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|From the archives - Lorry Doll's 1990 interview with Deep Purple's Roger Glover|
|Their debut , Shades of Deep Purple, produced a hit with the cover version of Joe South's "Hush." Two albums later bassist Roger Glover and vocalist Ian Gillan replaced the ousted Simper and Evans. The group then released Jon Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic. In 1970 they released Deep Purple in Rock. Then there was Fireball. In '72 they released the now legendary Machine Head which generated the instant hit/classic "Smoke On The Water." In '73 they did their last studio album, Who Do You Think You Are? from which "Woman From Tokyo" was a major hit. Next came the live Made In Japan. Don't forget that this was the band that went into the Guiness Book of World Records for playing the loudest concert ever!
It was inevitable that after five grueling years of touring some of the guys would set out on their own. Ian Gillian started a solo career and Roger Glover began producing (Judas Priest, Michael Schenker, Nazareth, Status Quo, Rory Gallagher). Ritchie Blackmore bowed out in 1975 and formed Rainbow with Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple's current vocalist). Meanwhile, Lord and Paice carried on the Deep Purple moniker. They secured vocalist David Coverdale and added bassist Glenn Hughes and guitarist Tommy Bolin (this line-up lasted about a year). In '76, Paice and Lord went over to the Whitesnake camp. In 1979 Glover joined Rainbow.
After shuffling the line-up cards around for the umteenth time (yeah, they were all in different bands together) it just had to be time for a reunion. So, in '84 they re-banded and released Perfect Strangers. Still immensely popular and drawing sell-out crowds everywhere, the band was spurred on to release two more albums - House of Blue Light ('86) and Nobody's Perfect ('87). Here it is a couple years later and they're at it again with Slaves and Masters. It was during an hour long chat up at RCA that Roger Glover got to tell me what it's like to be part of such a legendary outfit.
|Tell me now, is it possible that after some twenty odd years (off and on) a bunch of musicians would still want to get together, record yet another album and spend the next year out on the road? Yup! The guys in Deep Purple are gearing up for their tour in support of their latest, Slaves and Masters.
The solo/off-shoot careers spawned from this band reads like some kind of TV mini-series Deep Purple (The Early Years – Coverdale). The story began back in '68 when Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (keys), Ian Paice (drums), Nick Simper (bass) and Rod Evans (vocals) got together and formed one of the first heavy metal bands, Deep Purple.
|Slaves and Masters
|When not touring, Roger Glover lives in Connecticut with his family. He's also an accomplished artist, citing painting and drawing as early inspirations. At home he usually can be found working in his recording studio. "I've always had something of a studio. It was four track for as many years as I can remember since '72. It stayed that way until the mid '80s when I suddenly got 12-track. That was great. It was a revelation. And as much as it was a revelation it was a frustration. It's a big step from four to twelve tracks. I got to the point where I wasn't just experimenting or making demos. I wanted to come up with master quality stuff. Twelve tracks was just a little short of the mark. That only lasted for a couple years. Twenty-four track is the state of my studio at the moment. Five years ago I was amazed at how far technology had come. Now, 'five years ago' is ancient history. You have to get faster. I have this theory that the world is getting faster. Same as a dollar isn't what it was in 1950, an hour now is really only forty minutes. I'm considering now going digital. I'm old fashioned in that technology can't replace human beings. Human beings can use technology; it all depends on who's running who. Getting a new toy is stimulating by itself. It gets you going down different avenues. This isn't a universal truth, but in general people should learn more about their instruments and the art of song writing before they get behind a drum machine."
"Now I have a much better time then I used to. We used to be a hard partying band, though we very rarely went on drunk. People think rock 'n' roll bands are party animals. It's part of the image, to go out and be obnoxious and drunk. I see the adverts in the trades, 'must have long hair, must have image' I pity the poor guy with original talent who has short hair. It has nothing to do with music. It's about selling a lifestyle that's false. I was reading an article, I think by Bill Moyers, that asked a group of young people what they wanted to be. They said that they wished to be famous. Not because there was any reason to be famous. Just to be a celebrity. More and more people are falling into that trap." Well, if anybody should know about fame Roger should.
"I don't know," states Glover. "I don't think of myself that way. I feel vaguely embarrassed (when recognized in public). I don't know why. Especially if I'm just doing grocery shopping. I started out because I love music. I still don't know how I got here."
The '60s was a time that was heavy in musical diversity. Freedom of expression was the order of the day. "It was a time where you could write in any kind of style or instrumentation," says Roger. "It was a time of great creativity. The emergence of hard rock, which has been the most dominating feature on the landscape, has now become the establishment and in a way, it's now hard to do anything different. That's the reason a lot of bands nowadays are starting to sound the same. Where rock was once fun and it was free expression, it's now become a business. It's not underground anymore. To be different now I suppose you have to do completely absurd thrash metal or something. That's the underground now, which I don't really get a lot from. It's too extreme. Anything in extreme is wrong. Moderation in everything. There's a place for all kinds of music but I don't think you have to be stuck in that kind of extreme. Maybe it's the one dimensionality of it, like in thrash, that doesn't really appeal to me."
The cut "Fire In The Basement" is in standard rock-tune format yet it doesn't come off as some rehashed rock tune, it sounds new. After writing for twenty-five years it would seem hard to come up with something new. Roger admits, "It's difficult not to be a parody of yourself. Why shouldn't a band do a tune even if it sounds something like what they used to do? We don't try to rip off ourselves, but if it sounds good we'll go with it. People are disappointed if you do something completely different. They say that it doesn't sound like us anymore. If we try to sound like Deep Purple they'll say that it's just the same old stuff. The intelligent thing to do is to strike a balance between the two."
"We don't ape our studio recordings," Glover states. "To play the tunes exactly the same way every night is boring beyond words. Besides, this band doesn't even rehearse a lot. They're too lazy! I like the songs to be structured loose enough so that even when they're changed, like during a performance, they'll still be recognizable. With Paice I can always tell. He does a certain kind of fill, like if the first beat of the bar is going to be pushed . . . it's instinctive. Certain drummers tend to speed up during the fills, so, unconsciously you speed up with him. That's what makes fifties rock'n'roll so precious to me. I loved the band that played behind Little Richard, that was such a swinging rock band. It blows apart anything that you hear (today). They all swing together. If one of them speeds up, they all speed up. You don't notice it. It doesn't even matter 'cause it doesn't have to be metronomic. It just feels so damn good in the first place! We recorded Slaves and Masters with a live approach. We just recorded rehearsals. The songs were born out of jams."
|Shades of Deep Purple
(Debut - 1968)
|"It's difficult not to be a parody of yourself. Why shouldn't a band do a tune even if it sounds something like what they used to do? We don't try to rip off ourselves, but if it sounds good we'll go with it."
- Roger Glover
Featuring "Smoke on the Water"
|Roger tells me that “King of Dreams” came together on one of those days where nothing felt right and everybody was getting kinda testy (temper, temper boys!) Like the drums didn't match the guitar riff, the organ sounded wrong with the bass, stuff like that. They'd been working at it for hours.
"We were playing and Ritchie just went into this completely different rhythm. He played a few chords and everyone just kind of tumbled into it," he says. "We didn't know how long each piece was going to be, the riff got inverted half way through, probably 'cause Ritchie couldn't remember what he played the first time 'round! It just happened that one time," says Roger (who also produced the lp). He was going over the tapes during a week's break in the sessions when he came across the jam. He recalls that, "It felt really good. It wasn't perfect. It gave me a lot of ideas and I (just) fiddled with it a bit, as producers are known to." Joe came in with some lyrics and by week's end it was finished. When Glover played the completed song for the band they were amazed and as bands are known to do they immediately set forth to "improve" upon it, but that didn't work out too good. "The song worked in the first place because it was a jam," says Roger. Roger's idea for Slaves and Masters was to have the band write all the songs and then go out and perform them every night. Actually he had this idea before Blue Light but for one reason or another it was never implemented. So, in effect the band would come out with a live album as opposed to something that was labored over in the studio. He adds, "But we're a lazy band. It didn't happen. That's why playing live is important to me. Live, there's room to maneuver and experiment in the song. Living on the edge. During a show Ritchie will suddenly turn around and do the ‘cut throat’ sign and stop. We all sort of look at Paice. He doesn't know what Ritchie's doin' but he's stopped and Ritchie will do a solo and signal to Paice, it's not rehearsed. Paice's then got to do something obvious enough so that the rest of the band will know where the first beat of the bar is. That's magic stuff. You're playing instinctively."
Roger Glover, who had been off the road for a couple years, found himself drawn back into the limelight when Ritchie asked him to join Rainbow. "By '73 it had gotten to the point where we'd been touring, touring and touring. Walking out on stage and seeing twenty thousand people. Well, I felt kind of alienated from them," Glover says. "I felt like I was working in a factory. And that's a shame 'cause you loose touch with your music and yourself. I value it more now. Having gone through that and come back. Joining Rainbow in '79, the first time I went on stage, it felt so good to be back. You don't know how many more gigs you'll be doing, how much longer you'll perform."
|Ritchie Blackmore at Madison Square Garden with Deep Purple on the Slaves and Masters Tour - 1990
Photo - Lorry Doll
|Interview conducted by Lorry Doll
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