I wrote a blog last week in which I described Jeff Beck as "the world's greatest living rock guitarist," and I didn't get too much flack for that claim. What surprised me the most is that I didn't get any outraged commenters hollering: "You're full of it, Newt! That title belongs to Steve Morse!"
Morse is the phenomenal American picker who, after making a name for himself in the Dixie Dregs, replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple back in 1994. He's now been in the band longer than Blackmore ever was, and—as brilliantly talented as Morse is—there are still some folks clamouring for the return of the notoriously moody Man in Black. Get over it, people. He's not returning to the lineup. He's off playing medieval music in a field somewhere.
In a recent interview with MusicRadar.com, Morse talked about his relationship with Blackmore—or lack of it, to be more precise—and his current place in the band.
"I've had no contact with him," said Morse, "but he has made some comments which I thought were remarkably”¦restrained. He's certainly had perfect opportunities to say whatever he wants, negative or otherwise. I realize I could be one giant target for him. And not just Ritchie, but for many, many fans out there. There's still lots of people who want the band to be the original guys. I understand all of that. But I'm really relieved that he hasn't said anything harsh about me. The most he ever said, and I'm paraphrasing, is something like, 'This guy plays very well and does a lot of different things. I'm not sure if he's right for Deep Purple”¦' He said something to that effect.
"But you know, how can anybody replace Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple? You can't. All you can do is come in, do what you do and change the band here and there. You can't be a clone”¦and you shouldn't. What Ritchie did has been done. I do what I do. There you go!"
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