DEEP PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse spoke with TheSpec about the band’s classic song ‘Space Truckin’ and how it relates to a NASA tragedy. Referring to himself as a “tech geek,” Morse’s interests are not only musical. A qualified pilot and longtime fan of the US space program, Morse became friends with Kalpana Chawla, a mission specialist on NASA’s ill-fated Columbia space shuttle mission in 2003. All seven astronauts aboard the shuttle died when the craft disintegrated during re-entry. Chawla had taken a copy of Purple’s Machine Head album, with her on the mission. The album included the track ‘Space Truckin’’ which was played as a wake up call for the crew.
The disc, which had been signed by the band, was actually found among the wreckage and made its way back to Morse.
“It was folded over like the wings of an angel,” Morse said. “The frayed edges were burned but you could still see some of the writing.”
In memory of the Columbia crew, Morse composed ‘Contact Lost’, a mournful short instrument track which closes out Purple’s 2003 album, Bananas.
“I’m a big fan of what NASA has done,” Morse said. “People don’t realize the research and development strides that have been made, all that technology. We’re recipients of all of that eventually.”
Read the entire interview TheSpec .