"The New Deep Purple"
Evans' enviable pension from Deep Purple's catalogue sales ran dry in 1980
after a curiously dimwitted attempt to launch a group which he called Deep
Purple. He was, of course, the only member with the remotest claim to the
name though he contacted Nick Simper who refused to be drawn into the fraud.
The bogus Deep Purple episode was eventually scotched by the courts but not
before some controversy had been aroused. Until the writs began to fly Evans
teamed up with four anonymous American musicians, all of whom bore a striking
physical resemblance to the members of Deep Purple, and played a handful of
dates in the LA area as "Deep Purple" during July and August, 1980. As the
rip-off became apparent dissappointed fans reacted strongly and at some shows
bottles were thrown. Insult to injury was added by the "Deep Purple"
repertoire which comprised slackly rendered versions of "Smoke On The Water",
"Woman From Tokyo", "Highway Star", Might Just Take Your Life"(which was
announced as "off our 'Burn' album"), "Hard Road", "Space Truckin" and even
"Hush". Advertising themselves as "The New Deep Purple", they tried their
luck with a potentially lucrative concert at the Long Beach Arena on August
19. Many walked out of the 18,000 seater stadium.
The legal process was too slow to prevent the concert taking place but the
success of the fraud was partially scuttled by quick thinking on the part of
John Coletta and Tony Edwards who placed an advertisment in the LA Times
stating that Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Hughes, Lord and Paice would not
be appearing at the Long Beach concert. In due course the management team
secured an injunction which prevented further concerts by the bogus band and,
at the same time, recieved a considerable award in punitive damages. "It was
a very expensive business", says Tony Edwards. "And, of course, we'll never
be paid the damages. Rod Evans just doesn't have the money. He no longer
recieves the royalties from those first three albums though. Silly boy."
"The fraud was partially scuttled by
quick thinking on the part of John
Coletta and Tony Edwards who placed
an advertisment in the LA Times"