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

That mix of naive and finesse

Roger Glover enjoying Bluesfest; Ottawa, July 18 2015; photo © Nick Soveiko cc-by-nc-sa

Roger Glover was interviewed by Zeenews India and he shared his retrospection and introspection:

Q: Deep Purple have been the legends of rock and roll, it is the timelessness of your music and the appeal, that has been passed on to generations. What do you think is the timeless appeal of your music?

Roger Glover: It could well be dangerous to analyze too much. I don’t know. First of all, we learned a long time ago that you don’t get anywhere by copying anyone else. You have to be a leader. You have to be out front and take chances and risks. There’s a degree of musicianship in the band that I don’t think many bands have. When I joined the band, I’d never heard musicians like Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, Ian Paice they just blew me away. Wow, they’re so good and am I good enough? There was a kind of naivety. Looking back on it, maybe there’s something to it, this naive side yet an honest and very musical side. If everyone was a brilliant musician, they would go over people’s heads, because only other musicians would appreciate them. But because we had thus this mix of naive and finesse, maybe that gave it a quality that appealed to people and that simplicity! It is hard to be simple, especially if you’re a good musician, it’s really hard to be simple. A riff like Smoke on the Water is so simple, and yet it’s like nothing else.

Read more in Zeenews.

16 Comments to “That mix of naive and finesse”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    ‘Finesse’ is a good term for a prominent feature of Purple. Finesse AND accessibility which often feeds from simplicity. Purple’s music can be simple (and it’s mostly prepared from the same ingredients), but it is never mindless/primal like, say, AC/DC’s is.

    Finesse and simplicity, that is also what I like about Judas Priest and why I hear parallels in both bands’ music.

    Machine Head was a stroke of bad luck turning out to be fortunate and falling on fertile, receptive ground. It wouldn’t have been the same if it hadn’t been for the drama and potentially ill circumstances in Montreux, the unusual acoustics of the Grand Hotel as a makeshift studio and the “Swiss time running out” putting pressure on everyone to focus. In Rock was getting to know each other and discovering a new, joint sound, Fireball on the other hand a cut & paste job, recorded in little snippets over a longer period of time (and therefore varied, but not from a single cast like Machine Head). And the events in Montreux wouldn’t have had such a creatively fruitful influx if the five of them had not been already playing, touring and living together for two-and-a-half years – in hindsight, the Casino burned down at exactly the right time to spawn all those elements that make Machine Head such a strong album.

  2. 2
    Gregster says:


    Mr.Glover, you seem to forget your awesome performance given throughout the “Fireball” album, where there were plenty of indications that your efforts easily equalled JL & RB’s…*The bass-solo in the title-track reveals some John Coltrane, as the music moves “outside” the nominated key…Not easy to do or think about executing in real-time, yet alone where the record-button is pressed & tape rolling…And “No,no,no” speaks for itself…

    There’s excellent bass performance found within each track, if one listens carefully.

    Peace !

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Roger has always been unreasonably shy about his bass playing. Take him out of the equation and DP Mk II doesn’t sound like Mk II anymore. He’s technically fluid, melodic and actually plays more notes than Glenn does (Glenn just plays less with more aplomb and an upbeat edge). That “chugging locomotive groove” Purple so distinctly has? That is mainly Roger’s do.

  4. 4
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    Timing is everything, too. And, of course, the musical chemistry in a band has to be right. Obviously, Purple had a lot of rare, God-given talent honed by years of experience. And it all came together at the right time – when hard rock and pop music were extremely popular and got air play. A far cry from the scene today. I also have always felt that there was a lot of intelligence in Purple. Ian Gillan is an intellectual, Jon Lord was downright professorial. Glover was always very adept at synthesizing concepts that others fail to grasp; for example, his comment about not trying to copycat everyone. Bruce Lee used to say the same thing: “Just be yourself, don’t try to be the next Bruce Lee.” Paice, Airey and the others also are very talented. For the most part, you didn’t have in Purple the stupid punks that are so prevalent in many other groups. Instead, you had a lot of very smart individuals. It obviously filtered into the music, but also has given them staying power. Other than a couple members of the Mark III & IV lineups, you didn’t have anyone drugging out in Purple.

  5. 5
    janbl says:

    In a way you could say that the fool who shot that flare gun is the reason we sit here today and write on this site.

  6. 6
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    I agree with Gregster. Roger’s bass playing throughout Fireball was excellent, especially on No, no, no!!!

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “I also have always felt that there was a lot of intelligence in Purple.“

    What James said. I wouldn’t call DP Mk II an intellectual band, but they were never life-affirmingly dumb (some bands are that in even a good way), too much thought, experience and refinement went into each member’s musical contribution. No one in Mk II was what I would call a roots musician either, there was always something a bit scholastic or at least educated in the way they went about things. There was definitely more “raw animal” in Led Zep’s sound, courtesy of the two Midlanders there.

    So maybe Purple Mk II were what Blue Öyster Cult (themselves very much Purple Mk II fans) always strove to be, “thinking man’s heavy rock”? (BÖC coined it as “thinking man’s heavy metal”, but they were of course never “metal” in an 80ies & later sense.)

    Mk III and Mk IV had more of a “gut musician” influence via Hughes (another Midlander), Coverdale (a Northerner) and Bolin (a Midwesterner). Steve Morse OTOH was the ultimate scholastic musician.

  8. 8
    Rascal says:

    Right time, right place, right people, and a million and one other reasons that cant be replicated.

  9. 9
    Gregster says:


    @7…The lyric content of say “No,no,no” is direct, to-the-point, educational, & remains even more valid today, over 50-years later…Wise words indeed !!!

    Peace !

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I have found a learned expert who explains to us that DP are “not heavy metal”, but “hard rock”, I think he has some credibility in the field, being the Metal God and all …


    And this is kinda fun here:


    Iommi’s riffs are no doubt more primal than Ritchie’s, but if you’re talking about putting some intelligence in your music … To be fair: Ritchie had and has the advantage of a complete set of digits on his fretting hand.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    The ‘heavy metal’ thing again. Blackmore cutting loose on the intro to Speed King & the ending to that In Rock album would put him in the ‘it sounds like heavy molten metal falling from the sky’ that saying from earlier in regards to Hendrix wasn’t it? Something like that & that is the closest any DP ever came to such a thing. The same with LZ & certain people adding them also to their list to add weight (pun intended as always) to their cause as I have stated many time previously. Sabbath are a blues based band, heavy blues & there are others from that era. Good to hear uncle Rob Halford say that about DP & mentioning Iommi’s thoughts on that also as many don’t from my observations of rock ‘n roll media & also other musicians particularly from the golden era. And Halford is an advocate for metal more than anyone isn’t he? Thanks for posting that link. “To be fair: Ritchie had and has the advantage of a complete set of digits on his fretting hand”. Ouch & more ouch! Seriously though Blackmore, Lord & Paice came from another dimension to the Sabs & Iommi didn’t wear as good a hat back then than what Blackmore did. Cheers.

    Iommi with his hat:


    Blackmore with his:


  12. 12
    Georgivs says:


    There sure was some. It may have popped up somewhere around here already, but here is a quote from Ritchie on the intelligence in DP: “People often say Jon Lord is the most intelligent one of us, but no, Gillan is the most intelligent. But I always felt he [Gillan] was doing things for ‘shock value’. He [Gillan] would manufacture stories – invariably with no clothes on – there was always a ‘no clothes’ story. The first 10 times it was funny, but after that..”

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    For the avoidance of doubt, I wasn’t trying to be dismissive of Tony, I have the greatest respect for how he faced the ultimate guitarist challenge of a ring finger missing the last digit nearly completely and a middle finger missing about half of the last digit.


    Other people would have despaired, but he did a Django Reinhardt and adapted his playing and on the way forged an iconic style. But that style was ironically spawned by the things he could no longer do, the down tuning, the ultra light strings, the doomy slowness of the riffs and his trademark pull-off triplets when soloing as well as his terse vibrato – that is all down to his impaired fretting hand. For just physical reasons, he could not play the Highway Star solo or the Lazy riff (and could not play Jethro Tull’s intricate guitar parts to the satisfaction of taskmaster Ian Anderson who let him go because of that).

    But he doesn’t need to do all that, hey, he’s friggin’ Tony Iommi and comes up with mammoth riffs like here at 03:20.


    That vid is also very illustrative for his soloing with his impaired hand, lots of close ups starting at 04:42 and you can see his prosthetic thimbles too.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    Yes indeed huge respect for the ‘Iron Man’ & as you said many others may have given up after that accident. Regarding Jethro Tull, Iommi was only a fill in for them I have always thought from what I have read & heard over the decades. He was frustrated with ‘Earth’ anyway & Tull taught Iommi a lot even in that short cameo. Discipline & professionalism were some of the main attributes he learnt from Anderson at that time. Early to rehearsals etc & a stricter ‘regime’. The other members were not impressed when he returned to Earth (sorry bad pun) & laid down that mantra. Quite ironic that one, imagine no Sabbath & no Tull as we know them. Especially Sabbath. Regarding Tull I have read that Steve Howe was offered the job but declined due to the fact that he wanted to join a writing ensemble, not to be a ‘support’ musician for another writer. Good point there & imagine if that had occurred & ultimately failed most likely. No Yes as we know them either. Then there is Robert Fripp being asked to join Yes at that time. Sheesh all these ‘wanna be’ guitarists everywhere back then & nowhere to go for a little while. And then we have Blackmore sure & ready & waiting to scythe his way through the lot of them, he he he. Cheers.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    I guess if we were splitting hairs so to speak, Iommi did ‘join’ Tull but sort of didn’t join, if that is a way of putting it. This story is the one I remember the most, but there may be some slight variations on it over time. Cheers.


  16. 16
    Gregster says:


    It’s wrong to compare Tony with Ritchie, since both had very different melodic sensibilities, & Tony was by-far the more musical & melodic musician.

    Ritchie has the “chops” & is really a typical “flash-in-the-pan” player, who has on & off nights, & can play well when he feels like it. And yes, perhaps he comes-up with the hooks / riffs to attach the rest-of-a-song to, but his own personality lets him down imo.

    Tony manages to do all the above, whilst being Jon Lord too, & the creative development of Black Sabbath’s music that grew & grew through the 1970’s speaks for itself.

    DP wrote successfully, heavy-rock pop-tunes of the time, across full albums following a distinct formula…BS started off in similar fashion, but by “Vol.4”, the music was changing, encompassing more progressive elements that were side-for-side mini symphonies, that Tony was conducting. And this peaked with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath & Sabotage…DP are out of their league when this material is compared side-by-side…

    This is why it’s unfair to compare the two imo…

    It’s possible that Mk-IV was more aligned with BS in 1976 than Mk-II ever was.

    Peace !

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
© 1993-2024 The Highway Star and contributors
Posts, Calendar and Comments RSS feeds for The Highway Star