AN EDITOR REMEMBERS.........               Issue 30  December 1984

Half a year on from the reunion announcement and the excitement level was building; the magazine carried quite astonishingly detailed reports on the making of the album (looking back you'd imagine we were taping in to GCHQ but I'm sure we weren't!) and of - well, football matches. Various members of the band were seen at charity matches in the UK during breaks from tour rehearsals in sunny Bedford. And there on page 3 - proof positive; a photo of, no not some topless dolly, but someone's hand grasping two tickets for one of the band's debut gigs in New Zealand. I'd better come clean; it was my hand, the tickets were photocopies airmailed over by a dpas correspondent (we're still a decade away from e-mail and digital cameras), and it wasn't even strictly speaking a photograph - I just held my hand very still under a repro camera and shot it straight to Agfa copyproof paper (think of it as a giant Polaroid machine about five feet high and taking sheets of paper up to A3).

Then came the hard part, reviewing the album. Reading the magazine, all my anxieties come back to haunt me twenty years on; I even couldn't bring myself to buy it on the day of release and then I got the cassette 'cos the
sleeve sucked and I wanted the extra track. Like a prat I took the album apart of course, which quickly scuppered our chances of any exclusives from the reunion! I did want to be as honest about it as I possibly could though, even if only for my own benefit. After all a lot of people were going round, having heard advance tapes, saying it was the best Purple album - ever. It's just in me; I expect everyone to do their utmost on whatever they're doing creatively. It wasn't the best album ever, not even perhaps the best Rainbow album of all time, but there was a lot to enjoy about it and, while some cuts were crying out to be done live, even at the time I doubted the title track could be improved on when the touring started. I was wrong there.

The rest of the magazine rounded up the last few bits of solo news - Rainbow and Gillan videos - and then broke down into various features, including the first attempt at documenting Paicey's early career, an Illustrated German single discography, a big update on the Green Bullfrog, and a load of reviews. Play list wise I was thoroughly enjoying Gillan's Sabbath LP and some of the US Whitesnake remixes too, plus my four faves off the new Purple LP - "Knocking..", the title track, "Gypsys Kiss" and "Nobody's Home" if you're interested. I was however thoroughly disappointed by the new live Talking Heads album as well, and had gone back to the bootlegs.

We ended the 24 page issue (glossy art paper throughout again!) with the first official image of the new line-up (lifted from a Swedish magazine - we had no other sources), some images from the "Perfect Strangers" promo video, and right at the end a break-down of the first Aussie gig which arrived just in time to be included. Howie Kehl who sent it is still in the fan-club.

The magazine cover is still one of my faves, contrasting the new and old line-up pictures. The grey tint effect took all morning to get right on the repro camera (you could do it in 60 seconds now) when the boss was upstairs. The works where I did freelance design and artwork (sounds grand but it was mostly just laying out leaflets and stuff to help pay the rent a couple of days a week) was in a draughty old chapel - the offices were on the converted balcony - so if I heard him creaking down the stairs I could switch to some official work! I also notice a couple of feeble attempts at phototypesetting on one page but I can't for the life of me recall how they were done unless it was via a second-hand IBM Selectric Golfball that I lusted after and invested in (the letters were moulded on a golfball shaped device which could be quickly changed, thus giving you a variety of typefaces). It broke down after a couple of days and it took me months to get my cash back.

And even though it was a joy to be able to celebrate our thirtieth issue with a brand new Deep Purple album, I was so distressed by the album art that I couldn't even bring myself to grab the promo posters up around the city. Anyone else gets access to time travel they'll do something really interesting. Me, I'd go back and redo the Perfect Strangers sleeve. And drop in at the Speakeasy in July 1969. And the set of the film Lock Up Your

NEWS : Rehearsing & Recording
RECORD REVIEW : Perfect Strangers
LIVE REVIEW : Perth (the first reunion show)
NEWS : Touring As A Four Piece
RECORD REVIEW : Love Ain't No Stranger (US 7")
NEWS : Phenomena


Rehearsing & Recording - News

Rehearsals began on May 1st . They were held at The Base Lodge (owned by the Von Trapp family), tucked away in Northern Vermont. The musicians began by just jamming to get the feel of playing together again. According to Jon (and as predicted by Cozy Powell), Ritchie was brimming over with ideas. By June 3rd the album material was worked out, and given the temporary title 'The Sound Of Music'. The state authorities turned down an application to tape at the lodge, causing a delay while the party was moved to Horizons, a large house in Stowe, Vermont. Recording there began on July 10th. Roger Glover did the production, although he had been dead against doing it initially.

Live rehearsals ended around October 19th, after a couple of weeks spent in the Antico room of St.Peter's Hall, Bedford (England). It was only now that they dared try out older material, beginning with 'Highway Star' (once they'd worked out the key) and working their way through most of the 1972 set. While there the band also did interviews for Tommy Vance at the BBC and Phil Easton of Radio City among others. The band have been followed by video cameras from the off, and some of this was cobbled together for a promo video to accompany the title track.

While the band had been busy mixing and rehearsing, touring plans were being organised back in America. The initial dates showed a tour starting in Christchurch, New Zealand on November 26th, but things were subsequently rearranged to kick off in Perth, Australia on November 27th.

Perfect Strangers - Album Review

The album hit the record stores here on October 29th, though most London stores held out for the official release date of November 2nd. The cover appalls me; looks like something a thirteen year old would carve into a school desk in a moment of boredom. The music; you know damn well that what went down at those rehearsals and in the studio must have been electric, yet the energy doesn't always communicate itself to the listener, which is a shame. The temptation in reviewing it is to get carried away by the fact that they are back together, and rave about the goodies while playing down the more mediocre stuff. That would be wrong.

'Knocking At Your Back Door' effortlessly crosses the gap between commercial and hard rock in a way Rainbow tried so long to achieve... lovely chugging strings at the intro, Paicey lays into it, the Hammond swirling about, and a very typical Blackmore riff. Polished performances all round and disgustingly catchy. 'Nobody's Home' is a hard rocking steal from 'Lay Down Stay Down' amongst others. 'Mean Streak' doesn't consist of much at all - pounding bass, hi-hat and what sounds like good organ work buried in a really muddy sound. I find it hard to say a lot about the title track. It is everything Purple ever were to me, if I had to justify the reunion to anyone this cut would suffice. Ian's vocals charged with emotion, all set over a gorgeous piece of work from the band. It belongs up there with the best of everything they've done before. 'Wasted Sunsets' is nicely predictable. It could have made a blinder, I'd have liked a quiet start, taking it up gradually to increase the power. 'Hungry Daze' is a bit of a let down, the best bit being the middle part - Third Stone From The Sun revisited!

The Burn album is probably the closest point of reference in terms of how I feel about the album overall. That too was recorded quickly, and showed a marked change of style. This time we've been prepared somewhat with Rainbow, and the shadow of that band is fairly strong. More variety in the manner of Gillan's output over the past few years wouldn't go amiss.

Perth Entertainment Centre, November 27th 1984 - Live Review

"The show kicked off with 'Highway Star', and then went into 'Nobody's Home' after which Ian finally chatted with the crowd. 'Strange Kind Of Woman' followed, with some duelling in the middle, and even a bit of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'! A short blues preceded 'A Gypsy's Kiss', and a short Blackmore doodle led into 'Lazy' which was kept short and used for Ian Paice to solo in. The band were still trying to get their hand signals worked out during 'Child In Time', and the song went on longer than it should when first Jon and then Ian missed their cues! The Rainbow instrumental 'Difficult To Cure' was an unexpected inclusion, with Ritchie on the Taurus pedals and Jon soloing away at the close. 'Space Truckin' was a 10-12 minute version to end the show.

For this first gig they came back to do 'Black Night', followed by a non too serious 'Smoke On The Water' - Ian asking the crowd for the words!" Howard Kehl


Touring As A Four Piece - News

And what are you contributing to the Deep Purple reunion? "Jon Lord" comes the sharp reply from an audibly irritated David Coverdale to yet another inane US radio station question. Should he and the rest of the band retain their sanity until December 22nd when the tour finally ends, it looks like the American market will at last be open to Whitesnake.

With Mel Galley hospitalised, and Jon Lord off to pastures 'new', Coverdale made the best of the situation and took the now four piece band over to the USA in July (plus off-stage keyboards man Richard Bailey). They did a short tour supporting Dio, making enough of an impact to justify a return visit after a Japanese festival tour in August. Those shows were filmed, with a resulting video release to follow.

It was then back to America for four months slogging around in the wake of Quiet Riot, with David adopting the torn t-shirt and studded belt look they go for there now! They issued 'Slow An' Easy' as a single there and followed it with 'Love Ain't No Stranger', making promo videos for both.

Love Ain't No Stranger - Single Review

Geffen 7 .29171: USA: 1984

Good grief, it's excellent. They've taken what many people reckon was the only passable cut from the UK 'Slide It In' album and turned it into a really powerful piece of work. It just blasts out of the speakers, and took me by complete surprise. I'd put this up there with 'Fool For Your Loving' and 'Don't Break My Heart Again', it is that impressive. Guitar break still a bit naff, but that's all. Hell, I'm going to have to get down to the import rack and see what Mr Keith Olsen has done with the rest of it all.

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The Mask - Album Review

Polydor POLD 5139: UK: June 1984

Roger's latest solo LP got rather lost in the wake of the reunion announcement. I had quite a few surprised but favourable reviews, while others were a little more suspicious of all the influences they saw:
"'Divided World' is a great opener, the title track is great_ a lot longer than the accompanying single, and with good drums too (c/o Chuck Burgi). 'Fake It' reminds me of The Police, and is the weakest track on side one. 'Hip Level' is the equal best track overall, with a fantastic guitar work out in the middle. There's even a short bass solo on the last song, and the playing throughout is of a high standard." Stuart.

The UK single was The Mask / You're So Remote (POSP 678).


Phenomena - News

In April Glenn made his first visit back to Britain for seven years to record his contributions on the 'Phenomena' project. Tom Galley (Mel's brother) is doing the music, and has assembled quite a few old friends. Apart from Glenn and Mel (who has also done some of the writing) there's Cozy Powell, Richard Bailey, Neil Murray and others. It looks like Hughes/Thrall have not got back together after all, and after rejecting an offer earlier in the year Glenn has now done some recording with Gary Moore.

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also in the magazine.......details of the Deep Purple reunion......the tour rehearsals in of Perfect reviews....the Q&A column....Rod Evans / Ian Paice pre-Purple feature....
Deep Purple, Italian singles discography.....Green Bullfrog feature.....Deep Purple, Rainbow and Black Sabbath bootleg reviews....and much more....


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