CHRISTOPHER CROSS On Filling In With DEEP PURPLE - "When They Left Town I Went To The Airport And Got To Meet RITCHIE BLACKMORE And He Thanked Me For Covering For Him"

October 18, 2013, 6 years ago

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Songfacts' Greg Prato recently interviewed CHRISTOPHER CROSS, and asked him about the rumor that he once filled in for RITCHIE BLACKMORE in DEEP PURPLE in 1970. He finally set the record straight:

Q: Did you play a show once with the band Deep Purple, on guitar?

Christopher: "Yeah. I had a promoter friend named Joe Miller who I did a lot of gopher work for and stuff like that. I had a local band, and he was kind of managing me at the time. Joe was promoting the Deep Purple show at a place called the Jam Factory. It was their very first show in the United States ever, and someone advised them to get flu shots. They did, and Ritchie Blackmore got very sick.

They didn't want to cancel the show if they could help it, and Joe said, 'You know, there's this guitarist in town who's a big fan of Ritchie's and he could probably step in'. The singer was in favor of it, I remember, but Joe pretty much ran the band and was the one that made the decision that it was better to play than not play. So I came down. I had a Flying V and long hair, and I'm this big Ritchie fan. We played the songs that I knew and then we jammed some blues. They told the crowd Ritchie wouldn't be there. It was a great moment for me.

Then when they left town I went to the airport and got to meet Ritchie and he thanked me for covering for him. He was cool. But what's funny is, Eagle Rock Records, which released Doctor Faith, my last album in 2011, they have Deep Purple on the label. So I asked Max Vaccaro, who runs the label, if he mentioned the story to Jon Lord (late Deep Purple organist). He did, and Jon Lord said that never happened, ever."

Read the full interview at this location.

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