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The loudest jazz band in the world

There are several old-ish features on Louder (online successor to the Classic Rock Magazine), done by Geoff Barton and published over the past few years.

February 2015 saw a series of profiles on individual band members that were published in anticipation of the R’n’R Hall of Fame induction. Unlike the HoF people, Geoff knows his arse from his elbow and included all band members (well, apart from Satriani, but in his case there are arguments that can be made).

On April 18, Lou Reed, Green Day, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett and others will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, joining everyone from The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who to Kiss, Metallica, ZZ Top and, er, ABBA. But what about all the bands this US institution has overlooked, ignored or wilfully snubbed over the years? The giants and innovators of rock, prog, punk, blues and more who weren’t deemed important enough, cool enough or American enough to warrant entry through those hallowed portals. Nearly 50 years after forming, Deep Purple are the greatest band not to be in the official Hall Of Fame. They are one of a diminishing handful of bands who formed in the late 60s who are still active today, who are not content to rest on their laurels and who still exist in a meaningful and creative way. While many of their peers are content to play the chicken-in-a-basket circuit – their tour posters emblazoned with monochrome mug shots of how they looked back in their bushy-tailed heyday – Purple have matured like a fine, expensive wine (a Sweet Burgundy, as their former guitarist, the late, great Tommy Bolin, might have it). From 1968’s Shades Of Deep Purple to 2013’s NOW What?!, Purple’s passage through time resembles a mountain range of breathtaking highs and turbid lows. On the next several pages, via a series of interviews with every key member past and present, we celebrate Purple’s extraordinary, multi-decade career. We highlight the radically different personalities of the musicians who have impacted on the band, and marvel at how these contradicting characters were able to gel musically. We examine the mysterious – and occasionally devious – workings of this at times most volatile of bands. We analyse the contributions of alleged bit-part players including Nick Simper, Joe Lynn Turner and the aforementioned Bolin. Plus much more besides. This is Deep Purple dissected, deconstructed and laid bare. (Oh, and we only mention Smoke On The Water once.)

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Rod Evans

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Don Airey

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Tommy Bolin

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Joe Lynn Turner

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Ian Paice

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Glenn Hughes

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: David Coverdale

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Ian Gillan

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Ritchie Blackmore — is an interview with Ritchie Blackmore that is said to date back to 1975. Strangely, it mentions him quitting Purple in the 70s as “for the first time”.

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Nick Simper — one of the rare interviews with the man.

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Steve Morse

The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Jon Lord

The Purple theme continued later in 2015 with an extended writeup of the band in 1973, including the transition from Mark 2 to Mark 3 and subsequent release of Burn. Paice, Hughes, and Coverdale were interviewed for the feature that appears to have been done to promote the anniversary remaster of Burn. Albeit most of our readers are familiar with the story, it’s nice to have some t’s crossed and i’s dotted:

Seventy-two had been a busy year for Deep Purple: they’d recorded the Who Do You Think We Are! album in cantankerous mood, and had spent most of the rest of the time grimly ploughing the road in the US. Although record sales and concert attendances were climbing rapidly, band-member relationships were disintegrating in inverse proportion. The chief clash was between Gillan and Blackmore; they were at loggerheads, loath to even acknowledge each other’s existence. But the band’s hard work was definitely beginning to pay off: ’73 saw Purple being named the biggest-selling Billboard album act of the year.

But that was no cause for celebration in a group that was threatening to implode. Keyboard player Jon Lord, for one, moaned that Purple’s music was stagnating, while Blackmore continually sniped at Gillan and grumbled about being fed up with his lot. “I’m writing about eighty per cent of the stuff but the credit is being split five ways; I’m not getting any respect,” the Man In Black complained.

In fact, Ritchie had been the first to think about leaving when, in late ’71, he had arranged some studio time with Purple drummer Ian Paice and the aforementioned Phil Lynott. The project was called Baby Face and Blackmore talked about it openly in the music press at the time, much to Gillan’s exasperation. Gillan was further enraged when Blackmore began to tell anyone who would listen how much he admired Paul Rodgers as a singer.

Casting his mind back to Baby Face, Ian Paice remembers today: “It really came about when Ritchie and I were mulling over the idea of trying out something in a trio form. We liked the idea of a trio because it gives you a lot of freedom – you have to fill in all the holes; there’s nowhere to hide.

Paice elaborates: “We both really thought Phil Lynott’s voice was great and his whole persona was a wonderful thing to behold. So we decided to try and get something together in the studio. But the upshot of it was that, at the time, although Phil looked great and he sang great, he didn’t play the bass very well! He got better very, very quickly but to start off with he had a great deal of trouble tuning and staying in tempo.

Continue reading in Louder.

This was followed up by Coverdale, Hughes and Lord recalling the rapid rise and equally rapid fall of Purple Mk IV in Deep Purple: Exit The Man In Black…:

It was a hot Hollywood afternoon in June 1975 when a tall, bright stranger in geisha boots strode into town.

“He looked great; he had this Native American look about him,” Jon Lord remembers. “He walked in and said simply: ‘Hey, guys!’ Tremendously hail-brother-well-met in that laid-back Californian way. He had an astonishingly attractive Asian woman in tow. She was resplendent in a short fishnet dress with nothing on underneath. It took me a very long time to concentrate on the Hammond. I had other organs in mind.”

“He had on green chiffon pantaloons, like something out of Aladdin,” David Coverdale chuckles. “He was visually more exotic and flamboyant than anything I was expecting. A beautiful-looking boy.”

Two months prior to the arrival of this strutting mystery man, on April 7, the Mk III version of Deep Purple had played their last ever gig with Ritchie Blackmore at the Palais des Sports in Paris. The guitarist’s departure had come as no surprise. The remaining members of Purple – frontman Coverdale, bassist/vocalist Hughes, keyboard player Lord and drummer Ian Paice – had known of the Man In Black’s disgruntlement with the band’s musical direction for some time.

Bonus feature: David Coverdale: How We Made The Coverdale Page Album — more than 20 years later, Coverdale looks back on how it all came together and why the project remains one of rock’s great ‘what ifs’…

Well, that’s a lot of catch up reading to do, but then again — it’s boxing week, so… 😉

Thanks to Vladimir Drybushchak for the heads up.

5 Comments to “The loudest jazz band in the world”:

  1. 1
    DeeperPurps says:

    These are excellent articles. Luckily Geoff Barton has been there to chronicle Deep Purple – he is one of the few enlightened rock journalists who actually makes an effort to accord some well-deserved accolades to the band and its members. Unfortunately the vast majority of the rock music journos have deliberately neglected Purple through the years.

  2. 2
    stoffer says:

    interesting read! thank you

  3. 3
    Buttockss says:

    Great read……..Thank You !

  4. 4
    Dan Russell says:

    Great series but I must take exception to ‘Ian Paice’s studious drum patterns’ in the Jon Lord section. You know that quiet section during Ritchie’s solo in Space Truckin’ on MIJ? Paicey’s constantly evolving dance of the haft of his stick against the snare rim, the bass pedaling, and slip/slap of the hi-hat is so poetic and engaging is light years from studios; it is sublimely ethereal and expressive. Every time I’m in an elevator I play it against the back bar while tapping the bass part with my foot. Never forget it.

  5. 5
    The Light says:

    Barton is the worst and can always be argued. And ya don’t have to be him to know exactly where Rod is.

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