Steve Morse confirms upcoming Deep Purple studio project, even as Flying Colors debuts

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Even as Steve Morse and Flying Colors prepare to release their self-titled debut later this month, the guitarist confirms that Deep Purple are in the early stages of a new studio project as well.

“There is one coming up,” Morse says. “The way we do it is that we record some ideas without vocals and then we present the ideas to (longtime lead vocalist and lyricist) Ian (Gillan). There is more writing sessions scheduled in May, and then we will start recording in June and July.”

Meanwhile, Flying Colors — faturing a new prog-rock supergroup featuring ex-Spock’s Beard frontman Neal Morse and ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, among others — is set for release on March 26, 2012 in the UK and on March 27 in America.

Fitting side projects in, even ones as intriguing as that one, has proven to be challenge. Deep Purple’s touring schedule, even after the band moved into its fifth decade, remains one of the most rigorous in rock.

“I don’t think Deep Purple can keep up the level of touring that we do, forever,” Morse says, in an interview with Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited. “I have always pushed them, sometimes too hard, for some control in the scheduling so that I can book stuff when there is a touring gap. The problem I keep running into is that when a gap becomes available, then it is too late to book the dates for my solo stuff. I don’t find out about the dates being totally open until pretty late in the game. That is my only complaint with Deep Purple; I wish I had more control over the schedule. I think it is naturally going to slow down, somewhat.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Neal Morse talks about working with Spock’s Beard again on ‘Testimony 2,’ a fun sideman gig with Eric Burden and his on-going love affair with the Fab Four.]

Over nearly two decades with Deep Purple, Morse has become comfortable enough to express such sentiments, even though the band boasts a host of legacy members like Gillan — who is in his third stint with the band, having been a member from 1969-73, 1984-89 and 1992 through the present. Bassist Roger Glover played from 1969–1973, and then returned in 1984. Drummer Ian Paice has been in every incarnation of the group, dating back to its inception.

“I have been with them for 18 years,” Morse says. “If I have a difference of opinion with them when writing music, I don’t think about who it is that I am arguing with, I just think, ‘You’re wrong.’ They think the same way about me. We are just like brothers in that sense. We have differences of opinion, as things like that do happen. I have a tremendous amount of respect for every member of that band and they have the same respect for me.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Deep Purple. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

DEEP PURPLE – SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE (1968; 2011 REISSUE): Coming together in 1967, Deep Purple were like a lot of bands of the day, as their mission was to push the sonic envelope as far as possible and create something new and exciting. Based out of Hertford, England, the group achieved their goal straight away. Dramatic and bombastic, Deep Purple played a tumultuous blend of heavy metal and progressive rock before such labels arrived into being, tagging them pioneers of the genres.

ONE TRACK MIND: DEEP PURPLE’S ROGER GLOVER, “THE CAR WON’T START” (2011): A tune that couldn’t be further away from the dark organ-based groove of his band, “The Car Won’t Stop” finds Deep Purple’s Roger Glover indulging in a childhood passion for skiffle. There may not be a more surprising connection to be made between this homemade amalgam of roots influences and Glover, unless you know the history: This British folk-rock tangent influenced many of Glover’s generation, including the Beatles.

WHOCARES, FEATURING TONY IOMMI AND IAN GILLAN – OUT OF MY MIND (2011): Just the reunion of Iommi and Gillan would likely be enough for most heavy rock fans, but the rest of the band reads like a who’s who of the genre. Gillan’s former Deep Purple bandmate Jon Lord handles the keys for the project. Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain and ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted make up the rhythm section. Representing the younger generation is guitarist Mikko “Linde” Lindstrom of HIM, who, at 34, is 14 years the junior of Newsted, the next youngest member, and 35 years younger than oldest member, Lord, who is 69. But all that goes to show is age doesn’t really matter when it comes to good music, and “Out of My Mind” is really good.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: EPISODE SIX – THE ROOTS OF DEEP PURPLE: THE COMPLETE EPISODE SIX (1994): Formed in the summer of 1964, Episode Six quickly developed a star-studded reputation as a hotshot live band. The English group, which included lead singer Ian Gillian and bassist Roger Glover, who eventually gleaned even more accolades in Deep Purple, also cut a flock of brilliant singles that are featured on this set, along with a brace of previously unreleased material.

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