New Year Musings

Yes it is real!

DTB 2011/2012 Review • It’s been a busy year as ever for Deep Purple fans, culminating in a handful of live shows with the Orchestra in Britain. Well received by many who went but a worrying number of people who opted not to bother, ourselves included. Yet in terms of new material it has been a little sparse. Nothing new studio wise from the group of course, despite a short writing break and plans for this to happen (next year possibly maybe?). The word from the tour is that the group are likely to be in the road at least for another three years or so, but you feel it will be hard to sustain the core support without something new to get people interested. The gaps between albums these days are almost as long as the entire career of the original four line-ups!
On the retro scene it has also been pretty quiet. Phoenix Rising promised much but was a lot of hot air when you actually came to analyse the content, with the audio remixes sounding worse than on the last stereo edition. I suspect this is the way future reissues will be treated, there seemingly being no enthusiasm to carry on the in-depth archive projects. The trouble is of course that the longer they dither, the less people will be interested.
Which really left the BBC Sessions project to deliver anything in terms of unreleased audio. This I think it did, although plans to include more DJ stuff and jingles were thwarted over copyright worries. The box edition looked very handsome (I would say that wouldn’t I?), though in marketing terms I’m not sure EMI quite got the launch of the title quite right (and I’m still getting emails from reviewers who say they would have judged it very differently if EMI had sent this out instead of two CDRs and a text file!). In terms of my own airplay, it was the BBC material which topped everything else here in DP terms. I confess to not having got around to even watching Montreux 2011 on DVD yet (still got series 2 of Spiral to get through).

Deep-Purple-1970

Next year will see more special editions, with Machine Head and Made In Japan likely to fall under the spotlight. There are also plans for other releases keyed in to the anniversary of Machine Head and another special release for Record Store Day in April. Indeed the continued interest in Vinyl shows little sign of going away, with a reported 40% increase in sales of the format last year.
Away from DP, once again it was Glenn who kept us all on our toes. I’m not sure the second BCC album had quite the musical clout of the first for me, despite improvements in production. Likewise the live shows were fine but I think I have enjoyed Glenn’s own shows rather more in the past. It’ll be interesting to see if the band can progress, or whether Bonamassa’s own workload will keep the breaks on it to some degree.
In fact it has been the book front which has perhaps thrown up more of interest lately, with Glenn’s autobiography much anticipated (especially by those of us who didn’t fancy the £500 first edition). On a more quirky level books from Tony Ashton and especially Colin Hart have been interesting, the latter throwing light on the often disfunctional goings on within the band’s organisation! The New Year promises more titles, with the massive Whitesnake biography leading the way in January (my Christmas was spent checking page proofs), the publication of the Deep Purple Diary, and the Story of Smoke On The Water amongst others.
Darker Than Blue is also set for a return in 2012 albeit also in book form, with titles devoted to specific areas of the band’s history. Details of the first two will be released early in the New Year and it is planned to continue the magazine issue numbering sequence with these. DTB people with subscriptions will be offered appropriate discounts.
Whitesnake have perhaps had the lions share of releases lately, what with the new CD and seemingly endless number of compilations, culminating in the box set to end all box sets. Still, got to pay the gardening bills somehow haven’t we? Impressive physically certainly, but a lot of people have found it difficult to justify buying just to get the DVD and Reading broadcasts. Let’s hope EMI issue these individually before much longer. Blackmore? Well some tentative steps with the Universal remasters may produce interesting editions of On-Stage in 2012 possibly including unissued Japanese recordings. Beyond that he seems content to remain on the edges of the rock scene with Blackmore’s Night. The God Of Guitar website have asked any fans to vote in their 2012 poll by the way, it’s online here: http://godofguitar.com/7.html
We’ll be back with our regular DTB news round ups next week. In the meantime let’s hope in wider terms 2012 will see things pick up for everyone. This especially applies of course to Mr. Jon Lord, and we’re all looking forward to the studio recording of The Concerto to hear those dulcet Hammond tones once again!

All the CDs and books mentioned here can be grabbed from the DTB Online store. Except the Spiral box set.

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31 Responses to “New Year Musings”

  1. overthehill Says:

    I noticed someone asked the question when is “enough enough with re-issues.” Enough is when you feel that there is no advancing of presentation I would imagine. That threshold would be different for everyone. For me it means being current with advances in technology such as a remix in 5.1. For me it means having the band, or someone like Martin Birch involved (If only that guy would put out a book). Being that I have the three CD remixed version of MIJ means that it will take more than just some new packaging and a minutes worth of old film footage. “Made in Japan” has the sweetest Strat -tone ever caught on record in my opinion. The drums have all the qualities that people love about analog sound. The recording was an aligning of the stars. My only regret is I feel like the vocals are like 10% too-low in the mix, but I am certain others would find that comment offensive. So, for me enough has not occurred quite yet with this album. The last remix was done very quickly and I think there is room for improvement, if they will spend the money and time to do it well.

  2. steve mcgrath Says:

    Deep Purple… not even the best Deep Purple tribute band anymore.
    The 1998 tour was the last time they really COOKED, get the boots, there are some bloody good shows,
    Was at the Astoria show in 2006, nearly half the new album played, some newer old material, but a few months later… back to the same old same old, sad.

  3. Stathis Says:

    Well, excuse me, gentlemen, but people *are* actually attending the shows, in great numbers, if the recent UK gigs are any indication.
    Tired material? Have a listen to Smoke on the Water from any recent show. It’s on bloody fire!

  4. Colin C Says:

    Unfortunately I find myself in reluctant but total agreement. I have followed Purple since ’69 as well as the various offshoots along the way and have been one of Ian Gillan’s strongest supporters – even through the debacle of the late 1980’s period when he was fired! But to all intents and purposes Purple are now a spent force creatively. Yes they can ride the glorified cabaret circuit for one or two more years just churning out the same old tunes – but come on once a band can’t find the energy or the inspiration any more to record new material they let their loyal fans down and do nothing to attract new ones. It is beginning to look likely that in 2012 it will not be the band that walks away into the sunset it will be increasing numbers of loyal fans who just lose faith. In any relationship it needs both sides to continue making the effort – the fans have hung on in there since Rapture was released – so to Gillan and Co maybe we have to say with heavy heart ‘If the creative spark is too much effort then either give it up – or DO something!!!’

  5. smokiewater Says:

    Come on New Year grumps. At least we still have them touring regularly. New material! Why would they bother? They obviously enjoy what they do and so should we. 38 Piece orchestra playing with the band. How many bands tour worldwide (except Belfast unfortunately) with a blinking orchestra. Be happy they are still around at all.

  6. Mark Nolde Says:

    Up till now I understand they still get many crazy enough to pay the big dosh to see the proceedings to the end. I’m one of those who don’t go anymore. ROTD Amsterdam, early 2006 was my last.
    I’m not one of those Blackmore fans that never went to DP after he left, I saw them with Morse about 8 times.
    1 or 2 shows I kinda could enjoy myself, way back, and trying to block my sentiments regarding the wrong fiddler.
    But even then I wasn’t able to shake off the sadness (…) and depression that occurred while hearing Morse doing solo’s.
    I even saw them in 99 doing the Concerto in London, twice and I saw the Concerto tour in Rotterdam.
    I don’t think they really toured the BANANAS album over here.
    But I saw them at the Arrow Festival in 2003: Disappointing, not just for me.
    Saw the Purpendicular and Abandon tour in Rotterdam too, even attended an open-air festival in Germany for that tour.
    Some people (might) say I can’t be in a position to judge their qualities on stage by staying at home and just watching YouTube.
    Well, they do have a point but lots of YouTube clips today are good enough to hear or not certain things.
    It’s like they are trying to tell me the crackling and embarassing voice of Gillan will disappear if I attend a show or see and hear a well produced 5.1. DVD!
    Face it, without HIM they are not able to deliver great songs.
    Even if they had ones they did not go the long mile to endorse them long enough on stage.
    MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

  7. Rod Says:

    I would love a Morse only material show but unfortunately that will not happen. I continue to go to shows hoping for something different, even if it is only for a couple new numbers. The last great tour was 1998…the rest have been nostalgia trips which I completely understand at least here in North America where they are not a current band but a classic rock band. The musicianship as always is top notch but a far cry from the classic Ritchie/Lord days

  8. Wishmaster Says:

    On the Purple front, I finally got the Made In Japan CD version (Standard CD with bonus encores CD) for Christmas – never had it before! Also got a replacement for the triple Live in Japan set (My original CDs got watermarked somehow, never seen it before and discs either side were fine. Weird). So I’m a bit Purple’d up at the moment, but only with old stuff. I’d be really keen to see a final super special edition of Made In Japan with everything from the three shows in order and any DVD/Film footage as may be available, all with a nice booklet in an LP sized cover.
    Obviously I’d like to see some new stuff from the band, although I wasn’t keen on the last effort.
    I agree with Overthehills comment regards some 84/85 DVD material, that would be fantastic, there seems very little available from that era. Also what’s happened to the Perfect Strangers Deluxe edition?
    As to Ritchie. I’m a devoted fan of Blackmore’s Night so I’m happy that he stays with it. Ritchie has moved on, he’s happy with it. I saw them in Salisbury and I can honestly say it was the best concert I’ve witnessed in 40 years of of watching bands. Get over it, he’s not coming back to Purple, he has no reason too.

    • simon robinson Says:

      We went into that problem with discoloured MIJ discs some years ago. It turned out that the pressing plant had used some strange ink on the labels, and these reacted with the discs when in close proximity to one another. Our copy did just the same. EMI did offer a replacement but it was a good few years ago.

  9. Roberto Says:

    “I confess to not having got around to even watching Montreux 2011 on DVD yet”
    Reading this on a Purple site, clearly make you feel how is Deep Purple’s nowadays situation without a new record…

    • simon robinson Says:

      Nah Roberto, just me being grumpy having to get back to work! I rarely watch music videos by anyone to be honest, prefer records or live gigs.

  10. michael ball Says:

    The last tour of the Deep Purple tribute band was enjoyable – largely because of the enthusiasm of the orchestra. I agree they should stop playing safe – but I foresee no change. I think Mr B is happy doing what he is doing – so again no change. I enjoyed all Glenn’s shows – though BCC has to be seen as a part-time band (I too cannot see long term commitment from JB). As for Mr C – have not managed to get any enthusiasm for the Snakes for a long time. I hope Jon makes a full recovery from his illness – as he was beginning to make some waves – albeit in the classical scene. We are all getting older and more staid in our ways – after all we all enthuse about a band whose heyday was over 35 years ago. I do look forward to new releases of MIJ and the Rainbow “On Stage” – both with some caution. I thank you Simon for keeping the dimming flame alive and for the standards you continue to espouse.

  11. Brian J Says:

    I think I lost my enthusiasm for the never-ending Rapture tour earlier than some. I saw the brilliant start of the Rapture tour at the Astoria in 2006 (lots of new material and energy), then Wembley 15 months later (the ‘Machine Head’ tour) and already the set was retracting back to Made In Japan. I couldn’t find the enthusiasm for Excel or Hammersmith, looking at the preceding tour reviews and set lists, so I thought I should go to the O2 as much out of loyalty as anything. It was a shock to realise it was four and a half years since I had last seen them. It was much better than I either expected or hoped and a more interesting set list. However, if they really are going to be on the road for the next three years some new material is needed as well as reviving a wider selection of Gillan-era material from the 11 albums (plus singles/b-sides and ‘Hush’) than they seem to fall back on. It’s not as if they are shy of the studio – apart from Paicey they have all issued at least one solo album since Rapture

    • simon robinson Says:

      They should take a leaf out of their guitarist’s book. His new outfit Flying Colours cut their new album in less than a fortnight. Write (properly), rehearse (properly), then just go in and do it.

  12. Helmut Says:

    Not much going on, eh? That’s the feeling I get. I can’t speak for everyone, but maybe I’m doing (so) anyway when I say that I’m progressively “living in the past” musically, to quote Ian Anderson. Not long ago Roger Glover made a point saying that Purple’s raison d’être was releasing new material. The way the industry works these days few studio albums are profitable, so I guess that’s why DP can’t seem to be bothered. Instead, they’re doing their cabaret live shows as the number one DP cover band in the world. RB realised the trend more than a decade ago and is happy to back up his wife in her band. Not my cup of tea really. The only Purple related musicians releasing new music on a regular basis are Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. I for one can’t really get excited about either. So, everything to get excited about is the far out idea that after 40 years EMI might get it right to release the Made in Japan shows in their entirety and on one product. Wow! Cynical mode off. The only really exciting thing last year was the DP BBC set. Good work, Simon! I hope you will remain someone who reminds the powers that be about possible releases with so far unreleased material. What about a Japanese Rainbow show from ’76 with “A Light In The Black”? The complete, unabridged “Live in the Heart of the City” show(s)?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a surviving version of Light In The Black beyond a couple of audience tapes; it was a forlorn hope!

  13. Chris Mallinson Says:

    I didn’t go to the recent UK tours for a number of reasons, but mainly it’s to do with the fact that the tour was yet again an Arena one.
    I would prefer, as I’m sure most Purple fans would, a more intimate venue rather than a huge soulless barn.
    Probably not the band’s fault (especially IG) but surely a tour of the Bradford St Georges / Manchester Apollo / Sheffield City Hall type of venue would bring more of the atmosphere that the band would probably thrive on, and thus lead to more memorable performances.
    On the subject of a new album, I would like to suggest to the band that the sort of album they should try and emulate would be the 2010 “Last look at Eden” by Europe. There are so many old Purple elements on that album its unbelievable.
    Can’t see it happening though.

  14. Grannypants Says:

    Unfortunately a non-creative band is doomed to failure. DP has lasted due to their legacy and that’s it lately. I have also spent a fortune on DP for years but in the last 5+ years I have become disinterested. I don’t think the current lineup are doing anything but “milking” the fans. I think change is required, a major shakeup and perhaps time for Gillan to step down. Not an easy thing for someone who worshipped the guy to say…..
    Make an album guys or step aside (or start playing the cruises). To keep me interested a Mk 3 reunion tour would do nicely, much better than the current lineup and a g’dam orchestra?!

  15. Andrey Barabanshchikov Says:

    Hello!
    Just a comment on Godofguitar.com. Here are two links for the readers. Some new obscure facts about the band. I suppose the author was that very cunning linguist from the edge of geography. And very drunk…
    Thank you.
    http://www.godofguitar.com/caljam.html
    http://www.godofguitar.com/25.html

  16. cja74 Says:

    I agree with overthehill. I first Purple show I saw was in 95?
    in Chicago, and have seen them many times since, and I
    really like Don Airey. Steve Morse is great, but once you
    have heard him a few times, it all sounds the same. Sorry
    but I can’t stand the Bradford produced stuff. It is tired
    and I hate the production sound. But that is just my own
    stinking opinion. I too would love for Elements to have a good updated release.

    • simon robinson Says:

      It’s strange; I thought the first Bradford DP production was pretty excellent, but the last one was dreadful. Not sure how come it changed so much.

  17. overthehill Says:

    True Eric. I could not handle hearing “Black Night ever again! I forgot to mention, where is the anniversary edition of the first “Blackmore’s Rainbow” album? Blackmore and Dio both cite it as the best studio album yet it seems to have been passed over by the “Deluxe Edition” re-issue program? This is a killer album and my dream would be a remix of just one song “Still I’m Sad”. That song is immense but it’s a very weird mix with the cowbell being really loud and the amazing guitars being buried. I know Blackmore likes the guitars “in context with the song” but it’s just a ultra conservative mix in terms of guitar. This will never happen though. Does anyone know why they by-passed it and if it is planned?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Not sure of the reasons. It was a very strange mix all round, possibly on purpose to play down the guitarist’s role in it all and make it more of a band effort. It certainly would benefit from a thorough job but as this is how Blackmore saw it at the time, I’m not sure it will ever happen (assuming somebody knows where the tapes are of course).

  18. Edward Says:

    Was Phoenix Rising really that bad? I can understand your lack of interest in the Montreux DVD though (Spiral series 2 was great!) the current line-up sometimes does a really good impression of Deep Purple but otherwise… still, good news about the possible MIJ and O-S re-releases!

  19. Peter Xuereb Says:

    Further to my previous post. I double checked my CD collection and upon recounting my DP section was a little shocked to find the number closer to 50 titles! Of course it’s never about the number. However my point was how many reissues of the same thing do we need? I haven’t got around to BBC yet but I do want to get that one.
    The band is at the point where a new album of new material would not generate much interest… I think I played that last one maybe once and the only time I seem to hear any of it is if I’m on my PC with iTunes going in the background and a track from it plays… Maybe it’s time they called it a day but they just don’t excite me anymore. Maybe this is why I’m grateful that The Beatles knew when to call it a day!

  20. Mike Galway Says:

    No Stargazer (I wont say Snickers either) magazine? What the fuck is happening? First of all the “faster than the speed of light” thing now this! It’s the end of the world. Quick, play Fireball…….

    • simon robinson Says:

      Don’t get me started on that Euro-blanding of our confectionary heritage. Opal Fruits they always will be here. And bring back Spangles. And Smarties in round tubes.

  21. Peter Xuereb Says:

    Interesting comments Simon. However (they) sort of beg the question “how many ‘anniversary reissues’ will we see before the ‘cash cow’ get’s milked dry?” I refer to of course the mooted 40th Anniversary reissues of “Machine Head” & “Made In Japan”. MH is my other favorite LP (besides The Beatles’ “Abbey Road”). Weren’t the previous remasters sufficient? Especially in terms of the 3 disc “Live In Japan”, 2 disc MIJ and the 2 disc 30th Anniversary issue of MH? Problem for me is that I am a DP fan that has generally bought most things but left others alone such as interminable “best of’s”. Admittedly I am a bigger Beatles fan but funnily DP (my 2nd favorite band) represent the biggest section of my CD collection with approximately 30 titles in including remasters and Live Archive releases as well as later stuff. Has technology improved so much these previous releases are now redundant? What is it that makes reissues such a necessity when they’ve only been released 5-10 years previous? All I can really say is that any new reissue/remaster of MIJ & MH would need to be pretty damn special for me to part with yet more hard earned. Maybe the “lack of interest” from within the band towards their reissues is the realisation that you can only reissue stuff so many times. When is enough enough?

  22. overthehill Says:

    I have been a Deep Purple fan for about 35 years and have probably spent a small fortune on the band. I really like the individual members of the band, although I feel like the “edge” left the band with Blackmore. I am finding myself with no enthusiasm anymore for the current band. Their attitude towards recording (while probably based in reality in fiscal terms) leaves me jaded. Why are they continuing? It appears to only serve their ego. Last time I saw them on the “Rapture” tour they were very good but were on cruise-control. It just looked WAY too easy for them. I know in some ways that is the sign of greatness, but it is also the sign of not taking chances anymore. I just CANNOT get excited by them anymore! I also have been spoiled with the great output of the Appreciation Society over the years and miss the archive releases in the last year. I wish they would do “Made in Japan” in 5.1 if they release it again. And then there is the issue of “Perfect Strangers” They can’t find the multi-tracks? Wow. Sad! This past weekend I was driving into the mountains to do some photography and listened to Roger Glover’s “Elements.” (2 on one cd release from years ago) It probably sold poorly but if someone stamped the cover with Pink Floyd it would have been another story. What a cool and under-rated prog album. Simon Phillips is immense too. The album represented a time when it was about the experiment. I miss that! My personal wish list for future Purple-related items would be an 84/5 era DVD. They have the footage (forgive me here) but as long as this cover band keeps touring things like that will never be considered. No disrespect for Steve Morse and Don Airey because they are both great. Then there’s the subject of Ritchie… I wish the guy would step outside the Blackmore’s Night thing for anything different, even if only for a moment. End of rant!

    • Sanwal Says:

      overthehill: Spot on. I also have exactly the same feelings. I think Perpendicular was the last album which has Deep Purple qualities and i.e. exciting, thrilling, moving and different. Few days back I played ‘Battle Rages On’ after almost 10 years, I felt the energy of MK2, though it was one of the weakest albums purple ever produced.

      I think they need to put the Bands name on rest and move on with their solo projects. Or perhaps they can do a gig or two once in 5 years with different Marks. I would love to see MK3 in action again.

      Cheers

  23. Eric E Says:

    They have tons of NEWER material from the Morse era…they just choose not to play it. People are not attending shows because it is the material that is tired, not the band.

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