Mojo magazine, UK, issue December 1996.

"Hope You Like Our New Direction..." Easy listening Deep Purple? Sylvie Simmons discovers a new facet of the band revealed in the Fireball outtakes, and quizzes Roger Glover on the new look Purple.

The middle of the sandwich of three albums in three years that made Deep Purple's reputation, Fireball followed 1970's big hit In Rock (released in full 25th Anniversary regalia last year). With Black Night topping the singles charts, band, wives, animals and roadies piled into an old farmhouse in middle-of-nowhere Devon, drank a lot, held seances, tried not to kill each other, and emerged with a varying collection of progressive metal and a semi-psychedelic single, Strange Kind Of Woman, before taking off to tour the States with The Faces (Jon Lord was once in a band with Ron Wood's brother). The album made Number 1, and the Mark II line-up went on to make one more (Machine Head) before dispersing with the usual acrimony. Though not as consistent as In Rock-Anyone's Daughter is positively weird, like Laughing Gnome-era Bowie doing Dylan-tracks like Fools and Demon's Eye still get the blood stirring. Best of the bonuses : the mad easy-listening warm-up medley.

How does the album hold up 25 years on?
Roger Glover: I can't help thinking it's pretty good.
What, if anything, would you change about the album if you were making it today?
RG : That's a glorious What if. It's the best we could have done at the time. I learned a good lesson from Jon Lord. I'm one of these people who's dissatisfied with what he does-I always want to remix every album I've made. When In Rock came out and we were on a train to a gig I went, It could have been better. Jon turned on me and said, "If it could have been better, it would have been better". Because In Rock had been such a huge hit, Fireball was the first time in my life that I was having to take part in an album that I knew people were going to listen to. So it was much more considered, as opposed to the wild rock fling. There was a communal sense of, We've made our mark, now let's go for something really different. And I think that was really the last fully creative period of the band.
Will there be an anniversary edition of Machine Head next year?
RG : Certainly I have an interest in preserving my part of the band in the best form possible. Over the years-since I was and am a producer-I've been concerned about the quality of the back catalogue. I think all the albums will be reissued won't be a boxed set, so it will be a two-by-three-foot crate.
If, as everyone agrees, Mark II is the classic line-up, why continue in a different and therefore inferior line-up?
RG: It's certainly true to say the most famous line-up is Mark II, but every line-up has something to offer. In the last two years since Ritchie left and we got a permanent replacement, Steve Morse, the band has rediscovered what it had at the beginning.