Last week, Deep Purple kicked off its first North American tour in four years.
For the first time on these shores, Purple are performing with a symphony orchestra in each city. Used to touring as a five-piece, the band must accommodate about 41 more musicians.
"That's a lot of empty (instrument) cases in the dressing room", laughs Purple guitarist Steve Morse as he talks to the Star-Ledger.
"This one isn't going to be orchestra-based so much as: It's the rock band Deep Purple playing, with strings and horns being added for some color textures", explains Morse, who joined the lineup in 1993. "We're not going to change the songs - I mean, there'll be a few little cameos and features - but the basic idea of the show is: We're doing what we do, and having more texture where it's appropriate."
A conductor will travel with the band on this tour, and regional musicians will play shows as geographically convenient.
"There are a few shows where they're going to travel a bit, but mostly, it's going to be local", Morse says. "Our arranger-conductor - since he plays violin, actually, very well - will be in charge of making sure they know what to do. Most important is keeping them on the beat with the music. A lot of classical players can read music great and everything, but the whole rhythm thing - maybe they don't feel how exact it needs to be to make rock 'n' roll rock."
As for the line between classical and rock, it's all the same to the accomplished guitarist.
"For me", he says, "styles in music are very blurred. I don't see a line, really, defining them. But I know people do, so I try to be aware of them from time to time. Rock and classical styles seem to blend very well. You know, rock has always had the same chords, really, as classical music, the same notes - with the exception, possibly, of some of the bent notes on the blues scale."
"I don't think it's too much of a stretch to combine the two. With most styles of music, it's really more about attitude and the repetition of certain things that define a style. I always encourage people to think of music as just one thing, with lots of variety naturally built in. The best musician of all, I think, is one that has seen and done it all."
Thanks for the report to Hennemusic.com.