I’ve been framed

June 17, 2022

I had a sudden burst of repairing bits and bobs a few weeks ago. After adding vintage style flex to two old 50s table lamps, and replacing a loo seat (then replacing it again as it was rubbish), I tackled these backstage passes. They’ve sat in a wallet for years now and I figured while they often look a bit dull on their own, put together in a frame they might look good. I’d no sooner done that when I found a few more, so had to get another frame! I use those ready made album sleeve frames, they’re not the cheapest but make up for that by being easy to use (and reuse). Once the layout looked OK, I hoped the pressure of the acrylic would hold them in position but it didn’t, so I resorted to a sliver of double sided tape to keep them in place. They now cheer up a bit of wall space and remind us of 35 years of reunion gigs, from the reunion in 1985 up to their Infinite album tour. I should point out that they are not all my own passes, I rarely used to get such things on the night, but many were donated by other fans. The rarest is probably the flashy one bottom right for the reunion announcement press conference in America, which Lori sent me at the time. A number came from Bernadette’s collection which ended up at the DPAS and are a nice reminder of a dedicated fan we remember with fondness.

I’ll be waiting for the call from The Repair Shop.

Like a numpty, I realise I have not included our Knebworth passes, so will have to rejig everything when I find those. I’m not sure I have ever related our Knebworth pass story and hopefully enough time has now passed. So…

While the management were sniffy, well downright hostile to the DPAS at the reunion, my contacts at Polydor were much more friendly. We had bought tickets for Knebworth but they kindly sent me two passes for the stage side viewing area a few days before the concert. The problem was that we were going with my sister and brother, and had arranged to meet up with a couple more fans.

I was working then a few days a week at a printers and had a mad idea. I took the passes in and showed the boss the crack-back paper and put the question. He managed to get some off the paper rep the next day and I copied the design using the professional flat bed repro camera. I made a metal plate from the negative and my mate on the small press mixed up the correct ink colour, and we ran a dozen or so sheet off. When they’d dried and I’d cut them down I couldn’t tell the difference, so everyone we knew was handed one and we spent the afternoon in relative discomfort amongst a bundle of hay bales sheltering under a massive oak tree. I’m sure many in the immediate crowd got better views but we didn’t have to worry about being sucked into the swamp all day which was a huge blessing!

Purplespotting

June 10, 2022

I cannot now recall what prompted the discussion but young Tim Summers came back at us with this rather nice graphic which deserved to be more widely seen! It helps if you remember the trailer for the film Trainspotting so you can get the rhythm right as you read the text… and have some jangly music rattling around your brain as well.

The Deep Purple Two Step

May 30, 2022

On January 9. 1911 ‘The Deep Purple’ play, written by Paul Armstrong and Wilson Mizer, opened at the Lyric Theatre in New York. It was a big hit and ran for 152 performances. The play included a ragtime piano instrumental song called ‘The Deep Purple (March and Two Step)’. The play and song do not appear to have survived in any recorded form, although the sheet music for the song does still exist. With the success of the play, it was decided to turn it into a silent film in 1915 and again in 1920 (as with the play, there appears to be no surviving copies). Anyhow, Scott Haskin (with the help of a wonderful pianist) has been able to recreate ‘The Deep Purple (March and Two Step)’ from the sheet music, which you can hear on the link.  We’ve no idea what the members of Deep Purple would make of all this, but in the final slide we’ve imagined how one of them might have enjoyed being on-set at the time…

Thanks to Tim Summers and Stephen Clare for this whacky story!  I reckon the sheet music cover is a shoe in for a new compilation sleeve. Tim has created this little slide show to go with the music, it links to an Adobe Spark page which would not embed here but opens OK if you key in the url, just add https in front of the colon

://spark.adobe.com/video/JfVxfHjEJjRk0

The tour stretched out before them like a…

May 23, 2022

Lutz Reinert has done us an excellent updated list of all the bands shows scheduled for 2022, which are now on a special 2022 Tour Page. Needless to say the list is subject to alteration at short notice but fingers crossed, for everyone. McBride will be on guitar until further notice. We’ve been sent these snaps of the band and some of the crew deep in rehearsals for the tour, minus the drummer, thanks to Tim Summers. He suggests this is either Mk 9, Mk 8.1, or as Jon Lord once memorably put it, Mk Time! Mr. McBride is the one in the – shock, horror – Whitesnake t-shirt. The cancelled Florida rock cruise will now set sail in 2023. Aharr.

Airfix

May 19, 2022

So (as we’re obliged to begin every sentence with these days!) the subject of Top Of The Pops came up recently, and got us looking at photos. But we found this. As anyone looking at what probably seems a very familiar image for more than a few seconds may notice… it’s a model! It was spotted by Tim Summers on an Airfix modellers forum, and made by Purpelthistle up in Glasgow. We tried to contact him but the forum won’t allow guests so hopefully he’ll forgive us borrowing the image in return for a link and maybe loads of hits!
Those wanting more info should note that it was actually made using Tamiya 1/32 plastic figures from their F1 pit crew set, but you have to admire the amount of detail which has gone into this. He’s posted more pics of how he made them online.
Simon admits that he spent much of his youth putting together Airfix models and has a few nice boxed vintage examples in his toy collection. He’s been talking to Airfix about a few ideas lately so you never know…

Ray Fenwick

May 6, 2022

Ray Fenwick‘s official website has reported his passing at the end of April. The shot here just sent in shows him and another guitar player chatting backstage after Jon’s Windows concerts in 1974 (Ray was the rock guitar player for the performance).
Most of us here knew Ray foremost as the driving force behind The Ian Gillan Band, formed during 1975 as the Mk 2 Deep Purple singer began to emerge from a quiet period following his departure from that group. Ray helped on various sessions and the Butterfly Ball project from which IGB eventually appeared as a fully fledged jazz / rock outfit with the eclectic Child In Time album the following year. The group issued two more studio albums and a live set before Gillan decided to change direction.
But Ray’s spell with IGB was only part of his long musical career, which I first found out about when with RPM Records we got to chat with him about his days with the often over-looked Vertigo incarnation of The Spencer Davis Group and further back with the Dutch band Tee Set, as we worked on a number of early reissues for the label with Ray’s help. Ray also, like Ritchie Blackmore, ventured into Joe Meek’s studio with The Syndicats on the freak-beat classic Crawdddy Simone which he co-wrote and is well worth a listen (and easy to see why the outlandish guitar causes so many 60s CD compilers to add it to their track lists).
After IGB, Ray’s connections to the Purple scene saw him working with Cozy Powell on a series of Forcefield albums, featuring Graham Bonnet for a time, as well as side projects such as Wizard’s Convention 2 and Wind In The Willows with Tony Ashton again. Ray also took up lecturing on the side passing on his guitar skills to local college students.
We did touch on IGB a number of times when talking with Ray and he always felt the project became a little inward looking at the expense of Ian’s existing fan base, and admitted they enjoyed showing off to each other at times rather more than thinking of the audience! Though tracks like the fabulous Mad Elaine showed there was plenty of crossover potential there (I’ve linked to a promo of the single as it really showcases Ray’s work towards the end).

IGB also suffered through management issues and poor label support both at the start and towards the end (the ill-judged US deodorant tour springs to mind!) at times, while their first over-ambitious UK tour was nagged by Ian’s ongoing throat problems as he adjusted to touring after a long break.
But IGB certainly have their supporters and that first album does get aired here at DPAS towers when we need something to chill to, with Ray’s work integral to that sound.

We just scribbled down notes when preparing the RPM CD inlays, but someone had the sense to chat to Ray at length fairly recently via more modern technology and put the interview up as a podcast which serves as a great overview :

Lentil stew

April 29, 2022

David Coverdale has become the first Deep Purple musician to sell his catalogue for a mess of pottage.  The sale hasn’t attracted as much media attention as many of the bigger rock names to have already done so (your Springsteens, Dylans and Bowies) but while some criticise musicians for doing these deals, in reality it does make a lot of sense as they reach the ends of their careers.  As far as I understand it, and deals may differ, in essence it means that for an immediate payout the new owners receive all the royalties in future rather than the artist.  DC has not made the amount known which suggests the sale didn’t quite attract the sums his peers managed but it will still have value particularly in America.  It seems to form part of DC’s wrapping up of business affairs what with his next UK tour (seven dates in May) being labelled a farewell.  He seems to imply he will be involved in future promotion of the back catalogue, although how many more Whitesnake Best Ofs the market will sustain I’m not sure! One suspects DP themselves will not be far behind in doing a similar sort of deal.  Thanks to Tim Summers.

Whitesnake are also the subject of a new TV documentary from Reelz TV in America: Whitesnake: Story of Their Songs, on Saturday, (February 19 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT). “Spawned from the mind of former Deep Purple frontman David Coverdale the British rock band Whitesnake first appeared on the English music scene in 1978 and would soon achieve global stardom…”  The programme covers six of the band’s biggest hits and includes new interviews with Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray, Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai, as well as Joe Bonamassa and the band’s video director. No news thus far of a European airing but these sort of shows are usually quickly sold on.  Thanks to Tom Dixon.

Look luv, can you get your seat belt on, only if they pull me over I’ll get fined…

Black Bible

April 15, 2022

A few folk have been mentioning a new CD collection rounding up the complete 80s output of the American metal band Bible Black. It didn’t ring many bells with me (though DTB did mention them at the time) but connects with the family tree as they were founded by former Elf / early Rainbow musicians Gary Driscoll and Craig Gruber, and features a guest spot by Mickey Lee Soule on one track. The band’s material was of enough interest for much of it to have been bootlegged in the past (or sold on private cassettes, see above) but here has been remastered and licensed from the last surviving member of the group. It’s being issued by Louder Than Loud Records this month. “It perhaps sounds more akin to 80s Sabbath than anything,” reckons Tim Summers who researches this era of music. Thanks also to Tom Dixon.

Steve Morse

April 8, 2022

Steve Morse has had to pull out of Deep Purple’s upcoming concerts so he can be at home supporting his wife through a major illness and everyone wishes them both the best. As far as the group are concerned Steve remains a full time member of Deep Purple, but to avoid further cancellations (uncanny shades of 1971 / 1972 / Al Kooper fifty years on when you think about it) they have recruited Irish blues rock guitarist Simon McBride to step in for the time being, and he will do the upcoming UK shows too. McBride has already worked with Airey and Gillan on side projects and is signed to Ear, so it will be a fairly smooth fit. He has also worked with Neil Murray and Micky Moody in Snakecharmer, bringing more strands of the family tree together, and runs his own power trio (as on the advert below).

Burntwood

April 1, 2022

Simon tells us he was touched so many people forwarded him details of this spiffing property, though confesses to being puzzled why (as he ponders his new rates bill, up 50% on last year) folk assume he might have the £8.5 million asking price. Remember the Newman & Baddiel Show? “See that little brown shed just to the left of the swimming pool? That’s your best house that is…”

The connection for us is that this was Jon Lord‘s house for some time in the 1980s, and it is kind of nice to see our Deep Purple (and indeed Whitesnake) purchases over the last 50 years or so weren’t frittered away on any old rubbish. Called Burntwood House, it did of course inspire one of the instrumentals on his Before I Forget album.

Anyhow, if any of our better heeled fans want more details, Savills are the estate agents to contact. Thanks to Meurig Thomas and others.