Archive for February, 2016

Kick ass news

Posted: February 29, 2016 in Comics

shangchibook

Well I have some great news from Marvel today. A 696 page edition of The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, is going out in June.

Awesome!

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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.

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One of Preston´s shots of Tommy Bolin ended up on the cover of a 1976 issue of the Japanese guitar magazine Player (see top image). The one you can see here popped up in 1983 in a Japanese photo book. 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.

(Top image of the arena was not taken on the day that Deep Purple performed there).

Maxi Tex 45

Posted: February 29, 2016 in Comics

MaxiTex45

Maxi Tex (issue) 45 is out today in good old Norway. 276 pages of classic Tex Willer.

Nice.

Shades of Treason

Posted: February 28, 2016 in Books, Cool stuff

Shadesoftreason

Author Sandy Williams are now publishing her own books herself and any fan of Sci-Fi will enjoy her first title in her brand new Anomaly series, “Shades of Treason” (2015). Really good cover too, which is always nice.

Top notch all the way.

Memory Zero

Posted: February 28, 2016 in Books, Cool stuff

Memoryzero

I enjoy author Keri Arthur´s books and with “Memory Zero” (Dell, 2014) she kickstarts a new series called The Spook Squad. I can see that they mention two more titles within these pages, so I guess “Generation 18” and “Penumbra” may already be out there.

Cover art by Juliana Kolesova.

Whitesnake carries on

Posted: February 28, 2016 in Classic Rock, Deep Purple Family

Whitesnake2016

Whitesnake seems to have wrapped up “The Purple Tour” for good and they are now set to go out on the road, starting in June Stateside, with “The Greatest Hits Tour 2016”. There are rumours that this might be the last Arena Rock Tour for David Coverdale, but such talk may originate from personal thoughts that David shared six to nine months ago. There has been talk about writing new material after this and there is no official statement on the official Whitesnake homepage that this is it. Of course it could be, with the world economy edging ever closer to a full recession (or worse), we will have to wait and see.

If it is the end, then you could argue that Coverdale did go out in style.

DP_longbeach76

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 and on top of this they lost a rare outing of the band performing “Comin´Home” from the “Come Taste The Band” album, since the tape was running out right in the middle of the song! 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. 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´ll 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.

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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?

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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…