Simon McBride Officially Named Deep Purple’s Lead Guitarist

All images courtesy of Getty Images/Wiki Commons

By Andrew Daly

For fans of stalwart London legends Deep Purple who might have been worrying that they’d never hear the sweet sounds of “Smoke on the Water” echoing across arenas worldwide again, fear not; your newest guitarist is here.

In truth, Simon McBride, the 43-year-old Irish six-stringer, has been handling lead guitar duties with the mighty Deep Purple all summer. But the buzz peaked ten-fold on July 23rd when longtime guitarist Steve Morse announced his departure due to his wife’s ongoing illness.

“Last Autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis,” Morse said in a statement posted to Deep Purple’s Facebook Page. “Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of her life.”

Continuing with his remorseful statement, Morse continued:

“We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long or far away tours since things can change quickly at home. I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last Autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time went by, I could see the way things were heading, though, after 28 years of being in the band.”

And so, in the wake of Morse’s departure and McBride’s successful run with Deep Purple during its summer jaunt, rumors eventually turned to reality, with McBride being officially announced as the band’s latest successor to Richie Blackmore’s once vacated throne.

“I know Simon has the gig nailed already,” said Morse. “But I’m now handing over the keys to the vault which holds the secret of how Ritchie’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ intro was recorded. I guess you have to jiggle the key just right because I never got it open.”

All images courtesy of Getty Images/Wiki Commons

McBride represented something of a logical choice from the jump, with the blues-bruiser having spent the last several years lending his talents to Ian Gillan‘s solo band when the veteran vocalist isn’t shaking the world with his flagship outfit.

“Simon’s playing is up there with the greats,” the band said. “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.

In recent interviews, Gillan stated that Deep Purple had new material in the works. Still, after a long, eventful summer, it’s hard to gauge if and when those sessions might begin and to what extent McBride will be involved in the writing process.

But one thing is sure, Deep Purple’s ongoing freight train of hard rock and heavy metal molten lava won’t stop anytime soon.

“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,” said Gillan. “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.”

Andrew Daly (@vwmusicrocks) is the Editor-in-Chief for and may be reached at

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