Roger Glover interviews • June 2011

Glover and Morse have done numerous phone interviews to plug the North American tour, more than I can recall in a long time. Some of Roger’s comments are interesting, showing thinking on the tour with an orchestra and also the next studio album. We’ve just used a few extracts and avoided the stuff most DTB readers will know already!.

Boston Herald: Deep Purple has done concerts with orchestras several times. What’s this one about?

Glover: Yes, we’ve dabbled with orchestras before, and we were one of the first bands to do it. It was actually something Jon wrote, and nothing to do with rock music. It was really a symphonic piece. We’ve also done our music with a bit of backing, which is a cruel way of saying what we’re going to do this tour. But it’s a bit more than that.

Is it at all like Metallica’s “Symphony & Metallica” live CD?

Every time you mention rock bands and orchestras everyone says, “Oh, like Metallica,” which sticks in my throat a little bit. Nothing against Metallica, but bands have been doing it way before Metallica.

How do you explain it then?

It’s a Deep Purple gig. There’s no concession to the fact there’s an orchestra there, and it’s not really even an orchestra. It’s some strings, some horns and it’s as much jazz as it is orchestral-classical stuff. It’s a rock concert with added heft. We don’t quite know how it’s going to sound.

Were you brought into the band in 1969 by Ritchie and later sacked by him?

I was brought in not by Ritchie, but the whole band. When I was forced out or edged out or whatever the polite way of saying fired is, in 1973, yeah, that was pretty tough. I didn’t realize why. I understood why in the end because Ritchie wanted new blood, he wanted to play with different players and he’s always been like this.

Then, you came back in through Ritchie. And he exited later.

That first reunion album, “Perfect Strangers,” was a glorious time for all of us, a healing of all the wounds, but it didn’t take long before things started getting tense. Ritchie’s got his own road he’s going down and if you happen to be with him on part of that road, you consider yourself lucky.

Let’s cut to Steve Morse. What did you tell him when you asked him to join?

I said, “As far as I’m concerned, and I think I speak for the rest of the band, we want you to be you, not a cardboard cutout of Ritchie in any way, shape, or form. Or in writing, looks, sound and behavior.” You can’t be in a band and not be 100 percent yourself. That to me is imperative. He said, “So, I can come with any idea I can think of?” and I said, “Sure.” He’s a man of a million ideas. It’s hard to stop him.

What does being called a classic rock band mean?

We’re stuck in the States with that classic rock tag, so it’s very difficult to get an audience of younger than about 40. It’s a label. I think it hurts us, because we’re not getting through to the younger audiences we get through to in the rest of the world. We’ve been big in France the last seven years and play big venues, which are always packed with teenagers and they have a ball. You go to America and play a shed somewhere and people are sitting down eating their popcorn, don’t want to get up and barely want to clap.
Interview with Roger Glover – JJ Koczan, June 2011

What brought the idea about?

Desperation (laughs). No, we’ve been touring, touring, touring, constantly, for a long time now, and it’s much more difficult to get a tour in the States. Europe is very hot for us, in fact, all around the world, and the States, I’ve found over the years, is like a seesaw balance. You’re big in the States, and you’re not so big anywhere else, and it sort of goes back and forth.
 And we haven’t toured America for quite some time, so we’re eager to break back in and do some American touring. Do something slightly different, not just another tour.

And it’s all different orchestras, you said. So it’s not like you’re on the road with an orchestra.

That’s right. Like most of our shows, it’s going to be a little hairy. Sometimes it gets to be a bit on the edge, and basically, I think the parts are going to be written out for the orchestra, and orchestras play parts, so I think probably the modus operandi is, we’re going to get to wherever we’re doing the concert first, then have a good old soundcheck with them, then we may do a couple of songs to soundcheck with us, and that would be it. If we’re lucky. Or maybe if we’re unlucky, I don’t know (laughs).

We’re not a rehearsing-type band. We tend to sort of… play, rather than rehearse. It’s a boring process, rehearsing, and we all know what we’re doing. It’s not like we have to rehearse how to play, it’s just what to play, and we kind of make it up as we go along all the time.

What is the setlist going to consist of?

Pretty much the songs that people know. There’ll be some new stuff in there.

New new stuff? 

Not new new stuff. This day and age, you can’t afford to put new stuff out, because it belongs to everyone before you even get the chance to release it. We’ve been working, actually. We’ve been having a writing session. But you won’t hear any of that this tour. That’ll be the next tour.

How is the writing going? When did you start?

In March, we all convened in Spain, at a studio in Spain, up in the mountains. Quite idyllic. We spent about nine days, just jammed every day and got a whole bunch of ideas down.

 And we’ll continue working on it later this year, probably—September, October—and it’ll be out next year. I can see into the future.

In writing, do you guys find you have the freedom to do whatever you want, or do you feel expectations from fans?

It’s kind of hard not to do anything without imagining how someone else is gonna take it, but at the same time, we’re not the kind of band that worries too much about what people think. We tend to just have fun, really.
Yeah, there’s a kind of Purple ethic about the music, and it’s very difficult to define. It’s not like we have to be formulaic, although there’s a kind of sensibility of what makes a Deep Purple song a Deep Purple song—maybe other people’s opinions differ. But if it passes the test of all of us going, “Yeah, I like it,” then it’s a Purple song, whatever it sounds like, even if it’s a soft ballad or whatever.
 So yeah, we use our freedom, and that’s been wonderful. It was always thus. No one ever told us what to do or how to do it, and my own expectations—when we did Perfect Strangers, the first album we’d done in 11 years — I did wonder about how people would take that. But in the end, when we actually started doing it, we spent more time in the pub than the studio.

Roger Glover’s new solo album is out in July, and can be pre-ordered at DTBOnline store.

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