Steve Morse Exits Deep Purple
via Premier Guitar / Youtube
Deep Purple‘s lead guitarist Steve Morse has announced his permanent departure from the band to be able to focus on helping his wife, Janine, who is battling cancer.
Morse left in March saying that he was needed at home, Simon McBride had been filling in for the live shows since then. Now, the longtime guitarist has officially ended his 28-year tenure with the legendary band, who had retained the same lineup since keyboardist Don Airey replaced Jon Lord in 2002.
Morse explained in a statement posted to the band’s Facebook page:
“Last autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis. Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of her life.
“We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long or far-away tours, since things can change quickly at home. I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time went by, I could see the way things were heading though… I’ve already played my last show with Purple back in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise.”
His bandmates also left a message for him. Singer Ian Gillan added about Morse’s kindness and musical contributions:
“He’s in a bad place right now but dealing with it bravely and as best he can; we all admire his devotion; he’s been a strong family man all his life. As we get older, we realize that we’re much closer to the end, and that triggers an urgency that won’t be tamed. … I can only imagine that there is no possible ‘nice’ way of continuing with a new man, but it is either that or call it a day, because the lack of momentum was gradually becoming something more significant; it felt terminal.
“The best way I can describe this is by using Steve’s own words; when I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird being at home whilst we guys were out there, but ‘reality intervenes’…and that’s what has happened. I can only put out love and respect, and positive vibes at the memories of good times together.”
While, bassist Roger Glover said:
“He will be missed but our friendship will remain. … Janine needs him now, and my best wishes and thoughts go out to them.”
Drummer Ian Paice added:
“[T]here is one important truth here and that is, ‘family comes first.’ Steve is adhering to that truth with his wife Janine’s health situation. We will miss him.”
Finally, Airey’s message to Morse was:
“I know it would take a lot more than this to extinguish your talent and your music, so hopefully we’ll see you down the road a-piece.”