Posts Tagged ‘Claude Nobs’

Up in Smoke

September 23, 2015

claude nobs during montreux casino fire

Work on the Machine Head book is proceeding, with Stephen corresponding with Jean Paul, who was at the Casino event the night the place went up.  And he clearly wasn’t afraid to get stuck in either.  This amazing photo we’ve seen before on this site, but we now know that is Jean himself on the right with Claude Nobs desperately trying to get one of the hoses round to tackle part of the blaze.  Jean was one of Claude’s best friends, and has been able to help us fill in some of his early career and  explain how the whole Montreux Super Pop and Jazz festival events came about.
During work on the book we’ve also found pictures of the blaze inside the casino roof which kicked the whole saga off (though you do wonder who would stop inside the hall to take such a picture…!), and a bewildered security guy on the stage with a megaphone trying to get people to take it seriously and leave.  The more I see of the event the more I’m amazed everyone got out safely.  Claude by the way reckoned the band only finished Smoke off for him as a thank-you tape given at a party before they left, and hadn’t intended it for the album….  We’re still trying to get the chronology sorted as photographer Didi Zill now thinks he snapped Ian writing the lyrics only a couple of days after the fire. As ever any info on the scene or events welcome!


Claude Nobs

January 8, 2013

Claude Nobs died on January 10th 2013. He had been in a coma in hospital following a fall during a skiing holiday on Christmas Eve.

While the media are rightly concentrating on his amazing work for the town of Montreux over the last fifty years, not least the founding and running of the town’s famous Jazz Festival, within the world of Deep Purple, he will forever be ‘Funky Claude’, immortalised by Ian Gillan in the lyrics of their best known recording Smoke On The Water. Without Claude’s expertise and local knowledge, Deep Purple would probably have had to abandon their December 1971 recording session, which produced the Machine Head album. Having organised time in the Montreux Casino, following the fire which destroyed the building, Claude (snapped helping man the fire hoses during the inferno) put aside his own immediate worries to help them make alternative arrangements within the Grand Hotel. Smoke On The Water was penned by Gillan to document the whole experience. In recent years Deep Purple have been regular performers at the festival, which grew to encompass all genre’s of popular music. Claude reminisced about his experiences during the Machine Head period in the Classic Rock Machine Head special recently.

February 4, 1936 – January 10, 2013

SR. Thanks also to Tim Summers and Martin Ashberry. Photo courtesy of the official history of the Jazz festival.

claude nobs during montreux casino fire