Steve Morse explained how he was able to return to live performances while helping care for his cancer-battling wife.

Her illness led to his departure from Deep Purple last year after he took a hiatus to concentrate on Janine Morse’s stage-four illness. He was replaced by Simon McBride. Morse recently announced a series of shows with the Steve Morse Trio, featuring bassist Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine.

“I quit Purple because the tours were too long, and we had a health emergency in my family,” Morse told The Times in a recent interview. “I told those guys, ‘I can’t do this,’ and they were upset for like three to four seconds, and then moved on. That’s life. I wish them well, and they’re doing great.”

As a lifelong performer, he still wanted to be able to play live. “I had always been told that we couldn’t do weekends only,” he said. “That it just wouldn’t be possible to pay everybody and not be paying out of pocket to play. However, when we did the math with three people, it was possible in many cases to make it work.”

The trio performances are spread across multiple short runs, rather than a regular string of tour dates. “I can be home 90% of the time and possibly drag my wife with me, and line up all the medical appointments and everything,” Morse explained. “The idea was to make it possible so I could play some shows and not feel like I’m shortchanging what I could really help with by being home.”

While admitting there was “so much to do” around “surgeries and complications,” Morse said his current band lineup felt like a “perfect fit.” "Worn in, but not worn out," he noted. "The guys are so good. They have been working for other musicians and doing high-level activity all the time, so they got better. Everyone’s improved beyond where I even thought that they could."

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