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Theory of the Zen archer

Roger Glover; photo © Jim Rakete; image courtesy of Kayos ProductionsBack in September, the BassPlayer.com published an in-depth interview with Roger Glover, which for one reason or another, went under our radar until now. It covers most of Roger’s illustrious career, from his first band The Lightnings, to Now what?!

How do you come up with your bass parts during the jam-to-recording journey?

Do you know the theory of the zen archer? The zen archer draws his bow back and as soon as he eyes the target he lets his arrow go. The reason is, the longer he hesitates and tries to make sure he hits the target, the more off he’s going to be because his hands will start to shake. In other words, your first instinct is always your best bet. When I hear Paicey [Ian Paice] play a certain rhythm, I think, Now what can I play to that? Actually, I don’t think; I just play it. It’s not a thought process anymore. We’ve played together for so many years we automatically sync in together. From there, my part will be shaped by the keyboard and guitar. Don [Airey] has a way of making chords sound not so simple; the naughty chords, as they’re called—they’re jazz chords in the rock idiom. That actually gives me some room to maneuver, because the one thing I’m wary of is going [sings steady eighth-notes] on the root note just to keep the rhythm going. I always want to move a little within my part to add a bit of interest and a bit of jump. But at the basic level, the bass has to anchor and groove at all costs. I mean, you can get a little complicated on the bass, but it doesn’t really help the song most times.

The question of Hall of Fame also came up and this is what Roger had to say (bear in mind, the interview was done before this year’s nomination):

Deep Purple was finally nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, but not voted in. Thoughts?

I don’t care about it, honestly; it would have been quite disruptive to go through that at this time. Ritchie [Blackmore] would have had to be there, and deservedly so, but that has the hallmarks of a possible nightmare, so I’m kind of glad we didn’t get in. One of the voters against us apparently said, “They don’t deserve to get in—they’re one-hit wonders.” If that’s the kind of people we’re dealing with, who needs it?

Go over to BassPlayer.com and dig into the rest, it’s well worth it.

Thanks to Andrey Gusenkov for the info.

28 Comments to “Theory of the Zen archer”:

  1. 1
    Dan Cavil says:

    One hit wonder?! What cave was that simpleton living in?

  2. 2
    Danny N says:

    Some great insight from one of the true great (and underrated imho) bassists in rock. Rock on Roger Glover!

  3. 3
    Mads Rud Larsen says:

    The RRHOF is a joke!

  4. 4
    kraatzy says:

    The never ending story: “RnRHoF”

    Roger Glover:
    “If that’s the kind of people we’re dealing with, who needs it?”

    … my words – my words …

    LLRnR (but not in the Hall of Fame)



  5. 5
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    The most important part of the interview……

    What’s in the short and long range for you?

    “This year we’re touring Europe and Russia with the new CD, and we’ll be hitting the U.S. early next year.”

    US early next year? That’s right around the corner! YYEEEEOOOOWWWW!!!!!


  6. 6
    Russ says:

    Deep Purple are a one hit wonder? The Hall needs to be condemmed right now.

  7. 7
    Andrey Barabanshchikov says:

    … and we’ll be hitting the U.S. early next year. Tracy rejoice! Big arenas or distant sheds?

  8. 8
    Andrey Barabanshchikov says:

    Early next year… US. Yankee Stadium. Deep Purple gig. Black Sabbath are opening act. Eve of Hall of Fame induction with McCartney Jagger Plant and Lady Gaga fighting each other somewhere in Cleveland for the right to induct Purple. Jann Wenner is appearing on stage and taking the floor.
    Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? I have neglected you for so long. What kind of punishment do I deserve for this glaring crime? I’m ready. Standing ovation… Police take him away.
    Next day. A courthouse. Judge is asking for the verdict. Guilty all the way!
    Fall of the hammer! Drum roll! Fifty years in prison sharing cell with Kenny G playing and Justin Bieber singing 24 hour a day!
    Curtain falls!

  9. 9
    HardRockPete says:

    The RRHOF has been, is and continue to be a bad joke! I hope Purple never gets inducted. They’ve always been underground, and I hope they’ll remain underground. The RRHOF doesen’t deserve a band like Purple. Purple are to good for such a shithole!

  10. 10
    al says:

    @I hope they tour the States and Canada at some point or Im gonna go crazy ! lol and hopefully another great album with Bob Ezrin guys !

  11. 11
    Les Hedger says:

    ONE HIT WONDERS?? They have sold approx. 150 million albums worldwide. Apparently some simpleton did absolutely no research at all!!

  12. 12
    mike says:

    U.S.A. U.S.A U.S.A. yeah baby

  13. 13
    kraatzy says:

    … Deep Purple a one hit wonder … LoL

    The RnRHoF itself is a long time/all time -ONE HIT WONDER … (american crap/shit) …

    They are soooo niggling and didn´t become aware of their own deep contradictions (For example: one member = one hit: Darlene Love ???!!???)
    And what about Donna Summer and Rock´N´Roll ???

    No more commend




  14. 14
    Tommy H. says:

    Roger, don’t be upset. We all know that there are some pricks out there who know shit about music. Who cares, on the other hand there are a lot more people like us who truly appreciate the music you’ve written together with your bandmates over the years. And two decades should be enough space to cope with the man in black joining for one short live appearence, if anything. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame which houses many “one-hit-wonders” anyway is like winning an award. Nobody “needs” to win an award but Deep Purple deserves recognition. I don’t perceive the Hall as such a great honor too but in many people’s heads the Hall means something.

  15. 15
    jim says:

    Personally I think if Deep Purple are chosen to be inducted in the RRHOF they should just refuse it and not turn up,,,that’ll make Purple even more famous and at the same kicks the hall of jokes where it hurts and who knows it might even waken the hall up so they start kicking most of the shit back out.

  16. 16
    stoffer says:

    jim @15 AMEN………….

  17. 17
    purplepriest1965 says:

    It is too late anyway.

    Jon died 🙁

  18. 18
    James Gemmell says:

    I’ve been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a magnificent facility in Cleveland. The building, the displays, the music, are wonderful. It’s not the building itself that is garbage, but the power brokers behind it. First of all, Detroit, New Orleans or Memphis would’ve been more appropriate locations for the Hall of Fame. Some clown above referred to it is as “American s–t.” I’m so tired of European morons slagging the United States. For everything crappy there is something wonderful in America, whether it be the people or anything else. Europe is the same. We’re all just people. Get over your jealousy about the United States, or at least direct it to Corporate America (which can be evil), and not at the people. As for Purple, the fans in the United States and Canada voted for Rush and Deep Purple to be in the Hall of Fame in 2013, but the slimy power brokers at the Hall count the popular vote as only one vote, same as everyone else on the Hall board. That’s the real shame. The Top 5 in the fan vote should automatically be inducted, not just the one band each year. Those who keep saying it’s a popularity contest are wrong. Purple is currently third in the popular vote! It’s not a popularity contest; the problem is it’s a clique of corporate money-grubbers, and thus, does deserve the title most people – even in America – now refer to it as: the “Hall of Shame”

  19. 19
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Well stated James Gemmell @18, except for the Detroit portion.

  20. 20
    Deb_S says:

    Cleveland wanted the RRHOF Museum more than any other city and put up the money for it. Cleveland was the location of the world’s first rock concert, The Moondog Coronation Ball. The late Alan Freed coined the phrase “rock and roll” while working as a DJ in Cleveland, and his ashes are kept somewhere inside the Museum. An up-and-coming Elvis performed his first concert (north of the Mason-Dixon Line) in Cleveland. If it’s any consolation for those who live elsewhere the induction ceremony is only held in Cleveland every three years. There was once a Rock Hall annex in New York City but it closed due to lack of interest. Many fans blame Cleveland and the Museum when their favorite band isn’t nominated. They are unaware that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation is actually based in New York City. WNCX, Cleveland’s classic rock station, supports Deep Purple’s induction but the decision rests with the RRHOF voting committee. If DP is inducted they will become members of the RRHOF voting committee, starting next year. By the way, the voter who made the one-hit wonder comment was Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He decided to be a little nicer this year (after being chewed out by DP fans) and mentioned ‘Hush’ and ‘Woman From Tokyo’ in his blog, too.

  21. 21
    cyclone says:

    The RRHOF are not going to listen to the fans or other band’s opinions on the great Deep Purple. No other band has their rich history. I am surprised a movie has not been made of DP. Shame on RRHOF. As for Roger G…..you got to love this guy.

  22. 22
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Thanks Deb_S @20 for your info. I presume you are affiliated with the organization in some way and you are a stand-up person for coming on here and giving some insight. So the location has great significance and I guess no matter where the physical location is, the actual committee and those in charge are still to blame. Either way, I still support them being inducted and want to see the hoopla that develops in the process. Either way, it’s good for Purple and like it or not that makes it good for the fans.


  23. 23
    MortOver says:

    The Bream-guy did a book with this title: “Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: The Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time” (2008)”
    Heaviest band of all time?????? I think this sums up perfectly how big a clown he his.

  24. 24
    Scott says:


    That’s an insult. I take that personally.

  25. 25
    Deb_S says:

    @22: I live about 35 miles from the Museum and have been there a number of times, but I’m not affiliated with the organization. I agree, the RRHOF situation would still be the same no matter where the Museum is located. Another thing about Alan Freed: he was the first white DJ in the north to play R & B records on the radio when he was working at WJW in Cleveland.

  26. 26
    T says:

    On a slightly different note…

    The importance of the rhythm section cannot be understated–and yet the drummer and bassist are probably the two most under-appreciated, thankless parts of any band–the bass player in particular. Nothing exciting is going to happen without that foundation, particularly when writing songs via a jam. Songs come out of that bottom end, and having an imaginative drummer and solid bass player makes things a lot easier.

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    T@ 26- I agree with your comment in regards to the importance of the bass & drums in rock music. Many of the bands I enjoy have great bass players & drummers, the best in the genre IMHO. But in regards to the songs & or songwriting, I am sure most songs or the originality of a song idea, are written or evolve from the piano/keyboards, guitar or even the vocal in many compositions!
    Sure the rhythm section can lay down a groove & inspire something or someone else to kick in & then a song may end up being created.
    It can also depend on what is deemed a song or are instrumentals included in this scenario? I would think many a instrumental could evolve from a rhythm section laying it down so to speak! But yes, in regards to some riffs or song ideas in which Glover is talking about, it can & does happen at times! Cheers.

  28. 28
    Dr. Bob says:

    One hit wonder? I wonder which hit he’s talking about?

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