Deep Purple – Roger Glover im Interview

Sober Truth Groove Bar 2021

Vergangenen Freitag kam mit „Turning To Crime“ ein neues Studioalbum von Deep Purple auf den Markt. Es ist ein Besonderes. Denn es ist das erste reine Cover Album von Deep Purple. Wie es klingt und warum hier es definitiv euer Eigen nennen solltet, könnt ihr gerne hier noch einmal im Review nachlesen. Wir hatten aber auch das große Glück und die Ehre Roger Glover zum Gespräch über das Album treffen zu können. Neben den Hintergründen und der Entstehung von „Turning To Crime“ haben wir auch über Spotify und eine alte Fernsehshow namens „The Old Grey Whistle Test“ gesprochen. Zur Einstimmung gibt es jetzt aber erstmal mit „7 And 7 Is“ ein Video aus dem Album und danach folgt das Interview (auf englisch). Viel Spaß!

Deep Purple had nothing else to do

MH: Hello Roger, first thanks for taking the time for us and let’s come directly to your new album „Turning To Crime“. It came out only 15 months after your last album „Whoosh!“. Why so fast?

Roger Glover (RG): We had nothing else to do 😉 We were stuck, we couldn’t tour when „Whoosh!“ came out. So we hadn’t had the experience of playing anything of the album . And who knew how long this pandemic thing will gonna last. And we find ourselves unable to travel. We live all over the world, you know. Between England, America and Switzerland. So,we can’t even make an album. Because you can’t write Deep Purple songs without being together. There have to be the five of us messing around. And it is the chemistry between us that creates all the song. It was always like this, the band together.

MH: But you did make an album…

RG: We asked ourselves, what could we do. We can work remotely, but we need a blueprint. As I said we can’t write Purple Songs, but other people can write songs. And that is how the cover album did come out.

MH: Who had the idea first?

RG: We had a conference call with Bob Ezrin. Bob Ezrin is in Canada and we wherever we are. It wasn’t anyone in person that came up the idea. I wanted to do a kind of jam session which might have worked once. But it wasn’t anything that you’ll keep doing. But doing a covers album was different. As I said, all what we need is a kind of blueprint that everyone can play to. Because we all got home studios. And the more we talked about it the more we thought it could happen. And so let’s do it.

MH: How many songs you had in favor to cover?

RG: There were fifty songs that we threw into the hat and voted them off. And ended up with what we ended up with. And then Bob said we need to do demos. Who’s gonna do demos? So Steve Morse, Don Airey and me did all the demos for the album. A basely, simple structure and we send it to all the others and they had their bits. And it was a great surprise to hear what they did when it came back to you a couple of weeks later.

MH: Can you recall who came up with which song?

RG: I don’t remember exactly. I came up with „7 and 7 is“, cause I always loved the band Love. „Watching The River Flow“, White Room“ and a bonus track „Roadrunner“ which is not on the album. But will be available at one point. And another one I can’t remember right now. Steve came up with „Lucifer“, I never heard of that before.

About the influence of Bob Ezrin

MH: Which influence did Bob Ezrin have on the sound of the songs and the end result?

RG: The sound of the songs is very natural. We don’t aim for a sound. We just play what we play. I guess it becomes that it sound like Deep Purple, because it is us playing it, you know. Bob is a great producer, because he is not only a good musician or songwriter. He’s got a great voice as well and great ideas. But maybe because he likes working with us and we like working with him. And what he does is, he makes the whole thing more efficient. Instead of us sitting in a room and argueing for two hours is it a b flat or an f… He cuts it short and makes the decision and we move on. And when you got five people argueing it is not pretty 😉

MH: To be honest I didn’t hear of most of the songs before and even if I don’t know the original, I assume that your versions are quite different. They have the certain Purple Touch.

RG: Well, we decided that we couldn’t just copy some songs. We were gonna try to invest them with something fresh, purplelize them if you like. So occasionally something will happen in a song that wasn’t on the original. But this doesn’t mean we don’t respect the original. Of course they are there, we respect them anyway. We don’t wanna take anything away, but we were gonna add to them. So, if there is a crime involved it means that we’re stealing a song, messing it up and giving it back. You now that is the crime.

MH: Listening to the album I heard the fun and joy you had recording it. Same goes for „Whoosh!“. In my review I wrote it sounds like you did what you wanted to do, don’t care about the expectations of others.

RG: You got it. I think we’re of the age now. We don’t have to defend ourselves. We don’t have to prove ourselves. We are very lucky and that respects that we’re around for a while. And the priorities changed. We’re not interested in impressing people. We are just interested in having fun. And we are a fun band. And when I say fun, there’s a great deal of humor in the band. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. People take us seriously, but that’s their problem (laughing).

Nothing new – the music industry repeats itself

MH: I mean you are legends. But to come to something completely different… Lately I watched a documentary about the freedom of art and self censorship of artist. Nowadays many musicans try to optimize their songs to fit into the Spotify algorythm or other streaming platforms. So, did you experience in the past something similar by your label or management? Like shorten that song or write a ballad or whatever?

RG: Hm, I was in a band with Ian Gillan in the sixties and we covered any song thatwe thought might be successful. And we wanted success so bad. All I wanted to get a number one so that my life would gonna change. And of course it didn’t happen. But when I joined Purple, I joined a band that actually thought the opposite. They weren’t interested in success. The were interested in just making the music they wanted to play. That’s when I grew up. One thing is wanting to be famous, a celebrity, a number one and all that. And this is about something more serious, it’s about your expression. And of course not wanting it was when we got it.

MH: Yes, three times number one in Germany with the last albums. But to come back to Spotify. To be counted as streamed your song must played at least minimum thirty seconds. So many moderns artists write their songs without a intro and a hook line right in the beginning to get many streams.

RG: I don’t have Spotify and doesn’t know how it works. But this is how it was used to be in the Fifties. It was all pop music then. There was no division between rock and pop music. It was just pop music. There was a saying: If you can’t whistle a tune after fifteen seconds, forget it. So record companies did it this way. Listening to your song and if it didn’t grab in the first fifteen seconds, they didn’t want it. There was „The Old Grey Whistle Test“, a television show. What it meant was: If the doorman at the hotel can’t whistle it, it’s not worth anything.

MH: So the music industry is repeating itself…

RG: Yeah, you know, people are adjusting themselves to draw attention, shaving half their heads. It’s just more competition now, so much more music now. Back then you had record companies that gave you an recording contract if you were you good enough. Now you don’t have to be good enough. You can be crap and produce stuff. And that makes it very difficult, you know. It’s a completely different world. But one thing is the same: Everyone wants attention.

Roger Glover about making music and the magic of Deep Purple

MH: So compared to the Seventies. Do you like making music nowadays more? Or is it only different?

RG: I like making music. I wouldn’t say more. But I learned maybe how to do it better a bit. I’m never gonna stop doing it. Purple or not. I will always be a songwriter of somekind. I can’t help it, it is in the blood.

MH: What about the digital recording? Copy and paste part of songs, replacing and editing parts…

RG: Oh, we dreamt of being able to do things like this. So in the Sixties we tried to very speed the tape, change the tone of the keys. You could to do it by varying the amount of electricitry. I don’t know technically. But now it is just a button. Change that to that…

MH: Do you enjoy the possibilities you now have?

RG: It’s both. Freeing and limiting. Yes, you’re free to do all sort of things. But usually when you got too much choice, that’s a limit as well. When synthesizers came out, you had thousands of sounds and when you are working and you are trying to find your sound. You spend hours trying this one and this one. It’s too much choice. Just give me a piano and I will do anything with it. I mean, I’m not being serious there. Yeah, if you have too much choice… If you are a painter you can have a palette with thousands of colours. But really you only need three. Because out of those three you can make all the others. So it makes life easier.

MH: Okay. To close the circle and coming back to Deep Purple. What is so special about the band and writing songs together?

RG: It’s the chemistry. It is difficult to define really. All I know is, if anyone of us comes to a writing session with a finished song. It’s not gonna happen. Because we all gotta take part. When I first joined the band, we realized then that it wasn’t pop music. It wasn’t just a top line and a melody or sad lyrics. I mean the way Ian Paice played the drums was as much a part of the writing of the song as the guitar riff or whatever. So right from the get on, when Ian Gillan and I joined the band, we were gonna share everything. It doesnt’t matter who comes up with what idea. It’s all in one bag. And I think it is the only way to run a band. Because it takes away all kind of other problems you might have. Like greed, jeleaousy, nastyness. It wasn’t always like this. But when Steve Morse joined we went back to that. So it’s gonna come from all five of us. It can be three people having the idea, but all five complete it.

MH: Last question is about „Turning To Crime“. What about the songs you swept under the table?

RG: Well, we had fifty songs to start with on our list. We had conference calls and talked about it. I know Steve came up with „Ring Of Fire“ by Johnny Cash. I mean it’s a good thought and song, but it is a bit limiting. It’s not quite enough in for us to work with. So things like that might sway our opinion if you like. But all songs meant something to us from our past. They are the ones who defined us or had a special meaning to us.

MH: So „Turning To Crime“ gives us an insight in the roots of Deep Purple?

RG: Yes, we are an product of our time.

MH: Then thank you for taking the time an we all hope to see you on stage soon. And for all the fans out there. Go and listen to „Turning To Crime“!

In eigener Sache

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