Steve Morse Interview

(Originally aired on February 4, 2010)      

Steve Morse is one of the most technically gifted and musically diverse guitarists making music today. Within the same song, he might play a wailing rock solo and then fingerpick beautiful counterpoint on a classical guitar. Since founding the Dixie Dregs in the mid '70s, Morse has sustained a remarkable career, recording and touring as a soloist and also as the lead guitarist in the bands Kansas and Living Loud. In 1994, he joined Deep Purple, replacing Ritchie Blackmore. This year marks Morse's 16th as lead guitarist with the legendary English band.

Deep Purple is Morse’s day job. When not on the road cranking out “Highway Star,” the 56-year-old performs his unique brand of high-octane fusion with the Steve Morse Band, a trio that includes bassist Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine. SMB’s new album, Out Standing in Their Field, is packed with precision ensemble playing and wicked wall-to-wall guitar, and is a potent reminder of why Morse was voted Best Overall Guitarist five years running by Guitar Player magazine readers, a feat that ushered him into GP’s Gallery of Greats. By balancing scorching chops with musical finesse throughout his 35-year career, Morse has earned his spot at the forefront of progressive instrumental rock.

When Andy recently interviewed Morse, Deep Purple had been on their Rapture of the Deep tour for nearly four years. The band launched the tour in January 2006 to support their album of the same name, and since then have rocked more than 50 countries across five continents. While waiting backstage at the PalaEvangelisti arena in Perugia, Italy, Morse calmly described arranging and recording his latest solo album, seemingly oblivious to the fact that soon he’ll be strutting his stuff onstage for thousands of rabid Deep Purple fans.