It does seem strange to be talking about what I regard as the real Whitesnake again after how many years, well thirty in actual fact. David has announced the first decent archive DVD release from the band’s classic era, specifically the Slide It In live tour, with footage from Super Rock Japan and Sweden in 1984, which was Jon Lord’s last show ever as a member of the band, plus bonus audio CD disc with other live extra tracks (NOT available separately). It makes a real change after all the many best ofs which have been the pattern up until now. We’ve delved into our own archives to take a closer look at the period and see exactly what’s on offer on the review pages. The DVD can be pre-ordered at DTB Online store and is due in November.
If you resisted the temptation of MIJ earlier this year, then BBC4 TV has the documentary part of the box set available on BBC iPlayer, having screened it last Friday – which must mark a record of shop to screen. Ann made me watch the last bit of it (it still hurts to see these jobs being done poorly – photocopied record sleeves badly lit, where’s Ken Morse when you need him?) then we stuck with the repeat of the first part of the Metal Britannia which has a good chunk of Deep Purple history in as well, and a typically great Jon Lord interview. Gave up when the spandex started appearing!
Bassist and singer John Gustafson died last Friday. John was one of those musicians whose ability was widely respected by many, and this shows in the astonishing list of 150 or more albums he appeared on. As far as Darker Than Blue goes he was an integral member of the Ian Gillan Band across three studio albums, and his connections with the Deep Purple family tree were wide ranging, from Episode Six, Quatermass, Hard Stuff, The Butterfly Ball and on to Naked Thunder. You can read more on the site.
The death of drummer Bobby Clarke Woodman has been widely reported in the French media, a country which became his second home professionally. Bobby was not only a part of the comings and going at Deeves Hall during the embryonic days of Deep Purple, but also massively influential on a generation of British rock drummers in the very early sixties. There are more details on the site. Also worth noting is a more tenuous DP connection, some time Survivor singer Jimi Jamison who has died of a heart attack aged 63. He was in the frame for joining Deep Purple in the turmoil of the post- Ian Gillan period in 1989. His manager screwed up any negotiations, so the search moved on to Joe Lynn Turner.
Join Ian Gillan on Saturday to play Smoke On The Water! The catch? There will be two and a half thousand others also with the same idea. The Guitars On The Beach 2 event is on the beach (der) at Lyme Regis, and sees the crowd attempting to break the world record for the biggest band or something. I can’t really work it out from the web site to be honest, and some of the links are broken, but it does confirm that IG is due to fly over from the US to help direct the Smoke section around 4.00pm. There’s also stuff by ZZTop and others. Anyhow, here’s the link if you fancy a day out (or two days – again the web site is not clear on this, though IG is due on the Saturday). I’ve spoken to Keeley Donovan who says the weather is going to be great, so start knotting those handkerchiefs. And sorry not to have mentioned this before, I just forgot. Tim Summers reminded me.
Mention of the Learn The Highway Star Solo in Two Years book (see below) prompted John Tucker to send in this quote from another aspiring guitarist trying to get to grips with the solo, which comes from Brian Tatler’s autobiography (the guitarist of influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head – Dave is his older brother):
“I would borrow Dave’s Linear Concord 30 watt amp and plug it into a three watt Cellestion speaker that I rescued from an old gramophone. I soldered a jack plug onto it, not having a clue about ohms or impedance, so the speaker would distort horribly, but I liked it. At fifteen I took up the guitar seriously and became obsessed with it. It took me about six months to master the basics, pestering Dave to show me how to play things I didn’t know. I would play every night after school and at weekends, Dave reckoning now that I would sometimes practice six hours a day. I really wanted to be able to play the guitar solo in Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’, but I had no idea what Ritchie Blackmore was up to. I would be upstairs in my own little world, slowing the records down in order to learn the licks. The record player had a 16, 33⅓, and 45 rpm turntable speeds so I could put an album on at 16rpm and it would be approximately an octave lower and half the speed. We also owned a reel-to-reel tape recorder so I could tape a solo at 16rpm then listen to it over and over again on the tape recorder, stopping and learning a little piece at a time. It did, however, take me years to realise that the ‘Highway Star’ solo was in fact double-tracked, and so was impossible to play with one guitar anyway!”
Thinking of learning to play a solo from Blackmore’s glory days? Wondering how long it might take, and whether all the hard work would be worth it? Well now you can follow one man’s epic two year journey to nail the solo from Highway Star, as it happened, day by day. And a unexpectedly riveting read it is too! Our book review of Guitar Odyssey by Michael Rays is on the site now.
Two more birthday boys this past week, namely Ian Gillan (19th) and Glenn Hughes (21st). Steve Morse had a big one at the end of July too, turning 60. At which point some sod points out that he’s only two months older than me, so I’ll hastily gloss over that one! Big Ian and Ritchie (seen below chuckling)hit the next milestone in 2015 when they’ll both turn 70. Maybe the BBC will have them both on the Great British Bake Off to celebrate?
Bernie will be a special guest on a local radio rock special tonight on GTFM, you can get the links on our page reviewing the new album. Copies of the CD to be won too. Thanks to Andy Fox.
There is the current set list for the August 2014 tour of America added to our 2014 date sheet, and Steve Hunt has sent us his thoughts on the show in California in front of over 7,000 people – so good to see they can still pull in a decent crowd when they do get to tour the U.S. properly. He and his wife enjoyed it so much they’re off to catch another show!