Instrumental rock guitarist Steve Morse (b. 28 July 1954, Hamilton, Ohio, USA) took his primary influence, like so many others, from the Beatles. Expanding his listening to include prevalent rock bands such as the Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as well as a nascent interest in country music, Morse moved with his family to Georgia at the age of 13. There he was captivated by a live concert by classical guitarist Juan Mercadal, and he persuaded the artist to give him lessons. He went on to study with Mercadal at the University of Miami, while also assembling his first band, Dixie Dregs (aka the Dregs). Inspired by a campus performance from John McLaughlin's original Mahavishnu Quartet, he dedicated himself to exploring the conventions and frontiers of instrumental rock music.
The Dregs, essentially a vehicle for these experiments, went on to record eight albums of bright, impressive fusion. Morse qualified as a pilot during this time, and flying remains his greatest passion outside of music. He formed the Steve Morse Band with the Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein and bass player Jerry Peek. Their 1984 debut, The Introduction, continued to mine a particularly adept blend of instrumental rock fusion, with a guest role for guitarist Albert Lee. There was more of a vocal presence for Stand Up, which featured appearances from two other renowned guitarists, Eric Johnson and Peter Frampton. After a brief spell with Kansas Morse recorded his first "solo" collection, High Tension Wires, which also included a reunion of the original Dixie Dregs on the track "Leprechaun Promenade". By the advent of Southern Steel, the Steve Morse Band was a core team of Morse, his Dixie Dregs colleague Dave LaRue (bass), and Van Romaine (drums). In addition to his work with his own band, Morse recorded and toured with the re-formed Dixie Dregs throughout the 90s. The acclaim surrounding Morse has rarely died down throughout his career - Guitar Player magazine made him ineligible for their Best Overall Guitarist poll after he won it five times in succession. He has also collaborated with artists including Eddie Van Halen, Steve Howe and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and accepted an invitation to join Deep Purple for a spell in 1994. The Steve Morse Band's sixth album, Structural Damage, revealed an undiminished talent, and included the Celtic-influenced "Sacred Ground" and the cinematic "Dreamland". He now continues his career recording with Deep Purple as well as working on various solo projects. His latest album "Split Decision" was released in Feb 2002. The long awaited new studio album from Deep Purple is due to be released later that year.