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Bernie Torme's debt to Ian Gillan

Guitarist says Deep Purple man gave him his break – but he still blames him for split

Bernie Torme says he owes a big part of his career to Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan.

But the guitar icon still blames Gillan for his departure from the singer's self-titled group, saying he failed to properly manage the royalties earned by the band.

Torme tells Metal Express Radio: "At the time Ian was having a hard time. He hadn't been able to get a recording contract. He had one in Japan, but no-one in the US or England would touch him.

"He had done the Ian Gillan Band albums, the jazzy albums, and the last of them hadn't sold at all so he had a bad name in terms of record labels. But it would just at the beginning of the NWOBHM and we were just in the right place at the right time. It all just happened.

"I came out of that and I had a name, I was able to live. After I left they had a lot of pressure from Virgin and it changed how the band played and recorded and I think that was bad.

"I think they wanted us to be more like Rainbow. In retrospect I think that was incredibly stupid because I think Gillan had a more long-term effect on what happened later in terms of thrash than Rainbow ever had.

"I joined on £30 a week and at the end of it, big tours, three top 10 albums, I was on, I think, £45 a week. There was a complete shambles about publishing. It was badly organised and to be honest I would have to say an awful lot of that was Ian's responsibility. He was the guy in charge and he promised things he wasn't able to do."

An argument over an upcoming appearance on Top Of The Pops led Torme to walk away when he was told he wouldn't be paid for it.

He adds: "I really regret how I did it, I shouldn't have done it in that way. It was terribly negative and I love all of them."

Torme later had a short spell as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist after the death of Randy Rhoads, although he was initially reluctant.

He says: "I got a call asking if I'd heard Randy had been killed and they asked if I could go out immediately. I said no, but it dragged on. I had no idea how big Ozzy was in the US at that point.

"Two days before I went out,  I got the Ozzy and Randy records and I thought, 'Fucking hell, how am I gonna do this?' They were lovely people, all of the band. It must have been so hard for them, heartbreaking. I don't know how they carried on."

Torme released his latest solo record Flowers & Dirt in September and is currently on a UK tour. The remaining dates are:

Nov 13: Troon South Beach Sessions

Nov 14: Aberdeen The Moorings

Nov 15: Edinburgh Bannermans

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