Deep Purple has welcomed guitarist Simon McBride as an official member of the band.
McBride began serving as Deep Purple's touring guitarist earlier this year after longtime guitarist Steve Morse announced in March that he was taking a hiatus from the group to care for and spend time with his wife, Janine, as she battles cancer. In July, Morse, who joined Deep Purple in 1994, announced that he was officially leaving the group.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers said in a joint statement, "We are thrilled that Simon has agreed to join. Simon's playing is up there with the greats. 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 group adds, "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."
McBride, meanwhile, says in his own statement, "I'm very happy to be asked to join the band, 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 honoured to be asked to be part of that."
McBride previously toured with Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan and keyboardist Don Airey, among many others.
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