‘It would be like a circus’: Ian Gillan says he turned down millions to do multi-era Deep Purple reunion

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Over its lengthy history, the Deep Purple lineup has boasted a number huge stars — including David Coverdale, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes and, of course, Ritchie Blackmore.

Perhaps inevitably, someone had the idea of a reunion concert.

Ian Gillan, in a new talk with RadioMetal, says the mayor of Moscow once offered Deep Purple “millions and millions” to do a multi-era show at Red Square — and he turned them down flat.

Gillan has been with Deep Purple since its second incarnation in 1969, lasting until 1973, returning for a five year stint beginning in 1984 and then returning again for his current run in 1992.

Blackmore founded the band in 1968, and departed in 1975; he returned for a second stint from 1984-1993. Coverdale and Hughes were in the band from 1973-76. Turner fronted the group from 1989-92.

Other notable members have included original frontman Rod Evans (1968-69), keyboardist Jon Lord (1968-76; 1984-2002), guitarist Tommy Bolin (1975-76) and guitarist Joe Satriani (1993-94).

Drummer Ian Paice is the only member to have appeared in every different Purple lineup. The group’s most recent album is the just-released Now What?!

As for the proposed reunion in Russia, Gillan is blunt about the reasons the idea would have never worked.

“It would be for money, not for the music,” he says. “It would be like a circus. Everybody in the band has no interest whatsoever in doing this. It’s a nice idea, but for music, you need to have integrity.”

Gillan isn’t even fond of singing key songs from the Evans, or Coverdale-Hughes eras, though Deep Purple has — at guitarist Steve Morse’s suggestion — more recently re-added the early hit “Hush” to its set list.

“That wouldn’t sound right and I don’t like them either, so what’s the point in doing this?” Gillan says, laughing. “I am not being nasty, it’s just that they were designed for another voice.”

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