31 Januari 2011

Ritchie Blackmore Interview : Above the Autumn Sky

Having known guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore from his days in Deep Purple and Rainbow, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his newest CD Autumn Sky, which was recorded with his Renaissance influenced ensemble Blackmore’s Night, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the record.
I know that some of Blackmore’s die-hard metal fans won’t give this band a chance, but they might just be judging the book by its cover, or in this case the album by its sleeve, and not giving the music the dues it deserves.
The record, and all the albums in Blackmore’s Night’s catalog, mix traditional Renaissance music with modern influences in a manner that melds the old with the new, providing entertainment for fans of each genre as well as acting as an introductory vehicle to the older style of music that younger fans may not be familiar with.
Named after Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night, the group features enchanting vocal work alongside the world-class guitar playing that’s made Blackmore a living legend. Though you may not think this style of music is your cup of tea, give it a chance, you might just find that it’ll become one of your favorites.
Guitar International recently caught up with Ritchie Blackmore to talk about Autumn Sky, the instruments he plays on the record and his songwriting process.
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night
Matt Warnock: The new album, Autumn Sky, features a mixture of Renaissance and contemporary songs and arrangements. When you were choosing and arranging the songs, were you conscious about maintaining that mixture throughout the record, or were these just the songs and arrangements that spoke to you the most?
Ritchie Blackmore: We have an array of ideas that I keep on audio tape to refer to when we’re going to record a CD. I don’t consciously choose one Renaissance themed song, one original, one instrumental and so on. I just review the songs that I’ve put on tape and sometimes a track will catch my attention from a CD of Renaissance songs, or perhaps I’ll hear something to cover while out playing acoustic instruments at our gatherings. The whole process is really just a “feel” type of thing.
Actually, one of our main dilemmas is that we’re sometimes unsure how organic to make a song while recording it. I happen to love the traditional and purist sounds. Sometimes we slip down the middle between people that love Renaissance music, because we don’t make it Renaissance enough, and people who don’t like that type of music.
At the end of the day you just have to do what’s right for you. One of the most freeing aspects about being in this band is that we can play any type of music and genre and not be trapped in a box of one musical style. It’s a great exercise.
Matt: On the song “Vagabond” you play a solo introduction that sounds very organic and flows really nicely. Was this opening improvised in the studio and is improvisation something you like to bring to Blackmore’s Night, alongside the intricate arrangements?
Ritchie: Yes. It was improvised. I did about five minutes of improvisation on mandola for that song. Then we just cut four minutes of it out and threw on the 1 minute intro. I had no idea what I was playing at the time. I was just improvising with the theme of the song in mind.
Matt: You cover “Celluloid Heroes” by the Kinks on the record, what is it about this song that inspired you to include it on the new album?
Ritchie: I love this song, have done ever since I first heard it back in ‘75 or ‘76. We actually played this at one of the musical gatherings with our friends. After hearing Candy sing it I knew it had a lot of potential. I think it was a very good vocal from Candy, although we had to rearrange the lyrics as we did a modulation, and lyrically the flow needed to fit with the arrangement. The fact that George Saunders is one of my favorite actors had nothing to do with it.
Blackmore's Night
Blackmore's Night
Matt: One of the songs that really spoke to me on the record was “Strawberry Girl.” Who is the strawberry girl, is she real or fictional, and when you were working with Candice on that song did you write the music first, or her the lyrics, or both at the same time?
Ritchie: I wrote the melody first and then Candy came up with the lyrics, which is our usual procedure. I don’t get involved with the lyrics, but we did dedicate the CD and that song in particular to our new addition, our daughter Autumn. Candy told me, as she was pregnant while we wrote and recorded the CD, that she didn’t know if we were going to have a boy or a girl. So when she wrote the songs they took on a special meaning for her. Then when it turned out that we had a little girl, the songs made sense on other levels, and she knew that the reason she wrote those lyrics were for Autumn. So, what began as fiction came to be true.
Matt: Besides playing guitar on the record, you also play the mandola and mandolin. Both are stringed instruments, but are tuned and strung different to the guitar. Is it tricky to change your mind set when going from one instrument to the other, because of the different tunings, and do you prefer to record each one separately when you get into the studio, recording all the Mandola parts consecutively before moving onto the guitar parts for example?
Ritchie: I have to readjust whenever I pick up the mandola and the mandolin as they are tuned in 5ths, and I have to feel my way around the instrument. When I’m playing a mandolin and the mandola, I don’t know sometimes what chord I’m playing or what key I’m in, but I find that refreshing because it’s a sense of adventure not knowing exactly what I’m playing. I tend to go to different places that are not familiar. Also, when I used to play the cello, play the same way, and that’s how I got the riff for “Gates of Babylon,” which I wouldn’t have gotten to by writing on the guitar.
Matt: Who makes your mandola and mandolin, and do you have multiple instruments or do you prefer to get to know one particular instrument and stick to that on stage and in the studio?
Ritchie: I go through various favorites. I play Fylde mandolas and mandolins, Weber mandocellos, and I have an old Goya mandolin which projects very well. That one is interesting as it’s an inexpensive instrument. I play a Kawakami guitar on stage and a Helmut Gotsky hurdy gurdy. I have 4 Fylde instruments, 3 hurdy gurdys, 1 mandolin, 1 mandocello and 1 Freshwater mandola.
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night
Matt: The band is going to be on tour in Germany this coming summer, and your records have sold well there as well. Why do you think the German people have taken to Blackmore’s Night as much as they have over the years?
Ritchie: We always have a pilgrimage to Germany once per year. It’s my favorite place to play because I can pick up music from German bands that are playing Medieval and Renaissance music. We have concentrated on that country. I was inspired to play that type of music after seeing a German Renaissance band called Des Geyers, a more authentic Middle Aged, as they say there, or Medieval band. They play Middle Age, I play old age. [Laughs]
Matt: The album also went Gold in Russia, congratulations. I’m wondering, as I’m sure your Russian fans are, but do you have plans to take the band on a tour of Russia in 2011?
Ritchie: Yes, we’ll be playing there. I love the Russian countryside. I’m not a big fan of the cities, but when we go on our train rides throughout the country, I find it fascinating to see the little houses. We also get some great musical ideas from Russia.
Sometimes we don’t have a clue who originally did the songs to begin with, like the idea for “Toast To Tomorrow,” is from a very old Russian melody that we picked up during our travels there. I love the use of accordions with guitars, balalaikas, stand-up bass, and hammered dulcimers.
Matt: In 2010 you agreed to be an advisor to the National Guitar Museum. How did this relationship develop and how what role do you see yourself playing as the Museum project grows and gets set to launch?
Ritchie: The relationship began when HP Newquist contacted us to see if I was interested. It sounded like an interesting project and we’ve kept in contact about their process and direction. They’re now adding traditional instruments to their museum which should be interesting.
Matt: The band has released a new album just about every 2 years since your first album in 1997. With the success of Autumn Sky, are you already writing, arranging and planning out your next album, and if so when can we expect that album to be recorded?
Ritchie: We’re going to take a year off from writing so a new studio won’t be available for another year or two, but we are thinking about putting out a live record with different interpretations and treatments of some of the songs that we’ve previously recorded.
Many of the CDs we’ve done have 16 tracks on them, so it’s almost like many of them are double CD. There’s a lot of material that’s out there already. Plus we want to take this year and concentrate on touring. And we are always writing, year round.


21 Januari 2011

A Highway Star: Deep Purple's Roger Glover Interviewed

The Quietus has a lengthy interview with Roger Glover that covers his illustrious career as a songwriter, producer and bass player. It is a joyful read (despite the fact that they’ve managed to misspell ‘Paice’ in two differently atrocious ways).

Life's lessons can be learned from the Deep Purple story. Talking to Roger Glover reveals how, after a massive fall, one can pick oneself up to become one of the most sought after rock producers of all time. This has included, for Glover, working with Judas Priest in their infancy and helping Ronnie-James Dio establish his place in rock history. He can further teach us how to write a rock hit on the spot in two minutes flat, lets us in on the secret that he thinks hard rock is boring and reveals the ultimate key to rock & roll glory to be simple riffs, street cred and beer.

How did you get to join Deep Purple?

Roger Glover : Back in the midst of time, Ian Gillan and I were in a band together. I always wrote songs and he had a funny way with words so I convinced him to start writing with me. We became a song-writing partnership and we wrote some pretty awful tracks together. The connection to Deep Purple was our drummer. Nick Underwood was someone who’d worked with Ritchie [Blackmore] before. Unknown to us Deep Purple had formed a year before and decided they were looking for a singer and a bass player. So Ritchie called his old friend up and arranged to meet us. They came, they saw and they stole us away. That was in 1969.

What kind of music inspired you when you first started out?

RG : I’m old enough to know what music was like before rock & roll. So when rock & roll happened it changed everything. My first albums were by Presley and Little Richard, roughly when I was 13-years-old. And I wanted to emulate that. I picked up a guitar and wondered how you do it. And someone said, 'This is a chord.' That was at school. Eventually we played a gig there and the idea of being on stage felt natural, so I just carried on.

You played in what is now regarded as the classic Deep Purple line-up. In how far were the additions of you on bass and Ian Gillan on vocals responsible for the sound that was created in those years?

RG : I didn’t really know of Deep Purple before I joined the group. If they were known for anything it was for the virtuosity within the band – Richie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paice were masters of their instruments. Gillan and I however came from completely different background. We were basically na├»ve songwriters. So I think there was a great combination there, with their musical ability and our very much street value simplicity. And it was a combination that worked, right from the get-go, I mean the first song we wrote was ‘Speed King’. All that playing they could do and yet we just took rock & roll and turned it into a song.

Were you not intimidated at first by that advanced musicianship?

RG : I was, yeah. But I don’t know, it didn’t stop us, it was a very natural thing. All the songs came out of jams, everything was made up as we went along. And as much as I couldn’t play my instrument and couldn’t play solos the way they could, it wouldn’t have resulted in the way it did without us. So right from the start we said, ‘Let’s all share the publishing.’ So all those early songs were written by the five of us. Keeping that in mind, on that first album, Deep Purple In Rock, despite the fact that Richie was a far better player than I was, I could still come up with riffs that he’d play. He was interested in simple riffs, he was wise enough to know that you can’t be too musical because people won’t understand it. So it’s that combination of high musical values and yet simple, strong ideas. I started ‘Speed King’, for example and ‘Maybe I’m A Leo’ is one of mine.

I’ve heard that Richie Blackmore was a ruthless leader who hired and fired people whenever he felt the need. What’s your view on that?

RG : In the very early days he didn’t come across like that. He came across as quite a mysterious person, yes, but he was always into other peoples’ ideas and he didn’t seem like a leader. Obviously you take any creative people and put them in a room and you’re going to get clashes, you’re going to get friction. And yeah, there was a certain amount of friction. When Jon Lord did the Concerto and all the press went ‘Jon Lord’s the main composer and leader of Deep Purple’, Richie didn’t like that too much. And I think that’s what resulted in Deep Purple In Rock being such an uncompromising and hard album. I think Richie was probably more the architect of that than anyone else because he wanted to impress his will against Jon’s. So that sort of friction can be very good for a band. On stage especially. The winner of that would be the audience because they see two people trying to outdo each other. And it was great for a while. But then success came and the world started getting smaller for us. And that healthy friction turned into a destructive friction.

Please tell me about the infamous demise of the classic Purple era. It’s been suggested that when Ian Gillan quit, you got booted out of the band by Richie Blackmore. Is that true?

RG : Everyone seems to focus on the friction between Ian Gillan and Richie Blackmore and I think that’s the obvious point but it wasn’t just as simple as that. Richie began behaving as if no one else in the band existed. And that’s kind of annoying to put up with. And Ian said to himself ‘If he’s going to behave like that, so am I.' And they grew apart, that last year in the band, they weren’t really talking to each other. It’s kind of difficult to make an album under those circumstances, I felt like a go-between. And I was learning the art of production unconsciously, dealing with a situation that was uncomfortable. So in a weird way it was good for me to learn how to deal with difficult situations and personalities. And Ian wrote his letter to resign and I think he fully expected everyone to turn around and say ‘don’t be silly’, because we were pretty much the biggest band in the world at that time. But no-one did say that. And then it was widely believed that Richie was going to leave as well because he was unhappy and he wanted to be the leader of the band. The rest of us didn’t want him to be a leader so there was a bit of friction there. So in the end he was going to go.

But I guess the others decided that Richie should stay. And Richie’s condition in staying was that I had to go, so I became the sacrificial lamb, which didn’t go down very well with me, I might add. I’d worked very hard on the band, I’d loved the band, I’d written a lot of songs for the band, I’d been producing and mixing, unnamed and unpaid for, so I felt it was highly unfair but as the old saying goes, 'What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.' I came back from that Japanese tour a broken man to find that one of my outside productions was very high in the charts and that was Nazareth. I stepped into another career and suddenly became a well-known producer.

It must’ve been a really painful break-up since you temporarily gave up playing music altogether. Please talk me through that period.

RG : You can’t play bass in a vacuum. I did toy with the idea of getting a new band together but after the success and the experience of Deep Purple I didn’t want to be the leader of a band. It didn’t seem right. Yeah I wanted to play again but the opportunity didn’t arise. And when the opportunity did arise I was involved in being a producer. And I enjoy that too, I enjoy anything to do with music. And then six years of that and all of a sudden I’m producing Rainbow, back with Richie!

And on top of that he asked you to join the band too, didn’t he?

RG : Yeah.

Which must’ve come as a bit of a surprise to you, I would imagine?

RG : I don’t know who was more surprised, me or Richie! [laughs] I don’t think he wanted me necessarily. Maybe it was just convenience, you’d have to ask him. But yeah, it was a different set up then, that was Richie’s band, he was actually being the leader. And I accepted that, it’s Richie’s band and I’m the bass player.

Please tell me more about your production work which includes the aforementionedRazzmanazz by Nazareth, classics like Sin After Sin by Judas Priest and Calling Card by Rory Gallagher, to only name a few. What’s your most memorable production work of that time?

RG : The Judas Priest one was interesting. I remember their management called me up and said, 'Would you produce this band, Judas Priest?' And I’d never really heard of them although I was aware of them being around. Anyway, I went to a rehearsal of theirs and there was not a pleasant feeling in the room. They didn’t seem to want me. After three or four hours of listening to the songs they wanted to record I suggested to go to the local pub. We had a drink and as we sat down I said to them ‘I’ve got something to say to you. I get the feeling you don’t want me to produce you, which is fine. I don’t want to produce anyone that doesn’t want to be produced by me. So what’s the story?’ And they said ‘well, we want to produce ourselves but the record company’s insisting that we have a name producer’. I said 'If that’s the way you feel you should sort it out with your record company first and if you want to produce yourselves then insist you produce yourselves.'

So we left on good terms, it was no big deal to me that I was losing out, I had other things to do anyway. I liked to be home for a change. So they went off and started and about two or three weeks later I got a phone call from Glenn Tipton. I said ‘What are you doing?' and he said ‘Well, we’re in the studio and we’re not getting very far. Could you come down and help us out?' So I went down to the studio and by that point they’d sacked their drummer and Simon Phillips stood in as a session man. So I listened to the songs that they’d recorded so far and I said, ‘Well, yeah, I think you’re right, we’ll blow these out, let’s start again from scratch.' We only had six days to do it but they worked very hard so it was actually a good experience.

Nazareth were a great bunch of lads too. I knew them because they’d toured with us many times. They were our support band on at least a couple of American tours back in the early 70s. And they asked me to produce them and we went to London and we did one record, Broken Down Angel. They were very Scottish and I felt like they were a little bit uncomfortable in London. So I said to their manager ‘Why don’t we record the band in Scotland where they feel more at home?' and he said, 'Fine.' So we went up to where they rehearsed, two concrete rooms in a paint warehouse. And they just had so much energy and such determination and in fact the album cost about half the amount of what it would have cost had we done it in London. And there it was ten times better because it was so raw and rocking. We’re still firm friends now. I’m actually just finishing a solo album and Dan (McCafferty) and Pete (Agnew) are singing on it so we do keep in touch.

What was it like to have worked with the late great Ronnie James Dio?

RG : Well, I’d done three albums with Elf. Elf were a completely unknown band out of New York State and I think in 1972 Ian Paice and I went down to America and had three weeks to produce that first album. I really believed in the band and managed to produce two more albums. They came over to England and stayed at my house. We had a fantastic time, they were a very funny band. Micky Lee Soule, who was Ronnie’s writing partner, he’s still with Deep Purple, he’s my bass tech these days. He’s still writing songs but he’s got to earn a living, that’s why he’s teching for me. I think he’s done that for the past 14-years now.

Ronnie dying was a very sad experience, of course, and he and I went out and had a meal that night. We talked for hours about the old days. But Ronnie certainly had one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. I say one of the best, he’s probably THE best singer I’ve ever worked with. The gravel of his voice is timeless. In the early days he limited himself to heavy metal and hard rock but when he didn’t do that he was that much better even. When I did the Butterfly Ball album I wanted different voices for the different characters and Ronnie was the main voice and it was just a magical experience.

What music inspires you these days?

RG : I don’t listen to hard rock or heavy metal. I suppose I’ve always been influenced by folk music, I’m a big Bob Dylan fan. And I like African and avant-garde music, anything that’s vaguely interesting. Hard rock I get a bit bored with because it’s what I do. So anything outside of hard rock’s fine by me.

Talking about boredom, how do you feel about playing staple songs like ‘Highway Star’ and ‘Smoke on The Water’ these days?

RG : You’re playing the songs for the audience and they still think they’re good songs. So I tend to get excited by that, audience reaction. And let me tell you, those guys never bore of ‘Highway Star’.

How do you cope with touring life after 40 odd years in the band?

RG : Well, that’s the difficult part. No one enjoys being away from friends and family. But that’s the nature of the beast. We’ve always been a live band. Plus these days it’s really difficult to keep a band going, we used to rely on CD sales and they don’t exist anymore. So being on the road is the only way to do it. The important thing is when you’re away from home you have to be away from home 100%. And when we you’re back home, you’re home 100%. It’s not like we’re doing a day job where you get home at 7 or 8 o’clock and see the kids for half an hour before they go to bed. You’re home all day. And I prefer that.

Are you planning on recording a new album at any point soon?

RG : It would probably be a good idea if we did but we’ve been doing too much touring for the past four or five years. But yeah, we’re intending to write a new album eventually, we’re on the road for another 3-4 months and let’s see what’s going to happen then. But I’m just about to finish my solo album. I haven’t got a record company for it yet but I like to do the goods first and let the rest sort itself out after.

What kind of material do you focus on playing with Deep Purple live these days? Do you play a Best Of set?

RG : I suppose it’s difficult not to do a Best Of set because we’re known for doing that. And the strange phenomenon that started happening for the past 6 to 7 years is that the audience suddenly got very much younger so we’re playing to teenagers and 20-Somethings. And of course it’s the first time they’ve ever seen us. Maybe they know the music from their fathers or even their grandfathers and maybe it’s a novelty to see a band from so far back still performing. So there is a feeling like we’re all sharing this together. When we play ‘Highway Star’ it’s the same freshness as when we played it years ago because it’s to a new audience. And as I said you’re experiencing it through the audience, we’re not playing for ourselves. It’s invigorating. So far this tour has been one of the best we’ve ever done, we’ve had a wonderful reception everywhere, all across Australia, Asia, it’s been fantastic.

Considering there’s been so many young kids coming to your shows, do you think there’s a move back to kids picking up instruments and starting up ‘real’ bands?

RG : It would be nice to think that. I’m not actually sure that people can spot the difference between a drummer and a drum machine anymore. If you listen to what’s on the pop charts, everything is machine oriented. Not one song on the charts is being played naturally. But when you go see someone live it’s special. Even though you can fool people, I know there are people out there who still play along to tapes. But I guess we have that reputation that we’re still playing without resorting to that kind of trickery. But you know, there are good bands out there, it’s not as if I’m one of these old people who says, 'Oh, they don’t write songs like they used to.' There are some really good players out there and good songs get written all the time but the problem is how to present it to the public. There’s so much competition so the good stuff is drowned by all the bad stuff. And it was always that way to a certain extent. Whatever era you’re talking about there’s always 5% good stuff and 95% shit. So you got to wade through the shit and somehow the cream gets to the top. [laughs]

Which three albums by Deep Purple are you most proud of?

RG : Funnily enough the ones that stick out to me are the ones that are a start of a new era. So the three albums I’d choose would be Deep Purple In RockPerfect Strangers and Perpendicular. They’re vanguards of new phases if you like. But I should think probably the most influential album is Made In Japan. It was just one of those moments in time where everything inspired and came together to make a great live album. And that’s something I’m still very, very proud of. Totally live and totally real and it still stands out today.

I read that it was only you and Ian Paice going to the mixing sessions because no one thought it was going to be that important an album. Is that so?

RG : Yes, it’s true, it was just me and Ian Paice but I don’t think it’s because the others didn’t think it was important. By that time, any studio album we made no one showed up for except me and Paice. When we made Deep Purple In Rock all five were there, interested. By Fireball people were sort of like, ‘I’ve had enough now, I’m going home.' And by Machine Head, it was again just me and Paice. But it wasn’t because we thought the album was going to turn out bad.

Live albums at that time were budget things, fillers you did if you didn’t have anything better to do. So I suppose there was some sceptisism about whether we should do a live album or not. But it wasn’t until we got the tapes home from Japan and went into the studio and listened to them that we realized how good it was. So at that point we knew it was going to be an important album.

I’ve heard a rumour that ‘Highway Star’ got written on the spot in response to a journalist asking you guys how to write a song. Is that true?

RG : Yes, that is true. It was on a bus going down to Portsmouth and in those days to get a bit of publicity, we’d invite journalists to travel down with us. And there was a journalist called Richard Green who was known as The Beast. And I think he started talking about how songs get written. And songs were written in those days from jams. And I suppose it started out as a bit of a joke. Richie got a guitar and started playing and Ian started warbling about cars and I came up with the title, I was looking out of the window thinking, ‘Well, here we are on the highway... Highway Star!' You know? And it just got thrown together and in fact I think we performed it that night, a sort of embryonic version of it. Most great songs you hardly have to work on. ‘Black Night’ was another one. We were totally drunk and we’d given up. We were trying to write a single to please the management. We tried this and we tried that but finally we gave up and we went to the pub, went back and ‘Black Night’ almost appeared instantly. And we just wrote the stupidest words we could think of and it was a joke. And of course we thought it would never get used. Lo and behold it became one of our biggest hits. It’s a lesson, really. You’re at your best when you’re not looking. Forget the head, you don’t need the head. If you’re thinking about it it’s a lost cause. It’s got to come instinctively and spontaneously.

How about ‘Smoke On The Water’, was that one written spontaneously too?

RG : Yes, it was. Richie came out with the riff. We started jamming and it took us maybe all of two minutes to get an arrangement – ‘Verse, punch-line, riff, verse, punch-line, riff, chorus, verse, out? Yeah, let’s do that.' And then, of course, the circumstances under which that album was made were a little difficult. We had to move, it was recorded at some other place. But shortly after that we went to the Grand Hotel and started working on the other songs like ‘Pictures Of Home’. And this first song we wrote we’d almost forgotten. And then I came up with the title, I used the words ‘Smoke On The Water’ but I didn’t know what they meant at the time. And when we’d almost finished the album, we needed one more track. So we went, ‘What about that track we did at that different place, let’s have a look at that. And it’s called 'Smoke On The Water' and it’s about what happened to us here.' So it was an afterthought in a way. And the words got written very quickly. They’re almost conversational. No attempt to make them poetic or make them rhyme cleverly or anything like that. Not a lot of thought went into it. [laughs]

What current musical trends have influenced you lately?

RG : We’re influenced by each other. We don’t pay any attention to what’s current, I don’t know what a current musical trend is. What would I listen to? A singer-songwriter or hip hop? Not really. It all comes from the instruments. It’s as simple as that, really. We’re a simple band.


05 Januari 2011

Morse + Morse + LaRue + Portnoy + McPherson

Guitarist Steve Morse (DEEP PURPLE, DIXIE DREGS), drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, TRANSATLANTIC), multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse (TRANSATLANTIC, SPOCK'S BEARD), bassist Dave LaRue (DIXIE DREGS) and vocalist Casey McPherson (ALPHA REV, ENDOCHINE) have joined forces in a brand new project. The as-yet-unnamed band has just entered the studio to begin work on a new album, due later in the year.

Regarding how the new project came together, Neal Morse said, "Last April I got together with Steve Morse to do some writing and to see what would happen with a collaboration between the two of us and how I went down to his house in Florida and spent some days with him, getting to know him and writing some music and we had a really good time. So we've been talking about doing a project together for a while."

Steve Morse and Dave LaRue, © 2009 Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA
As for the musical direction of the new project, Neal said, "We're all going to get together and work from scratch with no pre-prepared material and see what comes out.

"I'd like to do something different. Something to make it very different from like my solo stuff or TRANSATLANTIC. 

"There are some demos and some things that Steve and I did in April that we've worked on and so we'll have some things to start with, but I think the plan is to get together and see what happens and write in the room."

He added, "We're all excited about the project, but it is a bit of a mystery as to what will come. The vision is to do something a little more song-oriented and not quite so riffy, as one might expect. But still, of course, having the musical elements that people like Steve Morse, Dave LaRou,Mike Portnoy, and myself can provide."

Although Neal is hoping to release the album this year, he was quick to point out that there is no firm timetable set for the completion of the new project's debut.

"We've mapped out about 10 days [in the studio for the project's first session]," he said. "We'll see what happens and see how much we can get done, if we can't get the basics down enough for an album then we'll have to continue on later. 

"Everyone's schedules are a bit in flux and their very busy people so I don't know how long it will take us to actually finish and release the record."

info : Blabbermouth 

Formasi VIII (2002-saat ini)

Formasi VIII (2002-saat ini)
Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Ian Gillan, Don Airey & Steve Morse

Formasi VII (1994-2002)

Formasi VII (1994-2002)
Steve Morse, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice

Formasi VI (1993-1994)

Formasi VI (1993-1994)
Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Joe Satriani, Roger Glover, Jon Lord

Formasi II-c (1992-1993)

Formasi V (1990-1992)

Formasi V (1990-1992)
Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Joe Lynn Turner & Ian Paice

Formasi II-b (1984-1990)

Formasi II-b (1984-1990)
Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Roger Glover & Ian Gillan

Formasi IV (1975-1976)

Formasi IV (1975-1976)
David Coverdale, Jon Lord, Tommy Bolin, Ian Paice & Glenn Hughes

Formasi III (1973-1975)

Formasi III (1973-1975)
Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes & David Coverdale

Formasi II-a (1969-1973)

Formasi II-a (1969-1973)
Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore & Jon Lord

Formasi I (1968-1969)

Formasi I (1968-1969)
Rod Evans, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice dan Nick Simper



Salah satu pelopor musik Hard Rock kemudian berkembang menjadi Heavy Metal ini pada awal berdirinya merupakan ide dari bintang pop tahun 1960-an dan telah memperoleh kebesaran dengan band-nya, THE SEARCHER, dialah Christopher Crummy atau yang dikenal dengan nama Chris Curtis (Oldham, Lancs, tgl. 26 Agustus 1941).

Curtis melihat semakin berkembangnya musik Rock Progressive sehingga terbentuk suatu ide bersama rekannya di bisnis musik yang bersedia menolongnya.

Curtis mulai mendiskusikannya dengan Tony Edwards, yang bekerja di bisnis textile milik keluarganya di West End, London. Mereka pun diperkenalkan ke Vicki Wickham, seorang asisten produser acara TV : Ready, Steady, Go Pop Show.

Setelah setahun berjalan, secara formal Curtis lalu meminta pertolongan manajemen dan Edwards pun menghubungi teman bisnisnya, John Colletta, yang saat itu memiliki agen periklanan diatas perusahaan textile milik Edwards. Mereka lalu membuat keputusan untuk menggabungkan bisnis mereka dengan melakukan promosi band yang akan dibentuk Curtis.

Seiring dengan waktu, mereka sadar bahwa Curtis hanya memiliki mimpi besar yang hanya berisikan gagasan dan gagasan belaka. Sedangkan bagian yang paling nyata terletak kepada keberadaan teman Curtis yang juga musisi yang tinggal satu flat (Fulham's Gunter Grove) dengan Curtis, dialah Jon Lord.

Curtis pun masih bersemangat untuk membicarakan proyeknya tersebut dengan menampilkan kumpulan musisi terbaik. Salah satu musisi yang sangat diinginkan Curtis adalah Ritchie Blackmore, gitaris terkenal di Reeperbahn dan saat ini bermukim di Hamburg bersama kekasihnya, Babs.

Saat itu band telah terbentuk dengan formasi : Ritchie Blackmore (gitar), Jon Lord (organ), Chris Curtis (vokal), Dave Curtis (bass) dan Bobby Woodman Clarke (drum). Clarke merupakan referensi dari Blackmore berdasarkan promosi Melody Maker yang dibayar 25 Pound setiap minggunya. Sedangkan Dave Curtis tidak ada hubungannya dengan Chris Curtis.

Setelah melakukan jam, Blackmore melihat kelemahan Band terletak pada diri Chris Curtis sendiri, sehingga (sangat ironis) akhirnya Chris Curtis harus keluar dari Band disusul oleh Dave Curtis, sehingga Band hanya terdiri dari Blackmore, Lord dan Clarke saja.

Tak lama berselang, rekan Jon Lord semasa di The Flowerpot Men, Nick Simper (bass) ikut bergabung. Sedangkan untuk posisi vokal, Band telah melihat nama Ashley Holt, Rod Stewart dan Terry Raid.

Dari sekian pelamar, harapan terbesar terletak pada diri Mick Angus. Inkarnasi embrio ini ditambah lagi dengan saran Simper dan Lord untuk memilih Ian Gillan. Saat itu terjadi dilema apabila Gillan masuk ke dalam Band, sedangkan saat itu Gillan masih bergabung dengan EPISODE SIX.

Setelah kembali ke Slough dengan saat itu telah diberikan kepercayaan oleh Band, Angus mereferensikan teman akrabnya, Rod Evans.

Entah mengapa justru Rod Evans (ex. The Maze) bersama rekannya Ian Paice masuk kedalam Band. Dengan masuknya Paicey otomatis Clarke harus keluar dari Band.

Begitu banyak nama Band diusulkan seperti Orpheus dan Concrete God, namun Management mengusulkan nama Roundabout dan nama ini dipakai dalam tour.

Dalam tour di Tastrup, Denmark tgl. 20 April 1968, nama Band pun berubah menjadi DEEP PURPLE, yang diambil dari nama sebuah lagu favorit dari Neneknya Ritchie Blackmore.

Debut album Deep Purple, Shades Of Deep Purple direkam di bulan Mei 1968. Dalam relatif sangat singkat, hit single Deep Purple, Hush (dirilis bulan Juli 1968) menembus tangga lagu Amerika, dengan menduduki posisi no. 4.