Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan has opened up about Ritchie Blackmore's split from the band in 1994, saying that it's for the better. Speaking with Classic Rock magazine, Gillan suggests that the band probably would have broken up if Blackmore hadn't quit:
"If you want to talk about Ritchie, I guess we have to. Not many people do these days. The truth of the matter is: the band was dying. If Ritchie had stayed it would have been the end of Deep Purple. The shows were getting shorter and shorter, the audiences were getting smaller and smaller."
He says Blackmore's erratic behavior not only drove away fans, but also affected the band's dynamic:
"We were playing in small halls, they were half-empty, and Ritchie was walking off stage every night. When he left it stopped raining and the sun came out. Jon Lord, among others, started walking up straight - his personality re-emerged. So did Roger Glover and Ian Paice. They became the people they were originally, instead of cowering in case they upset Ritchie."
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