Mr. Glover says it like it is. What is worrying is that mainstream radio and TV is even worse today than it was at the start of the 70s in giving rock music a chance to be heard. Very strange, considering the millions of people into rock music. Is this a huge conspiracy to prevent people liking rock in a future society? Someone should write a rock opera around this theme.
Roger glover slams radio rubbish
By Tony Norman
ROGER GLOVER HADN’T had any sleep for a couple of nights and it showed. His eyes were puffy and his face creased for want of a good kip. But, as we sat talking in the bar of a well-known studio in Wembley, it was obvious that his haggard appearance did nothing to kill his thought waves. Apart from his work with Deep Purple, he is pursuing a joint project with singer Ian Gillan. That’s what the Wembley sessions are all about.
“When we were with Episode Six we wrote a pile of songs together,” Glover explained. “Ian took the best of them and has wound them into an idea for a film. We’ve been putting down some of the songs to see what they sound like and so that we can play them to producers. It’s gonna be quite a big thing. At the moment they’re just demos to give people an idea of what we have in mind. Ian has a definite idea but we don’t want to discuss it yet — someone might pinch it.
“It could turn out well, but really it’s just a little thing we’re working at on the side. We’re messing around in a way. But I’m knocked out with it. I think it’s really good.”
All highly cryptic stuff. We moved on to something more concrete. The next Purple album.
“We were supposed to do it in Italy but we ended up with only nine days over there, which is really no time at all. So we’re having to go to Germany to finish it. We’re not quite sure where.”
Presumably they record out of Britain for tax reasons?.
“Yes,” he nodded. “We’ve got two tracks nearly completed and the rest we still have to write. I wish I could give you some definite news on a live album we recorded in Japan a few weeks ago. It could be that we’ll release that here next and the studio album will follow next year. But, as I say, I’m not sure what’s happening. That’s just an idea.
“We recorded every show in Japan for an album to be released over there. But now we’re thinking of putting it out in Britain too. There are so many bootlegs of us going around. If we put out our own live set, it should kill their market. Ours would be a double album and we’d like to bring it out at just over the normal price for a single album.
“Being bootlegged can really be a drag. All groups have good and bad nights, and if they catch you on a bad gig then the record can really turn people off.
“They hear it and think `Christ, Deep Purple aren’t much good’. I’ve found this myself. I heard a Led Zeppelin bootleg and they sounded terrible. It’s just not fair on the bands. It’s a rotten business.
“It happened in Germany a lot, a couple of years ago. You’d see millions of mikes on little stands, sticking up from the audience. Our roadies went out and grabbed all the tapes they could and got into a few fights, but there’s really very little you can do about it.
“We had a court case against Virgin Records, which we won. That stopped them selling our bootlegs. But it’s a drag. The live album from Japan could kill the market. That would be a great thing.
“Another reason for wanting to put it out is that the stage act we’ve been using on the British tour will be dropped next year. The next one will be based around the new album. Although of course there will be some old songs because people always want to hear them.”
Which tracks are the real favourites?
“Well, the three people want to hear from ‘Machine Head’ are ‘Highway Star’, ‘Smoke On The Water’ and ‘Lazy’. We sometimes do ‘Child in Time’ and that always gets a big reaction. ‘Speed King’ from the first album is also popular. I don’t mind doing the old stuff — we even do ‘Black Night’. It’s a great number to play.”
Purple have spent a fair part of 1972 in the States. Their most recent sweep (they got home in early September) was a real goodie: “We’ve had a lot of bad luck with illness in the past. Ian (Gillan) was ill when ‘Fireball’ was making it and Ritchie (Blackmore) was ill when ‘Machine Head’ was taking off. Possibly that stunted their climb up the charts a little bit. But ‘Machine Head’ now is just about Gold, which is fantastic. It’s the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
“The last couple of tours have proved we’re making it on the concert scene. We’re headlining and playing to capacity crowds. It really is a very good scene for us now — especially the East Coast.”
IT’S TAKEN PURPLE a long time to get to the present happy state where they are equally popular both sides of the Atlantic.
“When Ian and I joined, the situation was that the band meant nothing here and were dwindling in America after a couple of hit singles (remember ‘Hush’?). So we decided to concentrate on Europe, starting with the concerto, then ‘In Rock’ and ‘Black Night’. It happened for us and we were huge in Europe and meant nothing in America. The situation had been reversed. In the States, it’s only now that we’re getting over the ‘Hush’ thing. We still get people asking for it.
“‘Hush’ isn’t really what we want to be remembered for. It’s the now band, the ‘Machine Head’ band that’s the important one for us. At the moment we’re in a satisfying position because we’re fairly big in Europe and the States. That doesn’t stop you trying to get bigger, of course.
“One of the things that’s standing in our way is the media. I don’t think the musical Press does us justice. It’s not just us either. They don’t like groups. They like cult heroes. I don’t know why this is. I think journalists, on the whole — I’m not having a go at you — tend to think that they can create their heroes. If they like somebody they really give him all the space they can and it’s the groups that suffer.”
I don’t agree, but that’s his opinion. Glover also feels American bands get a better deal here than our own groups.
“I remember once, we sold out the Albert Hall in London. It was a great night. We did about three encores and everyone had a fantastic time. After all that, one paper gave it a paragraph. About a week later, Canned Heat came over and sold out the Albert Hall. The same paper gave them a huge, headlined, front page story.
It’s the Americans who get the treatment. You very rarely, see an article on Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, the Stones or us. There are about six groups who are huge all over the world, yet they don’t get fair treatment at home.”
I said that the groups he’d mentioned didn’t exactly turn cartwheels to make themselves available for interviews. Top acts tend to cut right back because they don’t want to be over-exposed. It’s understandable in many ways… but it’s not the Press’s fault.
“Well,” said Glover thoughtfully, “maybe that has something to do with it. But we’re always available. I can’t think of any time when we’ve said, ‘Right, we’re not doing any interviews for three months’.”
“But in any case that’s not the main problem with the media. The biggest thing is radio. Even now, after years of Radio One. I listen to it and think, this can’t be true. This can’t be England in 1972. It’s just unbelievable. Alan Freeman is the only guy on radio who has any idea of what it’s all about. Even he has to submit to the various gimmicks they put in shows, like the Youth Club Call. In a way that’s not a bad idea and if he believes in it, then fine. But the point I’m trying to make is that those gimmicks are really not what rock radio is all about. They belong to Radio Two.
“If you go to New York and turn on the radio, it’s fantastic. You can whip through your dial and pick up maybe twenty rock stations, all playing good music. And we haven’t even got one. I can’t believe it.”
Did he, remembering all the set-backs in this country, find it surprising that British music is so very good?
“The British bands are good, not in spite of the BBC, but because of it. Bands in America have God knows how many stations on which to get their music played. So when they’re in a studio or on a stage, they haven’t any hang-ups. They know they’re gonna get air play. But in England, you’ve got to make a decided choice.
You’ve either got to go for music that Radio One will play, which means producing drivel. Or you’re gonna say, ‘Forget it, we’re just gonna do what we really want to do’. And that’s why the English bands who make that choice are completely unrestrained. They’re very exciting. They don’t care — they don’t care about anything. The live performance is the only thing that matters because it’s the only thing they’ve got. That’s the only thing that’s gonna sell their records. That’s how Deep Purple made it.
“Before we had ‘In Rock’ released, we spent six months going up and down the M 1 playing maybe five gigs a week. We travelled all over England and were pulling in bigger audiences and getting better money than most of the chart bands. That was simply because our live show had a good reputation. Then when the album came out that reputation made it sell. I’m sure of it. It got no radio play at all. The only thing that did was ‘Black Night’, and they only played that after it was a hit.”
As you will have gathered, Glover is not totally averse to speaking his mind. He wound out our conversation with some views on the Grateful Dead.
“I really didn’t know much about the Grateful Dead. Just that they were a San Francisco band and I never really liked that kind of West Coast music. To me it was always a bit untutored and untogether and out of tune. Then, about nine months ago, I saw a television special in New York featuring them. It was a live thing and lasted 45 minutes.
“I watched it for a minute. Then I started laughing. I really thought they where clowning. But, after a while, I realised they were serious.
“Their music is sheer self-indulgence. A lot of it is the drug culture thing. I think they got off initially because people were so high. There’s one group I`d go as far as to say, they are a load of —- and that`s the Grateful Dead.”
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