Unveiling

Montreux 4th July 2018 – Plaque Unveiling Ceremony at the Former Grand Hotel.

 

Ian Gillan by the plaque

Tim Summers has managed to pen us a few words about the event itself, for more see the two posts below…

With the proceedings due to kick off at 11 am, we hopped off the train at Territet with about 25 minutes to go and strolled across the street to the building itself. We struggled to recognise it at first due to it being covered in scaffolding; one reason for having the plaque located round at the unobstructed rear entrance – actually this made sense as this was where the mobile studio was parked – and it meant that we could hear the speeches (and not get run over!) shielded from the relatively busy road to the front.
As we arrived tables of food and drinks were being set up opposite the rear entrance, and a copy of Machine Head stood on a podium to the side, with a picture of the mobile studio parked there some 40-odd years previously on the wall at the other side. The good folk of Montreux made us feel very welcome, and we chatted with just the occasional craning of the neck to peer down the road to see if there was any sign of any Purple people arriving. Roger had promised to attend together with “whoever else he could drag along”. As 11 am approached, a sleek looking people carrier was sighted at the bottom of the slope; it drove up to the car park barrier and the doors opened – Roger was first out, followed by Ian Gillan and Paicey. They ambled up the road in the style of a royal walkabout, stopping to shake hands and chat with people in the assembled throng (of probably around 100 people).
Once at the top they went inside the foyer (which was open) and we followed them in – it was kind of awe-inspiring to be in such an historically significant building. They were happy to chat, pose for photos and sign anything thrust in front of them, and after a little while we ventured back out into the sunshine for the unveiling. There were speeches, including one from Paicey, who said that this was the first time he’d been back to the building since he finished work on the Machine Head album. He actually explained in terms I could understand the necessity of all that climbing out of windows/across balconies business too.
The plaque is a nice thing – not the sort of blue metal affair I was imagining, but rather a laser-etched glass creation, with a (surprisingly effective) button to back-illuminate it on command. As well as including a contemporary picture of the band from the time of recording the album, the plaque details the significance of the album and building too. I spoke to its Italian creator, and he said that he wanted to make something special for a band as important as Deep Purple.
Montreux itself is quite an amazing place, and it really comes alive for the annual music festival. Later in the day Roger did a sort of Q&A about the significance of it all, the fire and the recording of the album, and we spotted him again later just walking down the street (probably returning from the soundcheck for that night’s gig). Paicey summed up the sort of intertwined nature of the band and place in his closing remarks about the recording of Machine Head here: “Looking back on our career, probably one of the the most important 3 weeks of our lives”. –Tim Summers (thanks to Keith Sharp and Ian Edwards for the photographs).

Below, Keith’s picture of the plaque in situ. The text is a bit clunky but you should have seen it before we re-wrote it! It was supposed to have the album title and name off the sleeve too, not sure where those went…  But a very swish item which does the band proud.

Montreux Plaque 2018

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