Deep Purple‘s Steve Morse has announced that he will be temporarily stepping away from live duties with the band.

READ MORE: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan: “Young artists should upset the previous generation and clear the decks”

The legendary rockers were back on stage in February, where they kicked off their 2022 dates with three shows in Florida. They’re due to head to Europe in May, June and July, with dates at festivals including Hellfest in France and Stimmen Festival in Germany.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the band confirmed that Morse will be taking a break, with Simon McBride replacing the guitarist for any upcoming dates. Morse also added his own statement, revealing that he is stepping back to care for his wife, who is unwell.

“Today, Deep Purple announce that, due to a family matter, Steve Morse will be taking a temporary hiatus from Deep Purple live shows but remains a full member of the band,” the band’s statement read. “Steve’s replacement for the upcoming live shows in May, June and July 2022 will be guitarist Simon McBride, who has previously toured with both Ian Gillan and Don Airey amongst others.”

Morse added: “Hello, everybody. I’ve just done a few gigs with the band, after years (!?) of not playing live. It’s a bittersweet, wonderful time to get together. However, my dear wife Janine is currently battling cancer. At this point, there are so many possible complications and unknowns, that whatever time we have left in our lives, I simply must be there with her.”

Today, Deep Purple announce that, due to a family matter, Steve Morse will be taking a temporary hiatus from Deep Purple…

Posted by Deep Purple on Thursday, March 31, 2022

He continued: “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.

“There’s a certified world class guitarist ready to take over for the live shows whom everybody will surely be happy to hear. I appreciate all your sincere prayers for Janine and thank you all.”

Deep Purple released their 21st studio album ‘Whoosh!’ in 2020, announcing the album with its lead single ‘Throw My Bones’.

In a three-star review, NME said: “‘Whoosh!’ isn’t just a testament to their staying power, but perhaps one of the most stupidly fun and outrageously silly albums of the year – and goodness, we’re all in need of a bit of fun right now, aren’t we?”

The band are due to play the UK in October, with dates in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester – find tickets here.

The post Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse steps away from live duties appeared first on NME.

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