Deep Purple's Ian Paice says he thinks he’s lost Ritchie Blackmore as a friend – but hopes he’s wrong.

The pair haven’t spoken in years, following the guitarist’s final departure from the band in 1994. But the drummer hopes to hear from his ex-colleague as a result of speaking out.

In an exclusive interview on the Classic Rock Show on TeamRock Radio tonight at 6pm (UK time), Paice tells host Nicky Horne: “I don’t know that he’s still my friend. I don’t believe it. I don’t have anything there that convinces me he’s the guy I used to know.

“I don’t think Ritchie’s changed – I just think he’s become a more concentrated version of himself through the years.”

He continues: “It’s sad because it’s unnecessary. I hope I’m wrong. If Ritchie reads this and gives me a call, and says, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I’ll go, ‘That’s fantastic.’ But I’m not hanging by the phone.”

Asked whether he’s tried to maintain communication with Blackmore, the sticksman replies: “I didn’t put the wall up. He knows I’ve been here for 40 years. He knows who I am. I don’t have his phone number; I don’t have contact with him. Friends keep in contact.”

In the rest of the interview Paice discusses Purple’s plans for what will be their 20th studio album, which they aim to record with producer Bob Ezrin for release next year. He says: “It’s going to be a totally different record – we’ve got 10 or 12 ideas.”

The Classic Rock Show is broadcast on TeamRock radio every weeknight from 6pm.