Ritchie Blackmore’s Only Condition To Stay In Deep Purple

Being a member of a band is never an easy job, especially when it comes to handling different personalities. Even if it can be musically satisfying when you share a creative vision, character differences might easily get in the way and can create endless tension between the bandmates. In such circumstances, it naturally becomes much harder to have a peaceful environment where each member can feel comfortable.

A band is pretty much a management of egos, where everyone needs to be more or less on the same page on certain issues. However, personalities will still clash, and heads will butt, and if it gets too much, people will start to leave. Besides the character differences, separate musical expectations and business-related things may also become reasons for parting ways.

Considering the dynamics of a band, one or two members are generally more dominant in making decisions regarding the act’s future. In the case of Deep Purple, it is not surprising that Ritchie Blackmore, as a founding member, held a powerful position during his stint with the band. So, it wasn’t tough for him to impose some conditions and get his ideas approved by other members.

During the recording of their seventh studio album, ‘Who Do We Think We Are,’ Deep Purple was already in a state of constant turmoil. Due to their internal conflicts, many members didn’t talk to each other, making the whole process even more challenging. Following the album, Ian Gillan, who was not on good terms with Ritchie Blackmore, left the band. Yet, he wouldn’t be the only one walking away.

The internal strife during the album’s making also left Blackmore suspicious about his desire to stay in the band. He was tired from all that turmoil but still agreed to stay a member on condition that the band decided to hire a new bass player instead of Roger Glover. Ritchie gave some details about the background of that turbulent period while speaking to Trouser Press magazine in 1978.

“I wanted to leave with Ian [Paice] at the time because we’d both had enough,” the guitarist said about his mood after the recording of ‘Who Do We Think We Are.’ “I am a very sensitive kind of person, believe it or not. I was working too hard and couldn’t take the strain. I had hepatitis and was in the hospital for a couple of months, which was a good rest for me; I needed it.”

Blackmore continued, sharing his only condition to stay in Deep Purple, “I said the only way I would stay was if we completely changed the band: ‘Get a new bass player, and I’ll stay.’ Ian and Jon said OK. Glenn [Hughes from Trapeze] came in, so I stayed. Ian and I were gonna form another band with Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy, actually.”

Thus, Roger Glover eventually had to part ways with the band, even though it is unclear why Ritchie Blackmore wanted him to leave. In a previous interview, Glover revealed that it was a business-related decision rather than a personal thing, as Blackmore had told him. It seems like the guitarist had really no personal or musical issues with Roger considering that he chose to work with him again in Rainbow.

There are also some rumors among the fans that Ritchie wanted Glover to leave because he feared he would cause trouble due to his close relationship with Ian Gillan. Whatever the reason, Blackmore made the remaining band members agree to his terms and got what we wanted in the end.