Ian Gillan said Deep Purple were definitely focused on ending their career, but speculated that it might not happen for several years yet. He added that their focus on winding down was one of the reasons the much-discussed reunion with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore wasn’t going to take place. Gillan recently explained that they’d called their current tour “The Long Goodbye” in order to avoid setting themselves a deadline for retiring, and that the future could still include new music along with more concerts.

In a new interview with Radio Rock (video below), he answered a question about a reunion with Blackmore by saying, “it would be, in the greatest scheme of things, impossible to do that. And I think it's going to be increasingly difficult as the years go by, because no one has much interest in that sort of thing. … We have no great passion or dislike for Ritchie. We're actually exchanging communications and ideas through our offices, so there's no nasty feelings left. But I think it's too late. We're thinking about the end now.

“The other thing is it would just open the damn gates and all this whole damn thing would start all over again just when we put it to bed. … Let's just let it rest. Let's just wish Ritchie well, and do what he does, and we'll do what we do. Things are going along very nicely now. … We're so close to the end now – within a year or two, three, four. Who knows? But it's close. … We're happy now. It stopped raining. The sun's shining. Let's enjoy it.”

He also addressed the argument that a reunion could be arranged because the fans wanted it, saying, "I understand that we're professionals and we have a kind of responsibility, but to be honest, we have never considered the commercial aspects or the fans' aspects or any of those things when we make decisions, because what we always do is what is most natural and follow our passion and hope that the audience will like it.”

Deep Purple tour North America with Judas Priest starting in August.