Deep Purple have announced that Simon McBride – who the band hired in March as a stand-in electric guitar player to replace Steve Morse, who took leave from the classic rock titans for family reasons – has fully joined the band as their permanent guitarist.
In a statement published on their website, the band said that they were "thrilled" that McBride – a veteran blues-rock guitarist – had agreed to join on a permanent basis.
"Simon’s playing is up there with the greats," the band said. "Of course, Steve can’t be replaced, the same as Ritchie [Blackmore], and Steve has a long legacy with Deep Purple. In Simon we have not found a replacement, but an extraordinarily talented and exciting guitarist in his own right.
"The reception from audiences over the summer has already been great and we are looking forward to the forthcoming dates in the UK and Europe across the rest of the year. It is clear that Simon also holds great respect for those before him. We are all excited for what the years to come hold for the band.”
“I’m very happy to be asked to join the band," added McBride in a statement of his own. "At the start of the pandemic, if someone would have said to me that I was going to be the new guitarist in Deep Purple I would have just laughed, but here we are and it’s happening.
"Deep Purple has a history of great guitarists so I’m very honored to be asked to be part of that. They are all amazing musicians and more importantly, I have become very good friends with the guys so I can’t wait to continue touring and even perhaps [do] some writing and recording.”
Steve Morse – who spent almost three decades as Deep Purple's resident six-string ace – initially said this spring that he was leaving the group temporarily to spend time with his wife, Janine, who is battling cancer.
“At this point,” Morse said at the time, “there are so many possible complications and unknowns, that whatever time we have left in our lives, I simply must be there with her. I am not leaving the band – I hope that after she gets a clean bill of health, I can re-join the tour.
“However, I am not seeing any likely situation which would allow me to do overseas touring in the immediate future. I continue to be privileged to be a part of the Purple family tree, and also to get to feel the amazing support of so many loyal fans and the rest of the band."
Purple's last album of original material was 2020's Whoosh!, with their most recent studio effort in general being 2021's all-covers Turning To Crime.