AN EDITOR REMEMBERS...    Issue 46  February / March 1994

Issue 46...Perhaps one of the stormiest periods in the magazine's history, as well as that of the fan-club. Purple's 1993 UK tour was a climactic event, and ended (artistically) with a Brixton show which still ranks as one of the best live rock concerts I've ever been to - by any band. My problem in the magazine was that I suggested Blackmore was cantankerous for turning on the power for these shows, knowing they'd be his last, showing up just how much he'd been under-performing on past tours. "I've wasted too much time in this band," he said at the time. Gee thanks.

The event, heralded in a BMG press release (remember those?) on November 17th 1993, threw fandom into turmoil. There were those glad to see him go if he wasn't going to perform and had been stifling the set-list, with many on the other side reckoning that without him Purple were finished. Some fans were quick to start rubbishing the DPAS for being less than 100% supportive of Blackmore, and rival magazines were not far away (strange to see contributions from people who were soon to jump ship in a big way). The tour was one of the last where we went overboard and did all the UK dates (as well as a few abroad). There was no crystal ball gazing here, just a feeling somehow that the tension was getting so much that something would have to give.

Of course the tour got plenty of coverage in the 32 page magazine, some eleven pages, with the final NEC debacle (which we can all now assess on DVD) prompting many to put pen to paper. Despite all the upheaval, there was life elsewhere, with Gillan taking one of his busman's holidays - this time to Greece to record a duet (having just finished the first edition of his autobiography), Coverdale threatening to reform the classic Whitesnake line-up - something we're still waiting for - and much more. It's just that alongside Blackmore going, everything else seemed to be so insignificant. Having given us the roller-coaster ride of Gillan's departure and rehiring just a few years earlier, it's understandable if this latest upheaval proved too much for some people.

On the archive front there was some relief, and hard-core Made In Japan fans could salivate over the special triple CD box set of the August 1972 Japan tour, which hit the stores just as news of Blackmore's departure went live, and shipped 10,000 copies in a couple of weeks. Always intended as a short lived title for fans (with the classic original not to be tampered with), it's still so popular that it remains on catalogue to date (despite a mix which had to be done almost live to fit it into the tight studio schedule available). At least it was official - the review pages were making valiant attempts to keep up with the flow of bootleg CDs, which swamped everything else. Few were able to keep up with them.

And over in America, Glenn was laying vocals down on a cover of Whiter Shade Of Pale (for Marc Bonilla), some things never change! There was a planned Trapeze reunion as well as news of his new band, and Glenn's long haul back to the rock stage was assured. I went a bit bonkers for the magazine cover, but the events just seemed to call for something different, and we were able to take advantage of one of the last proper group pictures of the Blackmore Purple lineup ever taken. Lastly, a tiny notice buried away on page 22 explaining all about the latest developments in sending letters electronically. "It's quicker and cheaper than sending letters or ringing people up". "Just think, I could download an entire issue and save all that mailing out" was my response; well 13 years on we've still resisted the move, and while most of my computer files for Issue 46 are now almost impossible to access due to being in versions of software which can no longer be run on today's machines, the magazine itself can still be read with a cup of tea and a biscuit!

DEEP PURPLE NEWS : The Battle Rages On Tour
NEWS : UK Tour Report, Blackmore Quits
NEWS : Joe Satriani Joins For Japanese Tour
NEWS : Recording & Touring in Scandinavia
NEWS : Coverdale Page Fold After Japanese Tour


The Battle Rages On, 1993 Tour - News

Trying to come to terms with the recent goings on in (and out of) the Purple camp has been hard for all of us. If they'd done another amiable tour as in '87 then we could all say "fine, enjoyable, not as good as the old days but nice to see them for the last time", and close the book. No, they have to go out on blistering form, just to make the end that much harder to handle. The end? Well, Blackmore has gone. So, how do we handle a Deep Purple without him? Let them get on with it I suppose. To some of you it's the best thing they could have done. To me? Well, the band were contracted for the Japanese shows, and when Ritchie refused to go, getting in someone to fulfil them was understandable. But in many ways we're right back to the polarising of opinions we had in 1990.

Deep Purple finally held their launch party for "The Battle Rages On" in London on July 22nd 1993. By then the album was already on sale in Europe and it finally found its way into the UK stores on July 26th. The abandonment of the US tour was never fully explained. Yes, the CD there has been remixed, though I'm told the differences are marginal. With no advertising, very little press and of course no live shows, the CD jumped in at 139 in the Billboard charts, and fell back out. Rehearsals were due to start in America on September 1st but they also did some rehearsing in Bregenz, Austria, on Sept. 21st. The tour got under way in sunny Italy, with a full on-stage rehearsal near Rome on Sept 23rd, and the first show proper on Sept 24th. By October 30th Blackmore had handed in his resignation..

Zenith, Paris. 19th October 1993 - Live Review

The familiar beat of 'Highway Star', and then suddenly an animated Blackmore burst from behind his white finished three strong Marshall stack to start darting around the stage and letting fly. 'Perfect Strangers' has - to me - lost the grandeur and majesty of earlier tours, and become "just" another number, but still packed a hefty clout. The band then slipped into an instrumental jam before Ritchie finally decided to start ye olde 'Beethoven's Ninth' and after some hot soloing, gave way to Jon. To me Jon has been the lynch-pin of this tour. He's played some great gigs on previous reunion outings, but here he was giving support to Ian Gillan one moment, trying to trip Ritchie up the next, and all the while keeping the momentum going.

As Blackmore kicked off into 'Anyone's Daughter' with a long doodle (which sadly disappeared at the UK shows), Ian Gillan, bathed in a single spot, had a grin which stretched ear to ear. He was enjoying every minute of it. 'Child In Time' was so powerful it had us rooted to the spot; Ian cranked out the vicious growls and suddenly the band launched into a lengthy middle section with Blackmore and Lordy snapping at each others heels. The short but nicely done new ending led into 'Anya', where the show went into hyperdrive. Blackmore suddenly took control of the band and led them into a dramatic and powerful middle instrumental section that saw my jaw dropping lower and lower. Rock just doesn't get more exciting than this! Thoroughly hyped up, the band from then on just kept it going, the energy sustained at a level which left me exhausted with concentration just watching it. And when Blackmore wasn't blasting away at the sonic edges, he was slipping back to go off on the kind of lyrical runs which you last heard way back in Rainbow days. He attacked the start of 'Lazy' like his life depended on it, actually catching Paicey out on his crashing chords trick near the start. New life was breathed into what has been a struggling old chestnut. The same treatment was meted out to 'Space Truckin". Blackmore took the group off on yet another instrumental tour de force, this time using Grieg's 'Hall Of The Mountain King' tune (which Ritch himself recorded on an instrumental back in the sixties). We'd heard him tinker with it at Nancy, here it became a full blown number as the others joined in, crackling with energy.

The set left the crowd shattered. Every high has its corresponding down moments though, and while it might not have been apparent to the majority of the audience, those well versed in Purple lore weren't slow to spot the problems. The saddest moment for me was Ian, bashing away at his congas, suddenly - almost inaudibly - sneaked in a verse of Teddy Bear's Picnic. He glanced hopefully across the stage toward Blackmore; there was no response. The worst moments came when the band were charging into 'Lazy'. Ian, attempting to reply to Blackmore's run, saw the guitarist's hands leave his instrument and fall dead to his side. The message was unequivocal. So, gone were the wonderful moments of humour, the endless rounds of 'Running Bear', the camaraderie which livened up previous reunion tours, and in many ways helped make up for any lack of input on the guitarist's part. In place of all this, we had a Blackmore who for the first time since they got back together, was out there to do the business. Now, out to blow Ian Gillan off stage, he was displaying a form and ability which frankly I'd given up ever expecting to see - or rather hear again.

1993 UK Tour Report - News

Tales from the European leg of the tour were doing the rounds as the band arrived in the UK. Someone had heard that Blackmore had ripped up his Japanese visa. In Manchester it wasn't until around Anya that Ritchie (who had shaved off the goatee beard he'd been sporting in Europe) began to work, All in all, it was just good to see the five of them back in the Apollo giving a respectable performance - expunging memories of the last dreadful show here a couple of years ago.

Two days later, the Brixton Academy. The general feeling is this wasn't the best of shows, but even so it clattered along and hit the highpoint in Space Truckin'. Being the last number of course, that was a little too late to enable them to go much further. Day two and the show was something else. Unlike Paris, where they came out blazing, Brixton 2 took a little while to gather pace, but before long it was clear we were in for something special. Once more it was Blackmore who provided the necessary spark, dishing out solos like there was no tomorrow. He stood in front of the drum riser at one stage, constructing some piece of guitar magic, and conducting the others just with a nod of his head. It was a magical evening.

As for Birmingham. I know the place is crap, but the facts are that for a lot of people it was the only chance they would get to see the band, and it seems as if Purple had hoped to go out on a high note with their final British show. They didn't. The lights dimmed, Paicey's drum beat got under way, Roger and Jon settled into the groove, Ian strode on to a huge cheer and began to get the feel of things. After a couple of minutes he was still grasping the mike, shaking his hair about and wondering what the hell was going on. Jon Lord began to throw in a little bit of keyboard play, and Ian turned round to see that the guitar position was still unoccupied. They began Highway Star as a four piece. It got as far as the solos before Blackmore appeared, dashed off a few runs, and then walked across the stage. Gillan had removed himself to his congas when a large beaker water came whistling past his head. A cameraman had been the object of Blackmore's wrath. Black Night began in a similar fashion, guitarless, and it was quite obvious that we on a hiding to nothing here. Jon, Roger and little Ian struggled on, playing well, but unable to do much more.

"We were seated at his side of the stage, and saw more than most. He appeared just after the others came on stage, walked up to where his start lay waiting behind his amps, and then ran back towards the dressing room without ever putting it on. When he did reappear three quarters of the way through Highway Star, he walked straight over towards Lordy and hurled a plastic container of drink towards someone standing at the stage side. At the end of the song he went back behind his amps, took his guitar off and ran behind Paicey to the backstage area where he attacked someone, and more water was thrown. Apart from this the show was enjoyable, although Gillan and Blackmore never made eye contact once." Richard Whitehead

The footage of the NEC show is apparently about to be issued as a video release. Heavily edited one assumes. Whatever they do to it, it's one that's likely to do more harm than good.

Joe Satriani Steps In For Japanese Tour - News

So then to Helsinki on November 17th:. "The highest high point was Speed King. Come the guitar/organ duel Ritchie came close to the Hammond and decided he'd try and throw Jon for once. This he attempted to do with one amazing run after another, all of them much longer than usual. And they all seemed much more complex in his choice of notes. One after another, Jon proceeded to copy them all. Obviously failing at what he set out to do, Ritchie put his hands on his hips and gave a "Who do you think you are" look at Jon. Then they both laughed, and shook hands. As Smoke On The Water came to an end, Ritchie just couldn't let it go. Walking over to switch on his reel-to-reel, he let loose a flurry of notes before finally ending, then he stood for a few seconds to look out over the audience. He did his right hand fingers outstretched hold the thumb with his left hand signal, bowed slightly and then walked off." Rasmus Heide

By the last date, the news that they'd got Joe Satriani in on guitar was out. He must have been one of the very few players with the standing to avoid rioting crowds in Japan, and the ability to pull it off in such a short time. A set list was worked out, he was sent the studio tapes, and according to reports within the band, time set aside for rehearsals was practically unnecessary. He'd done his homework. In fact he'd done it so well, the rest of the band were hearing guitar bits in the material they'd forgotten about! To avoid disappointed crowds, papers carried warnings that Blackmore would not be appearing, and those who wanted could obtain a refund. Around 2,500 did so over the tour. Ian Gillan returned home on the 10th and wanted to know when he could start the Javelins project. Hopefully his wife took him Christmas shopping. The cancelled August US tour had originally been rescheduled for January, but once the Purple scene blew up, this was obviously off. As we write, the mood in Purple is up. They thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese dates, and feelers put out to promoters suggest that the lack of Blackmore will prove no great obstacle to them getting gigs.


Recording & Touring In Scandinavia - News

Glenn and his band have been gigging throughout 1993 in Scandinavia, having decided to set up base there to record his new album. He went into the studios on August 16th with The King Siguurd Band - the guys he's been working with since January - and 12 songs were already written. They had three weeks of rehearsing before the session, which lasted a month. Vocals were done separately, and they booked a show in Skara (about 80 miles from Gothenburg), where the studio is, for Sept.11th. This was to be taped, with the idea of adding some bonus tracks to the Japanese version of the CD when it comes out. In the end the live recordings didn't turn out too well, so they went back to the idea of taping new studio versions, and this they did in Stockholm on November 17th. "Burn" and "You Keep On Moving" were the chosen songs. Blackmore declined to appear - he'd expressed some interest in doing the solos when asked about it earlier in the year. Glenn had hoped to get Ian Gillan in to guest on a couple of tracks, but the timing was out. Glenn's band has a new drummer, Ian HaugIand,another Europe member, making three in all. Ian joined in time to play on the Stockholm session.


Coverdale Page Split After Japanese Tour - News

Coverdale and Page locked themselves in Nomis studios in London during the second week of July, having booked rehearsal time until the end of August. The album drummer was retained but they were still looking for a bassist to do the tour. Due to the less than earth shattering way the album has gone, plans for world tours ended up as just a short Japanese tour in December. They rehearsed six Zeppelin songs - including Kashmir- and four Whitesnake songs, Here I Go Again, Ain't No Love and two of the more Zeppelin-esque ones off the newer albums. DPAS member Takako says she enjoyed the shows, but felt David wasn't really putting his soul into it. Anyway, they had to add extra dates, so it was obviously worth doing.

The word is that Page has finally got his Zeppelin reunion for 1994 (they were due to record an MTV Unplugged - or Unledded- first week of December), and the Page/Coverdale project will therefore be drawn to a hasty end.

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also in the magazine...
Deep Purple 1993 Tour Dates....The Battle Rages On, European Tour News & Reviews....Tommy Bolin News....
Gillan / Rakintzis Tour Report....Deep Purple, Live In Japan 1972 Re-Issue Feature....Ian Gillan Autobiography Review....
Video News.... Questions & Answers... Letters....RPM News....Deep Purple Fan Clubs....
Deep Purple & Rainbow Chart Positions....Vinyl & CD Reviews


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