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Keeping Jon and Ritchie up to scratch

A vintage interview with Ian Gillan by Allan McDougall originally published in the New Musical Express on November 7, 1970. This was taken at the Olympia in Paris, where the band had played on November 1.

Roger is a fantastic bass player.

I talked to Ian Gillan about Roger and he agreed.

“Yeah, he doesn’t get so much glory as Jon or Ritchie, because Rog is very unobtrusive. The rest of us are dead flash on stage, but Rog just choogles along quietly on bass, keeping a rock-steady beat for little Ian, and keeping Jon and Ritchie up to scratch with chord progressions when they’re freaking out all over the place.”

Read more in Music history for those who are able to read.

Thanks to Geir Myklebust for posting this.

13 Comments to “Keeping Jon and Ritchie up to scratch”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Roger is very smooth in his playing, “driving the bus”. “Unobtrusive” is quite the word, even when Roger plays a lot (and he’s not the sparsest bass player on earth by any means), he never gets in the way of the others. Kind of like John Deacon was with Queen who played a much more sophisticated bass than Queen’s music demanded, yet never stepped on the musical toes of others.

    His bass work in Highway Star is nothing short of elegant and very musical:


    I saw Mark VIII once when Nick Fyffe deputized for Roger after the latter’s knee operation. The difference was night and day. Fyffe is a fine modern day bassist (he wouldn’t have lasted with Jamiroquai if he wasn’t), but he had none of the forward push Roger has. The band sounded outright lame that night, but I’m still glad I saw them like that, because it confirmed what I had always thought about how decisive Roger’s playing is for Purple.

    Here’s some more tasty and tasteful, very melodic playing from Roger, he contributed all bass on McCafferty’s first solo outing (as well as producing it).


  2. 2
    MK44 says:

    Roger is a rock! In many ways.. He was in Rainbow with Blackmore a little longer than he was in Purple if you think of it. 69-73 with Purple and 78-83 with Rainbow, he was the only constant member during his Rainbow tenure.. Might be that Blackmore finally appreciated his skills in production and writing (songs/lyrics) And that of course carried on as Purple got back together.
    @1 I think you got it wrong with the McCafferty album though, Manny Charlton was the producer, right?

  3. 3
    Ivica says:

    Of 14 players who have played Deep Purple at all times, at least 11 of them are first class musicians, great long careers. Roger is in that “football team DP ” 🙂 High talent forever stay in Deep Purple
    My Roger bass line favorite is “No One Came” … so strong ..and little Ian also.

  4. 4
    James Gemmell says:

    MK44: Not hardly. Glover also was with Ritchie in Purple from 1984-93. So, 13 years together in DP, and five in Rainbow. I think you knew that, though.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    I remember Nazareth as I used to own the Rampant album back in the 70’s. There is no doubt about it, us crazed Scots wearing our kilts & brandishing a Claymore have produced some fine vocalists over the years. Jack Bruce, Dan McCafferty, rocking Rod Stewart & the wonderful James Dewar. Also throw in Ian Anderson, Donovan, Fish & good ole Midge Ure & there you have it. There are more vocalist of course, just a few that sprang to mind, it must be something in the air, he he he! Cheers.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    And for some reason I thought Rod Stewart was Scottish, well not born in Scotland that is. Cheers.

  7. 7
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @5…..I believe you inadvertently omitted “The Proclaimers”!!! LOL!!!

    You have provided a fine list indeed from Scotland. I had the Nazareth “Loud & Proud” album back when it first came out. There was some great rock on that album and I believe it as well as later Naz albums had Mr. Roger Glover’s deft producer’s touch on them.

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 7 -I have heard of The Proclaimers through that 500 miles song as it appears in the occasional movie & was a hit for them. Yes we Scots, well I am not originally from there, a descendant of course with Irish ancestry also. Uwe always reminds how GREAT we all were back in the day & still to this day of course and even into the future no doubt, He he he! Now where is me Hagis? Oh & me Bonny Lass!
    Regarding Nazareth, the Razamanaz album along with Hair of the Dog & Loud n’ Proud were in the record collections of friends from many years ago. I cannot remember why I purchased Rampant, probably for the songs no doubt & maybe because no one else owned it. I liked them back in the day & I had a listen to Dan McCafferty singing those cover songs yesterday from that link that Uwe provided. A trip down memory lane again. Cheers.

  9. 9
    MK44 says:

    @4 Yes, you’re right of course, that’s why I mentioned this. “And that of course carried on as Purple got back together” My point was more that I think perhaps Ritchie realised that Rogers writing, playing and production skills are very valuable. And that was in remark to the article above.

  10. 10
    Coverdian says:

    hi guys, as for and within scottish (and DP related) connections… what about DOOGIE WHITE? Love that guy so much! Thanx for your kind and nice runaways from the main headline themes as always… hahahiho 🙂

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    MK44: ‘I think you got it wrong with the McCafferty album though, Manny Charlton was the producer, right?’

    You’re right, Roger just played bass. I had forgotten that his band buddy’s solo album had been Charlton’s dry run for subsequently producing Nazareth (after a trilogy of Naz albums with Roger at the production helm).

    Razamanaz was to me one of the best first-half-of-the-70ies hard rock albums ever, period. It had strong songwriting, a spirited performance, Charlton shone as a guitarist with his fuzz-laden Les Paul sound, a very characteristic lead voice AND harmony vocals (courtesy of Pete Agnew), the bass sounded great too (and quite different to any album before or after) plus Roger’s production gave those entrails-devouring kilt crossdressers a nice sheen. IMHO they never bettered that album in their career, always entertaining as they continued to be.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Celtic amnesia @8: “I cannot remember why I purchased Rampant, probably for the songs no doubt & maybe because no one else owned it.”

    Well, most certainly because our own Jon Lord played on two tracks of it! Familiarity attracts.

    I also liked the garish cover it had and preferred its songs to Loud & Proud though not quite as good as Razamanaz.

  13. 13
    DeeperPurps says:

    Uwe @11 & 12. Agreed re RazAmaNaz. Great album, their best. Vigilante Man’s slide guitar, and Night Woman’s bassline immediately spring to mind.

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