Deep Purple veteran Steve Morse has revealed that he sought to combine the playing styles of original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and touring member Joe Satriani during his first gig with the band.
In a recent interview with FOX 17 Rock & Review, Morse was asked if he found replacing Blackmore "intimidating", to which he replied: "Actually, technically, I replaced Joe Satriani, because he finished the tour – they had some Japanese dates, and he finished the tour with them.
"They gave me tapes of [both] Joe and Ritchie playing the set, so I kind of made this character of combining the two of them and their approach to the first gig. That's what I brought – to make the other guys feel comfortable. I met them 24 hours before we did the first show. And my job was to be ready and go up and play."
Morse's strategy clearly worked, as the band's early jams proved successful.
"The first thing we did – thank god – we were at the coliseum and we had the roadies set up the stuff in the dressing room – small amps, drums and everything," he continues. "Ian Gillan was playing conga drums, and we just jammed.
"I'd play something and Jon Lord would play it back. I was, like, 'Wow! He heard that, like a jazz keyboard player.' And I'd play it back differently, and he'd play it back differently, then add do it. And I went, 'Wow! This is cool. We're really jamming.'
"So I was surprised by how good the band was, and they don't like me to say that. But actually, I was surprised. Because a lot of people can live off their name and so forth and get soft, but they were going for it, and it felt so comfortable."
Blackmore co-founded Deep Purple in 1968, and was the band's guitarist until his departure in 1993. He's credited as writing many of their most iconic riffs, including Smoke on the Water. Satriani took Blackmore's place at the tail end of 1993, until Morse stepped in as a full-time member in 1994.
Deep Purple released their 21st studio album, Whoosh!, on August 7 2020.