It's been 20 years since Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, and by all accounts, both he and the band are happier now. Still, some fans will never stop hoping for a reunion -- something that, according to singer Ian Gillan, will never happen.

Gillan, whose decades-long feuds with the ex-Purple guitarist are well known, was asked about the possibility of bringing Blackmore back during a recent interview, and he didn't bother mincing words. "If you want to talk about Ritchie, I guess we have to -- not many people do these days," he sighed, "But the truth of the matter is, from a historical point of view, the band was dying."

Looking back on the end of Blackmore's tenure with the band, Gillan recalled, "If Ritchie had stayed in the band, it would have been the end of Deep Purple. The shows were getting shorter and shorter, the audiences were getting smaller and smaller. We were playing in small halls, and they weren't even full -- they were half empty -- and Ritchie was walking off stage every night." According to Gillan, once Blackmore was out of the picture, the situation improved for everyone, and although the passage of time has given him enough perspective to be able to see the positive aspects of Blackmore's contributions to the band's music, he sees no reason to revisit the past.

"This situation ended, and we're all glad it ended, and we had to rebuild," he explained. "And, of course, now the distance of time is so great that we just remember the good times. And we remember Ritchie as a great player, a great performer, a great writer, and I remember him as my roommate -- I used to share rooms with him. But something happened with Ritchie, and that's the end of that ... I have no desire to pick up the phone to Ritchie, or have dinner with him, or meet him in Paris or Tokyo. I hope he's well, and I hope he's happy. And that's the end of it."

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