Come tweak the man

Tommy Bolin Liverpool 1976Thought it might be fun to share this, an image I’m restoring for the Come Taste The Band booklet. The print was done 35 years ago by my brother, and in the rush to get something out, the prints we both did (which were postcard sized – paper was expensive!) were less than brilliant. Nevertheless as they’ve not been used before, it seemed worth trying to see what I could do with them (worth as in fun, nobody would want to pay for the time involved!). Otherwise you just end up seeing the same images from the usual suspects.

The initial scan was done at a high resolution, and to 250% in black and white. The curves tool was next used to restore some of the missing contrast. The white ‘beam of light’ coming down is actually where in the darkroom an attempt has been made to stop the detail in the face being lost by ‘dodging’, but looks rather crude. So I selected an area around this to further adjust the levels, taking care to match them to the black levels already achieved.

The next stage was a bit of careful sharpening, but this also brought out the bits of dust and grot on the print, which had to be digitally removed one by one using both clone and heal tools. There are filters to blanket clean scans, but they are a bit of a compromise and tend to soften the image. After that, I wanted to ‘warm’ the image up a little, so this was done by converting from black and white to CMYK, and then messing slightly with the colour channels to bring in a little yellow and magenta.

The picture was taken during Deep Purple’s last ever show in Liverpool by the way. I seem to recall Nick and a mate coming over from Sheffield, meeting me and Ann, and making the trip across from Manchester (where I was based then). If we’d realised what was happening we might have bought a few more rolls of film, but as poor students..! How we envied pro photographers who had two cameras, one for colour. I recall at gigs like this taking some in black and white shots, rewinding the film back into the canister (but leaving the end sticking out), making a note of how many frames had been used, then sticking in a colour roll, using that, taking it out, and putting the black and white reel back in, winding it on to the right spot and carrying on. All during the concert!


20 Responses to “Come tweak the man”

  1. purpledaniel Says:

    Amazon UK displays a release date of September 1 for Come Taste The Band… I guess this is not real. Any precise idea when it will be released? Also a 10 cd box called Beyond the Purple will be available.. what is it?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Surely nobody believes Amazon’s release dates any more?! They just slap an early date up there to get your order before anyone else. But don’t get me started on their aggressive tactics as they continue to shove indie retailers to the edge of oblivion, please.
      I’ll post something about Beyond The Purple shortly.

  2. Jim Sheridan Says:

    I think that the studio work with Morse has some terrific songs. The live recordings can underwhelm me because either Ian can’t hit the notes, they go too heavy on oldies, or Morse shreds too much. I still dig ’em. No classic rock band ever quite matches its 1970s heights, none I can think of.

    As for the photographer charging too much for Mark IV photos, what a foolish move. Let’s face it, it is a rather small audience right now that would pay for those photos, and that audience ain’t getting any bigger! How much money does a photographer make by NOT selling the photos?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Exactly my argument Jim, I guess they feel if they drop their prices once, that would be it but as you say increasingly these images are of less and less commercial interest as the days roll by.

  3. purpledaniel Says:

    Simon, could you at least tell us where the intriguing footage of a complete mk IV comes from? America or Asian tour?

    • simon robinson Says:

      The clips on that tatty old Heavy Metal Pioneers collection are thought to be from a US show, but the original has not yet been located. In addition a show from Jakarta has been located. It is just possible that the HMP footage stems from this Jakarta film, but until viewing copies are located we will not know for sure. Be nice to think there are two gigs out there!

  4. Damien Reid Says:

    I find all this very interesting, as it brings back that strange feeling about deep purple with Tommy Bolin. Which is similar, but different to the feeling about purple with Steve Morse. I still can’t quite let steve morse in – too much of a technician.

    Interestingly, my 18 year old son, who’s got musical taste from Joy Division to Kings of Leon, exclaimed recently – as I came back from work to hear Glenn Hughes doing Dance to the Rock and Roll, in the middle of Gettin Tighter – that Tommy Bolin is the coolest bloke in Deep Purple.

    Sadly, I don’t expect us to be discussing the photos and playing of Steve Morse in such a positive light in 35 years.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I think you’re probably right, well certainly not me. The whole 25+ years of the reunion still fails to generate the interest the years 68-76 often do, even though there are plenty of highlights. I guess it’s because the reunion always seemed much slicker and focused, more stage-managed somehow. Also perhaps because the band never had the hits second time around which would have taken them to a wider general audience. Truth Hurts being the honourable exception of course!

  5. Timothy Campbell Says:

    Talk about a labour of love… ! I can imagine how much you’d get charged for tickling this shot! Once I started doing live photography as a job I found it didn’t make any difference how many cameras you used you still missed fabulous shots while loading/rewinding!
    Will you use that lovely shot of TB arriving at Liverpool that you took (where he’s got his hat on).

    On the dvd front I think the way that Led Zep have managed to produce enjoyable ‘live’ footage from short clips of super 8 synched with decent soundboard might be a good way of doing things, the footage itself only needs to be vaguely accurate…

  6. mike whiteley Says:

    I read over at The Highway Star that there is a redux of Rises Over Japan on the way. Is this part of the DVD documentary? Will we finally get the entire 30 min Rises performance?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Mike – welcome back from the dark side! We have not posted news about the upcoming DVDs on or here simply because they have been very much in a state of flux. As I pulled out of the last DVD project because I wasn’t chuffed at the way things were being done, I’m still not in the loop too much on what’s coming up. To me these releases ought to be the bees knees, but everything seems too rushed in the way they are executed. However they’ve chosen to do things this way so that’s that.
      As best I understand it the next DVD will be some sort of Mk 4 release to tie in with Come Taste The Band, and include whatever can be found, which does include just the half hour Rises Over Japan promo (including the bits you bought on the last one!), as well as some footage which I have been asked not to talk about yet (but which isn’t the lost BBC film, before you ask!). If we hear more I’ll be happy to post a proper entry at some stage.

  7. purpledaniel Says:

    Hello Simon, this is Daniel from Argentina.
    It’s great to see this album being prepared… and following the process is so exciting! I wish you could release all the pics that you have for the booklet.
    Apart from this new MkIV doc, can you post some info on the MIJ doc? There is also some other footage not used on the third archive dvd, have you figured out what can be done with that?
    I hope CTTB has the same release plans as the latest EMI releases like Live in London and Stormbringer, cause other releases have been impossible to locate over here!

    • simon robinson Says:

      The Made In Japan footage is likely to be made the core of some sort of DVD release, though I’m not sure how it will be padded out to DVD length as there isn’t much, and what there is are just clips. It is thought that some different material might survive, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I had intended that DVD3 would be just a Hits package, and we could then do subsequent collectors releases with other material as it appears. As this plan was ignored in favour of the hybrid release, I’m not sure what happens to the other footage now.
      Not sure what you mean about EMI and Argentina; as far as I know CTTB will be shipped around as the other titles were.

  8. John C Says:

    Excellent post Simon – well I enjoyed it anyway!! Not too much tweaking mind – I can’t wait for the remastered edition to be released, particularly if it is as good as Burn and Stormbringer. Did the colour photos of band rehearsals mentioned on the CTTB page come to anything?


    • simon robinson Says:

      Those rehearsal pictures proved too expensive sadly, and when I suggested as much to the photographer I was directed to investigate other sources, though not in quite such polite terms!

  9. Trace Keane Says:

    Thanks Simon,
    great stuff, really takes one back to the golden age, can’t wait!

  10. Baz Says:

    Intriguing to see a shot of Tommy from that infamous Liverpool Empire gig given the bad time he had there. The recording of his solo that night must be one of the creepiest most dramatic live recordings I’ve ever encountered.

    I presume there will be other shots from that gig in the forthcoming CD booklet? Will be fascinating to see them.

  11. Steve West Says:

    LOL… What a palaver… No disrespect intended to the professional and would be professional photographers but thank God for digital cameras….

    • simon robinson Says:

      True; though having watched a mate laboriously cleaning dust spots off some digital images (he does change lenses a lot, so grot can creep onto the sensors), it’s not all plain sailing! I kind of look on it as the vinyl vs CD thing; and despite the number of scratched negatives, wrong exposures, retouching brushes and all the other aggro we used to have with film, I did used to love a long day in the darkroom. And funnily enough a few places round here are starting old school camera tuition days…

  12. Gary Critcher Says:

    Nice! Looking forward to this release, Simon. Any idea on a release date yet??

    • simon robinson Says:

      I would imagine September Gary. August is traditionally a very dead month for releasing records. Tthere is a sort of tie-in DVD in production too, a ‘making of’ cum documentary, using up whatever bits of Mk 4 film can be located, though sadly nobody can track down where that clip on Heavy Metal Pioneers came from with any degree of certainty. However there may be some footage from the Jakarta shows knocking about, mind you in view of what happened over there in ’75 it would be a brave person who tried to do a deal on that!

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