[% META title = 'Roger Glover, Interviews' %]
From The Toronto Star (Ontario, Canada), Wednesday August 19, 1998
Don't paint Deep Purple with an old brush
Rockers as fresh as '70s heyday, bassist insists
By Ben Rayner Toronto Star Pop Music Critic
If the warm glow of nostalgia suffuses your body at some point during tonight's Deep Purple/Emerson, Lake and Palmer double bill at the Molson Amphitheatre, know that you're jabbing a tiny dagger into Roger Glover's heart.
The genial Purple bassist would prefer not to be thought of as part of a package tour of "classic bands," thank you very much.
"That's business, that's agents talking," he says frankly over a seafood lunch on Queen St. "I've nothing against E.L.P. They're great, and I love some of the songs they've written - `Lucky Man' is one of my favourite songs.
"But I don't want to be part of a nostalgia package, and it's dangerously close to being that. Unfortunately, I think that's the only way we're going to get a decent tour over here."
Genuinely enthused about a Deep Purple he says is stronger than it's been since its '70s heyday - thanks largely to the addition of guitarist Steve Morse (Richie Blackmore's replacement) a couple of years back - Glover is adamant about wanting to shake the rock-'n'-roll-dinosaur tag that's dogged the band for the better part of two decades now.
Coming off a string of extremely well-received live dates in Europe, and with a new album (Abandon) in stores that's arguably Purple's most straightforwardly rocking in years, "everything's firing on all cylinders" for the first time in a long while, says Glover. Now, the problem is convincing North America that the band is still relevant.
"In Europe, we're perceived as a band that has a past, but that also has a future and a present," he says, "and that's a perception that we have to rectify over here. And that's probably a direct result of the way radio is pushing you to be one or the other - if you're a classic band, you can't break out of that mold over here."
Mind you, Glover is the first to candidly admit that, for a rather protracted period, the group he joined some three decades ago (he quit in 1973 for 11 years) didn't do itself any favours by getting stuck in "a bit of a self-inflicted decline for probably the best part of 10 years."
"I can understand why we haven't been on the radio or haven't sold a lot of records; I don't think we've actually put out any decent albums."
Deep Purple's newfound energy, he says, comes from finally having "five people going in the same direction" again, after a nasty period of ego clashes and infighting. That began to change after Morse's arrival on the 1996 Purpendicular album, when the band reverted to a more harmonious, five-way writing split and actually began to enjoy playing together again.
"It's just from playing live," says Glover. "Purpendicular was our first album with Steve, and we were in the process of reinventing ourselves. We didn't want to be the Deep Purple that everyone had known and loved and forgotten. We didn't want anyone who played like Richie, to be like Richie, and in the process of that we wrote songs that might never have made it on to a Deep Purple album.
"One of our own criticisms of Purpendicular was that there wasn't one out-and-out rocker on it, and so this one (Abandon) has a lot more focus, and that's the direct result of a year out on the road playing live . . .
"It's great to be in a band that's happy. I'd recommend it to anybody."