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They all came down to Montreux

Louder Sound publishes what appears to be a transcription of the Machine Head recording story as told in the Classic Albums series documentary by everyone involved.

Deep Purple’s Fireball was the second album recorded with the Mark II line-up. It was another No.1 hit in the UK, but despite its success there was a nagging feeling within the band that the best was yet to come.

As 1971 drew to a close, it was time for a change of scene.

Roger Glover (bassist): We needed to make another record, and we’d become pretty successful, and accountants and lawyers and management said: “You know, if you record outside of England you pay a different tax rate.” And that’s the reason we were in Switzerland. It could have been Germany or France, anywhere as long as it was out of England.

Jon Lord (keyboard player): We’d heard the Rolling Stones had a wonderful mobile studio, so we contacted them and we were able to get hold of that. And the reason we went to Montreux was because we were going to be in America at the end of 1971, but Ian Gillan got ill. It was hepatitis, I think – which was the disease to have at the time.

Ritchie Blackmore (guitarist): It was a very fashionable thing to have. Gillan went down with it first. And then we went back to America to do the shows we’d cancelled. And then I got hepatitis, and I ended up in a Harley Street hospital, and had about two months off. That gave me some time to write something. I came up with Space Truckin’, Smoke On The Water and stuff like that.

Ian Gillan (vocalist): Fireball gave us a chance to actually bring out what I always call the funk in the band, instead of just pure English rock. However, when we got to doing Machine Head, there was a lot of pressure to do what most people saw as a follow-up to In Rock. We’d got to get back to doing that rock stuff, and that was pretty much how we approached it.

Read more of the familiar story in Louder Sound.

22 Comments to “They all came down to Montreux”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:


    That’s quite a good documentary to have on DVD, if you can still get it of course. And the MiJ documentary is quite good too, adding even more commentary to the same story.

    DP may have been the first to start a wave of bands ( that likely continues to this day ) in becoming “tax-exiles”, & who could blame them ?…

    The tax dept. apparently did investigate, but the words to “SOTW” clearly indicate the recording process & hassles, that saved-their-pennies.

    No wonder lots of people move to the US-of-A, it’s a no-brainer.

    Peace !

  2. 2
    George in Ohio says:

    Machine Head has better crafted songs, but In Rock has more raw energy. To me, that’s the key difference. The musicianship on MH generally is more focused on serving the song, whereas IR has the musicianship a bit more upfront. Part of this might be due to the production – I agree with Satriani that Machine Head is a bit darker. And there are exceptions, of course – Child in Time is a marvelously conceived, classic song – it would have fit easily on Machine Head, IMO. And Highway Star would have blended seamlessly onto In Rock. Finally, I would also daresay that Made in Japan is the quintessential marriage of Machine Head’s great songs with the In Rock energy.

    Bottom line : I wouldn’t want to be without either one of them.

  3. 3
    DeeperPurps says:

    That’s the article that Classic Rock Magazine (Louder) published in a recent issue with a photo of Mark II on the cover. It’s about a 5 or 6 page feature at best, and unfortunately is just a reheated rehashing of old ground that most of us are probably already aware of. Shame that CRM didn’t do a proper 50th anniversary commemorative issue of Machine Head, such as it has done for the other usual suspects such as Zeppelin, AC/DC, et al.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That was in Classic Rock (the mag) too. Interview snippets and soundbites taken from all eras and all occasions plus various participants thrown together to give the impression, people are actually in one time and place to discuss this. I find it a bit labored and of course the “discussion” never really flows or picks points up from previous speakers.

    It’s a bit like asking ChatGPT to come up with a DP all members interview – AI poetic license I guess.

    What I really wanted to know though is why Roger had the headstock and the machine heads (= Limey for Yank term “tuners”) of his trusted Fender Precision Bass photographed, when all he played on Machine Head was his Rickenbacker 4001 (to noticeably improved sonic difference to previous recordings). He found his sound on that album (and retained it for the rest of Mark II’s tenure). Roger sounded a million bucks with that gnarly Ric – better than with any other bass he(‘s) played before or after.


    Friggin’ iconic.

  5. 5
    Anton Smog says:

    The Machine Head Classic album DVD is very interesting.

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Good observations, George, and I agree. In Rock is chest-beating, fresh & frantic garage rock bursting at the seams, Machine Head is songwriting craft. And Child in Time and Highway Star are the respectively transferable numbers though I would wager the guess that a later version of Child In Time would have featured more than a one-note-shuffle part in the middle and an earlier version of Highway Star wouldn’t have sounded as refined in its organ and guitar solo parts, but more like that early Musikladen version they jammed.

    Made In Japan as a combination of the two ? Never thought of it that way, but, yeah, that sounds about right!

  7. 7
    Gregster says:

    LOL ! Once again, poor “Fireball” gets overlooked…According to the charts posted within this website, (once you take the US-of-A chart position out), it betters “In Rock” & more or less equals “Machine Head” in popularity as far as Europe goes, & “WDWTWA” sits equally there too give or take.

    There’s some German TV specials where the tunes from “Fireball” equal & / or even better the ones delivered from “Machine Head”…It’s all about the night, the bands attitude, & sound captured…All the tunes are excellent really from any album imo.

    Speaking musically, “In Rock” is far more the album that delivers a music theory lesson, with all the rules & scales exposed for what they are, & bent into the DP sound. It’s almost a jazz-fusion album when looked at a certain way.

    There’s other live material that sits as well as “MiJ” as far as energy & performances go, but the sound quality & stereo imaging isn’t bettered. “Stockholm 1970” being a solid example ( this is the re-titled Scandinavian Nights ). And even the “Longbeach 1971” is a quite good, though a more relaxed show. And how good is it to listen to “Live in Copenhagen 1972” ???…

    DP were certainly paving their own road in heavy rock without peers in the 1970’s, & arguably that continues to this day.

    Peace !

  8. 8
    Rock Voorne says:

    The MH DVD is wonderful but I m still dissappointerd not all songs were talked through.

  9. 9
    Gregster says:

    @8…Hey Rock, all the songs are actually discussed, but you have to search-out the “bonus material” to get them on the DVD…

    The TV version of “Classic Albums Machine Head” is edited down to around 50-minutes, with the bonus material delivering at least another 1/2 hour of discussion, plus a few promo-films of a couple of tunes, from memory, I’m sure that “Never Before” at least is given.

    There’s plenty of DVD’s available from the “Classic Albums” people, & the one’s I’ve collected over the years are quite good, & all feature bonus material.

    Peace !

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    @ 9 – except for Lazy, it isn’t mentioned at all for some reason. Well not on my DVD it isn’t. Cheers.

  11. 11
    AndreA says:

    She is died on 17th april
    The American singer of Italian origins was 93 years old. Ritchie Blackmore proposed for the band the name of the favourite song by his grandmother

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    No one’s overlooking Fireball, Gregster. Stands with WDWTWA and THOBL as the three most varied and experimental Mk II albums.

    There‘s nothing wrong with the song material, it‘s just that the production has neither the brutish charm of In Rock nor the steely gleam of MH. It sounds a bit like a bunch of songs from various sessions (which is what it exactly is), DP‘s White Album so to say.

    I know a lot of people who name Fireball their favorite Purple album. Quite often they are not really Purple fans, but they do like this record for its variety and for not being as much a sonic onslaught as either its predecessor or its successor. As Purple fans this is hard for us to grasp, but there are (and always have been) people out there who think a whole album of DP full throttle a bit much. They find Fireball more digestible for its eclecticism.

    And it‘s of course Ian Gillan‘s favorite Mk II work.

  13. 13
    George in Ohio says:

    Uwe @ 12, you beat me to the punch. I was going to write a reply to Gregster, but you have already stated what I was going to say, and did it better than I would have. I do agree with you, and especially want to underscore your point that, for some, “a whole album of DP throttle (is) a bit much.” That’s precisely why I love In Rock and Machine Head, but have a tad less personal attraction to Fireball and Who Do We Think We Are of the MKII albums.

    And Gregster, you do have an interesting point regarding In Rock being a music theory lesson. Never thought of it in those terms, but I can see where you are going with that. Yeah, it does have some jazz fusion leanings in it, especially given the nature of the improvising that Jon and Ritchie did therein.

  14. 14
    Rock Voorne says:

    Blackmore:”I really like Pictures Of Home, because it is very melodic. There were some members of the band that didn’t like that one at all.”

    Always felt sad they never played it with Ritchie

    Appearantly he wasnt THE boss after all

    Ditto , almost, regarding WABMC

  15. 15
    Rock Voorne says:

    Always hated it, being mocked at highschool for my love of rockmusic around77-82 called ” Blackmore” (did not mind )or Beethoven(After an oldfashioned local barber messed up my hair and I used grease to nake it look ok)when someone said STORMBRINGER was good though.

    Being 15 in 1980 I joined the Dutch Rainbow Fanclan and obtained some older mags from a guy who felt “too old” now for this.

    Decades later he told me having been to a DP show with Morse, bringing his son into it.
    People are weird.

  16. 16
    Gregster says:

    @13…Oh for sure, & thanks for understanding…In retrospect, it was folks like Miles Davis among many from the “jazz world”, who started incorporating the E7#9 chord into their music, & then Jimi came along, & played it quite often, so the general public got used to its use & sound. ( Think Foxy Lady )…

    What DP did ( especially with the In Rock album, & Jon in particular ) was instead of simply playing the chord here & there, they used it’s building-block & structure to bounce-off, & play anything they wanted, knowing that musically, they’re still playing all-the-right-notes. So if you rather, they played the notes & scales applicable, without necessarily playing the chord…And what makes the chord unique, is that it contains both a Maj. & min. 3rd…And it can be used as either a I-chord or a V-chord.

    At least in rock music, DP were exploring this chord / scale(s) & applying its possibilities into their sound. That’s why sometimes when you nearly think Jon’s hit a “wrong note” here & there, he can always successfully bring-it-back-home, & resolve. This is what I meant by the “jazz / fusion” idea, in that Jon was applying music theory from the realm of the so-called jazz-world, & making it DP staple improvisation.

    Yes, so called “classical” ideas & scales were used in the music, but the informed decision to use these sounds, comes from the world of jazz, where anything goes, & knowledge indicates that it will work…The diminished scale & its derivatives were well used by DP on these early Mk-II albums to great success, & shaped “that” sound that they have imo.

    Peace !

  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    @ 16 – Richard Wright from Pink Floyd apparently used a ‘Miles Davis’ chord on the song Breathe from TDSOTM album. He demonstrates it on the Classic Albums dvd. From what I have just researched here online to jog the memory it was a D7 (#9) according to what I have read. I might dig out that dvd again. Wright was a ‘jazz’ player in many ways. I am not a Miles Davis fan at all but I always respected the musicians & the complexity of what they play. Talking of Hendrix, the Devil’s chord & Sabbath amongst others from the past & a few from the more recent era. Cheers.


  18. 18
    Gregster says:

    @17..Well picked-up Mr.MacGregor ! And Rick was quite a gifted musician too, especially when you get to listen to the movie soundtracks of the 1960’s that PF were involved in, where his work really shines, & leads the way.

    And yes, after watching all of the MH Classic Album DVD, Lazy is not discussed, possibly because it’s considered a regular(?) blues tune, similar to a predecessor like “Wring that Neck”, only with arguably a stronger hook & a few key changes / modulations. It certainly grooves-like-crazy, & I’m surprised it isn’t mentioned, as I’m sure it’s a big-time favorite among many here.

    The “stuff” that still holds-up well even today, without sounding dated from Miles Davis, would have to be a few albums that circle around “Bitches Brew” circa 1970…They still sell very well, & are considered the first of the “proper” jazz-fusion era. John McLaughlin features on these albums, & helped spring-board his career…

    The b5 “devils interval” was used as free advertising for many bands lol ! What people need to realize is that any “V-chord” ( Dominant 7th chord ) has this interval “inbuilt” naturally, between the 3rd & 7th intervals, & is what makes a Dominant-7th chord sound the way it does…( And as one delves deeper into this chord structure, a massive number of scale opportunities become playable over it, simply because its building block is, Maj-3rd interval, followed by 2 x successive min-3-rd intervals…And of course, the most number of chord-types are applicable, with all the unusual additions, all because of the basic building-block-structure…Every other diatonic chord alternates between Maj & min intervals, except for the VII chord, where 2 x min intervals are followed by a Maj interval…). I’ll stop here, as one thing leads to another, & then I’d have written out a theory book lol !

    There’s lots of good theory books out there, you don’t need me, & no-ones asking lol !

    Peace !

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Oh my, Gregster is leading us deep into the burrowing hole of harmonic analysis!

    Yes, Herr MacGregor, Burn had some Blackmore-heavy tracks such as Mistreated remixed, maybe that was before things went all pear-shaped between him and whoever wanted a more comprehensive remix. But on Stormbringer the exclusion of the Blackmore tracks from any remixing is glaring.

    The reissued quad mixes aren’t new remixes to me, they’ve existed since the 70ies.

    And: How you cannot own the most current remaster plus the Roger Glover remixes of MACHINE HEAD OF ALL ALBUMS IS BEYOND ME !!! Do feel guilty, make amends NOW and dutifully report on your belated listening experience! Bill Nelson (he of Be Bop Deluxe) for one liked what he heard when he guest-reviewed the 40th anniversary release in Classic Rock in 2012. I was holding my breath as DP’s more conventional and musical-recipe-restricted approach seemed to be anathema to anything Bill stands for, but he was really appreciative of the album and the group performance on it. As he hadn’t heard the album that much back in the day (Bill probably heard more David Bowie and Roxy Music), his take was quite a fresh one on it too. Too bad I can’t find his review online.

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    Yes I do feel guilty & thanks for now making me feel worse, he he he. I had already purchased the original MH on cd years earlier & I was buying the new remasters of the other Mk2 & 3 albums one by one after seeing them in a music store. MH was left to last & low & behold it wasn’t there when I finally decided to get it. I could order it & I should do that. I should have grabbed it with both hands at the time. Regarding the quad mixes I am probably living in the past with curiosity getting the better of me. The Stormbringer quad mix doesn’t sound that enlightening to me & don’t really expect it to. Stereo is for rock music in general to my ears. I do vaguely remember hearing the original Quad of MH way back in time, but will that experience then transfer to this day, most probably not as things do change over time. With surround sound being here these days, having the quad mix also with the re mastering & remixing & all on separate discs is an added bonus of sorts. Cheers.

  21. 21
    Gregster says:

    @20…Everyone is at some-point ready for a stereo upgrade, whether it’s because something crapped-out ( like your tape player that only now chews tapes instead of playing them lol ), or simply because what used to sound so good, doesn’t anymore…

    The short version of today’s “stereo” world is this, after discovering some interesting truths.

    The cheapest way to go in today’s world is with a computer (lap-top or phone) & decent head-phones…Check them out at any 1/2 decent store that sells them. Top-shelf head-phones are not cheap.

    The next alternative is decent computer speakers, & you don’t need hundreds of dollars to get some. Logitech is always a solid safe-bet, & allow 40+hrs break-in time for any speaker assembly to start sounding really good. 2.1 speaker configuration is minimum requirement for good sound.

    From here, home-theater-assemblies / packages, whether 5.1 or 7.1 including amps are the go. You can attach all old stereo hardware such as record-players, tape-players, radio’s & computers directly into the amp. Or simply add new stuff to the amp while you’re on your spending-spree lol ! Expect to find around 1-2-K for reasonable brand-name kit. And then whatever for the add-ons, such as tape & record players.

    Hard-core, top-shelf, old-school, regular stereo packages are still available, but for a brand like Yamaha, you’re looking at a 5-K minimum entry fee for a basic regular stereo-amp & 2 x speakers, & it escalates dramatically from there…

    In today’s world, most people will be downloading their music & / or burning it from CD onto a hard-drive, so your computer or even your phone becomes your mini-theater-entertainment-system & storage device…And as long as you have an audio-out, you can plug into whatever you want. The home-theater-amp & speaker packages ( 5.1 & / or 7.1 + amp ) are where a serious listener should start, since you can acquire one-of-these for less than a set of Bose head-phones, & upgrade everything else over-time to it, whilst having acquired the new “surround sound” environment.

    * Most of the top-shelf brands such as Yamaha, will have older-stock assemblies / packages still available, with the only difference being wire-less speaker connexions…These are quite affordable, & reliable, though some people don’t like too many wires laying all over the place.

    Peace !

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Wireless/Bluetooth is the worst women-driven idea since they offered us that apple from the tree: “Here, take it, it looks nicer …”.

    You can TRY pry my cables from my cold dead hands! I like’m phat and clearly visible.

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