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Deep Purple Steve’s Morse Opens Up About ‘NOW What?!’

Jo Hale, Getty Images

Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse recently chatted with Something Else with respect to  the group’s new album ’NOW What?!’ as well as his place in Deep Purple’s history.

‘NOW What?!’ is the classic rock band’s first studio record since 2005 and is the fifth Deep Purple record on which Morse has performed. Despite the guitarist wanting to stay true to the original spirit that former guitarist Richie Blackmore brought to classics such as ‘Smoke On The Water,’ Morse shares that he also injects some of his own personal touches to the songs.

“I’ve gotten a little more rigid about trying to learn the original, exactly, and then straying from it,” Morse says. “My philosophy is that I want to approach the song as a fan, but at the same time have enough surprises, or spontaneity or personality, something that suits me to where you can tell that it’s not Ritchie playing.”

Morse then raises an interesting point, noting that his tenure in Deep Purple has been longer than one would expect.

“You know, I’ve played more gigs than any guitar player that’s ever been with Deep Purple. But I will always be the new guy, because of that one classic period. It was so huge, a big part of the encyclopedia of rock. I want to show some level of respect for what’s come before me, but sort of having a sense of ownership, too. I’m trying to pay tribute to the music that’s been written, but at the same time make it relate to me now.”

Produced by Bob Ezrin, Morse shares that Ezrin pushed him in new directions when it came to laying down the guitar tracks for the group’s latest record.

“One of the challenges was trying to make Bob happy with the guitar,” Morse says.” For me, it isn’t easy. I think he’s used to David Gilmour’s style of ultra-melodic playing, and I stick in more technical riffs in between any melodic things that I do. He’s very conscious of me sounding too much like my technical self. He really wanted me to sound more melodic, and he really pushed it — and I think it worked. That’s why I was heavily in favor of Bob being involved, because we’ve had plenty of experience doing albums, but what we didn’t have was somebody from the outside who could say no. Somebody that we acquiesced the authority to, and elected to be the judge. Someone who had a vision from beginning to end. I think it does work better, if you can all deal with it.”

Next: Top 10 Deep Purple Songs

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