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Let’s not talk about MTV…

The business model of the so-called “classic rock” FM radio is well known — milk fans of the older bands for everything they can by putting them on a nostalgia trip. This results in predictable playlists that are put together by marketing people of a big faceless corporation. Play greatest hits and nothing else. In Purple terms this translates into Smoke on the Water, Hush, and occasionally, Woman From Tokyo, Space Truckin’, Lazy, and maybe, if you’re lucky, Perfect Strangers or Knocking at Your Backdoor.

Music radio (from the listener’s point of view) shouldn’t be like that. It’s not just a medium for playing a handful of 30 year old hits over and over and over again. It should be a medium that expands horizons, introduces people to new and old, but long forgotten, music.

How about a radio playlist that includes MTV, ’69, Listen Learn Read On, Money Talks, Junkyard Blues, Hey Joe, Razzle Dazzle, Wrong Man, A200, Lazy (from Made in Japan), When A Blind Man Cries, Never Before, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, You Fool No One, Hey Cisco, Call Of The Wild, Bad Attitude, Pictures Of Innocence, Fools, Gypsy’s Kiss, Before Time Began, Clearly Quite Absurd, Prelude: Happiness, One More Rainy Day, Speed King, Flight Of The Rat, Help, Living Wreck, Into The Fire, Bloodsucker, Lady Luck, Purpendicular Waltz, Cascades, Somebody Stole My Guitar, River Deep Mountain High, Dealer, A Twist In The Tail, Drifter, Rapture Of The Deep, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, A Castle Full Of Rascals, This Time Around, We Can Work It Out, Sail Away, Mitzi Dupree?

And that’s not the complete playlist yet. And most important, it’s not imaginary.

Satellite radio will kill FM. I say, good riddance.

30 Comments to “Let’s not talk about MTV…”:

  1. 1
    Apollo says:

    In Belgium we have a great public radio that broadcast great rare DP tracks. In the last month I remeber hearing Rat Bat Blue, Highball Shooter, Maybe I’m a Leo, Might Just Take You life, Burn, Child in Time, a special feature about Fireball with Fireball, Anyone’s Daughter, Demon’s Eyes and Strange Kind of Woman…

  2. 2
    Matt Love says:

    amen! 🙂

  3. 3
    ormandy says:

    Looking at the North American Tour set list it looks like Deep Purple are taking a “nostalgia trip.” Only two songs from the Japanese version of Rapture of the Deep? And only one song from the North American version. What?! I’d really love for all my friends who were nice enough to buy tickets to hear Wrong Man, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Before Time Began when they come to the Warfield on Aug. 15.

    After seeing Rush (another favorite band) a few days ago, play seven songs from their latest album as well as plenty of nostalgia, it made me sad a little, that my all time favorite group is not going to be doing the same.

  4. 4
    Sami says:

    It seems that there is a real problem in american touring-system, promoters etc., and even the concert goers’ attitudes…all people want to hear are the classics, and the band(s) are forced to drop the newer tracks ’cause there is no interest/audience feedback
    to them.This goes for all(dare I say it!) ‘classic rock bands’ though(for example Iron Maiden got a slack in their last tour playing the whole new album, and only a couple of the ‘hits’), but
    in Europe & Asia Purple’s set list sometimes features more of the Morse era, which is great.
    It’s just sad that(once again)Purple is heading for the ‘nostalgia act’-scene…I’m not the biggest fan of the current line-up, but they should feature more recent songs in the set, because that is necessary if they want to be seen as valid & relevant, & for the ‘classic rock’ tag to go away!!where is the progress in that, one might ask…

  5. 5
    Victor says:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Ormandy – perpetuating the whole “MTV” theme by performing the “hits” over & over again. I, too, will be at the Warfield this coming Wednesday & look forward to seeing the lads. It’s the only show I’ll take in this time out because of the set list. It’ll be a great time & I know I’ll dig the shit out of it – however, a more adventurous set list would have me “touring” the entire State of California & Nevada & Arizona.

  6. 6
    Cranberry says:

    Its about making the most money you can, whether it be record companies, promoters, or the band themselves. Nostalgia creates revenue from classic DP songs, and I dont believe this has anything to validity or the relevance of a band.

    Its about money, if you aint got any you cant make records, or tour.

    Money Talks

  7. 7
    Overkillgirl says:

    The only reason for the same old songs on the set list is because our ” WONDERFUL” classic rock stations on FM here in the land of the free and the brave that those faceless corporate giants dictate to us only do play the same 3 songs that DP have recorded in what, their 40+ career…HUSH, SMOKE and WOMAN FROM TOKYO.

    If FM Classic Rock stations would play newer material then eveyone would be opened to hearing the band play them in their set lists.

    But for now we are stuck listening to what is dictated to us.

  8. 8
    James Gemmell says:

    Corporate greed is responsible for much of the malaise with the rock industry, but advanced technology is playing a role, as well. I’m not anti-technology by any means, but it has definitely fragmented people into disparate groups, and left them with less in common to talk about. In the old days, everyone in town listened to the same two or three stations for pop/rock music (even country, in some cases). It led to great musical discussions and mutual interests. Now, people are fragmented by so many stations and choices of music, that they don’t have as much in common to talk about anymore. If someone pulls up next to my car at a stop sign blaring rap music, my windows are going up. And their windows are probably going up if I’m cranking out “Time to Kill” by Deep Purple. People have become separated by having too many musical options. It’s the same with TV. There used to be three major networks in America, and that brought people together because they all watched the same shows and could relate to one another. Now, there are hundreds of channels on TV & satellite from which to choose. It gives people one less thing in common to talk about the next day at work or wherever.

    People used to go to the same drive-in theatres in town and watched the same movies. That experience alone was fodder for next-day conversation. Now, people have all these indoor theatres they go to, or simply watch DVD movies at home. It’s great having these luxuries, but by the same token, it’s separated people.

    Instead of people outside playing baseball or hanging at the beach in the summer, they’re buried on their computers. Again, I love technology, but it’s also isolated people a lot nowadays. I think it’s one reason that people – especially the younger generation – aren’t as friendly as in the past, if you’ll pardon that vast generalization. They haven’t learned good social skills, because they’re not out socializing….they’re hiding at home on the video games.

    That’s one more reason attendance figures have fallen at concerts over the years. Not as many people are getting out, and those that do have way too many entertainment options. This same phenomenon has led to plummeting TV ratings for the major U.S. networks, particularly for the evening newscasts.

    Music and other forms of entertainment were primarily what brought people together a few decades ago. Now, entertainment is largely pulling people apart. And all of these options have escalated competition for the customer’s entertainment dollar exponentially.

    Rock groups like Deep Purple must think outside of the box if they want to flourish. Ian Gillan’s (solo) record lable, Immergent, did just that when it produced the interactive dual-disc “Gillan’s Inn” last year, which featured some groundbreaking technology. The label also promoted it extensively via Gillan’s “My Space” website. Bringing in several stars to perform on the “Gillan’s Inn” collaboration was also a good strategy.

    Rock groups have to think of novel ways nowadays to get some airplay, unless they’re one of the elite few supergroups whose new music still gets played on the radio, such as The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. Perhaps Deep Purple could get one of the new songs on its next album played on a soundtrack for a movie. Maybe play at half-time of a major football game, or on a national talk-show like The Tonight Show. Maybe Larry King would interview them on Larry King Live (ha!).

    But this is just the way things are nowadays. I don’t see technology going backwards, or the majority of young music lovers listening to rock and roll, as opposed to country, rap/dance. The horse is out of the barn, and it’s up to artists and their management to adapt to the way things are.

  9. 9
    T says:

    I’m old enough to remember when television was free. We didn’t have a garden channel, C-SPAN, university lectures and local government access channels, but we were entertained most of the time with the four or five channels we did have.

    I remember when radio was free, too. Before FM is pronounced dead, it should be noted that commercial radio is trying to compete with “we play what we want” formats, and our local rock station is today playing a “commercial-free Monday”.

    While I wouldn’t mind hearing “Mandrake Root” on the radio, I would *not* want to hear obscure songs from overrated groups (Led Zeppelin, et. al.) all day long, either.

    So if I want to hear DP music, I can put the entire collection into MP3 files, hit “random” and hear DP all day long. For free.

    Paying for radio is just…crazy. FM will adapt. They will have to.

    As for the setlist debate, it has already been proven on this website that the setlist is “most things to most people” (“A set comprising of top 15-20 songs would be not that far off the mark from what the band is playing now. Like it or not, it seems that they give people exactly what they want.”)

    Cranberry has a point. It’s business first. And DP does a great job of trying to please the vast majority of the people.

    What they *should* do is cycle the songs–even the classics–from night to night, especially with concerts that are geographically close. A sort of “A” and “B” list, as it were. They could also cycle Morse-era classics (which I agree they should play much more of) and throw in one “surprise” per night–some unusual item for the hardcore fans.

  10. 10
    Emily Bell says:

    Perhaps I’m being a bit dim here, but I can’t see anywhere the author’s name. Just wondering. Is it by way of “Editorial”, and if so, who is the Editor? It’s not that I don’t agree with the general gist of it, I just like to know where things come from.

  11. 11
    Nick Soveiko says:


    I wrote the piece. This is blog and everything here is a matter of a personal opinion of one of the THS editors. It appears to be anonymous due to a technical glitch. That bar below the text that shows “This entry was posted on…” should diplay author’s name too. I’ll look into it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  12. 12
    Emily Bell says:

    Thanks for that, I rather expected this but it’s nice to know.

  13. 13
    Jim says:

    T is right with his comment about paying for FM radio, before I pay for radio I will listen to cd’s, mp3’s and vinyl. We all have collections of DP and family music that should keep us busy forever. I just like to hear DP on my local radio station just for selfish pride. DP has always been about the music and the fans not kissing butt to get airplay.

  14. 14
    T says:

    James above makes excellent points and I agree absolutely.

    Purple threw away a great PR opportunity by not appearing in Kansas City after we’d broken the record for the most guitarists playing at once. They can’t complain about the lack of interest in DP here in America and then throw away these opportunities to make a difference.

  15. 15
    James Gemmell says:

    Thanks, ‘T’. Deep Purple have not been promoted properly in North America since the early 1970’s. Sure, what Ian Gillan refers to as Moronica (radio, record company, TV corporate devils) is the primary problem. But Purple’s management does not know how to promote the band in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. I wish Purple would switch to Gillan’s solo label, Immergent, which thinks out of the proverbial box when it comes to marketing. I liked what John Fogerty’s label – Fantasy Records – did, and Fogerty’s management. They produced a TV commercial that aired all over the U.S. on late-night television. Like his politics or not, Fogerty also joined up with Bruce Springsteen on the Vote for Change Tour a couple years ago. That great old 1960’s artist, Donovan, wanted to make a comeback, so he toured with John Mellencamp, and even jammed with him on stage during the tour. Creative thinking. What did Purple’s promotional team do, though? It released a solid album, Rapture of the Deep, with no publicity in North America and the band didn’t even make it over to the U.S. on the so-called ‘Rapture’ tour until summer 2007 – the album came out in October 2005. No wonder the band hasn’t played hardly any Rapture tunes on the N. America tour! The band’s record company essentially said, “America is a closed door because of Moronica, so let’s ignore that country.” Not smart.

  16. 16
    Robert Daems says:

    Mm, it appears to me that the Bloodsuckers are Lazy… too lazy to try anything new. (Any fool knows that).

    Anyway, in the Netherlands we can listen to “Arrow classic rock radio” and to “City FM classic Rock”. Smoke on the water and child in time are favourite DP tracks for both. I don’t recall City FM getting any further than that.
    Arrow is a little better, they also play Black Night, Woman from Tokyo and they have a special Symphonic Rock program that recently opened with Perfect Strangers. Newer than that is has never gotten.
    The problem lies in the definition of Classic Rock.

    Let’s jump to the definition of Classical Music: Beethoven, Bach etc. that is Classical Music, but the concerto for group and orchestra also is Classical Music in some parts. Recent solo work from Jon Lord will also be seen as classical music… get the idea?

    Classic Rock is a GENRE, it doesn’t mean that has to be old. It is Rock music that is made according to the classical style of bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and so on…
    The new records of Deep Purple still contain the genre Classic Rock and that is what the forementioned Bloodsuckers should think about.
    If my radio is playing, I just want some music or infotainment in the background… please make it a nice mix of old and new stuff so we can learn about new releases too.
    If I really want to LISTEN to music I choose to play a CD, DVD or -for pure sonic quality- a good old vinyl record.

    What Deep Purple do in the USA is not very clear to me. I only can follow the messages posted on this website.
    I have seen the concert in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam in 2006, and that was a nice mix of Rapture of the Deep songs and some older bits and pieces. But setlists have been extensively discussed before.
    Changing to the Gillan management? I have my doubts about that… no Gillan’s Inn concert was programmed for Europe as far as I know….

  17. 17
    James Gemmell says:

    There wasn’t enough time schedule a world tour for the Gillan’s Inn disc. It was scheduled between legs of the ‘Rapture of the Deep’ tour. But the album was marketed and promoted in hip, new ways…on the Internet and so forth. ‘Rapture’, on the other hand, was released in a vacuum outside of Europe. When Deep Purple played in Ionia, Michigan, in June 2005, a guy who proclaimed to be a big Purple fan didn’t even know that ‘Bananas’ had been released. That’s the kind of (non)-publicity that Purple’s management affords the band in North America. The Immergent record label is light years ahead of Purple’s.

  18. 18
    Jeff says:

    Radio? What is this ‘radio?’ I am in my 40’s and all the radio plays on classic rock stations is the same garbage I only somewhat liked in high school. Radio is dead. Rock on U.S. radio. And no one cares except the listeners.

  19. 19
    CP says:

    In the US,another set list issue comes down to the concert promoters themselves,who might “suggest” to a vintage band to load the show heavy with the material they play on their radio stations.I do agree with the posters that suggest that management needs to be more creative on how they market an act.There are so many new mediums to use,much of it costing nothing but time.Purple’s “management” has always been a joke,anyway,IMHO.Most folks have no idea that Purple is still out,and more often than not the folks I “expose” to the newer material are usually blown away with it compared to the rot that permeates much of the airwaves.
    One other problem with attendance is simply the cost.And the poor treatment folks get when they go to a venue.Record companies don’t underwrite tours any longer because sales are way down.Sales are way down mostly because,not of downloading and swapping,but of poor advertising,such as FM radio,which used to break new acts or tunes.An act like Paul McCartney can do a global sellout but not move any units of newer material,mostly because of a lack of airplay.Paul has taken the lead in trying new outlets,other bands should as well.Labels and radio as they are today have little value.

  20. 20
    Suldog says:

    Well, it’s not down to just the radio programmer’s fault. DP have to expect that if “Machinehead” sold in the millions and “Rapture” hasn’t cracked anywhere near that, then there are likely to be more people in the audience who would like to hear stuff from “Machinehead” than from “Rapture”. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Me, I own nearly everything they’ve ever put out, so I like to hear as much of it all as possible. Make everything louder than everything else!

  21. 21
    Emily Bell says:

    If I ruled the world you’d only be allowed into the wretched concert on production of the latest CD…
    Sorry – hissy fit over. Anyone listen to Bruce Dickinson’s radio show?

  22. 22
    CP says:

    Machine Head sold millions on part because it received airplay.If Rapture received any its entirely possible fans today other than the faithful might know they still exist and possibly buy a few units.

  23. 23
    Craig Neely says:

    Maybe I try to be the ultimate peacemaker, but can I try to put this debate into perspective? I have been a Deep Purple fan my entire life, now being 42. I saw this latest excellent version of DP at Radio City and Bethlehem these past weeks, and attended last year’s Montreux show.

    I think that the band is in a dilemma when it comes to live shows and its setlist. Due to US corporate influences, much of the old DP, which is great, and the new DP, which is great, has never received airplay or exposure. Last year, I emailed our local rock station, WZZO, a Clear Channel station, about “Rapture of the Deep” and its fine compilation of relevant songs. The Program Director responded as follows:

    “I too am a big fan of deep purple. I had no idea that they even had new material. Here’s how it works:

    A band releases a new CD.

    Their label contacts radio (us) to get us a copy of the CD and tells us the track they are “going for adds” on.

    No one from their label has contacted me or sent me a copy of their CD and I have no information on it at all. Without hearing it, I cannot say whether it would be something we would play. And I will only consider material sent to us from their label.”

    That direct quote is her entire email to me. Thus, whether we should blame the record label or the corporate radio whores, or both, is still a question for me. What is indisputable, however, is that DP’s recent radio-worthy recordings have not been given due note by the American music industry.

    Thus, the old stuff is what the North American fans know. At both of the recent shows, which had nearly identical set lists, the fans’ reactions were similar.

    The first four songs, Pictures of Home, Things I Never Said, Strange Kind of Woman, and Into the Fire, received warm responses from the crowds, even though 3 of the 4 are old. It was that the fans just didn’t know the songs.

    However, once the band rolled into Woman from Tokyo the crowds became involved, to a grand degree, at least in the areas where I was. Even though the crowds could appreciate the musicianship preceding the American-known songs, they did not respond emotionally. But, the first songs primed the crowds for the balance of the shows. The result was that by the end of each show the crowds, or at least remarkable portions of them, were worked into a near frenzy. I was happy for the band to have the fans so enthusiastic by the end of the shows.

    I rented a converted school bus from a local limo company to take 26 friends to the Bethlehem show. Only 2 of us are committed DP fans, the balance knowing a couple of the old songs, but nothing more. Most did not even know that DP continues to play, much less record. Everyone had an uproarious time, and I was gratified to see how enthusiastically they accepted the band. Everyone loved the music, and had a rocking, very memorable time. Had the set list been of more recent origin, would these fans have had such a great time? I don’t know, but am still proud of the band for capturing the hearts of my friends that have been kept in the dark by American radio. The band made these people sooooooo happy and full of life, which we middle-agers don’t see or feel much of anymore.

    If DP scheduled a show where they would only play songs from Purpendicular, Bananas, and Rapture of the Deep, I would travel to whatever corner of the world it would be played. But, these shows are not just for us Purplites who have, through commitment to music and lyrics, followed the band through our own efforts. The shows are also for the casual listener, who deserves to learn that the best rock musicians of all time are still touring and making relevant music.

    So, I do not blame the band or the promoters for the setlist. It is the way to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enthusiastically enjoy Deep Purple. My friends will never forget the Bethlehem show. I will never forget their joy in seeing my favorite band.

    I met the band backstage, where I shook hands with each of them, and thanked them for making such wonderful music, and making my life fuller through it. Each guy signed my purple bandana (while it was on my head). It sounds corny, but it was an experience that I will never forget. They were so gracious and kind, which is just what I expected.

    Thank you to all Deep Purple fans who, though possibly in disagreement about the “small” things, still think quite deeply about the band and what it stands for. “It’s all about the music.”

  24. 24
    Jim says:

    Thanks Craig for an informative letter, being a DP fan since ’73 I know just what you are trying to get across. I knew the setlist before the show I saw in St. Louis, (what true fan of the Highway Star doesn’t), and while I would have liked to have heard more new material, DP was not playing just for me but for everyone in the audience, old fans, new fans and casual fans. They pleased everyone from what I could tell, after the show there was a lot of possitive feedback even from one radio DJ who said “they done goooood”. I totally agree with Craig when he says DP “fans” might disagree on some small things but never what the band stands for. Thanks to Craig for the great letter and I will add that from my experiences at DP shows since 1974 DP fans are simply the best just like the band.

  25. 25
    AndreA says:

    Here in Milan we have a good radio that plays good sound from 70’s to modern heavy metal music. It is called radiorockfm (www.radiorockfm.com).
    When THE RAPTURE OF THE DEEP has got out,Gillan and Glover were into the studios for interviews…you all can listen this radio on streaming…..

  26. 26
    Stefan says:

    I´ve given up on both radio & TV since way back,especially here in Denmark! I´m not a racist,but in my mind MTV should change name to NTV as in “Nigger TV”……….sorry! The so called music on that show is nothing but primitiv jungle rythms….it all sounds the same,and I challenge any rap artist who have the nerve to call themselves “musicians”!!!!!! They aren´t!

    I dream ´bout the day when we can hear and see some real music by real musicians on TV or radio here in Denmark….don´t have high hopes though!
    The danish music scene is totally retarded, and they don´t give a shit about high octane music such as the mighty DP or any other classic rock band as long as they get plastered!!!

  27. 27
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Totally agree Stefan!
    same here with MTV :
    endless porn like video clips which must pervert kids morals, I’m sure.
    Non music and always loaded with naked women and bling bling………And “they” still wonder why coloured people are being judged negatively after that. Mind you, where are the good old times in which they still knew how to show us what great music cab be : Good old soul/Motown, Blues, Jimi Hendrix…..
    Not that those untalented idiots are alone : lots of metal and punk rock “music” are being made by retarded or perverted people too……And they are primarily white. let’s be honest : For example : Most of metal since the 80’s are the retarded cousins of DP, not the talented ones like Kamelot or Riverside………..

    The goal of any MUSIC radio or tv – station should be : To show everything around in music to educate everyone…….

    Not to drown us in drivel……..

    Please inspire us again……..

  28. 28
    Scott says:

    I’m glad somebody brought this up. I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada and there’s a Radio station in Toronto called CLASSIC ROCK Q107. They might as well called Q10Zeppelin cause they play Zep 1500 times a day. Maybe once in a blue moon will they play Deep Purple. And when they do it’s the same songs. Highway Star, Smoke, or Hush. Have not heard Lazy played in ages on radio. I’ve heard Zeppelin so many times I’m Sick of them. Deep Purple has a huge catalog of songs but all the radio stations play the same stuff. Even to hear a live version of a Purple tune would be nice.

  29. 29
    Mark Bee says:

    The so called “Classic Rock Station” in Los Angeles, KLOS, is crap. All you hear is the Stones, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and the Beatles. This station seems to own only four CD’s. May they get a massive dose of herpes.

  30. 30
    Dave says:

    Stefan, you $&^&^%&^%&@@$%!$@#, I thought I coined the phrase “NTV”!!! You are so on the mark!!! I loved MTV on the beginning, but if at wasn’t for those liberal @$$holes that worked at the “N”, rap would have never been shoved up our collective sphincters like it has, and it would have died the proper death that it deserved. Kudos to you. I wish my nephews and all those other unfortunates in this generation had never had been exposed to a “media” that was so disrespectful of authority and women as this C”rap” has been! Rock on!

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