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Mark 1 musical antiques

Nick Simper with Nasty Habits, Vienna, Austria, Sept 21 2012; image courtesy of Christian Shoen

Classic Rock has a promo piece for the Hard Road box set with several quotes from the rarely interviewed Nick Simper:

It was a very exciting time – the band was brand-new and we were thrust together to make the first album in 18 hours. I think we did a pretty good job.

It’s quite amazing that we recorded almost all live, and with only four tracks. I had to share a track with the drums. That put a lot of pressure on us; when that red light went on, none of us wanted to be the guy to mess it up.

I think that energy comes through. People say there’s something magical about 60s records and I’m sure that’s what it is – the adrenaline that came with recording that way, with no room for error, just being musicians in a studio together. That nervous tension definitely transferred to the vinyl.

Our US management wanted to grab the big dollar while it was available. Three albums in little over a year would never happen today. Once the money started to slow down we were just discarded. We worked and worked and worked – then we were treated as disposable pop artists. The Mark II version of the band never had that pressure.

I guess it’s almost heritage stuff now. Nobody would have thought that nearly half a century later there would be any interest in it. These reissues and box sets are like musical antiques and it’s lovely that people want to explore them.

Thanks to Classic Rock for the info.

8 Comments to “Mark 1 musical antiques”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    Wonderful period in rock music! The best actually! Purple were like many bands from that era, ahead of their time. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Deeperpurps says:

    Many nice little nuggets and treasures can be found in the Mark I catalogue. I find myself going back to it from time to time and always discovering wonderful new things in each song.

  3. 3
    Rajaseudun Rampe says:

    Now, the question is: would this Hard Road Box Set ever happen had there not been In Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head later on? How big would the public (=commercial) interest in the first three albums be had there not been Mark II? (I do not intend to put down the first three. I like them very much, and listen to them quite often these days.)

  4. 4
    Elprupdeep says:

    Nice and very interesting words of Nick.
    Long live DP family…

  5. 5
    Les Hedger says:

    Excellent!! MKI is just slightly below MKII as the best line-up in my opinion. Those first 3 albums still kick @$$!! 🙂

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’ve got the box, I think it is lovingly done, even if trainspotters (I am one!) will always find something to nitpick. Can’t believe that I have been a DP addict since1975 or so, yet have neither heard Shades of … or Book of … in their original mono version. They sound quite a bit different too, but as I was raised on the stereo mixes, I prefer them to the mono ones (same thing with The Beatles, when I hear Nowhere Man, I need that extreme panning – vocals on one side, instruments on the other – or it just doesn’t sound right), especially Book of … had quite a bit of stereo fidgeting going on which over the decades has left a firm imprint in my eardrums! But someone more objective than I will probably say that the mono mixes of Shades (especially) and Book are phatter and more organic sounding than the stereo mixes.

  7. 7
    Kevin McMahon says:

    This era of Deep Purple is very underrated musically. My favorite studio recorded keyboard playing from the entire career of Deep Purple come from the 3rd CD. The song is Lalena, very pretty playing.

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Having listened to the Mark 1 stuff more extensively once again after the box arrived, my 2 cents worth to a question raised earlier in this thread is: Without In Rock and what followed in its aftermath, those first three albums would today be a footnote in pop history for cultists, DP a long forgotten one-hit wonder which never managed to replicate its first and only smash hit Hush.

    Don’t get me wrong, I find Mark 1 charming: Ian’s overbusy drumming (he was really allowed to do anything back then and sure made full use of it!), Nick’s melodic and equally busy bass playing, Jon’s keyboard dominance, Rod’s baritone voice and Blackmore’s increasingly quirky and clamoring-for-attention, but still formative (by his standards) guitar playing (he began getting into his own on the 3rd album though I’m still a sucker for his solos on Kentucky Woman and Anthem from Book of Taliesyn. The arrangements were over-ambitious (and probably did not transfer too well to the stage given late sixties audio technology) and the own songwriting of the band with very few exceptions was touching, but not really convincing (I like Listen, Learn, Read On and Shield, both of them rather proggish).

    Listening to those albums now, there is no doubt that even in 69 this line up was (Captain!) beyond its “best used before”-date. Nick was as I said melodic and probably a more confident bass player than Roger in his early days (the Derek Lawrence production als favored him sonically whereas Roger’s bass took a backseat to guitar and organ on In Rock and was only in aural full flight on Machine Head and WDWTWA), but he didn’t really lock in with Ian Paice and had a tendency to bubble over the music in surf guitar fashion rather than supporting it. His bass playing was musical (I like it), but not the type of metronomic support that Lord’s and Blackmore’s “gorgan” twin attack as well as little Ian’s extravaganza drumming needed (and which Roger would later so effectively and unselfishly provide). And Rod had a pleasant voice, well-suited perhaps even for prog rock perhaps (it worked well with Captain Beyond who were essentially a prog rock outfit, both their albums are excellent me thinks), but with none of the histrionic excitement to capture the imagination of young girls (and boys) and the sheer range and sharp attack young Gillan had. Gillan wasn’t only the voice of DP, but he also made – much like Plant did with Zep – his entrance as another lead instrument in additon to guitar and organ.

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