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DP & the world 1980

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"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."

Newpaper ad "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"

From "Deep Purple - The Illustrated Biography" By Chris Charlesworth.
© Copyright 1983 Omnibus Press (A division of Book Sales Limited)

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