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Deep Purple's Don Airey - Off The Road with Dave Lawrence

artist photo courtesy Simon Emmett

Find the entire Off The Road series at hawaiipublicradio.org/offtheroad.

Today HPR All Things Considered Host Dave Lawrence welcomes back rock legends Deep Purple, who you may recall were among the artists who joined us in 2020 on Off The Road, when guitar virtuoso Steve Morse was our guest. Now, it’s their keyboardist Don Airey, sharing stories about the new Deep Purple all-covers album, Turning to Crime, as well as fun encounters from throughout his career. Don joined us from Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple are one of the critically important trio of British acts that helped define what would be hard rock and heavy metal. Don has played with the group since 2002, after now late longtime keyboardist Jon Lord retired. His resume is impressive, working with Cozy Powell, Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne and Jethro Tull, to name just some of the highlights on his resume.

In today’s feature, Don takes us back to the beginning of the pandemic for a scary episode from the earliest days of the crisis. He also details how the band decided to do an all-covers album, and shares a little about the recording and song selection, which includes music from Led Zeppelin, Spencer Davis Group, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Jeff Beck, The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat and many others.

Simon Emmett

He also offers some fun stories about encounters along the way with Richie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, Gary Moore, Little Feat, Gregg Allman and his experience in Ozzy Osbourne’s band, in particular, the night of the infamous bat incident in the early 80’s.


Hear the complete new interview:

Hear music from the new album:

Hear the complete 2020 interview with Deep Purple’s Steve Morse.

Hear a 2007 interview with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan recorded at Radio City Music Hall.

Hear a 2006 interview with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan.

Hear a 2004 interview with Deep Purple’s Steve Morse.

Hear a 2001 interview with Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.

See a 2019 Deep Purple concert in LA:

Off The Road started in April 2020 when the pandemic led to a halt in the touring entertainment industry. Connecting with artists around the world since, we’ve offered intimate conversations and many exclusive musical performances with some of the biggest names in music, spanning many genres, eras and styles. Some of the highlight artists we’ve welcomed so far include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pat Metheny, Black Uhuru, Taj Mahal, Judy Collins, John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Al Di Meola, 10,000 Maniacs, Alice Cooper, Soul Asylum, Deep Purple, Third World, George Benson, Heart, Joe Satriani, The Doors, Randy Brecker, Peter Frampton and System of a Down.

Dave Lawrence is the local host of All Things Considered, Road Stories (formerly Off the Road), and Stargazer.
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