Joe Satriani Shares Why He Turned Down Deep Purple’s Offer To Replace Ritchie Blackmore


Joe Satriani recently spoke about briefly joining Deep Purple during an appearance on 955KLOS. The guitarist gave reasons why he didn’t want to replace Ritchie Blackmore initially.

Although Deep Purple went through many line-up changes, its members have always been acclaimed musicians and were able to carry the band to a high spot in the rock and roll industry. Their most commercially successful line-up with Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, and Ritchie Blackmore, was active from 1969 to 1973, 1984 to 1989, and again, from 1992 to 1993.

By 1993, Ritchie Blackmore became an icon guitarist in the rock world with his guitar skills. That year, the band members had fallout concerning the music, and because of creative differences, Blackmore quit the band amid a European tour which put the band in a tight position.

They decided to replace Blackmore with 15-time Grammy Award winner Joe Satriani. Satriani is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time, and he saved the band’s tour when he joined Deep Purple at the time. The band members wanted Satriani to join the band, but his record company prevented him from being a permanent band member.

Regardless of his lost opportunity to become an official member of Deep Purple, it was an exciting experience for the guitarist. Satriani recently spoke about turning the offer down just because he thought he couldn’t replace someone as iconic as Blackmore. Fortunately for the band and its fans, his opinions changed later when his desire to be a part of Deep Purple surpassed his worries to replace Blackmore.

The guitarist didn’t have much time to learn his parts, but once he was in the rehearsal room, he was mesmerized by how great the band sounded. Moreover, Satriani stated that it was like hearing Deep Purple on a record when they started playing. He continued to praise and show gratitude to the band for including him in and making this short period overall a great experience.

Here is what Satriani said about replacing Blackmore:

“When I got the call to replace Ritchie in the band, I turned it down immediately. Because I just thought nobody could replace Ritchie Blackmore, you can’t do that. Of course, I changed my mind because I thought I really wanted to play with these guys. I’m willing to accept abuse from the fans if I could get on stage or in a room with these guys and play.

I wound up getting some cassettes from Roger, a week before I had to fly to Japan to start the tour. I was really cramming, and the cassettes I think, were from a Stuttgart show where Richie had left halfway through the show, so there’s a guitar for the first cassette, and then the second cassette comes in, and there’s no guitar. That’s what I had to learn to show from there.

So I get to Tokyo, and we have one rehearsal in this medium-sized, very acoustically dead room. The band is set up, just like they would be on stage. I plug in, and we played ‘Highway Star,’ and I could not believe it because, in that room, that band sounded exactly like Machine Head. It was freaking me out. They were so good, but they sounded like each person. John, Ian, and Roger just sounded exactly like they to on that album. I was so impressed with their musicianship their kindness, their acceptance of this kid from Long Island.”

You can watch the full interview below.