Ian Paice Shares How Joe Satriani Saved Deep Purple From Losing Their Audience

Deep Purple got a hit on their fame after Ritchie Blackmore quit the band in 1993, and Ian Paice recently stated that they would have lost their audience entirely if Joe Satriani hadn’t filled in for Blackmore.

Ritchie Blackmore was one of the founding members and the guitarist of the ‘Smoke on the Water’ band Deep Purple. He stated in several interviews that he just wasn’t happy with being in Deep Purple. This was apparent throughout his shows and especially his last show with the band. In 1993, Blackmore joined the band on stage only halfway through the show and didn’t put a lot of effort into his performance.

His reluctance was spotted by the audience and was reflected in the other band members’ performances. Deep Purple’s last remaining original member and the drummer Ian Paice recently recalled when the band had a hard time and almost called it a day. The guitarist’s disinterest brought the fans’ disinterest, and their audience had gotten smaller. Thus, Blackmore’s actions and eventually resignation were a traumatic experience for the band.

Apparently, Deep Purple was never concerned with producing ‘hit’ songs or albums. Paice stated that they just made albums, and if there were hits, it was considered something extra. Yet, after Blackmore’s actions, they were concerned about the band’s future because they were fading away.

At the lowest point of Deep Purple’s career, Joe Satriani stepped in as the touring guitarist and saved the band from a tragic downfall. Paice showed his gratitude towards Satriani and stated that the guitarist pulled them from darkness, becoming the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ which ignited their happiness once again.

Here is what Paice said about Satriani saving Deep Purple:

“I don’t think we were worried about having hits in the first place. It was a time when pop bands made singles and rock bands made albums. So long as we kept coming with albums that people seemed to like, we weren’t worried about having a Top 40 hit; if they came along, it was like a bonus.

Now, the only time we got concerned was towards the end of Ritchie’s tenure with the band, as he was losing interest and the performances from the band were not great because you need everybody helping each other out; you can’t be a passenger. And we just saw the audiences getting smaller and less impressed, and that was worrying.

And when Ritchie decided to leave, that was pretty traumatic, because we didn’t know what to do then. And had we not been contracted to have to go to Japan, it might all have fallen to bits then. But we had to go to Japan, with the wonderful Joe Satriani, and it proved that there is life after even somebody as great as Ritchie is.

He didn’t wanna be there, but it was just as much our band as it was his. And we were still having fun. We started to have fun again when Joe turned up and just became a fifth member of the band, pulling his weight. So that was the light at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch the full interview below.