When Ritchie Blackmore Called Out Ian Gillan’s Incompetence

The Deep Purple days, when Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan were both a part of the band, didn’t last very long as the musicians couldn’t get along. There were disagreements about where they wanted to take the band that eventually resulted in Ian getting fired from the band.

Ian told his side of the events and Blackmore’s ultimatum to the band last year in an interview with Spanish RockFM. He recalled:

“We had a meeting one day, and I said, ‘Why don’t we go to South America, Russia, all over the world, we’re a live band,’ and the next day Ritchie went to the management and said, ‘Well, it’s either him or me.’ So, they chose him, and that was fine.”

After a brief interlude with Deep Purple, the record label insisted that Ian return to the band or they wouldn’t carry on with the contract. After Gillan was back, Blackmore was not happy with how things were progressing.

During an interview with Guitar in 2010, Blackmore shared his side of the story of why he decided to quit the band in 1994 once again. The guitarist explained:

“I couldn’t work with [Ian] Gillan. I didn’t feel he was taking it seriously. He was forgetting words every night, partying in general, and just blowing his voice out. ‘I feel partying is great, but not at the expense of losing your voice.’ I said, ‘I’ll give you six weeks.'”

Even though Ritchie gave an ultimatum to the rest of the band, he was the one who eventually left Deep Purple and gave his position to Joe Satriani. The guitarist continued:

“They said, ‘Well, then we’ll have to break up.’ And I said, ‘You don’t have to break up. I’ll stay and do the rest of the tour and then you can get another guitar player and carry on.’ After I left, they got Joe Satriani, but something went down with Joe that he didn’t like. So he left.”

Even though Blackmore’s departure from Deep Purple wasn’t ideal, Ian also told Spanish RockFM that he and the guitarist were on better terms since the 90s. However, he also set the record straight that they won’t be reuniting anytime soon.

You can read Ritchie Blackmore’s 2010 interview with Guitar here.