The Rapture of Deep Purple

There's a real hunger in the band that comes from the fact that when Ritchie [Blackmore] left we were determined to carry on. And that determination is very strong. I suppose that's because of the unhappy Blackmore years of the late '80s/early '90s. There was a will to not give him some kind of moral victory and have the band fold when he left. We all felt very strongly about that.

-Roger Glover

Photo of Glover and Morse

And that tour was fantastic. For a lot of fans, myself included, it rekindled our passion for the band.

Roger Glover
It was a rebirth in every sense of the word. We all came out of our shells. We improved as musicians. I know I did. I suddenly felt like a bass player again, and I noticed that Jon and Paicey and Gillan just burst out with stuff. It was a wonderfully happy period and it seems to have continued. Jon [Lord] left very amicably [in 2001], and I couldn't think of a better replacement than Don [Airey]. He's a wonderful musician, suitably eccentric, very funny and knows a lot about football [laughs]. He's making his mark. Bananas was his first record and I think he really didn't quite know how we worked at that point. We basically went into the studio completely unprepared, which is normal for us. You can't prepare for a proper record; it just happens on the spot. A couple of years later after we'd toured Bananas he was much more confident and much more assertive in his ideas. He was the one who came up with the riff that became "Rapture of the Deep."

The tendency with bands that have been around for 30-plus years is to just trot out the songs that people know. Deep Purple seems very interested in making new material and fitting it together with what you've done before. There's a very active sense that this band is alive in the here-and-now.

It is important to us. First off, you can't stop writing. As soon as we get together we'll start writing stuff. That's not to say we can play it all onstage. We have disagreements in the band, as much as the fans, about what the setlist should be. I would love to do far more newer material.

I want to hear "Junkyard Blues" (from Rapture of the Deep) become a regular part of your shows.

We did it live for about a year or so. It basically got dropped in America because of the old "classic rock syndrome." The song "MTV" [off Rapture] sums it up very well, and that came from a true story.

[The first verse from "MTV"]

I was driving through the night
Into an endless tunnel of fog
When it dawned on me something was wrong
I was in a trance, hypnotized
Bored beyond belief
I was listening to the same old song
I know every lick, every word
Every nuance
I'm on first name terms with the crew
But I'd better get used to this poop du jour
Sure as hell they won't play anything new

Deep Purple
Roger Glover: I went to a radio station when Bananas came out and did a long, in depth interview about Bananas and Don and Bradford and all the interest in the new album. And the guy says, "It's been great having Roger Glover in the studio. Now let's hear some music." And then [sings the famous first few notes of "Smoke On The Water" and sighs deeply]. I know I shouldn't complain about people playing our records. It's just frustrating when they play the same two or three all the time.

Do you ever have a strong urge to just retire "Smoke On The Water?" It's such a part of what you're identified with but how do you come at it every night so you can enjoy it?

It's a magical thing, really. Steve said once that if there was a button you could press onstage that when you pressed it the audience went crazy, well, you'd be hard pressed not to press it every night.

The band started as a musical band. The whole point was music made by really good musicians. When I joined the band I was the least worthy bass player they could have found because the standard of musicianship between Ritchie and Jon Lord and Ian Paice was stunning. I'd never heard anything like it. I came from the old school where you pick up a guitar, learn a couple chords and eventually make your way. These were musicians in the real sense of the word, and the band has always been about that – music. Real musicians tend to play like jazz players not cabaret players. So, every night, with Jon and Ritchie in particular, it would always be different. I'd come from more of a pop background and I thought they were playing it wrong every night. But, of course, I realized they were extemporizing and having a bit of fun. A lot of the skeletal structure of the songs remains the same so people can recognize what it is. In fact, that's what keeps it alive. I find different bass parts in "Smoke" and "Highway Star" and "Lazy." There's something going on, I try something I've never tried before.

Happy accidents are great.

There's another thing about "Smoke," especially in Europe now. France, in particular, is a fantastic country. The past couple years we can do no wrong there. So, we're playing to 20-year-olds and less [in Europe]. We don't see many over 20. It's really a teenager's audience, and, in a sense, we live that song through their ears, their lives. So, it's a shared, new experience every night.

Continue reading for more with Roger Glover...

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