says, 'Oh, we want you to get together with your old wife, and your new wife, all together, and we're gonna have a wonderful time.' Can you imagine how difficult that is in human terms?
“Now, I understand that we're professionals and we have a kind of responsibility, but, to be honest, we have never, ever considered the commercial aspects or the fans' aspects or any of those things when we make decisions, because what we always do is what is most natural and follow our passion and hope that the audience will like it.”
He continued: "Everyone knows the history. Purple was on the downslope when Ritchie left, and with Steve (Morse), we got back on the upslope again. So, it would be, in the greatest scheme of things, impossible to do that. And I think it's gonna be increasingly difficult as the years go by, because no one has much interest in that sort of thing.
"We have no great passion or dislike for Ritchie — we're actually exchanging communications and ideas through our offices, so there's no nasty feelings left, I don't think, in that respect. But I think it's too late. We're thinking about the end now. And the other thing is it would just open the damn gates and all this whole damn thing would start all over again just when we put it to bed.
"As far as I know, everybody in the band would think that was a bad idea," Ian added. "And let's just let it rest. Let's just wish Ritchie well, and do what he does, and we'll do what we do. Things are going along very nicely now."
Ian said that requests for a Ritchie Blackmore reunion are "not something that we hear a lot about. It's just a small faction, a small number who would like this. And I don't think those are the guys that even come to the concerts; I don't believe that. This is just one of those chewy little nuggets of conversation that the journalists like to say.
"If you've got a wound and it's just about to heal up and it's got a nice scab on it, and you think in two or three days, that's gonna be completely healed, then somebody comes along and pokes it with a stick and it opens up again," he continued. "And that's what happens with the Ritchie-and-Deep Purple situation. Every time it starts to heal, somebody comes along and pokes it with a stick. So that's the issue.
"We're so close to the end now — within a year or two, three, four… I don't know. Who knows? But it's close. And I think probably, as Ian Paice said, we're happy now. It stopped raining. The sun's shining. Let's enjoy it."
Speaking in the documentary feature of Rainbow’s ‘Memories In Rock II’ CD/DVD package, Ritchie said that he believes a Deep Purple reunion would happen if managements, agents and promoters didn’t ‘complicate’ things.
"I would like to do one, maybe one show with the rest of Purple just to prove that we're not all hating each other," Ritchie said. "And just do that and go, 'Hey, everybody. It's just one show for all the Deep Purple fans that liked the Mark II lineup.'
“That was my idea in the beginning. But when you're talking to managements of Purple, it gets complicated. They want their money for this and that. So, it's not like you call up your old friends and just say, 'Hey, let's just have a good time and play. There's lots of fans that want to hear it.' Once you have managements and agents and promoters getting involved, it gets so complicated that everybody just calls back and says, 'It's too complicated.'
“So, I wouldn't mind doing one show with all the old guys, and that's it - call it a day. Just for the fans. It's not something I need to do. But I don't mind playing just to show the people that we're still friends.
“We're older, and with the passing of Jon (Lord, Deep Purple keyboardist), you never know who's gonna pass next. And it would just be a friendly get-together. But as you might know, in this business, nothing works around friendship - it's all about money and business. And unfortunately, we'd have to deal with people that were going to make money out of the deal. That's always a problem."
In other Ian Gillan news, the singer is releasing a new covers album with his boyhood band The Javelins on 31st August.
Paying tribute to music legends such as Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley, the 16-track album was recorded at the Chameleon Studios in Hamburg over just five days.
For more information on the release click here.