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Gillan went to pub during Blackmore guitar solos

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan has recalled how he used to go to the pub during bandmate Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar solos.

And the only thing that stopped him was the group’s success as the 1960s and 1970s progressed, making it more difficult to pull off the sneaky feat.

Blackmore bowed out of Purple in 1993. Recent attempts by David Coverdale to reunite the MkIII lineup as a tribute to late keyboardist Jon Lord failed to work out.

Gillan tells Radio Rock: “I love extended solos. I used to like them in the old days a lot – because it used to give me time to go to the pub for a drink.

“I used to have to tell one of the roadies, ‘When Ritchie looks like he’s nearly finished, come to the pub and let me know.’ Every night; I’m serious.”

He describes Blackmore’s solos as “his personal orgy” and adds: “In England there used to be pubs near the stage door. But when we started playing bigger places, of course, you can’t leave the building.”

And in those situations, he says, “We used to play cards in the dressing room with the crew.”

Gillan last year discussed his long-standing disagreement with Blackmore, saying: “I was just as much of an asshole as Ritchie was – but Ritchie carried it on for a little longer.” Coverdale recently revealed details of Whitesnake’s The Purple Album, a tribute to his former band that came about after the reunion stalled.