Posts Tagged ‘smoke on the water’


November 21, 2022

Christmas is coming*, so some people seem to be out to make a quick buck from Deep Purple fans (and it’s not Edel this year!). This astonishingly bad set of fake signatures turned up quite recently. We cannot work out if it is Jean Piano or Saul Pair deputising on drums, while the IG scrawl is badly copied from his late Gillan band era signings. I think we’re said it before but we’re happy to try and verify signatures before you bid for them, or at least pass an opinion. Sadly this posting comes too late to prevent someone coughing up over $50 for it, although they do get what seems to be a genuine 7″ single. Still as a person we hoped we’d heard the last of says, “fake news”.

Not so much fake here as just misguided, unless we all missed the era when Tony Iommi joined Deep Purple? Almost as far fetched as the idea of Ian Gillan joining Black Sabbath. It must have been sort of around the Mk 3 era judging by the redrawn Stormbringer LP logo. This is actually a peel off sticker so probably more around out there if you want a real curio.

And as we’re having fun at people getting things wrong, this cutting (below) from a German magazine detailing the history of Deep Purple needs their editor to go back to rock school! Mind you we quite like the idea of Queen doing Hush.

My thanks to Tonny Steenhagen, Pericle Formenti and Tim Summers, doing shifts at Radio 4’s Watchdog this winter.

*Apologies to anyone who has been trying to avoid the C word.


August 15, 2022

Christmas 1972 came just a little bit early for most Deep Purple fans, even if they did have to buy their own present, providing they could find £3.25p. What would that money buy you back then? Your parents could stick ten gallons of petrol in the family car; if you were old enough to sneak into a pub, a pint would cost 16p (one six pence), and if you weren’t you could put it towards a Raleigh Chopper, but still have to save up another £32.
Like a lot of Deep Purple fans at the time I was still at school, supposedly trying to get on top of my A Level subjects. What income I managed to get together came from a bit of pocket money, a couple of evening shifts at the local fish and chip shop, a weekly delivery round stuffing 15 copies a time of the ‘advertiser’ through any letter box big enough to take them (we did try just putting the lot in the paper recycling bin one week but there were complaints from people who hadn’t had their copy!) and a regular gig at the city cathedral (weddings and funerals paid extra).
So as the news about Deep Purple ‘first ever “live” recording’ broke in the music papers via unprecedented double page two colour adverts, it wasn’t too difficult to get myself into town on the day of release and bag one of the first copies.

Made In Japan box 2014 reissue

Needless to say for dedicated fans (and I think I already counted as one of those) this was far from our ‘first ever’ live recording, as we had been introduced to the mysterious world of bootlegs by Sir Richard Branson the year before and H-Bomb, Space and others had already enthralled us. So Made In Japan was partly a response to Deep Purple managements battles with Virgin to get bootlegs banned. Though whether they and the band would ever have got around to doing a live set without the prompting of Warner Pioneer in Japan is open to question.
I guess all we can say is thank goodness for the executives at Warners. There was plenty of precedent for the Japanese live album going back to the sixties, with in concert albums by The Walker Brothers, The Ventures, Miles Davis, Cliff Richard (and even The Osmonds) getting there before Deep Purple did. Benny Goodman even called his 1965 live album Made In Japan. These releases were seen as a great way of introducing western acts to the home market, and giving them something exclusive. Most were strictly for the Japanese market and didn’t surface back home until specialist import shops opened up (hands up if you remember Flyover Records in Hammersmith where I went into debt to afford my Roy Buchanan Live In Japan import a couple of years later).
Many of the big US and European labels were at best indifferent to official live albums, which is clear from the decision by Warner Brothers in America to hold Made In Japan back for around six months so it wouldn’t clash with the band’s new studio album there, only really relenting when import copies began to flood across.
£3.25p then, actually a good deal as most single albums were above the £2 mark at the time (Flyover would charge around £9 for single LP Japanese imports), and everyone agreed to take a bit of a hit on Made In Japan to encourage sales. It was Christmas after all!
So despite a budget price there in terms of presentation the album was very slick, though clearly the product of a marketing mind rather than aimed at fans. I recall admiring the small pics on the front and back (mostly the Rainbow Theatre in London), and the gold special ink, but being distinctly underwhelmed by the inner gatefold (and lack of record sleeves). What, nothing to read?
Once you put the damn thing on the record player though all that was forgotten as we were just sucked into a blistering Deep Purple performance. And that’s what remains, fifty years on. Of course fans already knew how Deep Purple were the best live group we’d ever seen but here was proof positive.
It’s quite difficult to put your finger on it but here were five gifted rock musicians with very little to prove, who could amble on stage (with little in the way of presentation) and rely on each other to keep things powering along come what may. That left them free to push one another and together with the spirit of competition this produced often remarkable performances, as well as giving them freedom to indulge one another when the situation arose. Of course they knew they were being taped but that never seems to restrain the performances. And by taping all three shows on the trip, there was plenty of material to work with. Never especially a band to keep going over things again and again, they couldn’t be bothered with any overdubbing and while Ian Gillan in particular was a little critical there was a consensus arrived at to produce what they felt was the best cut of each track and throw them together in such as way as a full live set was achieved.

Deep Purple on stage in Japan during the August tour.

In the fifty years since, the background to the band’s internal wranglings off stage at this time has been well documented, which just add another level of astonishment to the cohesion exhibited on these recordings.

Fans soon became aware of the fantastic packaging of the Japanese edition which certainly didn’t cause me a moments hesitation to fork out for once I’d seen it. Over the five decades since then the archive market has tinkered with Made In Japan reissues three or four times both to wring more mileage out of the tapes and explore the unreleased versions. I could write as much again about the politics surrounding the 3CD EMI set which first explored the original multi-tracks (until then nobody seemed sure they’d even survived). Or, with a heavy heart, having to tell EMI they could stick their abysmally packaged multi format box set where the rising sun don’t shine as it did not come close to what it needed to be (if your design team cannot even spell Smoke On The Water correctly then you know you are doing something wrong!).
Even the bootleggers still hammer away at this, presenting note for note end to end CD sets of all three concerts using audience recordings (and stealing the Darker Than Blue name for their packaging!). That there even is a market for such releases shows just how powerfully Made In Japan cuts through the band’s history and psyche.

Rolling Stone still have it at the sixth best live album of all time as voted for by their readers: “They’ve done countless shows since in countless permutations, but they’ve never sounded quite this perfect.”
The Skeptical Audiophile, an American hi-fi shop which searches for the best pressings of any given vinyl disc, then cleans, ranks and sells them on, had this to say: “Made In Japan – sounds more like a top quality studio production than any live album I’ve ever heard. It’s shocking how clean and undistorted the sound is. I’d put it right up there with the best of the best. In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness — qualities that are usually in very short supply on live albums — I would have to say that the shootout winning copies of Made In Japan would be very likely to take Top Honors for Best Sounding Live Album of All Time. Yes, the sound is that good.”

So we’re somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to how to celebrate this momentous album and everyone will have their own ideas. I love the EMI triple set (well, I would say that wouldn’t I?) as it kind of hits home like a proper official bootleg; imperfect but very exciting. So I might dip into that, and perhaps a side off the original vinyl just to remember Christmas 1972. It was after all the last we could safely enjoy without that Slade song…

Just as the heatwave comes to an end, here’s a DTB exclusive shirt to help you be the envy of your pub quiz team! From the DTB shop.

Sounds like…

March 19, 2021

Neil Young has been talking about a likely archive release of an album he cut in 2001 but shelved (“[It] was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place”). In doing so he refers to one track as being “like a Deep Purple hit”. This inspired Mark Maddock to hunt around for us and a live version from the time turned up. Called ‘Standing in the Light’ it’s not hard to see what Neil means! Even in bootleg form it sounds pretty good, so I’ll post and you can see how many seconds it’s takes to spot the influence.

Thanks to Mark for the story.

Sunday lunch

December 18, 2020

So many people have sent me a link to this clip that I figure there won’t be many Deep Purple folk out there who haven’t already downloaded it to their secret hard drives. But just in case, seeing as Gareth Toms tricked me into watching it the other day by embedding it into an email, l I don’t see why others shouldn’t suffer / enjoy / hide behind the sofa as well!  Toyah and hubby Robert Fripp have been doing little lockdown cover versions for several weeks and decided it was time to do Smoke On The Water, in front of their own lake, dressed as a cheer leader. Toyah not Bob.  I wonder if she realises it was this song which indirectly financed her first big record deal with Safari?!  I’m going to have to go and play Happy Family to get this out of my brain.  Will Ritchie and Candice reciprocate with a cover of Epitaph?

Smoke stories

June 29, 2020

Some more new additions to our growing collection of stories with a Smoke On The Water theme on the site.  The store front in this photo is now thought to be a fake but several businesses in America have used the song title to front Cannabis businesses, and it has been used on some outlets, more are illustrated:  Smoke On The Water Stories page 4.  Do let us know of any more such links with the song you come across.

smoke on the water

‘Ere Ear

January 20, 2020

The earMusic publicity machine seems to be grinding into action and speculation is that a May release for the new Deep Purple studio album (will they be calling it “Y And Beyond”? I dare them) seems to be on the cards. Ear have apparently (well Tim Summers told me, I haven’t got the patience!) been pushing out annoyingly short clips of Roger talking to producer Bob (and revealing very little in the process), but the feeling is that some actual audio snippets will not be long in appearing.  Some who have been privy to listening in claim it’s the best Morse-era material yet.  I know we shouldn’t get too excited at our age but I’ll get our laptop speakers dusted down in case …!

Meanwhile while we’re waiting, if you have half an hour free, see if you can spot parts of the Smoke On The Water riff in Jon Holmes amazing new BBC Radio 4 dark ‘comedy’ The Twister.

deep purple at bbc

“Keep that lid closed guys, Carlos Ghosn slipped me a pony to put it on the next flight to Cuba…”

Contracturally Obliged

September 4, 2019

contractual_obligation_ian gillan.jpg

You need a spreadsheet to keep up with some new releases these days and Ian Gillan’s Contractual Obligation album/s which came out at the end of July is another example, with a Blu Ray, triple vinyl and double CD being on offer.  Even the label, Ear, got confused. Because each of the three formats is from a different show on the tour, you would need all three if you’re a completist!  Whether the title is a nod to Monty Python’s final studio recording or not I don’t know; I assume IG signed a contract for the tour and knew this was part of it?!  It is quite easy to get a bit cynical over something like this, and the performances are of necessity a little ‘rehearsed’ to keep on track with the backings, but it’s quite impressive to see the full orchestra kicking off, realising how big a deal it is for the crowd, and also how we have come to accept scenes like this compared to (gulp) fifty years ago.  Hang Me Out To Dry even reminded me a bit of PAL chugging along with all the brass.  As Tim points out in his comments below the guitar player has been rumoured as a possible deputy should Steve Morse need to rest up, so it’s interesting to take a listen on those grounds as well, and IG does pretty well on what I’ve listened to for my money.

The tracks are all from the live shows IG did in Europe and cover Warsaw, Moscow and St. Petersburg in late 2016 (Ear calls this ‘recent’ and does not bother to give the recording dates on their site).  Set wise, and backed by Don Airey’s group and a local orchestra each night, IG romps through cover versions from solo albums, a few Purple cuts, and etc.  So decent marks for not churning out the same old same old, though most of the Deep Purple songs are fairly familiar from recent tours. You might have thought with three different release they could have used a different photo on the front of each one but that must have sounded like too much hard work.  The set-list seems to stay the same for each show which is understandable, as follows:

1. Hang Me Out To Dry 2. Pictures Of Home 3. No Lotion For That 4. Strange Kind Of Woman 5. Razzle Dazzle 6. A Day Late ‘N’ A Dollar Short 7. Lazy 8. Rapture Of The Deep 9. When A Blind Man Cries 10. You’re Gonna Ruin Me Baby (z Grace Gillan) 11. Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos 12. Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth) 13. Anya 14. Perfect Strangers 15. Hell To Pay 16. Demon’s Eye 17. Smoke On The Water 18. Hush 19. Black Night

Tim Summers went the full monty and gives us a few thoughts:

I’m enjoying the ‘Contractual Obligation’ releases by Ian Gillan – three different gigs on three different formats is a gimmick which seems to have even confused its instigators (earMUSIC), as they put up a live video for one track on YouTube, labelling it as ‘Live in Warsaw’, when it’s actually from Moscow (like the rest of the Blu-ray release). Nice to hear/see ‘Brazos’ in particular again – Ian seems better suited to singing it these days, not straining so much to get the ultra-low notes in the middle (“There’s some in the graveyard…”etc).  Weird to hear IG introducing ‘Difficult to Cure’ by name (“A song by Airey, Beethoven and Blackmore”…).  Some tracks (SKOW/Lazy/SOTW), I’d rather had been substituted for something a little more obscure but the pro-active orchestra (and conductor) lend them a different slant. My one criticism of the Blu-ray is that they seem to have felt that because it was filmed with 28 cameras (or whatever), they had to use all the angles as often as possible – the average length of each shot is less than 4 seconds, which, whilst it holds your attention, can be a bit wearing after a while.  They do calm down a bit for the slower tracks (maybe the editing machine was somehow linked to beats-per-minute…).  Possible-rumoured-Steve-Morse-live-understudy- (if needed) guitarist Simon McBride sounds good anyway – and actually reminds me of Steve (and his take on ‘Lazy’) a bit, the way his guitar cuts across the orchestra at the start of ‘Hang Me Out To Dry’. In keeping with a bit of a history of sleeve cock-ups, the CD says ‘LIVE IN IN WARSAW’ on the front… Oh and the best song Ian Gillan ever wrote* is included of course – ‘Razzle Dazzle’.

* Tim is I trust being sarcastic at this point. Ed!

Hellboy, meet Ritchie Blackmore…

March 6, 2019

A big fan of the first two Hellboy films, once the creative team were dropped for the third film (shot in London and due here in April) and Ron Perlman turned it down, it’s hard to know if it can recapture the spirit. Still, the second trailer rocks with a clever update of Smoke On The Water featured throughout which is pretty nifty!  It’s been a while since Purple got to figure in a soundtrack, Children Of Men was the last I recall seeing (Hush), but whether Smoke is just for the trailer or will feature in the film we don’t know.  As its also starring Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich we’ll probably jog down to see it on a big screen…

Thanks to Kenny Brown for the heads up.

CD of fame

February 14, 2019

We covered the shemozzle surrounding Deep Purple’s elevation to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 (“I’m not going if he’s going” etc.), but missed this nice little collectable, a compilation CD featuring the five nominated artists.  The cover is great, would have made a nice LP. I don’t know what the tracks were apart from I assume Smoke On The Water. My thanks to Pericle for the scan. Can’t he tell me the tracks? No, he’s kept it mint ‘n sealed!  Does it not list them on the back? No!


Scum on the water!

October 12, 2018

Warning. This post contains a link to the Daily Mail. Look away now if this upsets you.

Yes the scourge of, well, everything came up trumps with a detailed investigation/ rehash of a syndicated news item / cure for cancer (delete which is applicable) about the sad saga of Ian Gillan’s one time hotel which I raised here a couple of days ago, and Peter Cross sent me the full details.  It seems the place has been empty for some time and has been left unloved and unheated for four years now.  Nothing a good renovation cannot sort but if this was anywhere round here it would have been trashed by vandals by now. Sic transit gloria mundi as people once said while popping a silly hat on someone.