On the way

September 21, 2022

Glenn Hughes had to pull out of some of the Dead Daisies American live dates but the band have confirmed a short UK visit in December, supported by Graham Bonnet’s band. Tickets now on sale (flyer below). Oh and Glenn and the band have cut a version of Oh Well er as well, though who was told to mix Glenn so far down needs a hearing test! It’s a prelude to (but not on) their new CD out in a week or so. Thanks to Tim Campbell.
Also on the horizon – Joe Lynn Turner has a new metally solo album out end of October, Belly Of The Beast, via Mascot. Thanks to Tom Dixon.

Vacaciones

September 12, 2022
The Prague Symphony Orchestra practising Hard Lovin’ Man, yesterday

Ian Gillan is filling in time between sections of the DP tour by doing another of those orchestral rock tours, this time across Spain with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in November. He has been doing these gigs for over a decade now. The orchestra will be doing tracks by at least five bands fronted (I assume!) by different singers, and IG gets to close the show with eight or so Purple classics including Hush and two from the reunion, including a track off Whoosh, Nothing At All, which is chosen as Ian reckons it is his favourite Purple song of the lot at the moment.

Talking of Hush, John McEvoy thinks he heard Coral Bookmakers using it as the backing track in TV adverts last year…

John Alflat

September 5, 2022

Just a quiet word to remember John Alflat who died a couple of weeks back. Although he loved any number of bands, John was above all a dedicated Deep Purple fan and a Darker Than Blue supporter for many years here in Sheffield and we’d bump into each other at any DP related show locally. John had been fighting cancer for a long time and faced his condition with stoicism on his social media feeds. He was mates with my brother for many years and, doing away with convention, attendees at John’s funeral were urged to dress in their best / oldest Deep Purple t-shirts. John’s twitter handle was Blacknight and fittingly this was played at the end of the service. You sometimes wonder at the suitability of rock tracks for funerals but going over the lyrics in my head again it seems to work pretty well. It is indeed a long way from home.

MIJ pop up

August 19, 2022

As we’re still sort of in MIJ mode after the anniversary earlier this week (see below), how about this for a clever idea? An italian guy doing ‘pop up’ style versions of various album sleeves in limited runs has included the Made In Japan inner. It looks really smart, though he admits he has cheated a bit the get the Jon Lord image. Thanks to Tonny Steenhagen for spotting this and letting me know.

And following the MIJ50 post (below), this nice reminisce from Jeff Breis I felt worth sharing, a story which many of us will relate to!

Thanks for the reminder of the 50th of the best live album ever.
Way back in 1979, I had a friend, born here in the States with Japanese parents. A little younger than me, I was 14, he was 12. He told me to get into better music than what I was listening to at the time, which was Ted Nugent and Frank Zappa.
He gave me a TDK C90 with DEEP PURPLE MADE IN JAPAN on. His Mother wrote, in Japanese, the name and titles, plus he added them in English on the fold-out card. I took it home and played it and was confused!
I’d never heard music like this before. In my head, this group must be wearing suits, a giant curtain opening up for them as they came on the stage. It was majestic! It was almost too much for me, I actually could not grasp it, it was too out there, so I put it aside for a while. Then one night, the radio station played Space Truckin’ live, and I thought, this is really something. I dug out that tape again, and I became obsessed.
This started me out being a fan of the best band in the world, and I was upset because I had missed it as it happened. I was seven years late!
I got Deepest Purple as a starter in early 1980, Jon Lord and Ian Paice totally dragged me in. Ted and Frank went by the wayside now.
Funnily, the first full vinyl albums that I bought were The Book of Taliesyn, Burn and Last Concert in Japan. How’s that for a collage of weirdness?
My Made In Japan cassette was then replaced by the LP, and I became a Ritchie freak.
I had a job by age 15, and all of my money went into Deep Purple. Still does. YAY!

MIJ50

August 15, 2022

Christmas 1972 came just a little bit early for most Deep Purple fans, even if they did have to buy their own present, providing they could find £3.25p. What would that money buy you back then? Your parents could stick ten gallons of petrol in the family car; if you were old enough to sneak into a pub, a pint would cost 16p (one six pence), and if you weren’t you could put it towards a Raleigh Chopper, but still have to save up another £32.
Like a lot of Deep Purple fans at the time I was still at school, supposedly trying to get on top of my A Level subjects. What income I managed to get together came from a bit of pocket money, a couple of evening shifts at the local fish and chip shop, a weekly delivery round stuffing 15 copies a time of the ‘advertiser’ through any letter box big enough to take them (we did try just putting the lot in the paper recycling bin one week but there were complaints from people who hadn’t had their copy!) and a regular gig at the city cathedral (weddings and funerals paid extra).
So as the news about Deep Purple ‘first ever “live” recording’ broke in the music papers via unprecedented double page two colour adverts, it wasn’t too difficult to get myself into town on the day of release and bag one of the first copies.

Made In Japan box 2014 reissue

Needless to say for dedicated fans (and I think I already counted as one of those) this was far from our ‘first ever’ live recording, as we had been introduced to the mysterious world of bootlegs by Sir Richard Branson the year before and H-Bomb, Space and others had already enthralled us. So Made In Japan was partly a response to Deep Purple managements battles with Virgin to get bootlegs banned. Though whether they and the band would ever have got around to doing a live set without the prompting of Warner Pioneer in Japan is open to question.
I guess all we can say is thank goodness for the executives at Warners. There was plenty of precedent for the Japanese live album going back to the sixties, with in concert albums by The Walker Brothers, The Ventures, Miles Davis, Cliff Richard (and even The Osmonds) getting there before Deep Purple did. Benny Goodman even called his 1965 live album Made In Japan. These releases were seen as a great way of introducing western acts to the home market, and giving them something exclusive. Most were strictly for the Japanese market and didn’t surface back home until specialist import shops opened up (hands up if you remember Flyover Records in Hammersmith where I went into debt to afford my Roy Buchanan Live In Japan import a couple of years later).
Many of the big US and European labels were at best indifferent to official live albums, which is clear from the decision by Warner Brothers in America to hold Made In Japan back for around six months so it wouldn’t clash with the band’s new studio album there, only really relenting when import copies began to flood across.
£3.25p then, actually a good deal as most single albums were above the £2 mark at the time (Flyover would charge around £9 for single LP Japanese imports), and everyone agreed to take a bit of a hit on Made In Japan to encourage sales. It was Christmas after all!
So despite a budget price there in terms of presentation the album was very slick, though clearly the product of a marketing mind rather than aimed at fans. I recall admiring the small pics on the front and back (mostly the Rainbow Theatre in London), and the gold special ink, but being distinctly underwhelmed by the inner gatefold (and lack of record sleeves). What, nothing to read?
Once you put the damn thing on the record player though all that was forgotten as we were just sucked into a blistering Deep Purple performance. And that’s what remains, fifty years on. Of course fans already knew how Deep Purple were the best live group we’d ever seen but here was proof positive.
It’s quite difficult to put your finger on it but here were five gifted rock musicians with very little to prove, who could amble on stage (with little in the way of presentation) and rely on each other to keep things powering along come what may. That left them free to push one another and together with the spirit of competition this produced often remarkable performances, as well as giving them freedom to indulge one another when the situation arose. Of course they knew they were being taped but that never seems to restrain the performances. And by taping all three shows on the trip, there was plenty of material to work with. Never especially a band to keep going over things again and again, they couldn’t be bothered with any overdubbing and while Ian Gillan in particular was a little critical there was a consensus arrived at to produce what they felt was the best cut of each track and throw them together in such as way as a full live set was achieved.

Deep Purple on stage in Japan during the August tour.

In the fifty years since, the background to the band’s internal wranglings off stage at this time has been well documented, which just add another level of astonishment to the cohesion exhibited on these recordings.

Fans soon became aware of the fantastic packaging of the Japanese edition which certainly didn’t cause me a moments hesitation to fork out for once I’d seen it. Over the five decades since then the archive market has tinkered with Made In Japan reissues three or four times both to wring more mileage out of the tapes and explore the unreleased versions. I could write as much again about the politics surrounding the 3CD EMI set which first explored the original multi-tracks (until then nobody seemed sure they’d even survived). Or, with a heavy heart, having to tell EMI they could stick their abysmally packaged multi format box set where the rising sun don’t shine as it did not come close to what it needed to be (if your design team cannot even spell Smoke On The Water correctly then you know you are doing something wrong!).
Even the bootleggers still hammer away at this, presenting note for note end to end CD sets of all three concerts using audience recordings (and stealing the Darker Than Blue name for their packaging!). That there even is a market for such releases shows just how powerfully Made In Japan cuts through the band’s history and psyche.

Rolling Stone still have it at the sixth best live album of all time as voted for by their readers: “They’ve done countless shows since in countless permutations, but they’ve never sounded quite this perfect.”
The Skeptical Audiophile, an American hi-fi shop which searches for the best pressings of any given vinyl disc, then cleans, ranks and sells them on, had this to say: “Made In Japan – sounds more like a top quality studio production than any live album I’ve ever heard. It’s shocking how clean and undistorted the sound is. I’d put it right up there with the best of the best. In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness — qualities that are usually in very short supply on live albums — I would have to say that the shootout winning copies of Made In Japan would be very likely to take Top Honors for Best Sounding Live Album of All Time. Yes, the sound is that good.”

So we’re somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to how to celebrate this momentous album and everyone will have their own ideas. I love the EMI triple set (well, I would say that wouldn’t I?) as it kind of hits home like a proper official bootleg; imperfect but very exciting. So I might dip into that, and perhaps a side off the original vinyl just to remember Christmas 1972. It was after all the last we could safely enjoy without that Slade song…

Just as the heatwave comes to an end, here’s a DTB exclusive shirt to help you be the envy of your pub quiz team! From the DTB shop.

Major impact

July 24, 2022

Steve Morse’s decision to leave Deep Purple is hardly unexpected given the difficult health issues facing his wife, but still calls for a moment of reflection. His remarkable 28 year ‘tour of duty’ outdistances that even of Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, and few would argue now that Steve’s arrival in the band reinvigorated Deep Purple in 1994, giving them a new life both on stage as well as in the studio with the release of the remarkably positive debut Steve Morse line-up album Purpendicular.
Certainly the subsequent 1996 tour is remembered here as a very joyous event in many ways and following albums have continued to produce quality tracks thanks in no small part to his input.
The live shows we have been to across those years have produced many special moments, including Jon’s farewell shows, while that anniversary gig in Montreux with Zappa’s lad and Steve jamming together will always remain high in my own memories. Perhaps his revelatory solo introduction to Smoke On The Water a few years back, which seemed to get longer and longer, deserves an honorary mention, finally bringing home to me the musical importance of a number which until then had begun to outstay it’s welcome on tour. It took a perceptive outsider to see it for the world beater it was.
As you might expect, the remaining musicians have been fulsome in their farewell comments, reproduced below, which have been widely written up right across the world web’s music media over the past couple of days.
Thanks Steve.

The statements in full:

Steve Morse:

Last Autumn, I suddenly left the Purple writing session in Germany because my wife was having a real medical crisis. Almost a year later, we are learning to accept stage 4 aggressive cancer and chemo treatment for the rest of her life. We both miss being at shows, but I simply couldn’t commit to long, or far away tours, since things can change quickly at home. I suggested lining up a substitute guitarist last Autumn, hoping we could see the miraculous cancer cure all of us have heard about. As time went by, I could see the way things were heading though, after 28 years of being in the band.

I’ve already played my last show with Purple back in Florida on the Rock Legends Cruise. I wish to thank the listeners who so strongly supported live music and turned every show from a dress rehearsal to a thundering, exciting experience. I’ll miss everybody in the band and crew but being Janine’s helper and advocate has made a real difference at many key points.

As Janine adjusts to her limitations, she is able to do many things on her own, so we will try to play some shorter nearby concert tours with friends to, hopefully, get both of us out of the house!

I know Simon has the gig nailed already, but I’m now handing over the keys to the vault which holds the secret of how Ritchie’s “Smoke on the Water” intro was recorded. I guess you have to jiggle the key just right because I never got it open.

Ian Gillan:

In circumstances like these it is normally difficult to find the right words, but not in the case of Steve Morse; I know what I want to say.

He came from a different background to the rest of us in Deep Purple and yet his musical genius has been somehow compatible and played a big part in the fresh direction adopted by the group when he joined and made his first album with us in 1996, and then onwards, for over a quarter of a century, enjoying the longest incumbency of any DP guitarist and contributing to the longest unchanging line-up, which started when Don Airey replaced Jon Lord – who retired in 2002 – until the present day.

I first became aware of Steve through the Dixie Dregs, particularly the track ‘Take it off the Top’ which was the theme tune for Tommy Vance’s BBC rock show and impressed me mightily. I didn’t realise at the time that one day I would be lucky enough to stand on stage with Steve and enjoy his consummate skills up close and dangerous.

I got to know him as a very kind man, full of ideas and the patience to see them developed. He would say, ‘You never know until you try it’. We sure had some fun debating that approach, but mostly in good humour and he always gave as good as he got.

Steve has a legacy with Deep Purple that can never be forgotten, and that smile will be missed. It would be wrong to comment on his personal circumstances, suffice to say he’s in a bad place right now but dealing with it bravely and as best he can; we all admire his devotion; he’s been a strong family man all his life.

All this has come at a terrible time for everybody, including the other musicians in Deep Purple. After two years off the road because of quarantines everywhere, we had to get back to what we do, and that is perform live around the world and make music in the way we have always done, since 1968. As we get older, we realise that we’re much closer to the end, and that triggers an urgency that won’t be tamed. From Steve’s perspective, I can only imagine that there is no possible ‘nice’ way of continuing with a new man, but it is either that or call it a day, because the lack of momentum was gradually becoming something more significant; it felt terminal.

The best way I can describe this is by using Steve’s own words; when I sent him a love letter a few weeks ago, he replied that it was weird being at home whilst we guys were out there, but ‘reality intervenes’… and that’s what has happened.

I can only put out love and respect, and positive vibes at the memories of good times together.

Ian Paice:

From the moment Steve joined us in Purple, it was obvious he could open up new musical possibilities for us. Like most great creative musicians, he has the ability to come up with musical ideas that no one else has thought of.

I think the easiest way to say it is he’s always “thinking outside the box”. Not many of us can do that!

We learnt he is also an incredibly nice man, who put up with our lack of knowledge of US sports teams and stars, and our continual talk of UK football, (soccer to our US friends!), with great patience. But there is one important truth here and that is “family comes first”.

Steve is adhering to that truth with his wife Janine’s health situation. We will miss him.

Roger Glover:

In the early 80’s, on tour with Rainbow in Germany, I heard ‘Go for Baroque’ by the Dixie Dregs on a car radio. I was captivated and immediately bought Unsung Heroes. Then I bought Steve’s first solo album. What a guitar player. Never could I have dreamed that twelve years later we would be in a band together.

Deep Purple was at a pivotal point in the mid-90’s and needed to refresh itself. Steve was an inspired choice and brought his talent and limitless imagination to us – evidenced by ‘Purpendicular’, a favourite album of mine – enabling the band to start an amazing journey for the next twenty-eight years… no mean feat. He’s a teacher, he inspired us, me in particular, with his energy, encouragement and wisdom, and his contribution and legacy in this band is beyond words. He will be missed but our friendship will remain.

Sadly, life has intervened, and different challenges are upon us. Janine needs him now, and my best wishes and thoughts go out to them.

Don Airey:

Thanks Steve for being such a shining light both musically and personally to me over the last few (20 !!) years. All I can do is wish you and Janine the best for the future, in the new course that life has taken you. I know it would take a lot more than this to extinguish your talent and your music, so hopefully we’ll see you down the road a-piece. Cheers DA

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.