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Over the years, the Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover has given Goldmine insightful glimpses into the band's musical soul. The following are five things we considered worthy.
Roger Glover's opinion on concert bootlegs
When you're in a band you really don't know what you are, what you represent to fans. We know what we are between us. And bootlegs in the early days were definitely frowned upon. It was illegal and they didn't sound that great. But I remember when I was considering reforming Deep Purple for Perfect Strangers, whether it was a good idea or not, and that was when I started listening to some older recordings and thinking, "Actually, we were a lot better than I thought we were." (laughs) I was all for it then. And as soon as we started playing I knew that it was right. We jammed together and it felt so good. We've always been a live band. The whole point was live. Back when I first started with the band, you know, we didn't get played on the radio. We didn't have any kind of coverage or anything. It was just the audience that was there that night. Actually, nothing much has changed in that respect. Music is a kind of a strange and wonderful art form. You can't touch it or smell it or see it. The moment you hear it it's gone. With a museum you can look at things, with books you can read them and so forth but music's just here and gone. And the only way you can actually capture that is by recording something live, which is not the same experience as being there of course. Being there is everything.
If he ever tires of performing the classic song "Smoke On the Water"
I don't mean to be disrespectful but the only boring part is people asking me about it. (laughs) It's a great song to play. I love playing it. And it's not just solos. When I change the bass part every night, I have fun with it. It's a good song because it has a skeletal structure that you can just have fun with. And I don't think we can ever get away with not playing it. It's become such a ritual. And a lot of places — especially in Europe and other parts of the world — as we get older the audience gets younger. Eastern Bloc countries and places like that, the audience is usually in their 20s. And younger. And they're experiencing it live for the first time. You see, you live it through eras and their experience. And it's always fun to play, so, no, I never get tired of it at all.
We didn’t see it as a future classic song. There is a lot more to it than the guitar riff. However, the riff is the first thing that people recognize. Over the years, I have bumped into people who say, “What is your biggest hit?” I say, “Smoke on the Water.” They go, “I don’t know it.” I go, “Duh, duh duh. Duh duh da-da.” They go, “Oh, that one!”
On the true leader of the band
I think the sum of the band lies with [drummer] Ian Paice. The way he plays and the way he conducts himself says it all. He has been in the band since Day One, and he had been in every lineup. That gives him a kind of seniority, which he accepts quite well. We are a family; we are very close. We all love and respect each other. We have taken on quite a journey over four decades, and it is a good feeling.
On Deep Purple's early music
The original songs on the early three Deep Purple albums were not really good, heavy songs. There was some interesting stuff, but the best songs they had were covers like “Kentucky Woman” and “Hush.” The music they wrote themselves didn’t do a thing, so they were a fading force. They were looking to change, and they wanted a songwriting partnership.
Ian and I are simple musicians, and we were from a pop band. We are not virtuosos — at least, I am not. Coupled with Ritchie, Paicey and Jon, who were all virtuosos and masters of their instruments, the naivety and simpleness of our songs, over their driving beat, was the magic formula.
On Deep Purple's classic album In Rock
I am very proud of it. It was a moment in time that both Ian and I grew in our abilities, overnight. I had never taken bass playing very seriously up to then. Songwriting was a bit of a hobby. All of a sudden, we were in this band where you can do stuff, real stuff, and the floodgates just opened up. In [former band] Episode Six, Ian was writing really stupid lyrics and now, all of a sudden, he was writing songs like “Child in Time,” which is one of the best lyrics I have ever heard.