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But no emptiness, no eagles, and no snow

This gentleman travelled all the way down to Montreux to tell the story we all know. The short film is nicely put together, and he managed to get inside the Résidence des Alpes (née THE Grand Hotel).

Thanks to Mad Hatter and John Schuch for the heads-up.

26 Comments to “But no emptiness, no eagles, and no snow”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:

    Ah yes, “Frank Zappa & the Mothers, were at the best place around, but some stupor with a flare-gun, burned the place to the ground”…

    One wonders that since we’re happily discussing the event after 50-years, whether there’ll be a centennial ceremony in 2072 ?…

    It’s a great funky tune, with awesome solos / performances from all of DP.

    Peace !

  2. 2
    Ivica says:

    Missing in the story (traditionally) “The Special One”:)

  3. 3
    Henrik Schmidt says:

    That’s the Rock Aid Armenia version of Smoke in the beginning.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’m surprised that the official website of Montreux doesn’t use the SOTW riff as a jingle! Given the inspiration the Purps drew from both the incident and the location, they should license it to the city for free in eternal gratitude.

  5. 5
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    @#1 It’s not “some stupor,” it’s “some stupid.”

  6. 6
    Steve says:

    That was great. Hope to get there someday.

  7. 7
    Bernhard Huebl says:

    No. 1:

    Dear Gregster,

    I absolutely agree, it’s a great tune (which will remain in all books of music history until the end of time), but it is definitely NOT a piece of “funky music” !
    Yes, you are right, I absolutely hate any kind of funky stuff – but please remember the (main) reason, why Blackmore left DP in 1975 !


  8. 8
    Gregster says:

    LOL !

    @5…Stupid or stupor, what’s it really matter ???…When I listen to the tune, I don’t hear “someone stupid with a flare-gun”, I hear “some stupor with a flare-gun”, so it’s difficult to determine for me what word is used, but stupor fits-the-bill correctly, & grammatically, plus has an awesome dictionary explanation too, even if “stupid” is sung.

    I’m happy to get it wrong & be corrected, apologies wherever needed !

    @7…Ha,ha,ha !!! I knew I’d get into trouble with someone stating that SOTW is a funky tune…But in all honesty, in my books, it really “is” a funky tune, done the DP Mk-II way. Sure its ballsy, heavy, melodic & memorable throughout, but to me, the verses are quite funky, & it’s RB driving the funk-feel through them…No bull !!! I bet-you $10:00 Glen Hughes would agree too LOL ! * I also whole-heartedly agree with Glen Hughes when he describes RB as being a funky guitar player !

    There’s no rules, or right or wrong here either really imo, just the degree of funkiness that occurs before someone states it as such, or denies it as such…We’re all free to draw-our-own lines on that.

    RB’s debut Rainbow album is full-of-funk imo…The Man on the Silver Mountain is as funky as it gets in my books, (at least as far as the studio version goes with what RB is playing), & there’s a funky feel throughout the whole album too, though subtle perhaps, but the bass-lines tell the story.

    I think that RB used the “funky-shoe-shine-music” as an excuse-of-the-time for leaving…It was four against one, & he lost his dominance over everyone I’d suggest.

    Another example of RB being funky is with the awesome chordal-solo heard in “Tearin’ out my Heart” from the Live Between the Eye’s San Antonio gig…


    Peace !

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    @ 8 – it does matter Gregster it does. I have just been watching a classic old western movie with Charles Bronson starring, hence this reminder. ‘now don’t do anything stoopid. As the pronunciation sounds ‘some stoopid with a flare gun’ or the old spaghetti westerns, ‘hey stupido’. “some stupido with a flare gun’. There are others no doubt. Cheers.

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Lieber Bernhard, I have to jump right in on behalf of my pouch-equipped, long-eared and -tailed brethren Gregster: Smoke On The Water IS funky. There I said it (too), unglaublich.

    What’s even worse: SOTW is eminently danceable. Having worked as a DJ in the early 80ies (in a peep show in the Frankfurt Red Light District of all places, but I was young and needed the money …), I can attest to the fact that SOTW is a sure-fire way to move butts on the dance floor.

    But now for the good news: You can still continue to like it! Funk isn’t Disco (though a lot of Disco music contained funk elements), Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers (and not just only after Michael McDonald joined), the Rolling Stones and Trapeze are/were all funky.

    So what makes SOTW funky? Lots of things:

    – Funk is defined by offbeat rather than downbeat emphasis. The SOTW riff cycle consists of 12 notes (which are nearly all repeated at different points within the cycle, there are only four different pitches) of which seven are on the downbeats and five on the offbeats. The first three notes are all downbeat, the following four notes are all offbeat except the last one, then the first three notes are repeated on the downbeat to have the riff cycle close with two final notes on the offbeat. The offbeats make it rhythmically catchy. Ritchie was funky.

    – Little Ian does something totally unexpected (especially for the time in a rock song, it’s been replicated more often since in hard + heavy rock & metal, e.g. in Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills


    or notably in Canadian Loverboy’s iconic AOR rock dance classic Turn Me Loose

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnHm4ro_l8s ):

    Ian plays sixteenth notes or semiquavers on the hi-hat. Now that, lieber Bernhard, is a stylistic element born straight out of hell, it’s prevalent in soul and funk (Motown and Stax!) and – yikes! – even a lot of 70ies Disco. Paicey makes it even more funky by putting the emphasis with the bass drum on the 2 and 4 of the beat, i.e. the backbeat. NOT playing it that way, makes a huge difference, it lets the intro to the song sound clumsy


    (no doubt Black Sabbath fans will now be congregating in their usual occult pentagram circles and worship Satan for something terrible to happen to me … what is thiiis that staaands beeefooore meee …). Ian came up with the drum intro during a jam with only Blackmore (no other member was present) and Ritchie at one point proceeded to play that riff (he had been fooling around with for a while) over it. Ian is rightfully proud of it to this day.

    – To boot, Little Ian spices up the verse backing to Ritchie’s solo by changing the regular drum pattern to a more complex snare roll pattern, basically a conga rhythm —> Himmel!, danceable yet again!

    – It doesn’t stop here I’m sorry to say. Both Blackers and Roger Glover play root notes in octaves during the verses (the lazy bum guitarist once again conveniently avoided real chords), now that is a very Disco thing to do as it enhances the downbeat. But what does Jon do? Rather than going into a Ken Hensley type roaring organ tour de force, Jon plays finely syncnopated lines AGAINST Ritchie’s and Roger’s rhythm. What the funk was he thinking?!!!

    – During the coda at the end of SOTW, around the 04:58 mark, Roger proceeds to cite late 60ies Funk by playing the root note G in double quavers in octaves. Together with Paicey’s semiquavers on the hi-hat that is a perfect ripoff of an Isaac Hayes/Dave Porter number from 1967/68




    – You’re not off the hook yet, Bernhard … That ‘A Fire In The Sky’ part in the chorus? I hate to say it, but it starts on the offbeat, very syncopated, very dancy.

    BTW: SOTW is not the only funk influence on Machine Head: The ‘Maybe I’m A Leo’ riff written by Roger starts on an offbeat, Roger was always chuffed about it. And the iconic intro breaks to Space Trucking (elegantly repeated as the backing to the third verse)? Straight out of the Motown and Stax playbook, just think Temptations played with more oomph …


    I know, Ritchie said his thing about “shoeshine music” when he was setting his sails for Rainbow (which except for the debut as Gregster rightly observed sounded a lot less funky than Purple, to their detriment I think). Now Ritchie says a lot, wenn der Tag lang ist, and often it’s conflicting messages. Ritchie didn’t like Funk as glossed up dance music with its reliance on major keys (Ritchie is more of a minor key songwriter) and seventh and ninth chords (which he usually avoids, while Glenn sticks them everywhere) prevalent in mid-70ies L.A. music, but he never had anything against funky, syncopated rhythms. He edged poor Roger out of the band because he thought his bass playing lame and wanted someone akin to Andy Fraser of Free who was a very funky bass player. He ended up with Glenn Hughes who with Trapeze celebrated extended Funk fests on stage with songs like these here:



    That IS the bassist and songwriter Blackers wanted in his band. Now you tell me he despised Funk! The same man who liked Stevie Wonder’s Superstition so much he carbon-copied it (by his own admission) for the Sail Away riff. And who enthused about his new band member in an interview that he even played SOTW with a different, funkier groove because of Glenn’s natural offbeat emphasis (in fact, Glenn played SOTW pretty much the same way Roger did, a bit more simplified even, but Roger’s original bass line lent itself very much to Glenn’s octave-happy style).

    What do we learn from that? There is more to SOTW than meets the initial eye/ear. It’s not a simpleton number at all, far from it, it is clever and nifty. The US A&R man who immediately heard that it was the natural single from Machine Head had a good ear (and perhaps realized that people like to dance to something too given half the cchance). And let’s not even talk about Big Ian’s sneaky chorus melody which sings a major third over Ritchie’s minor C chord, meaning that Gillan sings an E while Blackers plays an Eb (a halfstep down), which is against all musical rules and/or simply brilliant as Ritchie and Big Ian thereby collectively create an augmented “Hendrix chord” (which will elate Gregster no doubt!). It had Jon stunned at the time (“But you’re singing a major where there should be a minor!”), but he realized the wonderful musicality of it.

    There is a reason why SOTW did so well it did. And having a funky edge was a great part of it. But console yourself, lieber Bernhard, it could have been worse – just NEVER EVER listen to the (in my ears brilliant!) über-funky Ian Gillan Band version of the song (with – adding insult to funk-haters’ injury – even an impromptu country interlude at 03.54) …

    ; – )


  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I always get faintly uneasy when Australians discuss the finer points of English language, don’t you?


  12. 12
    Orhun Yakin says:

    @ 10- Dear Uwe, just wondering, whether you would consider Blackmore’s playing on “Emmaretta” as funky? Cheers.

  13. 13
    Gregster says:

    Uwe said…

    “I always get faintly uneasy when Australians discuss the finer points of English language, don’t you”?…

    LOL ! Apparently, Australians are the only people around the world that actually pronounce the language correctly, due to our accents…Hmmm…

    Thanks for the posts on SOTW, it does groove well with a dollop of funk through the verses !

    Peace !

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    How is this for taking a comment out of it’s context eh? “(in a peep show in the Frankfurt Red Light District of all places, but I was young and needed the money …)”.
    Dear oh dear oh dear Uwe what have you done, or should that be ‘what did you do’? ha ha ha ha. All good fun of course, the comment that is. Well maybe back then it was all fun too? Cheers.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sure Orhun, Emmaretta is funky (as it should be, after all it was about a black girl singer in the HAIR musical cast in NYC) with its ostinato offbeat and Blackmore’s rhythm guitar a pure Hendrix homage.

    No regrets about DJ’ing at the ‘Sexvisionscenter’ (as the establishment was called), Herr MacGregor, it was perfectly legal and I paid my income tax! As you would expect from someone studying law at the time.

    It also gave me a chance to meet someone from the Purple family in person whose curiosity led him there – I still have his signature on a record sleeve he signed then and there. I did recognize him immediately and after I then proceeded to play a couple of songs in a row that all featured him, he walked up to my DJ corner after a while and asked puzzled: “Do you know me?” I sure did.




    By the intro to the third song he had a hunch this couldn’t be coincidence and turned to me!

    ; – )

  16. 16
    Montague Winters says:

    The most iconic riff in rock history is ‘whole lotta love’s riff. Period.

  17. 17
    john sheppard says:

    @ 16

    smoke on the water is the most iconic riff, go ask the modern person out of the ones that know one of them most would probably know smoke on the water and not whole lotta love. whole lotta love may be more iconic if you were a part of the 70s but most people weren’t

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    @ 15 – That is a classic case of third time lucky then. And what better song to instigate that eventual meeting. Cheers.

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Who let the Zeppelinista in?! : – )

    You mean that one chord song where they took a riff from Hendrix’ Hey Joe together with this here?


    Should have called themselves the Led Magpies, that would have fit with the Yardbirds origins too.

  20. 20
    Gregster says:

    LOL !!!

    @16…I kind-of-think that “Communication Breakdown” has it over “WLoL”…

    That said, DP’s “Rat Bat Blues” is pretty killer too imo…( It’s funky lol )…

    Peace ! 😉

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Ray Davies says you guys have no idea what your talking about, so there!


    Legend has it that a young Jon Lord on loan from The Artwoods tinkled the ivories on the studio cut (he sets in at 00:49 hammering the eighths)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTTsY-oz6Go ,

    but Ray has disputed this, indicating it might have been someone else. Jon, however, remained adamant he was paid for the session, albeit miserly!

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster, will you now please stop using the term “funky” in these hallowed halls?! It disconcerts people here! It doesn’t go together with rock/”rawk” at all!


  23. 23
    Gregster says:

    Uwe asked….

    “Gregster, will you now please stop using the term “funky” in these hallowed halls ? ! It disconcerts people here ! It doesn’t go together with rock/”rawk” at all” !

    No worries at all, I’ll just refer to that Mk-IV thang !

    Peace !

  24. 24
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 10 Yeyyyyyyyy


    Thank you.

    But you wear me out , really.

  25. 25
    Nutking says:

    In my opinion Ritchie doesn’t hate funk at all. All he wanted to do was to focus on the hard-rock direction. And I don’t think Machine Head is a funky album. Nor is Stormbringer, which is a disco type album for the larger part. And that my friends, was what he didn’t like. Fireball was the real funky album they made at the time, before the style got mainstream. Ritchie ignores Fireball mainly because it is ‘off focus’. To get an idea of what he wants: He always played songs from In Rock, Machine Head, Burn and Perfect Strangers with Rainbow (and Soldier of Fortune, recently, a ballad).

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Bedankt. ; – )

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