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Archive for February, 2014
Here is an old article on Deep Purple´s visit in Sweden in early 1987, printed in local newspaper LT here in Jämtland county back in the day. I travelled to see the band in Malmö (February 25) and Stockholm (February 27), stayed at their hotel in Malmö, accidentally travelled with them on the same flight between these cities etc. I did the trip with my old friend (photographer) Michael Johansson, although the images that were later used in this particular article came from Ola Bergman (another journalist I knew well back then).
A few memories sticks out – a dinner with legendary promoter Erik Thomsen and members of Bad Company, the jam packed press conference in Malmö, the flight from Malmö to Stockholm, the no appareance by Ritchie Blackmore for the encores in Stockholm…
The press thing was awful, I could tell that some journalists were quite negative. I remember throwing in a few questions that I already knew the answers for just to give the band a chance to come out of it OK. They did get some positive press that way, especially regarding the matter of South Africa. One journalist asked Ian Gillan why he had cut his hair and he said “Because it kept falling into my beer”. One asked Ian Paice if they should´t quit soon due to their age and he said “How long are you going to be a journalist?”. I used to hate these big press things. Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord never showed up. Interestingly, nobody in the Purple organisation knew were Blackmore was until an hour before the show in Malmö. He had done a Stateside trip home in between gigs without telling anybody (I recall people saying “Have you seen Ritchie?” etc).
The flight to Stockholm was interesting. They travelled in a regular SAS plane and I doubt that too many people realised they had a legendary band sitting among them. Then the pilot decided to welcome Deep Purple to Sweden over the speakers and I suppose you can guess what happened next. I wish I had all this on film but it was before the tiny digital cameras that one carries around these days. Classic stuff.
Then there were Stockholm and Blackmore walked onstage in the ugliest green leather jacket imaginable. Michael Johansson got a session with Ritchie and the entire band as well (if memory serves me right). I recall us leaving the arena with members of 220 Volt in a limo.
The unforgivable act of not playing “Smoke On The Water” by The Man In Green was repeated in 1991 in the same city, but this time in Stockholm the rest of the band performed the final songs without the guy. Looking back, the cracks were showing and it was just the second tour of the reunion. You could argue that the guitarist did not care much anymore and I think that is true. Gillan was fired after the last shows for “The House of Blue Light” some time later and Ritchie seems to have favored the lineup that followed with Joe Lynn Turner fronting the band.
1987 was an interesting year in the bands history. The new album was regarded as a fairly weak follow up to “Perfect Strangers” and the loss of credibility in an era that now had a new school of bands stealing much of the thunder did not serve them well. The gig I saw in Malmö was the best I had seen (with the band) at that point though, so they had that strength still. That same year, ex-Purple singer David Coverdale conquered the world with the “1987” album, and had far greater success than his old band.
This version of Deep Purple reunited in 1992 and we did get a good album and a great tour of Europe in 1993, but that was it. I think they have done well without Blackmore considering his status, far better than anybody would have expected.
That dangerous twist was something to behold though, no doubt about it.
Friends of this blog will know that I discovered the television show Justified not long ago (apparently it does not air in Sweden, but I could buy the first two seasons on DVD), so I decided to buy one of the novels by Elmore Leonard to see if I liked it. “Raylan” (Orion Books, 2013) seems to have been written as the show was already on the air, and was originally published in 2012. I recognise some of the characters from the first two seasons, and certain scenes. Elmore passed away last August and at the moment this seems to be the last book from him in print.
I really enjoyed this, and it really works reading this after having seen the show. They seem to have succeeded in bringing this world to the screen, and it would appear that Elmer himself was quite happy about it. I guess I would have to go back a long way to find a book in this genre this appealing (that would have to be the Richard S. Prather books that featured Shell Scott), so I am glad that there are more of the same to dig up. Raylan Givens is a great character, portrayed beautifully by Timothy Olyphant in Justified. He practically jumps out of these pages and you have to love the language, though it may be a far cry from the King´s English. I guess Eastern Kentucky has their own take on how to bend the words to fit a local, and why not?
Smart looking cover too – good work.
The Wild West is dead and buried in Swedish comic books, except the odd tale that is published within Donald Duck editions. This 514 page pocket book is on sale now and as the title “Cowboy” suggests, it is all about tales from the old West. Pretty good stuff though, not bad at all.
I predict that Donald Duck will outlive all other comics in this country. The scene is going downhill fast.
Out in Norway now – Tex Willer 585. These pocket comic books have great covers, good stories and are far better than most of the competition. Yet, I don´t think they were ever published in the US. Somebody over there should take a look at this and publish Tex Willer Stateside. I would be glad to buy copies on import from over here. Norway is not far from here but these are impossible to get in Sweden. Sad.
Is anybody paying attention?
This brand new book on Deep Purple and their album “In Rock” is not only a winner, it also launches new publishers Easyontheeyebooks into the public eye (and they are going to be an interesting lot to follow). “Deep Purple – Wait For The Ricochet” is 170 pages of facts, press cuttings and images from mid-1969 to early 1971. It tells the full story of “In Rock”, right down to the crazy kind of details that only the greatest diehards could possibly appreciate. Being one of them, I do like this effort and feel that a salute is in order here for authors Simon Robinson (UK Deep Purple Appreciation Society) and Stephen Clare. This book must have taken them years to sort out, the effort is quite remarkable.
Plenty of quotes from many of the people involved makes for interesting reading. Also, the impact of “In Rock” once it landed and how Purple gigged around Europe like crazy for months on end, coming up against some really crazy obstacles (including riots) is the the stuff of legend.
The legacy of Deep Purple is served well here.