Archive for February, 2013

Tex Willer rides

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Books, Comics

Tex 

I envy my friends in Norway that can buy Tex Willer on a regular basis. I think they have three titles going, of which you can view two here – Tex (big fat pocket books in full colour) and Tex Willer (the standard pocket in black & white, published every month). There is also a larger format title in print, which is fantastic.

If anybody in Norway reads this, I would be happy to trade some of my magazines for some Tex Willer.

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dpf22 

On October 3 1998 I met guitarist Steve Morse in Stockholm, Sweden as he toured Europe with Deep Purple on the “Abandon” tour. I did the following interview for my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER magazine and this was printed in issue 22 (see cover – all pictures by Michael Johansson). Steve Morse is certainly a very nice guy and we chatted for about 20 minutes at the Sheraton Hotel downtown after the concert. We had a nice chat but I aborted the interview myself since I knew that he was going to call his family at a certain time. Enjoy the interview, it feels especially good to post it when the world awaits another brand new Deep Purple album (due out in April 2013), still with Steve Morse 15 years later.

* * * * *

Do you have plans for a solo album at the moment, after this tour or…

– Yeah, actually, we started to work on it right before this tour began, but our drummer got injured so we really couldn´t start recording, but we got the music worked out.

When was this?

– A few months ago.

I think that the “Stressfest” album is wonderful.

– Thank you.

The first song on it is very energetic and I was wondering when I heard that song why you didn´t do that with Deep Purple?

– (laughs) Well…

Did you present it to the band or did you want to do it as a solo song?

– Actually, the band was pretty open for me to do things like that, because when Joe Satriani was with them they played “Sutch´s Boogie”. Because of that they thought that they should be polite and ask me if I wanted to do one of my songs. I could always say that it´s a Deep Purple show you know. If it had not been a Deep Purple show it would have been different. I just didn´t feel right doing my material since there are so many songs that people would like to hear of Deep Purple that we are not doing. So, there are only so many songs that we can play. We can only do 13-14 songs.

Yeah, in the live set, but I think that a song like that would have been perfect on a Deep Purple album.

– Well, it´s a group…the way that the material is chosen is that the band decides on what the band is going to sound like and…

But you have a sense of freedom?

– Yeah, definitely. My function normally is to throw out lots and lots of ideas in different directions. The ones that the band hear that they like they say “Yeah, lets work on that”… So that´s…I am not so much a person that chooses direction as much as a person that just throws out a lot of possibilities.

You (Deep Purple) did a tour of America with ELP and Dream Theater. Two very good bands ofcourse, and I was wondering if you could tell us anything about that tour? Did it go down well?

– Yeah yeah, it was very good. Very good tour. John Petrucci is a very good friend of mine. He is the guitar player with Dream Theater and I have known the guys from Dream Theater for years. I think they have always been a great, really… really intense progressive band, you know.

At the moment I think that Deep Purple is pretty much an underground band in America, what about Dream Theater and ELP? Is it the same for them?

– No, people have heard of them too. I think in terms of recognition people know Deep Purple and ELP in a similar amount and Dream Theater a little less.

What sort of support do you have… do you have the radio in America behind you or is it…

– Not so much. That´s pretty normal. Wherever we go there´s not that much radio involved. It is kind of an underground band wherever we go, but it´s a Big underground band (laughs).

Do you have any sales figures for the last two albums? (“Purpendicular” and “Abandon”)

– No, I have no idea. I know in terms of sales for concerts someone said… one of those magazines that shows the box office sales wrote that we´re in the top 20.

In America?

– Yeah, of the U.S.

Do you plan to do anything more for America with this album or are you going to finish off in Japan or South America?

– Well actually… this tour, as far as we know right now, is ending in Romania, East Germany, Russia and those kind of things.

How about ideas for the next album… do you have any ideas in your head already?

– Oh, I have all kinds of stuff in my head (laughs). But like I said, since it´s Deep Purple, it´s whether or not the band identifies with it or not. If they like it, we´ll do it and if they don´t like it I will just think of another one just like that (Steve snaps his fingers in the air!). It´s no problem (laughs).

Do you think you will use an outside producer this time?

– That´s a good question because I think Roger (Glover, bass player and sometimes also Deep Purple´s producer) might have got burnt out on that last one because he was down for so long in Florida and I know he was missing his family and things were going slowly. I don´t think that the band can work with an outside producer myself, but for Rogers sake I hope we do so he doesn´t freak out, you know.

Because he has been working on these “25th Anniversary” albums as well…

– Yeah, he does a lot of stuff, Roger. He works hard. And he put together the tour program, you know.

Is there any producer you would like to work with? Is there someone you worked with in the past, or…

– I have worked with a lot of good producers. The thing is, how…

Deep Purple is special working in the studio, right?

– Well, the band… I mean these are guys that have spent their whole lifes playing. It´s not like they are a bunch of eager kids that want to be told what to do, you know. I think there´s the challenge right there, OK? (laughs).

OK. Did you record any songs for the “Abandon” album in the studio that weren´t used on the album?

– Ummm…

There were a few on the first album you did.

– Yeah, actually I wanted to do a song from the first album for this album. It used to be called “The Stallion”, but for some reason they decided that it belonged to the record company before even though it was never released. So we got screwed out of that. I think that is just silly.

Have you recorded any concerts on this tour?

– No, the shows are so similar. The same set practically.

You are not interested in doing a live video? Any talk about that?

– Are you kidding? Deep Purple are releasing a Greatest Hits album in just a few weeks! I don´t think they need another one! (laughs).

I know, but people like me are crazy. We´re really looking forward to new livestuff with Deep Purple.

– I am the guy who doesn´t know that kind of stuff, you know. I am not really part of the catalouge of the band so I pay no attention to that stuff.

OK. So have you bought any airplanes since you joined Deep Purple?

– (laughs) Well, I got a Russian airplane, a JAK, about a year ago.

And you can fly it?

– Yeah, it´s great!

How many planes do you own at the moment?

– Four, but I mean I had planes… When I was starving and living in a trailer I still had two airplanes. I borrowed money to build a hangar, then a studio, before I had a house. I still don´t live in a house. My priorities are different than most people (laughs).

What types are the other three planes in the collection?

– I have a two engine Cessna 310, one Cessna 180 and a CASA from the Spanish Air Force. The JAK 55 is an airshow type plane.

Were you a pilot in the military originally or is this just an interest that you have gotten into anyway?

– It´s just a passion. The Cessna 180 is a good plane to take up the family in.

Do you have your eyes set on another plane now? Something that make you go “I´ve got to have that! “.

– I just want to pay my bills, that´s my goal today (laughs).

Do you have a home studio?

– Yeah, it´s very simple. It takes time and effort to have one. It takes some money to build the space, but I´ve always thought it´s important to have a place, you know. Just to work on stuff.

Have you talked about recording in a particular studio for the next album?

– No actually.

Or will you stick around in the same place as before? Do you like it there? (Deep Purple recorded several albums in Florida in a row, ed)

– I hope so because I can drive there in two hours from where I live, so of course I like it.

The rest of the guys live in England and the U.S and all over the place…

– It´s quite a big deal to everyone together, that´s for sure.

How long into the future do you think that the next album is? Is there anything at all planned?

– Oh no. We don´t even know if or when we´re going to Japan and when we´re going to South America. The only thing that is scheduled is when we´re going to France, Romania, East Germany, Russia… that stuff. That´s in november. Then there should be a Christmas break and then probably a few wierd gigs that couldn´t be booked.

You have done more than 200 shows now with Deep Purple, right?

– I guess. I don´t know.

What´s it like? I mean, you are not a new boy anymore. How would you like to describe being a member of the band?

– It´s very easy. I have actually no complaint. Well, I have one. I wish the tours would be shorter. I would like to tour more often but with shorter legs. The same way I like to eat several times a day rather than eat it one time for the whole week, you know (laughs). To eat ten pounds of food in one day for the whole week is too much for me.

But do you feel that the management are listening to you when you talk with them about this?

– No, not when we are discussing this. But I´m trying my best to make everyone aware that it´s a really important thing. And I think that everyone in the band performs better on shorter legs too. You know, I think it´s the kind of band that needs to work often, but not on these five, seven, nine weeks legs. That´s ridiculous! Those are the kind of legs you do when you are drug addicts and you don´t have a home. That´s just ridiculous!

So you are a little bit tired of the touring?

– No, I am never tired of playing with the band. Not at all.

I meet a lot of people and a lot of them are very happy about you being in the band.

– Well, I am too (laughs).

It´s nice to see all the smiles on stage and that the band is alive again.

– The band is definitely alive. I just wish that we could stay at home long enough to open the mail and pay the bills, before leaving for the next tour (laughs).

You better have a talk with Bruce about that…

– Oh, I will. I´m sure Bruce is tired of listening to me go on about it.

Have a band meating without him then.

– Well, the rest of the band doesn´t necesseraly share my opinion about the lenghts of the tours. I don´t know, it may change now that the tax situation changes in England, which means that they don´t have to spend six months outside the country every year anymore.

If Deep Purple have sold over 100.000.000 albums, wouldn´t it be a natural thing to mention this in ads and stuff every now and then, just to make the point?

– I´m not so aware of the figures, but it certainly sound very good.

It´s not about numbers, but it is quite an achievment to pass that 100.000.000 mark, not many do it.

– That´s true, it sounds very good.

Hopefully Deep Purple will exist in this lineup for a few more years at least.

– Oh, I think it will.

I hope you will stay for the rest of the journey.

– Thank you, I hope so too.

There has been so many upheavals in this band over the years and we have seen a few lineups. So it would be nice if this version could exist for a while, say maybe for four or five albums. OK, here´s a question, if you are tired about touring, would you see it as a possibility to release studio albums but not to tour?

– The band works very well, very instantly together, but for some reason… ummmm, I don´t see us as a studio band because everyone lives in different places. Because of that. The cool thing is that the band can come up with new stuff real quickly and very naturally and that´s a good sign for a studio band.

I think the new material was great tonight.

– Thank you.

Would you say that the riffs are usually yours and that the band kind of takes it from there?

– Yes, it´s a riff based band, so sure.

I think the guitar riffs worked really great on stage. I mean, far better than on the record. You know, I believe in being honest and I think the production could´ve been slightly more on the… aggressive side and more powerful. That´s why I was asking about the producer before.

– The mixes was actually done more than one way, and someone… maybe the manager, or someone at the record company or who knows who, decided that they would just have the mixes with more of the vocals turned up or something. No one gets it their way in the end, except maybe a producer, but I was there with Roger when he was mixing it. It was like “Well, this is like I think it should be”, you know. And then somebody like Jon didn´t like it and Ian Gillan didn´t like it. So, you know… you can´t win. Roger were in a position where it was impossible to make everybody happy. I have been a producer myself and the way you know you have a good mix is when everybody in the band hates it equally! Then you have a good mix (laughs).

I think that the drums on your album sounds better. Do you think that one could get “blind” regarding the overall situation in the studio if one stays there for too long?

– Yes, that certainly happens to me. In my studio we just put up the mikes, record it and mix it within a day. The next day at the latest. That´s how I do it.

Are you happy with the “Live At The Olympia” album?

– I thought that was pretty good. The idea was to have at least one live album that sounded like the band. After hearing some of the bootlegs it was like “Oh shit, this is horrible”.

It was interesting with a horn section as well.

– Yeah, that was cool. Just something different. I think it was the last day of that theater before they changed it to something else so they made it a little more special. There´s so many live albums so that´s why we did that.

You do some very good things on stage, for instance during the intro to “Highway Star” when you do these noises. That´s fantastic. They send chills through my whole body.

– Oh yeah? (laughs). I am just trying.

It´s something new in an old song.

– I am just trying. Some nights it works better than other nights (laughs).

Were you happy about tonights concert?

– Yeah, I thought it was great. The audience was maybe a little bit reserved, but we did expect that.

I think the Swedes likes to listen.

Yeah, that´s OK.

Anyway, it´s been a nice chat, thank you very much.

– Thank you.

* * * * *

Michael Eriksson (c)

(No part of this interview may be copied without permission)

The importance of eye candy

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Books

BertriceSmall

This is a picture of five books in my library, bought because I am a big fan of great covers and good artwork in general. The author (Bertrice Small)  is well respected and beloved by many, but I bought these for the cheer class of these covers, since they are absolutely top notch.

Sadly, the publisher has no interest in mentioning who the cover artist is, so if you belong to those that would have liked that bit of information you are left in the dark. I think that is a sad state of affairs, since the covers are a part of what makes this so desirable. 

I know that this is the norm in the business but I wonder why it still is? Compare this to the cherished album cover (in the music industry), where the cover artist is always credited. Why album covers but not books? Old habits?

I welcome a change. I want to be able to find out more about the people that I think is doing a great job.

* * * * *

No malice intended to Bertrice Small nor her publisher. It was just a general topic I had in mind and these covers are fantastic.

RF6_storsie 

One of the last articles that I have been working on for RETROFUTURE 6 deals with a wonderful museum called ArveMuseet in a village called Arvesund in the northern part of The Great Lake (Storsjön). Here you can spend hours looking at cool stuff and a friend and I visited the place in July last year and had a really good time. The museum is situated right by the shore of the lake and there is a small harbour as well with some cool vessels, new and old.

The interesting thing is that I just got word that two witnesses saw The Great Lake Monster (Storsjöodjuret) here in September (19th) last year, 75 meters from the shore. I have added this report within the article about the museum, which fits in nicely with the magazine since it will have a good chunk of material regarding this ongoing mystery (as always – it´s part of the fun).

As for the new report, the two witnesses (Christer Söderbäck and Gunnar Berglund) saw it at 12 o´clock. A large unknown animal rose in the lake several times, four to five meters long. The sighting lasted for 10 minutes and the men could see that the dark object was in fact dark green (using binoculars). At times a smaller part, not unlike a horses head in size, rose. According to Gunnar, the animal has been spotted on this location before. The witnesses reported the sighting to an active organisation called Föreningen Storsjöodjuret, that deals with the subject and collect reports for the ever growing archives. I read the report in the latest issue of Odjursbladet (1 2013).

I guess my article about this place just got a tad more interesting.

Arvesund is located north of Östersund, it takes about 45 minutes to get there by car. I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful places around the lake. I can recommend a visit. You can dine down by the lake and as I said, you can spend hours looking at cool stuff at the museum and the harbour next to it.

Seeing our elusive friends in the lake is just one of these things that just might happen to you when you travel these parts.

(Above: page from the RETROFUTURE 6 article)

DPDslice03 

It was 10 years ago now (February 2003) that I published the very last issue of DEEP PURPLE FOREVER (32) and launched the new title SLICE which was already in from the printers. It was my way of having some fun in a broader sense, but I still kept Deep Purple (as the cover suggests) as a priority for the pages of SLICE and the future publications as well. SLICE morphed into RETROFUTURE eventually (2010) but the idea is the same. Anything goes.

Today Deep Purple (Overseas) plug this blog on Facebook and the traffic is quite impressive as I write this (287 visitors per hour as I write this), so I would like to take this opportunity to say Hello to all the fans of Deep Purple out there who pops by now. Thank you for your interest.

The Deep Purple Family will always be part of this blog since my love for these musicians will never go away. But as with SLICE and RETROFUTURE, anything goes. Trinkelbonker is what it is, take it or leave it.

As for the year 2003, it was one hell of a year, I recall the workload which was intense to say the least (especially for a hobby). I´m proud of the legacy, not many have done what I´ve done. And the memories are priceless.

This is what I´ll celebrate with RETROFUTURE 6 later in 2013, as this will be my 100th publication since 1978. There will be a party, you can bet on it.

BS86interview 

This interview with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was printed in a couple of newspapers in Sweden as well as in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER issue 2 and 16 (plus RETROFUTURE 6 in 2013) later on. Tony visited Swedens capitol Stockholm to promote the brand new “Seventh Star” album and he made a very good impression. I loved “Seventh Star” personally although Tony Iommi certainly had a hard time to defend the band back then. Enjoy.

* * * * *

Lets go back to the period with Ian Gillan and the tour you made with him. It has never been fully explained if he had Deep Purple waiting in the wings when he left the band.

– Well, first of all the entire “Born Again” tour turned out a bit disappointing. And prior to that we had been shocked about how poor the album pressing was. We were already out on the road by then so we couldn´t stop that from coming out. It didn´t take very long until we heard that things were going on with Deep Purple, but Ian didn´t know that we knew (laughs). We heard about it about six months before it happened.

So the tour lacked a true commitment from the band?

– No, we played well, but to me Ian Gillan is better off singing with Deep Purple. It may have suffered because we were four stars entering the stage. I like Ian though. He was good on the album and I like him.

The show was really something to behold.

– Yes, in fact we didn´t know just how huge it would turn out in real life, and in the end we only performed with the full stage set on one single gig, in Reading on the festival there. I mean, we couldn´t even get it into the big halls in America. We didn´t know when we saw little models of it that it would turn out bigger than a bloody hotel. Spinal Tap stole the idea but they turned it around in the movie (laughs).

So have you learned from the mistake? Will the next tour be a bit more down to earth maybe?

– Yes, but it will still be a nice show. I think it will look great. On the left side of the stage there will be like a city, with chimneys and stuff, and then there will be like a bridge that go by the drums to the other side of the stage, that will represent the future with lasers and stuff. So we are looking at a bridge into the future. A time machine. The idea is to present Black Sabbath entering the future. We have rehearsed for three months. We´ll do “Zero The Hero” from the last album, the rest will be classic stuff and songs from the new album. But Glenn don´t want to do any Purple songs, I don´t think he wants to even think about that period to be honest. It´s nice to see him enjoy himself now, I don´t think he cared much doing Gary Moore and things like that.

He used to have a drug problem.

– Yes, but he is in control now. He has had problems but that is true for all of us really. He had a bad period in his life when he was ill and gained weight, but he is in a new phase in his life now where he wants to focus on his life and his career again. It´s hard to stop somebody that has made a real commitment and he knows that we are all there for him.

After Ian Gillan there was talk about a certain David Donato joining, a guy from Los Angeles. What happened there?

– The record company were in a hurry to show that the band would continue. David was there but nothing was really set in stone. On the other hand, and this is not known until today, we had had a meeting with the original band after Gillan and we had decided to reunite within 12 months. Nine months later we are doing Live Aid together in Philadelphia and suddenly it was all to clear that the problems on the business side were just too big for us.

I remember the interview you did in Kerrang with David Donato in the band, you said you didn´t want to say anything, that you didn´t want to put your foot in it.

– Yes (laughs). Well, the Donato thing was done in haste, it never should have gone that far. We went public before we were sure about it. This is typical, we´ve made so many mistakes like this in our career. In the old days everybody used to come to me, I used to handle everything. I picked up the lads to get them to the rehearsals and so on. I was a little older and they were always asking me for my opinion. I was like the father in the band and I think we needed that at the time. The period of the first three records were like that, they always came to me and asked for my thoughts on things, but I really didn´t want it to be like that. I just wanted to be a guy in the band. I wanted everybody to be involved. Once that finally happened, everything turned into chaos. No decisions were being made and it was past the point were I could have the final say because now we were a band. I don´t want to repeat old mistakes again and the last band was so false. I want to do it right this time. The guys I´m working with now are very eager to prove themselves. A lot of well known people were in touch with me but I wanted hungry guys with me, people with no past. Glenn has a reputation, but he still has the hunger that I´m looking for. He has something to prove on his own.

Are all plans to reunite the original Sabbath over now?

– Yes, that was the end of that. Geezer had been writing stuff that didn´t sound like Sabbath at all and he was just fed up and wanted to try that stuff out somewhere else. I emmidiately decided to carry on as Sabbath then, with or without the other guys, and get my solo-LP out with that name on it. All the music was written for it.

It certainly sound like Black Sabbath to me.

– Yes, but then I´ve been the main song writer since day one, 95% of the stuff has been mine. So if it sounds like Sabbath it is only natural.

So how did Glenn Hughes come into the picture?

– Glenn has been a friend for years. I used to know him when he was in Trapeze, way before Deep Purple. In fact, when Ozzy left we considered Glenn for Sabbath at the time. We jammed but for different reasons the timing just wasn´t right. But now, as I asked him to contribute with his voice, and later when I told him that I wanted to call it Black Sabbath, he was very eager to give it shot.

How will you plan the tour? Surely you will not forget about Europe this time as well?

– No, I´m totally aware that we must spend more time in Europe. We need to play here much more than has been the case in the past. We start in Chicago on the 15th and we´ll do the States first, then we will come to Europe for shows here. In fact, I´ve been talking to the manager about cutting the american leg of the tour short so that we can play more here in Europe. But in all honesty, there was a time when nobody wanted to book Black Sabbath in Europe and that is why the band did so many tours in the States. Lately, there has been a real interest for the band here, but the problem with the States is that the market is so big that you can spend months on the road there before you enter top 50. Personally I wouldn´t mind just dropping America but it isn´t that easy. I´m aware that Sabbath should be here and that is why I´m doing this promotional tour right now.

What would a real Tony Iommi solo album sound like?

– Exactly like “Seventh Star”. I have always tried to do exactly what I feel like on the Sabbath albums, like jazz stuff for instance. Like the stuff on “Never Say Die”. We also did guitar based stuff with the London Philarmonics on “Sabotage”. I have written stuff for the next LP that sounds more like typical Sabbath. I have quite a lot of songs ready to go and the only reason that I haven´t recorded them yet is lack of time.

On “Seventh Star” you have written the lyrics as well.

– Yes, that was a new experince for me. Glenn and Geoff helped me out with that. When Ozzy was in the band everything was written by Geezer and after that we had Dio and Gillan doing most of it. My main job has always been the music. The main theme comes from a Nostradamus prediction that says that there will be a re-birth when the seven planets line up in the sky. Things like that has always interested me. The idea for the cover goes back to the title track, there´s nothing there. I´m looking at nothing, a re-birth. You know, Geoff has been a member of the band since 1980 and I´ve been thinking about letting him onstage playing a guitar synth. He is a very good guitar player. But I don´t know, maybe people will think that it looks strange with two guitar players? I want him to be seen now.

What do you think will happen with mankind in the future?

– (laughs). I think deep down we all know what is going to happen.

* * * * *

Michael Eriksson (c)

(No part of this interview may be copied without permission)

Walking Tall

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Books, Classic Rock, Cool stuff, Deep Purple Family

OriginalBS 

When I met Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath in March 1986 in Stockholm, I asked him to sign a notebook (with a very cool cover) called “Original Black Sabbath” (Amsco Publications, 1985), written by Steve Tarshis. I quite enjoy it, it sports some good pictures and I was curious about Tonys opinion on the book. He said,

– This is like a bootleg job. One of the pictures shows me with a black eye. I got that in a fight with a bunch of skinheads that Geezer started. I recall that Ozzy hit somebody in the head with a bottle. Apart for that picture I can´t recommend the book to anybody.

I like that story.

Black Sabbath, walking tall, taking no bullshit from anybody.