Swiss magazine Tracks has a cover story on the new Deep Purple album in its 2017 issue #2. A 6 page story inside includes an interview with Roger Glover, from where we present you with selected quotes. Usual caveats about reverse translation apply.
On Johnny’s Band lyrics:
It is not about a particular band. It was clear to me that this question would come when I wrote the lyrics. If you look at the stories of bands they are almost all the same. They start with nothing, alone against the rest of the world, they struggle to survive, they create the breakthrough, success brings money, money brings women and drugs, they end in rehab or die or anything else and 20 years later they reform and play again in the small clubs where they had begun. It is a universal story. I called it ‘Johnny’ because John is a very commonplace name.
On why the band have recorded a cover of Roadhouse Blues for the new album:
Just out of a whim. On the last album, we had the fun of Jerry Lee Lewis ‘It’ll Be Me’ and Bob asked, ‘Do we want to do that again?’ There were a few songs to choose from, but I no longer remember who called ‘Roadhouse Blues’. We are a band who likes to choose the path of least resistance. If we have to learn something first – forget it! (Laughs). ‘Roadhouse Blues’ is a song that we can play without having to listen to the original. So we played that in the studio, quite spontaneously and only once. The whole thing was done in half an hour. All live, no overdubs – even the singing is sung directly live with the band, since nothing was changed afterwards. That was fun. I was just a bit uncertain because the song was already covered a lot. Gillan has his roots and influences more at Elvis in the early rock ‘n’ roll time. But he did a great job here.
It is not that we do not like each other. He has isolated himself. I would be happy if we still had contact and would talk with each other. This Hall of Fame thing would have been great if he had come. But he had already said months before: ‘I’m not interested.’ But afterwards he said naturally, ‘I was not invited’ or ‘they told me I should not come!’ I’ve sent Ritchie Christmas cards for years, but never got an answer. Somehow I gave up. Of course I know how important Ritchie was to the band. He pushed us in the right direction, he and Jon Lord had this push/pull effect for the band. Ritchie was more the purple architect than anyone else. But it was his choice to get out, just as I thought the band was back on a healthy path. All he did was always his own choice. I would welcome him as a friend. But it is not an option to return to Purple as a guitarist. We’ve been with Steve for 22 years and he’s our guitarist. Basically, all this is a soap opera.
If you can understand German, the magazine is available for your online perusal free of charge.
Thanks to Nigel Young for the info.