Ian Gillan has categorically ruled out the possibility of a Deep Purple reunion with Ritchie Blackmore.
Since Ritchie dipped his toes back into the world of rock last summer with his latest incarnation of Rainbow, there’s been speculation bubbling about whether he could reunite with Deep Purple.
Despite Ian Paice saying in April that he wouldn’t consider reuniting with Ritchie as you “can’t guarantee every day with him is gonna be fun”, Ritchie himself reignited the rumour mill in July when he said “I would be available for one (Deep Purple) show, for nostalgic reasons.”
Emphatically shutting down the idea, in a fresh interview with The Vinyl Guide podcast, Ian Gillan said that "the rain stopped and the sun came out for the band" when Ritchie quit in 1993.
Deep Purple in 1972 © Getty Images
Asked about a potential reunion with Ritchie, Ian said: "Well, you know, he’s has been playing minstrel music for twenty-five years nearly. He got together Rainbow for a few shows recently. I've got some friends, or acquaintances, to whom Ritchie is god, an absolute god, and they think he's not playing rock and roll like he used to.
“And I'm putting that as kindly as I can, because Ritchie and I are getting on okay these days; there's no great animosity anymore, and I've publicly wished him well as often as I can. We nearly had dinner together a couple of times.
"The answer to your question is no. There's no reason (to reform). Put it this way, for all those years, the wounds would have healed within a year. But if somebody keeps poking a wound, it won't heal. It won't if you keep poking it with a stick.
"We're happily married now. Ritchie and the band got divorced. He walked out in the middle of a tour and the rain stopped and the sun came out for the band. It was like that."
Ritchie Blackmore in 2016 © Getty Images
Commenting on when Ritchie walked out on Deep Purple, Ian added: "Ritchie was a difficult character; there's no denying that. And suddenly Ian Paice came alive again. He was a happy guy. And Jon Lord regained his gravitas. And Roger (Glover) came out from under a rock. Everyone started being their normal person again. It was a big cloud on the social and musical and professional scene.
"As Ian Paice puts it best: why would I go back to that misery again? It's like somebody saying, 'You're happily married now, but we want you to get back together with your divorced wife, with which there's been much bitterness over the years — just for the sake of the fans. It's not gonna happen."
Ritchie, of course, didn’t even attend Deep Purple’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in April 2016, releasing an ominous statement on Facebook at the time that read: "I have my reason for not attending the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, although I appreciate the award."
Deep Purple head out on a five-date UK tour in November with support from Europe. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
It calls in at the following dates:
Birmingham Barclaycard Arena – Fri 17th
Manchester Arena – Sat 18th
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – Mon 20th
Glasgow SSE Hydro – Wed 22nd
London The O2 – Thu 23rd