Archive for February, 2016

40 years ago today (on February 29 1976), the Deep Purple juggernaut rolled into Phoenix, Arizona for a show at the Sun Diablo Stadium in Tempe, situated between two mountains in the area. Although it was the final tour of the 1970s for Deep Purple, with the fourth linup in a very illustrious eight year history, stadiums like this was still the hunting ground for this unique outfit. Photographer Neil Preston got to work on the day and by the looks of it he had full access to move around the stage, resulting in many interesting angles (many shots were taken with the huge crowd seen behind the guys). It is a fact that Preston´s MK4 material from this day remains as some of the best that was ever taken.

I remember seeing a shot of the band with one of these mountains as a backdrop and thinking it was a very cool place to have played. So I was always a little bit curious as to where it might have been. I mean it was obvious that it was Stateside and in a desert area, but you had to be Columbo to figure out the details in the pre-computor age. Then I had a chance to ask Glenn Hughes about it and I remember him looking at a picture in a magazine article thinking back and commenting that it was “Probably Phoenix”. One of these shots eventually appeared on the “Taste It Downunder” bootleg (Melbourne, Australia) and so many thought that these images was from the early part of the tour. You can be forgiven for thinking that the desert like invironment did point to Australia, but I always knew it had been somewhere in the US (you could see it on their clothes, they never performed looking like this until the American trek). Got to love Tommy Bolin´s “The Ultimate” t-shirt.

One of Preston´s shots of Tommy Bolin ended up on the cover of a 1976 issue of the Japanese guitar magazine Player. Some wonderful shots appeared recently in the limited edition Jon Lord book as well (one of the most iconic shots show Lord smiling, a possible indication that this was one of the good days on this tour). The more you see the more you wish that the photographer published a book on his own from this day. People would be ecstatic if he did.

There is no indication when I write this that this show was filmed or recorded in some way (by radio or by some fans). There´s always a chance that a local television news crew did something. After all, it was a major event. If anybody that experienced this has information on this, please get in touch.

At this point in the tour, only Salt Lake City and Denver remained Stateside before the band headed back to England where things finally fell apart. One of the biggest bands in the world was on its last legs when they performed in Tempe.

To be continued…

Interesting facts:

The Sun Devil Stadium was built in 1958 for 30,000 people and was updated to take in 57,000 in 1976. It is unclear if the new stadium was ready when Deep Purple performed there.

Nazareth and Montrose opened up for Deep Purple on this day (Nazareth had done the entire US tour, for Montrose it was a one-off).

Will Ferrel shot the 2010 film “Everything Must Go” very close to this place, if you´re a bit of a trainspotter you´ll recognise one of these hills when it pops up in the background. I spotted in no time at all, how about that?

The classic television western series The High Chaparral was filmed on location just outside Phoenix. That´s a very, very cool fact.

(Images from this post removed due to EU restrictions)



Deep Purple performed at the Long Beach Arena in Los Angeles on February 27 1976, and in retrospect you could argue that this was their most important show as MK4, simply because it was a good night and it was in fact recorded by a radio station for later airing Stateside as part of the King Biscuit Flower Hour series. There had been an earlier attempt to catch a full show as early as January 26 in Springfield, but there had been problems with Tommy Bolin´s equipment. Since the tour was to go on for some time yet it was eventually decided to have another go and Long Beach was picked.

Now this is interesting because Los Angeles was home turf in some way, certainly for the American operation. Jon Lord and Ian Paice owned a house there, Glenn Hughes lived there, everybody was based in the Los Angeles area for tax reasons and for easy access to the all important US market. It was in Los Angeles that the band had picked up the pieces in the previous year and it was here that they first met Tommy Bolin and started to work with him. Ritchie Blackmore also used Los Angeles as his headquarters at this time and when the new version of Deep Purple landed in town for the Long Beach show he was in fact in the process of getting the “Rising” version of Rainbow together, and they were all invited to see Purple on this night. Blackmore has been quiet about this, perhaps he didn´t want to talk endlessly about the fact that he actually did see Deep Purple with Tommy Bolin perform, but it has been confirmed by other members of Rainbow that they were there on the night (and Blackmore actually did confirm that he had seen Purple in an interview he made in Australia in 1976). It was still very much a family kind of thing. We also know from interviews made in 1974 and 1975, prior to Blackmore leaving Purple, that he liked Bolin.

For some reason or another, and we will never know why, this turned out to be one of these brilliant nights when everything worked for the band. On top of this, the radio recording turned out great but the band did not get further involved since they were soon to head over to Britain and as we all know that was the end of not only this tour but of the band itself. I don´t have the exact date for when this aired on US radio, or exactly how much of it, but it must have been in 1976, and most likely way after the split.

A bootleg titled “Deep Purple – On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat” did pop up in 1977 with a few tracks (“Burn”, “Smoke On The Water”, “This Time Around/”Owed To G”, “Highway Star/”Not Fade Away”), and this alerted fans all over the world to the fact that a good source existed. People started to work in various ways to locate it since it was clearly lost. I gave a tape of the “Foxbat” bootleg to David Coverdale in 1981 in the hope for a reaction but nothing came out of that. I also wrote a letter to Glenn Hughes (still have a copy) in 1988. When the tapes were finally located it was Simon Robinson of the UK Deep Purple Appreciation Society that finally got permission from the old management (Deep Purple Overseas) to release it on the Connoisseur label. This was in 1995 so it was released as a double CD, and not in LP format (everybody thought vinyl was dead back then). It was quite a moment for me (I was credited, which was nice). At this point, most diehards knew about the “Foxbat” bootleg so the title was used on the 1995 release – “On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat – Live In California – Long Beach Arena 1976”. The “Foxbat” bootleg had sported a photograph of some Chinese soldiers on the cover (printed in pinkish red), which seemed a bit strange back in the day. But the picture was actually ripped from a 1976 ad for Deep Purple, so the connection was there.

To me this show proves that Deep Purple MK4 was every bit as good as any other version of the band, they just never managed to keep the standard on this level and that was it. The hedonistic side fucked up the music and when that happens you´re in trouble.

There has been a few versions of this concert on CD since 1995, the best so far being the 2009 “Live At Long Beach 1976” (and I think it is wise to drop the “Foxbat” thing now since many will not understand what that comes from) on Purple Records. It has never been officially released in LP format which is a bit of a shame, but I think it´s highly likely that we´ll see such a release at some point. It is also well deserved since it is – in my humble opinion – the best live album from Purple alongside “Made In Japan” and “Made In Europe”. Imagine a super box with all three?

Full track listing of the 1995 and 2009 releases: “Burn”, “Lady Luck”, “Getting Tighter”, “Love Child”, “Smoke On The Water”, “Lazy”, “Homeward Strut” (Bolin track from his “Teaser” album), “This Time Around”, “Owed To G”, Guitar solo, “Stormbringer”, “Highway Star”. Bonus tracks from Springfield: “Smoke On The Water”, “Going Down”, “Highway Star” (one has to wonder exactly what survived from that show?).

An American version of the 1995 release did go out under the King Biscuit Flower Hour banner sporting a pretty decent cover shot (there´s a couple of versions of this out now). BMG released a low budget affair titled “Extended Versions” (back in 2000) with no information whatsoever about sources etc and this has a MK4 group shot on the cover. You may want to avoid this one (it´s not a full show, so…).

When all has been said and done, most people will have to admit that Deep Purple still rocked back in 1976 when they hear recordings such as this. The fans that will not accept this are firmly placed in the Blackmore camp and perhaps even the very narrow Blackmore/Gillan camp, in which Coverdale and Hughes are ignored as well. At the end of the day it doesn´t matter. It happened and it was highly interesting. Hell, it was great!

But back in 1976 as the British gigs loomed, it was all about to crash and burn within a couple of weeks. But the band still conqured on American soil and the gig in Tempe, Arizona on February 29 was to be another highlight in the history of Deep Purple.

To be continued…


Deep Purple hit Oklahoma City at the Myriad Centre on February 17 1976 and photographer Rich Galbraith catched the show and managed to get some brilliant pictures that are now regarded as MK4 classics – seen here is a shot from my publication TOP SECRET 2009 (back of the magazine) with a very cool looking David Coverdale, plus the cover of author Martin Popoff´s book “Gettin´Tighter – Deep Purple 68-76” that has Tommy Bolin waving to the crowd on the front. He also had pictures on the “Live At Long Beach Arena” CD that I will get back to on February 27 on this blog.

I published a major interview with Rich Galbraith in TOP SECRET 2009, back to back with an interview with Martin Popoff (you can find it on this blog). Here´s a couple of quotes about what Rich recalls from the night in Oklahoma City…

– “This was still back when they allowed cameras to most shows, so we got to the venue early and stood in line. It was general admission on the floor, so once the doors opened and they got your ticket torn you had to run like hell to get to the front. I remember being shoved around in a wave of people and think it was the hardest show to get pictures of. I was several feet back so had to shoot through people as well. So I’m lucky I had anything turn out from that show. The sad part is I went to process the black and white that I did myself, had the times memorized… I looked at the film and it was very faint… out of all times the company had changed the processing times. I tried to redo but it was too late, so I lost around 72 possible pictures from that show”.

– “It has been a long time since that show and I seem to remember it as being a good show, I was a big Deep Purple fan anyways and just glad to finally get to see them perform. (I was unable to get a ride to a Deep Purple concert a few years before when Elf opened). But I think it went over really well. I think some always find it hard to accept the fact that their favorite line up of a band are no longer together, kind of like getting divorced, it´s just part of life perhaps. So the new guys always have a hard time proving themselves, it’s not their fault that the former members called it a day. I guess it is harder when the front guys are the ones being replaced though and also a bit hard to go out and do songs like “Smoke On The Water” and “Highway Star” to name a few”.

(Top image shows back of TOP SECRET 2009 & the Martin Popoff Deep Purple book – images by Rich Galbraith)

40 years ago today, Deep Purple touched down in Miami on their long US tour and a few years later an audience tape did the rounds. When I heard it it quickly became a favourite as they had delivered a strong show that night. There has been a few bootlegs from this source over the years and it´s still a MK4 favourite. You can find this show on YouTube, both complete and track by track. If you listen to “Dealer” you will hear what is probably the heaviest side of Deep Purple ever, just listen to what Ian Paice is doing. And check out the mother of all live endings on “Stormbringer”, that is animalistic, basic fucking majestic rock´n´roll right there. To me, it was audience recordings such as this one that made me love this version of Deep Purple for real, and I guess I´m still a bit of a fanatic.

Yes, they didn´t make it, it had to stop. But man what a great outfit this was when they had a good night.


I published SLICE 2006 a decade ago in February. It was the fourth issue of this particular publication, and also one of the Top 10 of the back catalogue in my humble opinion. Here is a couple of snapshots with a couple of familiar faces holding copies – David Coverdale and Tarja Turunen. Both are featured in this magazine (that is Tarja herself on the cover, holding a Xena chakram). The cover shot for SLICE 2006, and these two images, were taken by photographer Michael Johansson.

Good times.

(This blog has permission from Michael Johansson to show his images)


I discovered this book at a second hand shop in Brunflo (Jämtland County) the other day, and decided that it would be a good addition to the old collection (and for several reasons). “Fjällkrögarnas bästa recept” (Tidens förlag, 1989) by author Ulla Tham takes a look at her travels around Jämtland County and she interviews many chefs and inkeepers on their favourite local cuisine for this title. Got to love that.

This book works for preppers as well, some of this stuff comes straight from the local lakes and forests.


Back in February of 1991 I published the first issue of my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER publication here in Sweden. Had a big party in my hometown of Östersund (Jämtland County) with a band performing Deep Purple tunes (featured members of 220 Volt and Pride) that attracted hundreds of people (they were lining up around the block). Local media covered the event. Nice memories.

I am proud of my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER period, and I think it started out well with this issue. The front shot of Ritchie Blackmore was taken in Copenhagen back in 1988 by photographer Michael Johansson, who was supporting the magazine from day one. Plenty of cool stuff in this issue. How about Yngwie Malmsteen reviewing “Slaves And Masters” track by track? Not bad.

Copies sold out quick and I have seen auctions with fantasy prices since then. To all of you that supported this club, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was a blast.

(This blog has permission by Michael Johansson to show his images)