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This article is taken from Hartmut Kreckel's Captain Beyond site. It is Hartmut's thoughts on what happened in 1980, and any references in the text to "this website" is to Hartmut's site, not to The Highway Star.

ROD EVANS: The Dark Side of the Music Industry

by Hartmut Kreckel

Has anyone of you out there ever wondered of what happened to Captain Beyond's original lead-singer and founder member Rod Evans? Well, here follows a brief summary.

After leaving Captain Beyond in late 73, just as he finished recording the "Sufficiently Breathless" album, Rod Evans changed his life and went to work in a hospital for a couple of years, until he was approached by some unscrupuluos management company, specialized in rip-off reformed bands with big names, who had just been taken to court by the owner of the name "Steppenwolf" (John Kay), for running a bogus band named "Steppenwolf", with no original member (reportedly original member Goldy McJohn was initially in that band, but left the rest soon). To make a long story short, that "Bogus Steppenwolf" had a guitarrist, named Tony Flynn and a keyboarder, named Geoff Emery, who were house musicians of that dodgy management company. However, as they got sued by John Kay, that rip-off management decided to go for another big name, to make a fast buck: Deep Purple. In order to find an excuse for using that name (Deep Purple) they tried to get Nick Simper involved, who wisely enough refused to get drawn into such a (ad)venture, and then they found Rod Evans. Looking for a change, and probably not as wise as his former mate Nick Simper, Rod Evans thought that this was his chance for a comeback and went for it. More than that, he got involved with some very bad people from that rip-off management, and was used as a tool by that company: making Rod Evans the only shareholder, and therefore sole risk-taker of that "Deep Purple 1980" venture, Rod Evans was the only person, who could be taken to court.

It was not long before Rod Evans got sued, as he was the only person receiving booking fee royalties and all other band players and management were on the wages list. To set the record straight here, it was Tony Edwards and John Coletta who sued Rod Evans (reportedly Richard Blackmore and Bruce Payne were the driving forces...): they filed an action in Los Angeles Federal District Court in June 1980 seeking an injunction to prevent the band from using the name "Deep Purple" and asking damages under the provisions of the Lanham Act, a federal statute governing trademareks and trade names. Eventually the court decision was made that Rod Evans had to pay 672.000 US$ for damages caused by using the name "Deep Purple" without permission. The outcome seems that the sole rights to the name "Deep Purple" reside with the original managers. It seems that the agreement requires 4 original members (whoever these may be?) to use the name...

Jon Lord (in March 98 via e-mail): "AFAIK Rod had enough of the Music Business, and became a paramedic.
Of course he was not that naive - he thought he'd try it to see what happened, but try to imagine what would *you* have said when it all went wrong? I only blame Rod for being silly. He should've known it was going to be difficult to get away with a fake DP. After all - he was doing it in public."

Ian Paice commented (after the DP show in Halle an der Saale 18.03.96): "We didn't make that money, it went all to the lawyers involved... The only chance to stop that band was to sue Rod, as he was the only one receiving money, all others were on wages... Surely Rod did get involved with some very bad people!"

However, as much I agree that Rod Evans did something wrong by using the name "Deep Purple" without permission, there should have been another way to clear that matter. Needless to say Rod Evans doesn't have that money and will probably in debt for ever. Therefore he also will never be able to perform again, as DP(O) would be able to grab any money that Rod Evans would make in the music industry. This leaves the DP(O) in a bad light, that's for sure. Even greed is no justification for acting like this. There should have been another way, that's for sure and AFAIK all those white collar gangsters, who used Rod Evans as a tool to feed their cash mashines are doing quite well these days.

Jon Lord onto this in April 98: "It was not just Rod who was sued - it was the organisation that was behind the fake Deep Purple who were most responsible and it was they who were hit with the greatest part of that 'very large sum of money.' In respect of that money - what price would you place on your reputation and on the right of the public not to be sold something under false pretences? And also you should be aware that these people were informed on several occasions that they were breaking the law, and yet they continued to do it. Sueing them was the last option there was to try to stop them. I did not enjoy having to appear in court against a guy I'd once worked with - but he who steals my purse steals trash; he who steals my good name takes everything I have."

Yes Jon, but it seems that at the end of the day, only Rod Evans had to pay the price and all the puppeteers are rehabilitated...

Brian O. reports in Feb. 99: "The Bogus Purple were managed by Steve G., a slick rip-off promoter, who ultimately got in a lot of trouble. He was mentioned in the John Kay (Steppenwolf) autobiography... Today I called Steve G., the unscruptioulous agent of old Bogus Steppenwolf and also Bogus Deep Purple, which he denied... The talk we had by phone was fairly tense... He didn't seem to want to talk about the old days, said it was "a long time ago", and that John Kay is a nice guy, a good singer... But why is anyone interested in what happened so long ago. He did admit that they won the right to the name "Steppenwolf", yet said Goldy and Nick never gor a dime. I still don't know if he means royalties... or got paid when they played the bars between 77-80. At any rate, he was a dichead to me... when I brought up Deep Purple 1980 w/Rod Evans he really got pissed off... did not want to talk about that. Steve G. made everything sound like it was water under the bridge, and old shit, was trying to make me feel like a fool for asking about it... He is rude. He did not want to make the connection between Tony Flynn in the bogus Deep Purple and the bogus Steppenwolf... finally he said that John Kay's book is full of lies!!!".

It seems that nobody, who should know the facts behind the curtain on the Rod Evans and Deep Purple 1980 case, wants to talk about this really, so you make it out yourself, who are the guilty parties...

This website however, presents the story of Rod Evans and "Deep Purple" 1980 trying to shed some light into "what really happened...", while a lot of other websites simply try to ignore it. It seems that this band never got much press coverage, probably also due to the fact that DP(O) was doing pressure on the press, so you get the idea of how they looked on stage here for the very first time by looking at the on stage fotos.

Over the years I have heard various stories about Rod Evans, like working in a gasoline station or in a dog-breeding farm. Whatever may be true or not: it is a shame that a great vocalist like Rod Evans had to end that way. Remembering him singing "Starglow Energy" or "Lalena" (to name a few only), Rod Evans will always be a hero to a lot of people, no matter what else he did!

If anyone out there reading this article knows about Rod Evans, reportedly he is living in the SanFransisco area, please let me know and let him know that there are still some people out there, whom I know well, who still remember him and would like to hear from him. No matter what he is up to now, he will not be forgotten, that's for sure.

(C) by Hartmut Kreckel 1998


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