[hand] [face]
The Original Deep Purple Web Pages
The Highway Star

Was happy to be in a band with some good musicians

Ritchie Blackmore reminisces about his days in Deep Purple, including a rather convoluted explanation of the story behind the infamous spaghetti incident. This looks like it was recorded a few years ago.

28 Comments to “Was happy to be in a band with some good musicians”:

  1. 1
    James Gemmell says:

    Ritchie’s wrong that, “On the American side, it was Mountain, Vanilla Fudge…” in 1970. That may’ve been his perception, living in England. But any American can tell you Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were becoming huge in America, and Deep Purple was very obscure around that time, other than the hits from 1968, “Hush” and “Kentucky Woman”. “In Rock” sold very little initially in the USA; I never even heard of it until years later. “Machine Head” and “Made in Japan” were the two albums that charted in the Top 10 in America. Mountain was well-known here, but Vanilla Fudge was a little lesser-known. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and several others were much better known.

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Ritchie sure was in a benign mood on that one.

  3. 3
    Adel Faragalla says:

    The sarcastic honesty blended with BS but said in a very convincing manner that makes you want to share a pint with him in the bar. Just be careful of the long sharp nails he possess 👋👍

  4. 4
    DeeperPurps says:

    James @1. Another American band from that era that doesn’t get nearly enough love and recognition that is should was Grand Funk Railroad. Great bass player Mel Schacher, and singer-songwriter guitarist Mark Farner was very talented. Good drummer/singer Don Brewer too. They were huge in the states, but I have no idea if they were all that well known in Europe. I know the critics hated them, but then really, who cares about the critics.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    @ 1- The memory of that time may be sketchy with anyone who has been around a while. Blackmore is also mentioning acts who he was impressed with as big, not the artists who may have been bigger but he may not have known or did not care about. From my historical knowledge of British bands in the States back then, 1970 Sabbath were not big at all, if they were even over there then & then they took a few years to get some recognition. Zeppelin were getting there as you say, Jethro Tull supported them around that time. His memory & the odd slip up, ‘Clapton in Free’ for an example, have to be taken with a grain of salt. Cheers.

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Grand Funk were great, but their grazing grounds were in the US and they hardly ever toured Europe. Hence, they were mainly known for a couple of singles here (Closer to Home/I’m Your Captain, Locomotion, American Band, Some Kind of Wonderful).

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Friggin’ epic, but we never saw them here. I only remember one short tour, around 74/75.


  8. 8
    aireight says:

    Having grown up listening to every version of Purple, for me, it definitely began with early Grand Funk. I enjoyed the reaction video Uwe posted – I thought. “oh, he’s going to like this part…”

    It was interesting to hear Ritchie’s side of the Spaghetti Incident. Not a lot of communication there, apparently.

  9. 9
    sidroman says:

    Nice to hear Ritchie giving Clapton some credit for a change. Love Cream and Blind faithas well.

  10. 10
    stoffer says:

    My first LP Grand Funk Live! after that in no particular order….. Fireball, James Gang Rides Again, Mountain Flowers of Evil, In Rock and on and on……………………

  11. 11
    Manos says:

    James Gemmell:
    The late sixties and early seventies were a very important period to define a band as legendary.
    The band members realized that they were becoming big after 1973. They were given golden records for Machine Head and Made in Japan in 1974 although they were released in December 1971 and 1972 respectively. In 1974 they already had a new lineup and different music direction! They were offered to be headliners in many festivals (like the California Jam) but everyone expected the Mark II to perform. You can tell by the audience that nobody knows the Burn album songs. I believe that if they have noticed it earlier the Mark II would have lasted longer.
    Between 1974 and 1975 they returned to smaller audiences 5,000 to 6,000 people and offered venues in the Eastern (Yugoslavia) and Northern Europe (Sweden etc). The Mark IV era was even more disappointing in terms of sales and concerts tickets. They were forced to visit more exotic destination like Thailand

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    sidroman@9: Ritchie certainly always had an ear for what Eric played. And if he heard something he liked, he wasn’t, uhum, l a z y in learning it …


  13. 13
    Dr. Bob says:

    I started listening to hard rock (Led Zep, Sabbath, Aerosmith, Kiss, Queen, Styx, Uriah Heep, Rush) in Jr. high school (1976-1977) but didn’t “discover” Deep Purple until my freshman year in college (1981-1982). That’s pretty under the radar to get into Heep before Purple.

  14. 14
    sidroman says:

    Uwe you’re exactly right. As for Clapton’s work throughout the 70’s and 80’s it was very hit or miss, but that was largely due to Clapton’s addictions first to heroin and later alcohol. I recently watched his Life in 12 Bars documentary and when Eric was drunk he couldn’t give a shit about performing. he would be contracted to play a 90 minute show and only play 45 minutes. I recently read Patty Boyd’s biography and living and being married to Eric in that time was quite difficult, it’s funny that him and George Harrison maintained their friendship even though Clapton basically stole Patty from George.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Dr. Bob@13: From Heep to the Purps? Well, I’d say you edged your way forward from the omelette to the egg. Like Winston Churchill said, you can always rely on the Yanks doing ultimately the right thing – after having exhausted all other available options, of course. ; – )

    RIP John Lawton whom I saw with Heep on the Firefly tour. Not a flamboyant front man like David Byron, but one hell of a singer, I have all of his work with various bands, even those guys here (his vocal performance here is ace as well):


    I’m probably one of the few people here who has seen Uriah Heep with Don Airey deputizing for Phil Lanzon (who was grieving over his lost son). It sounded quite a bit different. Don with DP is live no shrinking violet in the mix, but compared to how Lanzon towers in the Heep mix, he was definitely restrained. He’s also a less – no pun intended – organic player than Lanzon, but more technically adept, that old Colosseum II school no doubt. There were a few typical Don Airey lightning-fast runs in the Heep set that had me cracking up at the gig (and the Heep guys turn around on stage and smile at him or raise their thumbs). They really tried to make him feel at home and he enjoyed playing with them.

  16. 16
    sidroman says:

    For me I mainly started by listening to my older brother’s records. So we’re talking 1977, I was 6 years old, and it went from Kiss, Rush, the Doors, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Cream. I didn’t get into Purple til around 86-87, and it was from watching MTV’s Closet Classics Capsule, I saw Purple playing Highway Star on the BeatClub, the famous version where Ian is ad libbing much of the vocals. Saw that went out and bought Machine Head and never looked back.

  17. 17
    Ivica says:

    In t Balkans, ex Yugoslavia, newly formed states know … class of hard rock ,only one question ,from seventies yers of the last century….to the present day. Who is the best band in that musical direction? Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple !? as well as the eternal question rnr … Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

    R.I.P. John Lawton

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Back in the day (here we go again, back in the good old days) the blues influenced rockers Clapton, Hendrix, Gallagher, Trower, Green & Beck to name a few, played with a rawness that has become wonderfully nostalgic & for a good reason. Oops, nearly forgot to mention Blackmore & Page. These days the so called blues rock players couldn’t hold a candle next to the past players. And please don’t mention Bonamassa, over rated or what! Apologies for mentioning him. I have been recently tubing Rory Gallagher live performances from the mid 70’s to early 80’s, mind blowing indeed. Great bass playing from McAvoy & the drummers are spot on & also the 70’s keyboard player. Now that is blues rock at it’s finest. Cheers.

  19. 19
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @18. Totally agreed. Those late 60’s / 1970’s guitarists and their blues-based style are still unmatched to this day. Add in Tommy Bolin to the list. I agree with you re Bonamassa – his overrated and very contrived faux-blues playing leaves me cold.

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    No one mentioned Alvin Lee or Johnny Winter! : – (

    I loved Gallagher’s rawness – on par with Johnny Winter’s rawness – , but not everyone did. Bonamassa isn’t raw, but then he doesn’t pretend to be. Neither was Eric Clapton, once he had left Cream and Derek & The Dominos behind. They are both “white man’s gentlemen’s blues” and that’s ok. It’s a style of its own and people like Clapton and Bonamassa – whether you like their particular style or not – have contributed greatly to the Blues being alive and vibrant as a genre.

    I’m no great Bonamassa fan – his output is way too much, too many projects – and he is certainly no force of nature on stage (he looked like a roadie in BCC), but I don’t doubt his sincerity in making music. He has an introvert’s love for the Blues. His playing is tasteful, too tasteful sometimes, but I prefer it to Gary Moore’s “Blues” playing” which to me sounded always OTT, every note with maximum intensity and expression as if they are all equally important, when in fact they’re not. GARY MOORE ALWAYS PLAYED IN CAPITAL LETTERS TO YOU !!!

    BTW, anybody digging Rory Gallagher should listen to Walter Trout’s work, he’ll be in immediate bliss.

  21. 21
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    @DeeperPurps Yes, Grand Funk Railroad was huge. I got the chance in 1990 to chat with singer/guitarist Mark Farner (who is from Flint, MI.) backstage at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan after he performed with his solo band. He walked right up to me backstage at Cannonsburg Ski Area circa 2012 prior to a summer concert. He’s very friendly. He is proud that GFR sold out Shea Stadium (New York City) in 1969 faster than the Beatles did.

  22. 22
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    @Manos Nice post, but I don’t agree with you that Purple were not aware of their fame by 1973. The ‘Machine Head’ album went to #7 on the U.S. charts and remained there 118 weeks in America. The edited (shortened) live version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ off ‘Made in Japan’ was played on the air constantly. I have always assumed that Ritchie quit Purple because the legal power in the band was split five ways between the five members, so he did not have the legal authority to fire people on his own; otherwise, he could’ve canned Hughes and Coverdale, and replaced them with Ronnie James Dio, for example. When Glover was given the heave-ho, it was because Blackmore and Lord voted in favor of it, and even if Paice opposed Glover’s firing, he would’ve been outvoted, 2-1 (Gillan was out of the band by that time). But Blackmore likely would not have been able to muster enough band support to kick out both Hughes and Coverdale. Plus, Blackmore really had no problem with Coverdale. It was Hughes’ insistence on singing funk-style that irritated Ritchie (and me). I could be wrong about the voting stuff, but maybe not.

  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    I went to a Johnny Winter gig back in 1986, great to see & hear his blues & rock playing. however after an hour or so it was starting to sound a bit the same. Too much blues, if you know what I mean. Gee he had some power though, a cracking guitar sound & a major dynamic trio the band were. He had such a powerful deep blues voice. I remember closing my eyes at times & opening them again to see a thin white ‘Albino’ & thinking were does he get that voice from. Summoning up the devil perhaps at the crossroads! Unfortunately I missed Rory in concert in Australia in 1992, somewhere around that time & he was gone a few years later. Rory Gallagher has great songs & mixes it up really well, same for Robin Trower & that is why I like them so much. Walter Trout is a fine blues player indeed with a classic Stratocaster sound. However it is back to the songs for me, not enough melody & composition within the ‘rock’ context. Alvin Lee also, a wonderful player & a great sound & feel for the blues. Clapton was more interesting back in the 60’s & early 70’s but then became too clean for want of a better description, ‘white man’s gentleman’s blues’ is a good description of it. The songs also were not strong enough, too boring for my ears. Gary Moore was a rock player who had blues influence in his solo’s etc, his late 70’s to early 80’s rock is what I enjoyed & still do in moderation. When he went to the ‘blues’ he fell away to my ears, he missed the point I thought. Certain musicians can crossover successfully within both the blues & rock & others miss the point. Some are better at rock & some better at blues. Each to their own as we say. Cheers.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    I cannot believe I did not mention the Maestro, David (less is more) Gilmour. Cheers.

  25. 25
    Buttockss says:

    Hendrix said Terry Kath was the greatest guitar player….not Blackmore.

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gilmour is a blues player though he didn’t play in a blues band, quite right. His playing is evocative, no two ways about it.

    That Still Wish You Were tribute with Little Ian on drums mentioned a while ago is well worth a purchase btw. I’ve played it to Pink Floyd diehards (my wife among them!) and they all said it was excellently rendered. Ian’s drumming is ace – with all due respect to Nick Mason who is underrated as a drummer. His Saucerful of Secrets spin-off project is well worth a listen too.

  27. 27
    Manos says:

    James Gemmell: he is talking about the pioneers of heavy rock music. Heavy rock (or hard rock that was named later) started from Cream. The sunshine of your love was the first song with distortion coming from amps full up.

  28. 28
    Manos says:

    James Steven Gemmell: Fireball, Machine Head and Made in Japan were in the charts simultaneaously. They were given golden and platinum records in 1974: Glenn Hughes is holding the Made in Japan golden record in a photo! The splitted fiveways was only for the Mark II era. Blackmore in early 1973 had hepatitis and Gillan later the same year. They were touring the whole 1973 and ran exhausted. During Blackmore’s solos Gillan went off the stage to neighbourhodd bars to drink (an he was a heavy drinker). They were pushed by the record company to make the “Who do we think we are album”. Gillan quit in 1973 writing a letter to the rest of the members. I have read many quotes and the books and I realize know that the main issue was Blackmore’s musical interests. He was so impressed with Free back then and especially Paul Rodgers. Gillan was more a singer with an operatic voice. Mistreated tune was written in 1971 and Gillan wanted to add lyrics and sing it (Blackmore in an interview says:” Gillan kept coming to me saying “Come on man you are my hero, I can sing anything you want!” and I responded: Don’t be silly Ian, you can’t sing that!”. Proof of that is the Cal Jam where Hughes announces Mistreated saying that the tune was written 3-4 years ago! I think it was heavy of a guitarist not to trust his frontman!
    Soon after Gillan left in 1973, Blackmore wanted to leave too making a three-piece band with Paice following his interests. They rehearsed with Phil Lynott but as Paice says in an interview: Lynott was not an accomplished musician just yet”.
    The record company and Lord asked Blackmore to stay and he insisted on changing musical direction and fire Glover too because he was a limited bass player. Paice agreed (in an interview he says: “I was young ,I only wanted to play” obviously regretting it). Hughes was an accomplished bass player (in an interview Blackmore ays: “Glover was da da da da and Hughes was doum da da doum doum” )that played with a pick (as Blackmore wanted) and could sing the high scales of Gillan. They wanted Paul Rodgers to join as a singer but he refused as he just had formed “Bad Company” so they searched for a blues singer. It took a lot of guts to hire the unknown Coverdale (Blackmore kept taking risks like that – Dio, Bonnett, Turner etc).
    As you can see the problem with this band (and with Rainbow even more) is that it never was a group of friends making music. It was a more like a firm hiring professionals. Like the supergroups that never last in time.

Add a comment:

Preview no longer available -- once you press Post, that's it. All comments are subject to moderation policy.

||||Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing
© 1993-2022 The Highway Star and contributors
Posts, Calendar and Comments RSS feeds for The Highway Star