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Purple Rytmus
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Purple Rytmus

When Deep Purple's 2003 European Bananas Tour touched down in Stockholm, one of their local friends had set the band up for a passionate rendez-vous with students from one of Sweden's most prestigious music schools. Read here the very personal account of how wheeler 'n' dealer extraordinaire Christer Lorichs invited Deep Purple to come out and play at Stockholm's Rytmus Music School on November 24, 2003.

Text and photos by Christer Lorichs
(click to enlarge)

This has been some of the best days in my life. Really.
When my daughter Nathalie started studying at the very ambitious music high school Rytmus in Stockholm, I was informed that they often organised clinics as an important part of their education program. I remember thinking how great it would be if I could get one of the of the Purple members to go there. It would be sensational, I thought. The training at the school is all based on afro, jazz, blues and rock, and the vibe there is fantastic.
A couple of weeks before Purple's gig in Stockholm, the idea of getting one of them to come started growing again. I was thinking that maybe one of them would have the afternoon off and would like to do something different... and get an Apple iPod in return as a small thank you.
I put the question to manager Bruce Payne, emphasizing how serious this school works. Then I approached Apple with the idea. They were amazed at the possibility and said yes. (Otherwise I would have paid for it myself - but don't tell Apple!)
I called up the school and said there was a faint possibility that one of the Deep Purple band members would turn up. If so, would the school be interested? The affirmative "YES" I got in reply is one of the most definitive ones ever.
Then tension started to rise. What will the response be like?
I got a call from Bruce Payne and when he said that four out of the five members are coming I was stunned. Talk about a dream coming true! I threw into the pot an extra bonus that if Ian Gillan would turn up, he would get an official Swedish national football team goalkeepers jersey.

Soccer shirts and powerpoints
With two weeks to go we set about organizing everything. I found myself a new soul brother in teacher Tony Borg, a Blackmore lookalike and great guitarist and my daughter Nathalie's main teacher. He organises the best musical sources in Stockholm to work nearly for free. A full backline, monitors, PA, Hammond, exact replica of Paice's drums, a roadie per instrument, guards, lunch buffet with the school representatives... Whatever the band wants to do shall be possible. No pressure whatsoever, but since they've said yes, the school wants to show its gratitude by making everything as professional as posssible.

I call UMBRO sports clothing to ask if it's possible to get a jersey for Gillan. I know the guy there and he comes back with jerseys for the whole band featuring their names on the back. Genuine original national team jerseys.
I also decided that things had to be put into perspective for the kids, so a presentation would start the afternoon off, tellling them the reasons all this is possible. To create it I could only have used Apples Keynote, an absolutely superb application for getting your ideas across. Powerpoint is a no go, not for religious reasons but for the way it works. Honestly. [OK Christer, that's enough fruit plugs! Rasmus :-)]

Eagerly appreciated
The day arrives and it's a bit unreal. I will have my favourite band of all times - going all the way back to 1971 - sharing their experiences with the next geneeration of rockers, at my daughters school.
As we arrive at the school we have a nice lunch together with the teachers, Apple's people and my work mates at Gothia (my company). But the band hasn't yet realised just how huge this will be. We leave the lunch reception to go to the clinic.
We arrive backstage and the atmosphere is electric. As I walk into the hall to check that everything is OK, I'm greeted with a roar. That sound of eager people full of anticipation. Wonderful. The band looks a bit taken aback... Wow, this is big!

I go in and start my presentation and the response is overwhelming. The kids just can't wait and really appreciate that the most legendary and still current of rock bands will be with them in a minute.
The band is called onstage one by one to thunderous applause. They played and talked for an hour that was so impressive. Everyone present were amazed and moved to tears at the same time. "This is a musical milestone in my life," was a frequent comment I got. Everyone in the band have such great personalities, and I was so proud to share it with everyone.

Finally the finale
At one point they asked my daughter Nathalie onstage, but she just froze... She couldn't do it. So two guys jumped at the opportunity and what a finale it was. Hard to keep a dry eye when everything erupted into a massive singalong of Smoke On The Water. I handed over the iPods and the soccer shirts and it was all over.
Next day we get front covers in both the Metro and Stockholm City papers. National TV was broadcasting from the event, and it's not often you hear so many people commenting on having seen something. Deep Purple got excellent press and media coverage way beyond what they normally get.
The event turned over a huge amount of goodwill for the band, for the school and, in some ways, for Apple. The loved the concept in itself, but had chosen a low profile so the event wouldn't appear commercial. [Fitting then that a confused Don Airey on national TV news would credit Microsoft for puting it all together. Not. Rasmus]

Everyone who witnessed the event was touched by the band's appearance, their personalities, the way they handled the questions and their marvellous musicianship. In an hour they gained 300-400 new fans. You should have heard the after show talk among the teachers and all the "thank you so very, very much" I got from the kids I met.
Deep Purple has in 2003 made such an impression that everyone there got a memory for life. I am so proud and out of words to describe my feelings. But I think you all know what I'm trying to say.
Christer Lorichs

Comments to the editor: Rasmus Heide


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