Episode #125 – Deep Purple – The House of Blue Light (Part 1)

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Lead up to the Album:

  • In the winter of 1985 Gillan and Glover began working on their new album.
  • Gillan says they did so without Blackmore because he “wasn’t really interested in listening to us.”
  • In spring of 1986 they returned to Stowe, Vermont where they’d recorded Perfect Strangers.
  • Early on Gillan said that there didn’t seem to be any motivation by the band to put this album together.
  • Glover said the Perfect Strangers tour had gone really well but when they tried to put this album together that it was a struggle.
  • As with the previous album they set Colin Hart to the task of finding a place.  They wanted to remain in Stowe but this time found The Stowe Playhouse and rigged up Le Mobile to be able to record there.
  • This time each band member was booked separate accommodations along with their families, spouses, girlfriends at the time.
  • Glover and Gillan arrived ahead of the others to begin working on material.
  • The standard argument about writing credits cropped up again with Ritchie wanting to be careful not to hand out too much credit to the others in the band.
  • Colin says in his book that he disagreed with this because the way they put together songs was as a band.  He also says that no one other than Gillan would confront Ritchie about this.  He says that Paice, Lord, and Glover would quietly complain about parts of the songs but it would be left to Gillan to confront Ritchie.  Hart says: “The others would load the gun as long as Ian would fire it.”
  • This paints an interesting picture.  Ritchie would act surprised by these complaints and tell Bruce Payne that the others seemed fine with it.
  • Hart says that it seems like Ritchie wanted out but didn’t know what he wanted to do instead so until he figured that out he was going to be difficult.
  • Hart says Gillan and Glover worked in one corner on writing, Ritchie kept to himself, and Lord and Ian were interested by non-confrontational observers.”
  • Gillan describes the writing conditions as less than optimal in his book Child in Time.  He says he and Roger were in a small windowless room with bits and scraps of paper cobbling together lyrics.  For that reason they decided to drive the mobile unit to Roger’s house in Connecticut and finished the tracks Mad Dog, The Spanish Archer, Bad Attitude, and Unwritten Law there with Nick Blagona.
  • They finished the record by the end of June but no one seemed too happy with it.



  • Producer – Deep Purple, Roger Glover
  • Production Manager – Raymond D’Addario
    • Worked with Elf, Rainbow, Deep Purple
  • Engineer – Nick Blagona
    • http://www.nickblagona.com/
    • Covered previously on show
    • Worked a lot with Deep Purple and Ian Gillan, Cat Stevens, Nazareth, Crack the Sky
    • Sadlly passed away in 2020
  • Recorded By – Guy Charbonneau
    • Le Mobile studio operated by Guy Charobbeau
    • Recarded at the Playhouse in Stowe, Vermont
  • Tour Manager – Colin Hart (2)
    • A man who needs no introduction.
  • Management – Bruce Payne, Thames Talent Ltd.
  • Mastered By – Greg Calbi
    • Mastered at Sterling Sound in New York
  • Mixed By – Harry Schnitzler
    • Mixed at Union Studios in Munich, West Germany
  • Crew – Charlie Lewis (4)
    • Worked with Roger Glover on Mask, Gillan/Glover, Rainbow
  • Crew – Cookie Crawford
    • Worked with Blackmore for years in Rainbow before following him to Deep Purple
  • Crew – John Murphy (15)
    • Deep Purple only.
  • Crew [Maintenance] – Dawk Sound
    • Only three DP credits. Need additional info on this one.

Album Art & Booklet Review

  • Photography By [Portraits] – Dieter Zill*
  • Design, Art Direction – Andrew Ellis
    • Previously an assistant at Hipgnosis
    • Co-founded Icon in 1982
    • Worked with Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd, and UFO
  • Design, Art Direction – Davies And Starr
    • http://www.chalkiedavies.com/
    • British photographic husband-and-wife duo who started working together in 1979 primarily to produce record sleeves and promotional material for rock bands. In 1988 they moved to New York and decided to leave rock photography and concentrate on their still-life work instead.
    • Worked with Pete Townshend, Tears for Fears, David Gilmour, and David Bowie
  • Cover Symbols?
    • Owl/Demon – Ritchie? Owl? Moon?
    • Broom/Rocket – Gillan? Garth Rockett?
    • Arrows & Bow – Roger, a Sagittarius (the archer) – Spanish Archer
    • Theater Masks – Jon who had a background in theater?
    • Crossed Arms – Paicey? Drums?  Ritchie? Slaves and Masters
John’s 1993 sketch of “The House of Blue Light” artwork.

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Album Tracks:

Visit my website https://vinyl-records.nl for complete album information and thousands of album cover photos

Side One:

  1. Bad Attitude (Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord)
    • Song is 32 seconds longer on the 1987 CD release.
    • Gillan: “I was pissed off…for a change!” Ian wheezes with laughter and leans forward to plant an elbow on each knee. “No, it’s a thing everyone says in America – and I hate posey expressions. I wish people could talk properly. When we reformed a few years ago, Ritchie and I were playing football and we had a row on the pitch which ended with me telling him to piss off. So he turned round and said, ‘There’s no need to cop an attitude’ and I said, ‘What do you mean, ‘cop an attitude’, can’t you speak English?’
    • Gillan was upset that Ritchie had picked up some Americanisms after living in the US for the past 12 years.
    • “Anyway, that theme just kinda developed and this song attacks that kinda thing. It has no hidden meaning or anything, it’s just a groove.”
  2. The Unwritten Law (Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Paice)
    • Song is 20 seconds longer on the 1987 CD release.
    • “‘The Unwritten Law’ is next, and that’s about The Clap. I mean, there is a code – know what I mean? If you’ve got a dose you don’t go spreading it around. It’s a general comment on how people should have a little more responsibility. We tried to think of other unwritten codes to include in the song…but I can’t think of any at the moment!”
    • Gillan: regarding being asked if this was a different kind of song for Deep Purple: “Yeah, I nearly killed Ritchie when I heard that riff -it’s the most difficult riff I’ve ever had to write for! I was going round for ages going ‘diddle-id, diddle-id’ behind his back,” the singer laughs, mimicking the riff. “Still, it’s a different vehicle, and that’s one of the great things with this album – without doubt it’s my favourite album since ‘Fireball’.”
  3. Call of the Wild (Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord)
    • The song was released as a single later that year, and made it onto the UK Singles Chart at #92.
    • Regarding Vince Gutman’s Marc System drum system Ian Paice was using:
    • Gillan: “Yeah, that’s a telephone call about this bird…oh, it’s a cheap pun really, but it’s an interesting lyric and it has an interesting chorus. We thought it was too soft and sloppy at first – it nearly got rejected, strangely enough – but when it was finished it seemed to have a nice edge to it. It sounds like some of the more accessible songs Purple have done in the past.”
  4. Mad Dog (Gillan, Blackmore, Glover)
    • Song is 7 seconds longer on the 1987 CD release.
    • Gillan: “Right, what’s next? ‘Mad Dog’… that’s just good fun.”
  5. Black and White (Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord)
    • Song is 1 minutes longer on the 1987 CD release.
    • Gillan: “And then there’s ‘Black & White’, which is a light-hearted attack on the press – and not only the press, but people’s attitudes towards it. Some people believe that if they see something in black and white it must be true, although very often it isn’t true at all. I mean, I have no objection to the press in the slightest – _bastards!_ – but it is difficult to tell people that what they read in the papers isn’t necessarily true. _’A reliable source informed me…’, ‘A close friend said…’_, what a load of bollocks! It _can_ be entertaining, and we do get a selection of newspapers at home… Although I don’t get any music press because I don’t like music very much…”
    • Gillan goes on to explain that he likes making music and he does have the radio on at times but he’s not really interested in what goes on in the business because the business doesn’t interest him.

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