Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan: It’s "too late" for Blackmore reunion

(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music - Getty: Gillan and Blackmore onstage together in 1985)

Ian Gillan says it’s now “too late” for Ritchie Blackmore to appear again onstage with Deep Purple.

Blackmore left the band for the final time in 1993 but reported last summer that he was open to the idea of playing one more show with Purple “for old times” but admitted it was unlikely to happen.

And in a recent interview, the subject again arose – but Gillan ruled out the possibility.

He tells Radio Rock: “Let me give you an example. Say you were 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 someone says, ‘We want you to get together with your old wife, and your new wife, all together, and we're going to 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 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.”

I think it's too late. We're thinking about the end now

Ian Gillan

Gillan adds: “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 going to be increasingly difficult as the years go by, because no one has much interest in that sort of thing.”

Gillan reports he and the band’s relationship with Blackmore is cordial, saying: “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. But I think it's too late. We're thinking about the end now. 

“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. 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."

He continues: ”We're so close to the end now – within a year or two, three, four. 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.”

Deep Purple are currently on The Long Goodbye tour in support of their latest album Infinite, which was released last year.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.