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Didi Zill photo book
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About the book
Didi Zill's photos
Roger Glover's prologue
Roger Glover: emailing in 1984
Didi Zill's postscript
About Didi Zill

Rasmus Heide
Catrin Wiegand
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Didi Zill Deep Purple

Deep Purple XL

I've never written a review about a book before... Well, I'll try my very best.

First of all, this is a PICTURE book. Therefore it doesn't have a lot of text. On some pages (e.g. the Whitesnake section) even the information of who is in the picture is missing - but I think any DP fan should recognize the persons anyhow.

I just had a short phone call with Didi Zill and he says that the mistakes will be corrected in the second print of the book (btw, the publishers promised me that the book will not get out of print, they will print as long as people buy it). There is are pictures saying "Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Pam" (pages 369, 404, 408) - her name is actually Tammy. Anyway, the pictures are the important thing here - and they are great.

Furthermore, this is not a book about the art of photography. As far as I know Didi Zill never claimed to be a technically perfect photographer and some of the picture sure aren't perfect (feet cut off, etc). This is a book that gains its value from "being close" to the musicians. And as far as I know no photographer has ever been as close to the band as Didi Zill.

I've never seen such an amount of pics from the early days of Deep Purple. The young Mark 2 in 1970 still had to learn what to do if they are supposed to smile or do anything else that makes a good picture. In 1971 they obviously learned their lesson: Ian Gillan in a hotel porter's costume and Ritchie Blackmore with guitar and candles (does that sound familiar? Blackmore's Night 30 years too soon). The largest section is about Deep Purple recording Machine Head in Montreux, snapshots as well as promo shots. One of the highlights here must be the photograph of the lyric sheet of Smoke On The Water in Gillan's handwriting. I prefer the pictures taken outside the studio, especially those of Ian Paice - but that might be only because I don't remember having seen any great pictures of him elsewhere... Page 112: the headline says "The Bronze Otto for Deep Purple" whereas in the text it says "DP receive the Golden Otto" - probably another mistake. For those of you unfamiliar with BRAVO magazine: the "Otto" is the award that BRAVO gives away each year in several catagories. The special thing about this prize is that the readers vote and therefore it was one of the first readers choice awards ever. The section about the last Mark 2 tour in Japan features great shots of the band members going shopping - and several live shots that we've all seen on record covers (official and unofficial ones).

The second part starts with Jon Lord: some pictures from the performance of Windows, closing with one from Ritchie Blackmore (!) chatting backstage with Ray Fenwick, followed by the first "At home with..." section. Jon and his house, his daughter, his piano, his cat... Next up is "Mark 3 in the meadows": nine pics (plus another two in-doors) of the first photo-session featuring David and Glenn. Great to see the various shades of laughter or being deadly serious - it is obviously not easy to have all members of the band smiling (or not smiling) at the same time. For those of you who love this line-up the shots from the first gigs are probably a great bonus... The next thing that caught my eye were Roger's home-equipment and Ritchie's collection of paintings of German cities and German beer barrels. Another goody is the cover-session for Come Taste The Band: four musicians (Mr. Hughes was missing) having a good time, captured in seven more or less silly pictures. The Rainbow section focuses on portraying Ritchie on stage, again nothing for me to stop for a longer while. I love the Whitesnake studio section: Ian drumming in front of an extremely nice painting, Jon and his keyboards - and great shots of the band as a whole.

Part C (1985-1990) contains the biggest portion of uninteresting pics for me - but I know that the reason for this is simply that I've seen so many of them in German magazines before. The promo and live shots are pretty well known - once again it becomes clear what distinguishes this book from other books: Didi Zill was near the band and made pics in a more private mood. DP on a plane, DP at the airport, DP in the dressing room, DP backstage waiting to go on stage. And Didi was on stage with DP so you can see them from viewpoints that you usually do not see them. My favorite sections are the "At home with..." section about Ian Gillan (doing crossword puzzles with his baby daughter on his lap *cute*) as well Jon Lord and Ian Paice, who seem to share a house on Menorca - well, their wives are twin-sisters. Ritchie Blackmore visiting German castles should be pretty interesting to all those of you who haven't seen the pictures before.

Now there is a break in the book - no, not another chapter, but in 1986 things seem to start to become difficult. Ian Gillan doesn't like the promo pictures that were taken by Didi, and Ritchie chooses a picture from the castles tour as the promo shot. My favorite in this sub-chapter is definitely Roger - the only one who looks as if he enjoys being photographed. The pictures of Ritchie in his castle-like home in Connecticut have been advertised in German magazines of the time as "showing a completely different picture of the Man in Black" - true. Next up are backstage / travelling shots of DP during their tour in Italy in 1988 - some are great, some are silly (and some feature Lothar Mathäus). The live shots focus pretty much on Ian Gillan and Ritchie. The DP carnival is celebrated on Burg Frankenstein - again a good reason to buy the book if you don't know these pics already. The next to final section shows Ritchie playing soccer in Hamburg (Germany). The closing chapter is what the book calls Mark 7 (with Joe Lynn Turner), sadly just promo-shots (yes, here I would have liked to see some) as Didi stopped taking pictures of the band.

Summing up: The pictures are great but 80 Euro is also a lot of money...

Catrin Wiegand


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