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

There be cobras

Ian Paice, Ottawa, Feb 8 2012; Photo © Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

Last year’s December visit to India has certainly renewed the interest in the band in that country’s press. Just witness the string of interviews promoting Machine Head 2024 remix. Here is another one, with Ian Paice.

The sound quality is far from perfect, fortunately there are some transcriptions available online:

The hardest thing is when you own a band, and you’ve had a lot of success, you wake up in the morning you have a band, somebody gives you a phone call in the afternoon, you don’t have the band. Somebody has left; somebody’s been fired. It’s an awful feeling, and I’ve never actually personally been involved with the decisions. They have been made by other people, but you have to get on with life and try and find a way to continue.

Whatever formation Deep Purple has had, we’ve always tried to find the best people available to fill in those slots. It’s never always going to be the same. It can’t be because if you have four or five musicians working together, the dynamic changes. You lose one, you’ve changed 20%. You lose two; you’ve changed 40% of that chemistry. So it does change, but all the way through history, I believe that one thing people have always done is always respect their audience.

We have never planned a date to stop working. We are realists. The guys are getting older, and there’s gonna come a point where maybe one or two of us don’t want to do it anymore, or [it’s] not physically possible for them to do it. But we don’t think about that. We’re still having a great deal of fun. A lot of people still enjoy what we do, and so long as those two things stay in harmony, we’ll continue.

Thanks to Radio One International for the video, to Rock Celebrities for the quotes, and to Ultimate Guitar for the heads-up.

7 Comments to “There be cobras”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:


    Well said Mr.Paice !

    Long live Deep Purple !

    Peace !

  2. 2
    Skippy O'Nasica says:

    Interesting that IP says “I’ve never actually personally been involved with the decisions” about personnel changes.

    What about when Nick Simper got the boot?

    One version is that it happened because Gillan wouldn’t join without Glover.

    Another is that IG made no such stipulation. And when RG tagged along to the “Hallelujah” session, Paice was the one who made the suggestion that the band hire him as well.

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Skippy, Little Ian once said: “With Nicky, anything he played, you knew where he came from.” What he meant was that Nick’s style of bass playing was very much anchored in the early 60ies pre-Beatles era:




    Roger’s style, in comparison, must have been a breath of fresh air to Paicey because if Episode 6 had been one thing then it was versatile and varied, they jumped from style to style, I think Roger had soaked up more influences than Nick (whose bass playing I personally like) along the way.

    And it’s true, Nick’s inherent 60ies groove never left him. Not with Warhorse and not even with Fandango.


    It has it’s charm, but it wasn’t the type of bass playing to build that cohesive “driving the bus”-DP rhythm section with Ian which would come to part-define Mk II. Roger naturally meshed closer with Paicey than Nick ever did right from the start.

    My understanding is that Ritchie and, following him, Jon wanted Nick out by early 1969 and that they asked Little Ian whether he would go along with that – he said he would. It’s true that he wanted Roger in, but that was at a point when for Nick the writing was – unbeknownst to him -already on the wall.

    “Never personally involved” is perhaps a bit of an understatement. 😉 Ian didn’t flinch too much when Roger was forced out of Mk II nor when Jon and him resolved that they could no longer work with Glenn and Tommy (without telling the two). He also decided together with Jon that Tony Ashton wasn’t working out as the front man for PAL.

  4. 4
    Skippy O'Nasica says:

    ​Uwe – yes, Paice has gone on record several times knocking Nick’s playing. Which was why his comment about never having been involved in personnel changes was surprising.

    Often wondered why he took such a harsh view.

    Certainly, “Hush”-type playing was one style often Nick drew on, and continued to use for years afterwards (at times to Warhorse’s detriment, though it sounded great with Fandango).

    But he was also quite dexterous, and could be rather creative at times – the bass work on “Chasing Shadows” or “Wring That Neck” bears little resemblance to old-school beat group plunking.

    And some of the dated bass sound on the early DP LPs has as much to do with the production as what was being played. Agree with you, I also like his playing.

    As one recalls from the Chris Charlesworth book, it was during the April-May 1969 tour that RB & JL asked Little Ian whether he would go along with sacking Rod. Because they were worried he might quit, he & Rod having been bandmates prior to DP.

    And on one those DP history DVDs, Jon said they also wanted to replace Nick. (Which, on the face of it, might seem at odds with the fact that right up until the fateful day the band started work on “Hallelujah” Nick was invited to the session.) Regardless, that was Jon’s position by the time his interview for the DVD was filmed… And he named IP as having been part of the decision.

    With RB, as is often the case, there is also at least one conflicting or confusing story. He did say that he wanted Nick out, in a mid-70s interview. But in the book “Black Knight”, when Nick goes to the rehearsal studio to pick up the equipment he was awarded in his settlement, he runs into RB. Who tells him he was a better bass player than the new guy. Don’t have the book handy, but Nick’s sarcastic reply was something along the lines of, well, thanks for the support!

    In short, whatever IP’s reasons for wanting Nick out, he seems to have been a big part of his ouster.

  5. 5
    sidroman says:

    I’m adding my 2 cents, Gillan recommended that Purple take Roger because they were a songwriting team. As far as Paice’s input, all I ever heard was he said that Roger’s a good bass player. I don’t think he was astounded by Roger’s bass playing. Blackmore and Lord apart from wanting to change the sound of the band, also knew that they needed original material instead of relying on covers like Mk1 Purple. I also read something that Simper was a bit of an outsider in the band, having something of a negative attitude. If he was a downer, who wouldn’t want to get rid of a toxic person, especially when Blackmore and Lord were trying to improve the band?

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Couple of things:

    1. As regards sheer playing dexterity, Nick and Roger were in 1969 not worlds apart, both were certainly “good enough” for Purple (Roger was perhaps a bit more nimble and could do some lightning fast runs which I’m not sure Nick could have copied so well, but they weren’t vital to the music mostly). But I hear a development in Roger’s playing over the years and decades that I don’t hear with Nick. The Ric-equipped Roger of MH, MIJ and WDWTWA was in a different league than the Roger of 1969/70, not only his sound, but also his playing had by the time the boys recorded in Switzerland become much more assertive. Roger’s bass lines, tone and groove became an integral part of the Purple wall of sound, just listen to this here:



    In contrast, Nick’s bass playing took no quantum leap with Warhorse (if anything he even regressed a little, but then Warhorse’s music overall sounded to my ears more old-fashioned than Mk II). There were audible changes in his style with Fandango, Nick dumbed down his bass playing there – at the time I got the impression that he might have heard a bit too much Foreigner who after their second album had also dumbed their bass playing down from the more complex Ed Gagliardi to the rather fundamental Rick Wills as their new bassist.

    I’ve read quotes from Ritchie both denigrating Nick’s bass playing and praising it. In an early 70ies interview, with Roger already in the band, he said dismissive things about Nick and how Roger was so much better. But then he’s never been impressed by Roger’s bass playing per se either (more by his arrangement-, production- and songwriting-skills), frankly Glenn was the only Purple bassist Ritchie valued for his edgy and attack-happy bass playing capabilities, even if he began to dislike his “shoeshine music” leanings (sigh, an unfortunate term even at the time).

    2. But Roger was willing to serve! In one of his more recent drum tribe podcasts Litte Ian recounted how he told Roger at their first session together: “One thing, I don’t follow, I lead!” and that he sees himself as the more dominant part of the rhythm section when playing with a bassist, describing the ratio of contribution as 60:40 in his favor except when he played with Glenn Hughes “when it was more 50:50” (I agree with that, Glenn’s bass style had great influence on Paicey 1973-76).

    Music changed from the 60ies to the 70ies, there was a general tendency of the electric bass (then still a comparatively new instrument) locking in tighter with the drums. Roger excelled at that – he is bas(s)ically Little Ian’s pulse. Glenn was more counterpoint, but Nick was pretty much neither, he played “over” Paicey’s drum rhythms, not under them and did not really lock in either. As a fellow bassist I appreciate the liberties he sometimes took, but perhaps Little Ian preferred someone who “clung” better to him “in the curves” (the bass/drum Highway Star tracks outtakes from MH and MIJ I linked above are a masterclass in a rhythm section pulsing together). As Purple’s music got heavier and “the gorgan” – Ritchie’s and Jon’s unison lead riffs – reared its fearsome twin heads even more prominently, a tighter rhythm section made all the difference. Little Ian may have noticed that playing like that did not come natural to Nick.

    3. Roger (co-)wrote songs! Nick mostly didn’t. Songs like Speed King and Maybe I’m A Leo are more Roger’s do than Ritchie’s or Jon’s. In an interview, Nick himself once held the view that while he was no doubt the better bass player (personally I’m not so sure about that), Roger had the pole position in the songwriting department.

    4. I’ve read too that Nick was supposedly not that easy to get along with as a band member on an everyday basis, Ritchie even once made dark mutterings “for Nick’s departure, there were other reasons, those will probably come out in the papers one day”. They apparently never did and I’m at a loss to say what allegedly made Nick difficult to be with. In his interviews he seems very mild-mannered and evenhanded to me.

    Roger, as we all know, is of course the saint of Deep Purple, he’s been the collagen holding Mk II, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX line-ups together. Eternal thanks to him for that and if he had never played a note.

    5. By the time the Hallelujah session took place, it was already decided that the remaining Purple members were on the lookout for a new bassist too. That doesn’t mean they had their eyes on Roger already, but he obviously made an impression at the session to which he was dragged along by Gillan. Ironically, Roger doesn’t play anything altogether different from what Nick would have played on that particular track, Roger is perhaps a bit crisper on the beat with Paicey, maybe that is what Jon meant with “we needed something more contemporary and hard”:


    6. It is what it is. There was nothing awfully wrong with Nick’s bass playing, but at the same time I’m convinced that Purple Mk II would not have climbed the heights they did without Roger in the band. As a musician/producer he also has an undeniable knack for making music commercially accessible, his production work on the Nazareth albums that broke them internationally,


    on Judas Priest’s Sin After Sin,


    Rory Gallagher’s Calling Card


    and Rainbow’s Down To Earth all bear testament to that talent of his.

    Not to forget Ms Barbi Benton of course, Easter is coming after all!


  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Now here’s a heartfelt love letter to ole Rog’ … 💖💖💖


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