After being part of the band for 28 years, guitarist Steve Morse has officially left Deep Purple to care for his wife Janine, who has stage 4 cancer. He shared a message with fans and his bandmates expressed their support in a long and touching statement.
In late March Morse, who joined Deep Purple in 1994, revealed he would not be touring with the band for the foreseeable future while guitarist Simon McBride (Sweet Savage, The Don Airey Band, Snakecharmer) took the role.
“Steve’s personal situation has kept him from committing to the band’s program throughout 2022 and beyond. A few months ago, Steve openly shared with the band’s fans the sad fact that his wife , Janine, is battling cancer and, in her own words, ‘I just have to be there with her,'” reads part of the statement the veteran rock band shared on Facebook. Deep Purple continues, “Steve will be greatly missed by the band, crew, management, label and all who have had the pleasure of working with him over the years.”
Morse remains upbeat, grateful for decades on stage and in the studio with Deep Purple, having performed on seven original studio albums and, most recently, the cover collection turn to crime. “As Janine adjusts to her limits, she’s able to do a lot on her own,” notes Morse, who then exclaims, “so we’ll try to play shorter gig tours in close quarters with friends to hopefully get us both out of the house!”
Vocalist Ian Gillan, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Roger Glover and keyboardist Don Airey also shared their own posts, recalling warm memories of Morse as an inspirational musician and a man of good character.
Read the full statement directly below.
Loudwire wishes Steve and Janine well.
Statement from Deep Purple on the departure of Steve Morse
Deep Purple announces that Steve Morse will be retiring from the band, after having been its guitarist for more than a quarter of a century.
Steve’s personal situation has prevented him from committing to the band’s program throughout 2022 and beyond. A few months ago, Steve openly shared with the band’s fans the sad fact that his wife, Janine, is battling cancer and, in his own words, “I just have to be there with her.”
Since joining the band in 1994, Steve has written and recorded eight studio albums with the band:
Rapture of the Deep
turn to crime
Additionally, Steve has also recorded numerous live records with Deep Purple over the years.
Steve will be greatly missed by the band, crew, management, record label and all who had the pleasure of working with him over the years.
Steve has always been extremely grateful for the support and love of Deep Purple fans around the world.
A true master…
In the words of Steve Morse:
Last fall, I suddenly left the purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis. Almost a year later, we are learning to accept aggressive stage 4 cancer and chemotherapy treatment for the rest of his life. We both miss gigs, but I just couldn’t commit to long or far tours, because things can change quickly back home. I suggested hiring a replacement guitarist last fall, hoping we might see the miraculous cancer cure we’ve all heard about. Over time, I could see how things were going, after 28 years in the band.
I already played my last show with Purple in Florida during the Rock Legends Cruise. I want to thank the listeners who so strongly supported the live music and turned every dress rehearsal show into a thunderous and exciting experience. I will miss everyone in the band and team, but being Janine’s helper and advocate has made a real difference in many key points.
As Janine adjusts to her limitations she is able to do a lot on her own, so we will try to play shorter gig tours close by with friends to hopefully get us both out of the house!
I know Simon has already nailed the gig, but now I’m handing over the keys to the vault that holds the secret to how Ritchie’s “Smoke on the Water” intro was recorded. Guess you have to shake the key just because I never opened it.
In the words of Ian Gillan:
In such circumstances it is normally difficult to find the right words, but not in the case of Steve Morse; I know what I mean.
He came from a different background to the rest of us in Deep Purple and yet his musical genius was somehow compatible and played a big part in the new direction the band took when he joined and made his first album with us in 1996, and then, for over a quarter of a century, enjoying the longest career of any DP guitarist and contributing to the longest enduring line-up, which began when Don Airey replaced Jon Lord – who retired in 2002 – to the present day.
I first discovered Steve through the Dixie Dregs, in particular the track “Take it off the Top” which was the theme of Tommy Vance’s rock show on the BBC and made a big impression on me. Little did I realize at the time that one day I would have the chance to take the stage with Steve and enjoy his consummate up close and dangerous skills.
I got to know him as a very nice man, full of ideas and who has the patience to see them develop. He said, ‘You never know until you try. We had fun discussing this approach, but mostly in a good mood and he always gave as well as he got.
Steve has a legacy with Deep Purple that can never be forgotten, and that smile will be missed. It would be wrong to comment on his personal situation, suffice it to say that he is in a bad place at the moment but that he is coping with it courageously and as best he can; we all admire his dedication; he was a strong family man all his life.
This all came at a terrible time for everyone, including fellow Deep Purple musicians. After two years away from the roads due to quarantines everywhere, we had to get back to what we do, which is playing live around the world and making music the way we always have. fact, since 1968. As we get older, we realize that we are much closer to the end, and that triggers an urgency that will not be tamed. From Steve’s perspective, I can only imagine there’s no “nice” way to go on with a new man, but it’s either that or the call someday, because the lack of momentum gradually became something more significant; it was over.
The best way to describe this is to use Steve’s own words; when I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird to be home while we were there, but “reality kicks in”…and that is what happened.
I can only put love and respect, and positive vibes to the memories of good times together.
In the words of Ian Paice:
From the moment Steve joined us in Purple, it was obvious that he could open up new musical possibilities for us. Like most great creative musicians, he has the ability to come up with musical ideas that no one else has thought of.
I think the easiest way to put it is that he “always thinks outside the box”. Not many of us can do that!
We learned that he is also an incredibly nice man, who puts up with our lack of knowledge of American sports teams and stars, and our continual conversation about British football (football to our American friends!), with great patience. But there is an important truth here and that is “family comes first”.
Steve adheres to this truth with the medical condition of his wife Janine. We will miss him.
In the words of Roger Glover:
In the early 80s, while on tour with Rainbow in Germany, I heard Dixie Dregs’ ‘Go for Baroque’ on a car radio. I was captivated and immediately bought Unsung Heroes. Then I bought Steve’s first solo album. What a guitarist. I never could have dreamed that twelve years later we would be in a band together.
Deep Purple were at a crossroads in the mid-90s and needed a refresh. Steve was an inspired choice and brought us his boundless talent and imagination – evidenced by “Purpendicular”, one of my favorite albums – allowing the band to begin an incredible journey for the next twenty-eight years… no small feat. He is a teacher, he has inspired us, me in particular, with his energy, encouragement and wisdom, and his contribution and legacy to this group is beyond words. He will be missed but our friendship will remain.
Unfortunately, life has intervened and different challenges await us. Janine needs him now, and my best wishes and thoughts go out to them.
In the words of Don Airey:
Thank you Steve for being such a shining light both musically and personally to me over the last (20!!) years. All I can do is wish you and Janine the best for the future in the new course life has taken you. I know it would take a lot more than that to extinguish your talent and your music, so hopefully we’ll see you a little further. Well done DA
There will be no further comments from the band. We kindly ask that you respect Steve and Janine’s privacy and keep them in your thoughts at this time.