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The story of a “naïve songwriter”

Roger Glover, Dortmund, June 10, 2009; Photo © Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

The Quietus has a lengthy interview with Roger Glover that covers his illustrious career as a songwriter, producer and bass player. It is a joyful read (despite the fact that they’ve managed to misspell ‘Paice’ in two differently atrocious ways).

You played in what is now regarded as the classic Deep Purple line-up. In how far were the additions of you on bass and Ian Gillan on vocals responsible for the sound that was created in those years?

RG: I didn’t really know of Deep Purple before I joined the group. If they were known for anything it was for the virtuosity within the band – Richie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paiste were masters of their instruments. Gillan and I however came from completely different background. We were basically naïve songwriters. So I think there was a great combination there, with their musical ability and our very much street value simplicity. And it was a combination that worked, right from the get-go, I mean the first song we wrote was ‘Speed King’. All that playing they could do and yet we just took rock & roll and turned it into a song.

Were you not intimidated at first by that advanced musicianship?

RG: I was, yeah. But I don’t know, it didn’t stop us, it was a very natural thing. All the songs came out of jams, everything was made up as we went along. And as much as I couldn’t play my instrument and couldn’t play solos the way they could, it wouldn’t have resulted in the way it did without us. So right from the start we said, ‘Let’s all share the publishing.’ So all those early songs were written by the five of us. Keeping that in mind, on that first album, Deep Purple In Rock, despite the fact that Richie was a far better player than I was, I could still come up with riffs that he’d play. He was interested in simple riffs, he was wise enough to know that you can’t be too musical because people won’t understand it. So it’s that combination of high musical values and yet simple, strong ideas. I started ‘Speed King’, for example and ‘Maybe I’m A Leo’ is one of mine.

Read the rest on thequietus.com.

Thanks to BraveWords for the info.

31 Comments to “The story of a “naïve songwriter””:

  1. 1
    George says:


    Roger talks about NEW ALBUM also! great 🙂

  2. 2
    HZ says:

    Take a pill, George, will you…

  3. 3
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:

    Yeah George…

    How dare you be Happy about the news that there might be a New Purple Album in the near future……

    HZ, you obviously have taken too many ‘bitter pills’……

    I’m with You George…..YES!!!! Nothing like those Happy Purple Pills….


  4. 4
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    HZ, It’s been too long of a while, but it’s going to happen….

    Dig it….



  5. 5
    kraatzy says:

    YES 🙂

    YES 🙂

    YES 🙂

    a very long time of waiting will be ending in that, whatever we want:

    A new Deep Purple album in the history of these great purple albums …

    In Rock
    Machine Head
    Who do we thing we are
    Perfect Strangers
    The House of Blue Light
    Slaves and Masters
    The Battle rages on
    Rapture of the Deep

    I hope this additional charge will never ending but it will be…

    Hey Roger, hey Paicy, hey Big Ian, hey Steve, hey Don:
    I am am so inpatient to get new stuff for my ears, for my heart, for my life …



  6. 6
    dave_wallis says:

    It’s an interesting interview. I particularly enjoyed reading about Roger’s work as a producer. Shamefully it’s a period that’s rarely covered. It’s good to hear he’s finishing his solo album. It’s about time, Rog.

  7. 7
    T says:

    This interview maintains the tradition of Deep Purple as an interesting psychological study on the inner workings of a band. Blackmore is always seen as the antagonist, but it is clear there were things going on in this band that went beyond a “moody” guitar player.

    What I found most interesting is the comment that “[Blackmore] was unhappy and he wanted to be the leader of the band. The rest of us didn’t want him to be a leader so there was a bit of friction there.”

    Later, however, Glover speaks about not wanting to start his own band because “after the success and the experience of Deep Purple I didn’t want to be the leader of a band.”

    Someone must take the reigns and lead the way, and while Blackmore was ready and more than happy and competent to take on that role, the others were resentful– particularly Gillan, who as the singer was used to being at the very front as the band’s mouthpiece. It didn’t help that many were coming to see Blackmore specifically.

    The irony is that Glover was more than willing to take on a passive post in Rainbow with the very man that insisted on sacking him in Deep Purple. Rainbow proved that Blackmore always had a very clear musical vision and direction he wanted to take, even if he had trouble finding people to help him bring that mental image to fruition. In Deep Purple, it was Blackmore’s view, more than most, that pointed that direction. By 1972-1973, the direction he wanted was changing–as would be evidenced by the sound on Burn–but the rest of the flock were unwilling to alter course without a major personnel upheaval.

    Another bit of irony is regarding the question of a new album. “We’ve always been a live band,” Glover said. “Plus these days it’s really difficult to keep a band going, we used to rely on CD sales and they don’t exist anymore.” But if a group doesn’t put out new albums from time to time, it is not going to sell many! It is much like the previous comment that Deep Purple does not tour the US because Purple finds little interest there. A group cannot generate a following in the US if it never tours the US. Build it…and they will come…

    Even more ironic is the comment, “We’re *intending* [emphasis mine] to write a new album eventually, we’re on the road for another 3-4 months and let’s see what’s going to happen then. But I’m just about to finish my solo album.” ???

    To be fair, Roger Glover was always a key component to Deep Purple–more than many realize. He contributed to the writing as much as anyone, and in more recent years, his position as producer is very much missed by most fans. In addition to that, his artwork contributed to the physical “look” of Deep Purple productions. Blackmore came to realize all this by the time 1978-1979 came around and began to take full advantage of Glover’s creativity. Was that break then from 1973 to 1978 really necessary?

    Bass players are not usually regarded as a key component to band, that is, not as much as a vocalist or guitarist; but in this case, Glover makes up a major piece of the mosaic that constitutes Deep Purple.

    It is also clear that Glover, although he wanted a very key role in musical composition, did not care to take on a leadership role–something that could be said for Ian Paice and even Jon Lord, who became spokesperson in the early days more or less by default.

    That left Blackmore and Gillan to duke it out. In the end, it was Blackmore who relented, and currently, Deep Purple is sonically very much Ian Gillan’s band.

    One wonders what a Gillanless, Blackmore-led Deep Purple would have sounded like post-1993, but chances are that the band would have self-destructed in a short time anyway. Of more wonder is what would have happened had the band managed to stay together in 1973.

  8. 8
    Annemie says:

    So in the early days the songs were written by ALL five members…So it can’t be so difficult to do so now…(or during this past five years)…

    Why does it take so long in this line up…so long that some of us are about needing pills to handle their hapiness if an album should come out…
    Or is the fuel and at all time catalysator present in that early days missing…
    We will find out soon…

    If the new album arrives , I will get some pills too! In case if it sounds great,to manage my excitemenent or else to stop me from depression when it’s ‘unchanged melody’!

    Cheers 😉 To a NEW album

  9. 9
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Dont forget this :
    (For those who hate to read a thread concerned with JLT s endeavours : )

    Tonight a live gig by Jon Lord and some known fellas.
    German radio :

    DeutschlandFunk :


    cheers, Mark

    Comm,ercial over : )

  10. 10
    HZ says:

    OK, I’ll also say: Yes!

  11. 11
    stoffer says:

    T @7 nice post, interesting read as always, articulate and educating 🙂 but if you are trying to be a politician very well done…. a lot of things said but what was your point, was it Glover bashing or that
    Gillan won, Blackmore lost and the rest were all along for the ride?? Just wondering??
    cheers and lets hope they come to the US somewhere in the Midwest to be exact……….

  12. 12
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Dear Stoffer

    I dont think T was bashing nobody.
    Thats my role, hehehe : )

    No, seriously, I think T wrote this with integrity.
    Concluding that Roger was not really interested in leading and Lord and Paicey followers leaves indeed 2 man that are in battle.

    MY conclusion would be that it would have been quite understandable if ….

    Gillan had swallowed his pride way back and let Blackmore take most of the leadership instead of stubbornly defending his ego.
    Maybe DP would have continued with MK 2 way back.

    I dont know.

    It has been said that Blackmore needed a Rodgers a like vocalist for his new ideas.
    BURN will always be a masterpiece, I d not miss that album going to a desert island.
    You probably would like to pick ROTD or Abandon for that?

    In my opinion Gillan had several great and unmissable traits but lacked the great talent of Blackmore in COMPOSING.

    Although being very useful in adding more dynamics to the ideas Blackmore brought to the table the rest were and ARE NOT able to compose on his level.

    Lord, in later years always said that it was his part that made it all start.

    Ian could have admitted that, although a man with enormous strenght, being at that point one of the greatest leadsingers in the world, oozing charisma, looking great, he could never deliver the compositional backbone of the songs.

    In Gillan he had Colin Towns.
    Later Steve Morris.
    Now in DP we get 4 albums in 16 years with increasing trouble to produce “something”.

    Ofcourse some will attack me now, try to burn me at the stake.

    I am one the people that rate Ian very high but I m critical and realistic at the same time.

  13. 13
    Tommy H. says:

    I’ve to say that this interview has been the most interesting in years. I always wondered how RG managed to work with RB again at first as producer and shortly after as bassist. He was fired by this very man in 1973. And then he explains that RB just surprisingly asked and he jumped in – what the heck?! As much respect as I have for Mr. Glover as an artist but: In a few situations it would have been great to have the balls to step forward instead of acting like a flag in the wind. Of course it’s simple for everyone who wasn’t in the same situation to claim that. No offence to him, but this is what he conceded.

    Regarding the new album:

    I think sometimes it needs a band leader who makes decisions if the rest of the band just does nothing for progression. To me it seems that we as fans somehow might have acted like this band leader who has been pushing the band for a new album. In my opinion either SM nor RG sounded very enthusiastic about the recording thing. At first I also was very happy to hear about it again from someone in the band. But there’s a somewhat dominant undertone to their explanations that the idea of a new album is inconvenient and tiring. I don’t want to paint it black but to me this is the wrong environment for a new album. Indeed it rather sounds like: When this tour is over there will be a break and perhaps after that a farewell tour – new album or not. They toured too much in the last years and they know it. It’s quite obvious that RG excuses DP for not recording in the near past when he mentioned the low CD sellings. To me it’s still interesting if less touring and more music payed their bills easier. Promoting a new album draws more people to concerts than playing the same stuff over and over, no matter how good they play. Something like a US-tour should be easier with a new album in the bag.


  14. 14
    Moreblack says:

    # 7 nice comments.Rogg wrote those riffs and song xtrutures,yes,but under Ritchie’s administration.
    And the crowd still yelds,Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie…

  15. 15
    kraatzy says:

    @ Ted the Mechanic

    Take a clue: I think now you HAVE TO SEE THIS R E A L I T Y in 2011: a new album 🙂 😉 🙂 !!!

    En garde – Touche´ – Ce bon et magnifique …

    Nicht lang schnacken, nur die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt !!!



  16. 16
    T says:

    Re: #11

    It is not in my nature to bash anyone and I avoid it when I can. Roger Glover is a hero of mine–in fact, all of these guys are. They, Blackmore and Lord in particular, are the reason why I learned how to play instruments and how I got into recording. But my heroes are not infallible. They are very human, and with the possible exception of Blackmore, none wear a cape 😉 .

    My comments were merely a reflex reaction to what was said in the interview. I think the various members are being vague and contradictory regarding key issues. I don’t know if this is unconscious or on purpose. One recalls the times when the members were in various groups and, when asked by fans if a Deep Purple reunion would ever happen, they would come up with this excuse or another–none of which really held water.

    Purplepriest1965 (Re: 12) got it right and understood what I was trying to say. Blackmore was always a catalyst and the members agreed that he had most of the ideas. In his absence, Purple managed some great moments, but it has been a struggle since then–as if the horse burst out of the stall with lightning speed…then pooped out after a few yards.

    Gillan swallowing his pride, indeed… But put two such talents in the same room and sometimes it is a battle of wills. When one person prefers red and another prefers blue, sometimes it’s best just to go with purple.

  17. 17
    jantchc says:

    very good interview

    thank you for posting it..

  18. 18
    Rascal says:

    MK2 Deep purple – The whole is greater than the sum of it parts.

    Deep Purple probably happened because ego’s existed and friction existed. It was a product of its time and the conditions that existed then. Change the formula, and you change the result.

    Priests obsession with Blackmore being the ‘be all and end all’ is tiring. Your great composer with the fabulous talent now plays with a bunch of ‘minstrels’!

    You know what……….We may no longer hear Gillans legendary screams anymore…………..but neither do we hear Blackmores guitar

  19. 19
    Gary says:

    Frankly I don’t care …but I’m going to write this anyway. Deep Purple DESERVES to go out in a Blaze of Glory. Don’t some of you realize these guys are in their mid- 60s ???And won’t last forever ?

    A Mk2 Final go-round is suitable for ALL of these EXCELLENT musicianswhho ever carried the musical banner of DSEP PURPLE !

    Long Live Deep Purple !!!

  20. 20
    stoffer says:

    priest@12 thanks for your input:)

    T@16 thanks for clarifying


  21. 21
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 19

    Based on countless comments on DP related(I could fill my days with reading them) YouTubes it seems clear that you are not alone in that wish.

    Afraid it will not happen.

    Even worst : Maybe better not.(…)

  22. 22
    Crimson Ghost says:

    T, this is what happens when you take the easy road… it’s easy to dismantle ones words in an interview, or a post for that matter. But getting inside their head about it is another story. All we can do is assume we followed from question to answer with a notion what we read is completely understood. One of languages most effective tricks when it comes to literary converstion.

    When it comes to the inner workings of a band like this one, Roger said it best, it’s not what it seems. Look at history well enough and it’s easy to see that without good relations there is no band. If they don’t ALL get along, what is there really left to be said between them to the world? Now, think about what being funcional in that area is like copmpared to being dysfunctional, and you have the answer, a band that doesn’t lose that sense is a band that can say it’s honestly working TOGETHER. Ritchie seemed to be the only one who wasn’t willing to function with a band, as a band. Perhaps relenting in the end wasn’t such a band idea… I see what Roger is saying and don’t find any lines to read between there. But then I follow differently I suppose.(see above)

    Moreblack, what proof do you have to back this? Pretty funny! You’re obviously confusing ‘Speed King’ and ‘MIAL’ with Rainbow songs. Administering too, is obviously not what it seems, but I’m willing to give you a free course on it, just to satisfy your curiosity. 🙂

  23. 23
    BassPlayer says:

    Studio apparently booked for March

    And I have never heard people calling for Ritchie at a DP concert – even when he was in the band. My only experience of seeing DP with Blackmore (admittedly only 6 concerts, so I can’t say it happened all the time) is that Blackmore just didn’t want to be there, even in 1984

  24. 24
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 23

    No one shouting for Ritchie???!!!
    Appearantly you have been suffering a bad hearing for at least since 1984.

  25. 25
    BassPlayer says:


    No – perfect hearing – not selective hearing, or can’t accept reality Blackmore fanatic hearing. Plus, or course, I go to Deep Purple concerts in the real world

  26. 26
    Moreblack says:

    Crimson Ghost strikes again!Nice to see ya again mate.

  27. 27
    Rascal says:

    @24 Must be those voices in your head again!

  28. 28
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 27

    I m really not impressed.
    I guess you are running out of fuel.

  29. 29
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Ok, ladies, calm down.

  30. 30
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I aint gonna cry no more today.

  31. 31
    Moreblack says:

    No one shouting for Ritchie Blackmore,hmmmm,in 84…?!!well maybe some cover or tribute band.

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