Vocalist Ian Gillan talked about Deep Purple parting ways with Ritchie Blackmore back in 1993, telling SiriusXM during a recent interview (via Blabbermouth):
“Joe Satriani saved us from drowning completely and got us out of the hole. But Steve [Morse, who joined the band in 1994] was there to help us rebuild with the  ‘Purpendicular’ album.
“And from there on, we embarked on a completely different regime with a different way of working and everything else. He’s been great.”
Asked if it was difficult for Morse to replace an iconic guitarist like Blackmore, Gillan replied:
“You must remember a couple of things. Deep Purple was sinking with Ritchie. We were playing to quarter houses in Europe, which is one of our strongest territories – in Germany. Smaller venues – and they weren’t even full.
“So had we continued that way and had Ritchie not walked out, we would have finished; that would have been the end of it.
“And the other thing was Steve’s answer to that question when we did our first press conferences. When somebody asked him, ‘How does it feel to fill Ritchie Blackmore’s shoes?’, he said, ‘As far as I know, Ritchie took his shoes with him when he left the band.'”