Always a good start-back office chore is a careful sweep through the in-tray, which had crept up to 450+ emails over the winter break. And it does help bring things into focus.
Of course the music scene has rightly been mourning the death of Lemmy, one of rock’s great characters apparently according to the TV. I suppose that’s because most of the mainstream press didn’t really understand his music or playing ability. I still get shivers down my spine recalling that first eponymous Motorhead 12″ single on Chiswick Records which I bought close to release date back in 1977.
Somehow I never did get the see them live in those early days (and they did tour with Purple as recently as 2007), but had been a big Hawkwind fan and met Lemmy at one of those weird all night rock events at the Queens Hall in Leeds. I’ve no idea how but we ended up being allowed into the hospitality room for the concert performers and Lemmy conned a nice button badge off my brother’s jacket. All he can recall was being sat by the side of the stage watching the show when a naked American woman came over and sat beside him. “Oh well, I’d best get on and wobble these around a little,” she explained after a while before we realised it was Stacia.
Funnily enough I was doing some vinyl sorting last week and checked my mint copy of their second album, signed by all the band… except Lemmy himself. Mind you he was busy telling us how much grass he’d smoked during the day so perhaps it didn’t seem quite the moment to get all fanboyish!
Lemmy was always respectful of what he called Deep Purple’s place as the originators of hard rock (and one of the first to use pyrotechnics, at the California Jam).
Closer to home, we also lost our mate Martin Lilleker who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. Martin was one of those irreplacable and unique cogs in the local community music scene; he wrote music columns for the local press for decades, ran a label for a time, helped manage and played live a bit too. In recent years he also documented the scene magnificently across two thick paperbacks on the history of Sheffield bands going back to the early 60s. I helped him with a few bits for these and when I bemoaned the poor design of the first book’s cover he let me have a free hand on book two and was brave enough to go ahead with an admittedly quite eye popping montage! It’s guys like Martin which make living in Sheffield just that little bit more enjoyable and we’ll miss him.
Looking forward it’s amazing how much enjoyment people get looking back, if the flurry of excitement about a new audience tape of Deep Purple from back in Feb 1972 at the Dagenham Roundhouse is to go by. The owner had got in touch with us in the lead-up to Christmas but seemed unable to wait to see if this could be done officially and pushed it out into the pirate networks instead. Amazing that new recordings can still emerge after forty plus years. It seems churlish to point out (as one expert did) that the cover photo is from the night before…!
Talking of history, a few people have pointed me to a copy of Wait For The Ricochet currently selling on ebay. Or rather not selling, as the owner wants £1,001.86 for it. Since I went to have a peep (just to see if it was for real) ebay now keep asking me if I’d like “to take another look?”! I wouldn’t mind but the cheeky sod wants £2.75 postage as well… I added it as a watched item just to get his hopes up.
Hopefully this year we’ll get it back into print, but the priority right now is in finishing the follow-up, Fire In The Sky. And tracking down the current owner of the E-Type Jag Jon drove down to Montreux in. It’s all in the detail!
With the fun and games over the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame still ongoing, it’s good to see friends and fans of the late Cozy Powell have been able to organise things with far less aggro, and are putting up a blue plaque in the town of his birth, Cirencester. It’s very short notice, but if you’re free on January 7th then there is a public unveiling at the Corn Hall at 2.30pm with Brian May doing the honours. People like Bernie Marsden, Don Airey and Neil Murray will be there. It looks as if the long-mooted documentary on Cozy is also now in the works. The man himself would have been 70 next year.
As for ‘works’ we’re fairly confident the major labels are now about sorted when it comes to the Deep Purple classic era catalogue. The bizarre Universal LP box set (below) looks a real dog’s dinner, but I’m told better things are on the way with the return to catalogue of most of the regular albums (incredibly many have been off the shelves for some years now). There are also plans afoot with regards to other areas of the catalogue about which more as the year unfolds. I have had meetings with some of the people involved and it looks quite promising.
Some of you have also got the Rainbow gigs to look forward to. I guess we can’t really call it a reunion when only one member is coming back, but for everyone who missed out it looks as if more shows will follow in 2017. A souped up version of the first album is also due, though as the mutli-tracks are still lost there isn’t too much scope for content.
The first pics of the new Rainbow came through recently, reminding me of that excitement back in 75 when shots of the first group emerged and were being posted about by people to reproduce in fanzines etc. I shall not be hurrying to repeat the experience this time round!
As for Purple themselves it’s still good to listen to play bits and pieces off Now What so hopefully the band can again produce something of interest when they start recording in the next few weeks (will the first one into the studio hide Don’s ELP collection?).
I’ve got my plate full with design work to wrap up on three books this month, so I’d best fire up InDesign and get cracking. But before I do, here’s a few anniversaries coming up in 2016 to make everyone feel that little bit older!
10th anniversary of Rapture Of The Deep
20th anniversary of Purpendicular
25th anniversary of the Slaves & Masters world tour
30th anniversary of the Seventh Star album with Glenn Hughes
35th anniversary of Whitesnake’s Don’t Break My Heart Again hit single.
40th anniversary of Deep Purple Mk 4’s final concerts.
45th anniversary of Fireball.
50th anniversary of Art Gallery by The Artwoods.