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The Bombshell

Nick Simper continues working on his autobiography, which has now reached the summer of 1969 and his dismissal from Deep Purple.

June ended with a show at London’s prestigious Revolution Club, followed by a BBC recording session for the David Symonds radio show. On July 1st I again met Rod Freeman, who was now manager of Jim Marshall’s music shop, and we went for a drink at the old favourite Cromwellian Club. Rod was quite subdued and once again broached the subject of my leaving the group. I explained that this type of rumour often followed successful bands. He then hit me with the bombshell. “It’s true”, he said, and then proceeded to tell me how they had been witnessed rehearsing with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. With all respect to Glover, I found this very hard to believe. This, of course, was like a bolt from the blue, and I resolved to find out more. The next day I telephoned Tetragrammaton in the US to find out what they knew. I was told that they already had the new single, and had been told that Rod and myself had been “paid off”. They told me that it was obviously not Rod and me on the record, and the official story was that the record was completed by Ron Wood on bass and the singer from Spooky Tooth on vocals, both in the capacity of session men.

Read more on Nick’s website.

Thanks to Arch for the heads-up.

17 Comments to “The Bombshell”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:


    Indeed, what a disgraceful way to treat anyone, yet alone a band-mate…That awful Fleetwood Mack tune springs-to-mind……

    “Lies,lies, tell me sweet little lies”…

    However, since 54-odd-years have now passed, it’s not only water-under-the-bridge, but if it was a message-in-a-bottle, it would have circumnavigated itself around our globe countless times by now lol !

    DP is dead, long live DP.

    Peace !

  2. 2
    Henrik says:

    He keeps on whining.

  3. 3
    Joe Tymecki says:

    Racking my brain… what single was that with Ron Wood on bass?

    Anyway, I have been reading more on Nick’s website – interesting suff.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    He refers to Hallelujah, Joe, he was TOLD Ron was on it (he wasn‘t) which seemed like a fair assumption at the time as

    – Jon Lord knew Ron Wood as Art Wood‘s little brother from his Artwoods days;

    – Jon had also played with him in Santa Barbara Machine Head;

    – in 1969 Ron was known as an established bass player as he had moved to that instrument when he joined the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart. He was deemed a great bass player too (he‘s Gene Simmons‘ favorite bassist) and you have heard his bass lines often: That ultra-melodic and immediately recognizable bass on Roddie‘s Maggie Mae? That is Ron Wood (not Ronnie Lane as is often falsely assumed). And while that first take bass track is sloppy as hell and all over the place it is also brilliantly inspired and made the song. Sums up melodic bass playing to me. Good sloppy playing is an art in itself. 😎


  5. 5
    Rascal says:

    Isnt it just water under the bridge now? How many years ago?

    Just read an article about Glenn Hughes repeating the same waffle about how him and Coverdale were ignored at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and how he will never speak to Gillan again!

    Same old repetitive sh*te. Get a grip, get a life & get over it.

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Nick undoubtedly still has a chip on his shoulder about the whole thing – given how his career unfolded compared to Deep Purple’s that is perhaps understandable.

    Why no one had the guts to tell him at the time “Nick, your style of bass playing isn’t quite what we envisage for the band in the future.” is beyond me, stylistic incompatibilities happen all the time and are probably the least hurtful reasons that you can give when sacking someone. I’ve been to auditions where I have heard “Uwe, your bass playing is great, but every little note you play cries “RAWK!”, and we’re actually trying to get away from that a bit and move into a more jazzy groove, that isn’t you.” and I had no issues with that at all. They were right (I suck at a jazz groove, I’ve spent my life listening to 95% rock) and had in fact said something appreciative about my playing.

    Nick’s swipes at Roger’s bass playing abilities that always crop up when he writes about the change from Mk I to Mk II are delusional though. Nick had perhaps the more identifiable and matured style in the late 60ies between the two (Roger came essentially from a pop band with Episode Six where you didn’t play like Jack Bruce nor had the room to), but it was entrenched in a past age. Roger was prepared to listen and adapt. He formed a tighter bond with Little Ian’s bass drum than Nick (it’s somewhat telling that Nick in his very detailed recounting of what took place in 1968/69 hardly ever mentions Little Ian and how he worked with him, he seems to only have oriented his playing after Blackmore as drummers often do, following the lead guitar), he worked at his chops and constantly improved his bass sound to a point where his snarling Rickenbacker became co-determinative for Purple’s overall sound. Let me assure you: Machine Head wouldn’t have sounded half as good and modern if Nick had been the bassist. Nor could Nick have generated the same metronomic throb Roger/DP became famous for (and which allowed Paicey room for his little tricks).

    The two – Nick and Roger – have never met (Nick and Glenn have) to this day. And though it seems hard to imagine someone being at odds with Roger, the social worker and generally-nice-to-everybody person of the band, it is telling that the two have somehow avoided seeing each other for 56 years. Roger at least has never said anything bad about Nick, in fact he once mentioned on his website that he thought Nick’s bass sound on Hush great and had failed in ever reproducing it though he repeatedly tried (bassist’s tip: using flatwound strings like Nick did as opposed to roundwound ones plus a high mid eq for that pick attack, would have helped, Roger!).

  7. 7
    David N says:

    It seems to me there are a lot of cry babies coming out of the woodwork lately. Nick Whimper is apparently crying about stuff that happend over fifty years ago. Then we have persistent crier Glenn Hughes spouting off about that damn rock hall mess. I see he has a new interview where he cries about it. I hvnt seen it yet.
    I think it’s just jealousy cuz this version of the band is having such success. I see Mr. Glenn’s marketing is now mostly all “Purple.” “Glenn Hughes Sings The Songs Of Deep Purple.” He shld be sued for infringement of the name. It’s called cashing in.
    Now it’s time to finish listening to that interview. Blood pressure meds first.

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Aw come on, you haters, have you all forgotten


    and how uplifting that was? 😇🥳

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks ever so much for the link to Nick’s online autobiography. I am enjoying reading his journey & a good journey it has been by the sound of it. He certainly has lived that 1960’s rock’ n roll life in the middle of it all in England, when it counted. How many people would love to do that eh? As to a few here whinging that Nick is still whinging, he isn’t. It is his story & it did happen. It is his autobiography, that is what autobiographies are, isn’t it. Good on you Nick for suing DP ‘management’ etc back in the day, you deserved more actually. Nick was treated appallingly & cowardly & again in 2016 with the NON induction at the R&RHOF. Someone did the same to him again, pathetic as that is. Good on you Nick Simper, thanks for telling your side of your journey, a road well travelled. Cheers.

  10. 10
    Gregster says:


    @6 said…

    qt.”Why no one had the guts to tell him at the time “Nick, your style of bass playing isn’t quite what we envisage for the band in the future.” is beyond me, stylistic incompatibilities happen all the time and are probably the least hurtful reasons that you can give when sacking someone”…

    ***Leiber Uwe, you’ve missed-the-boat completely…It was Rod that was unofficially made redundant…Roger just-happened to be at Ian Gillan’s place at the time of recording “Halleluja”, & went along for the ride. Ian Paice said “He’s good, let’s keep him”…( And Roger also used Nick’s bass / rig, because it was at the studio, & possibly didn’t like the sound, & so changed it to suit himself. ( I suggest that the flat-wound strings were left on )).

    It also seems that Rod & Nick were needed to complete pre-booked gigs, which is also why neither were told about their demise /redundancies…

    This had nothing to do with Nick’s playing, but circumstance revealed that IP liked RG’s playing more.


    Don’t put yourself through it, all you have to do is simply acknowledge that GH performed on an album, & then forget about it…No need to listen & watch interviews…And there’s no sedative that will cure the anxt that comes with the GH package…Look at what’s happened to leiber Uwe after so-much-exposure !!! Don’t let the same happen to you !!! There’s no coming back sadly.

    Peace !

  11. 11
    VD says:

    C’mon guys, I just read Nick’s blog and didn’t see any whining. He’s just giving his account of what happened and what his emotions were at the time.

  12. 12
    Skippy O'Nasica says:

    @11… Agree 100%.

    It’s commendable how LITTLE anger Nick’s writing conveys when he talks about his sacking now. Fully in accordance with his statement in recent years that he’s let it all go.

    Imagine the self-control it must have taken, at the time, for Nick to play that last MKI gig… Knowing he had been replaced, and that JL, RB and IP hadn’t mustered the courtesy to tell him…

    But not to let on that he knew. And restraining his impulse to punch somebody out so as not to jeopardise a financial settlement.

    Very gentlemanly.

    @6… Uwe, I think you had it right when you said a while back: “There is no bass line on In Rock that Roger played which would have surpassed Nick’s abilities as a bassist while vice versa I’m not so sure.” https://www.thehighwaystar.com/news/2022/10/01/decent-bass-players-are-hard-to-find/

    After playing a ton of gigs and trying several different guitars, by 1971 or so, the “Fireball” and “Machine Head” era, Roger DID become a strong player with a forceful sound.

    But it’s easy to see how, in mid-1969, Nick would have been surprised to learn who had replaced him.

    What’s delusional about that?

    He wasn’t at the MKII rehearsals and recording sessions and would have had no idea how that lineup was developing.
    And would likely have only known Glover’s playing only from the bubblegum-psychedelic-sounding Episode Six material.

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster @10: Nick – not just Rod – was on the list too. It’s true that Roger showing up at the secret rehearsal was incidental, but they were on the lookout for another bassist as is. They were just surprised to find someone that seemed to fit the bill so quickly (Roger was unbeknownst to him still put on a trial period of a few weeks by the others because they weren’t sure about him).

    Skippy @12: You have a point that Nick in 1969 migt have justly felt to be still the better bass player, but Roger learned fast. And there is more development in Roger’s bass playing from 1969 to 1973 than there was in Nick’s. The bass playing in Warhorse was quaintly old-fashioned, the bass playing on the Fandango albums dumbed down to Foreigner Rick Wills sparseness. Nick stayed in the mid 60ies with his style.

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “And Roger also used Nick’s bass / rig, because it was at the studio, & possibly didn’t like the sound, & so changed it to suit himself.”

    Where did you get that from, lieber Gregster? I’ve never read that anywhere. Roger loved his Precision Bass he bought in Episode Six days,


    I rule out that he would not have brought it along to a session he got paid for (unless it was in repair or something), not knowing what state Nick’s bass guitars might be in (or even if any of them were at the rehearsal space). The bass sound on Hallelujah is not Nick’s either (though his main bass in Mk I was a Fender Precision too)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b375QyDAEY ,

    he preferred a much deader, heavily muted sound – in line with prevailing tastes in the mid 60ies:


    And speaking of groove, the way Roger plays the up-tempo part in Hallelujah already documents the unobstrusive smoothness he had (and would develop further) in his rhythmic playing that Nick didn’t share. Nick would play interesting, idiosyncratic things, but he never flowed as much as Roger (nor did Glenn by the way), he’s rhythmically a little stiffer than Roger, his microgroove is more stately (I’ve seen the man play live only recently, he still has that microgroove just like Roger and Glenn have retained theirs over the decades). Little Ian has a good set of ears, he obviously heard something at that session that he had perhaps missed before.

  15. 15
    Gregster says:


    Herr Uwe asked regarding Nicks bass…

    qt.”Where did you get that from, lieber Gregster ?… I’ve never read that anywhere”…


    There are many posts in here Herr Uwe, especially in recent times about the absolutely disgraceful way Rod & Nick were treated with regards to their dismissals…

    In one of these threads, Nick clearly states along the lines of qt.”I left my bass in the studio, since we had the day off, but were going back that evening to record Halleluja, when Jon phoned & said “Take the night-off-too, there’s problems with the recorder””…

    And apparently Nick suggested using the 4-track, where Jon replied “Troubles with that too”, & on & on until Nick was convinced that a night at the movies with his then girlfriend was in-order, rather than wasting time in a studio with broken equipment…( Unbeknownst to him & Rod, that Ian & Roger completed the final recording that day ).

    Ergo, Roger likely used Nick’s bass on that recording, since it was there, & set-up plus ready-to-go to record Halleluja…

    I actually thought that you read-through everything here leiber Uwe, & knew almost everything about the band. I’m glad you don’t however 😉 !…

    *See what too much GH does to your brain ???…Look what happened to Tommy.

    Peace !

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I have so far not been aware of anyone ever having claimed or admitted that Roger played Nick’s bass. I don’t know to how many auditions you have been, I’ve been to a few, but using someone’s bass instead of your own is one of those potential pitfalls any auditioner tries to avoid. It’s an unnecessary risk and variable: You yourself want to impress and appear professional, the band wants to hear how you play and sound, all four aspects are best achieved with playing your own instrument, especially if you’re proud of it like Roger was.

  17. 17
    Gregster says:


    As a guitarist, give me 5-10-minutes on ANY make of guitar, & I’ll get it to sing, no worries, even if its a dud, & has a few strings missing.

    I’m sure Roger is capable in that manner too, or dare I say, there’s much-more to this conspiracy than is actually being revealed…

    The result says it all however, Nick & Rod were out, Roger & Ian were in, & the rest is carved in rock…

    Peace !

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