Simon McBride is now officially Deep Purple’s full-time guitarist

Simon McBride
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns)

Deep Purple have made Simon McBride a full-time member of the band, with the Belfast-born guitarist replacing Steve Morse, who stepped down from the band in July for family reasons.

Announcing the news on the Deep Purple website, the band said that they were “thrilled” to welcome McBride into their ranks, and gave his playing the highest commendation – that he would be a worthy successor to not only Morse but to the inimitable Ritchie Blackmore.

“We are thrilled that Simon has agreed to join,” said the band. “Simon’s playing is up there with the greats. Of course, Steve can’t be replaced, the same as Ritchie, 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.”

McBride was enlisted to tour with Deep Purple in March 2022 after Morse, the band’s longest-serving guitar player, stepped down temporarily to look after his wife, who has cancer. After 28 years in the band, Morse left Deep Purple permanently in July. 

In their statement, the band noted the success of their summer tour, which would have figured highly in their decision.

“It is clear that Simon also holds great respect for those before him,” they said. “We are all excited for what the years to come hold for the band.”

At the start of the pandemic if someone would have said to me that I was going to be the new guitarist in Deep Purple I would have just laughed

Simon McBride

This has been a hectic year for McBride. Besides touring with Deep Purple, he released his latest solo album, The Fighter, on 27 May through Ear Music. In a statement, he spoke of his delight at being asked to join the band.

“At the start of the pandemic if someone would have said to me that I was going to be the new guitarist in Deep Purple I would have just laughed, but here we are and it’s happening,” he said. “Deep Purple has a history of great guitarists so I’m very honoured to be asked to be part of that. They are all amazing musicians and more importantly, I have become very good friends with the guys so I can’t wait to continue touring and even perhaps some writing and recording.”

For Deep Purple, it is business as usual, with a calendar full of tour dates. They pick up the European leg of their tour in Spain at Sevilla’s Iconica Festival, on Saturday 24 September. See Deep Purple for dates.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.