Episode #201 – Deep Purple – Purpendicular (Part 2)

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    Album Tracks:

    All songs written and performed by Deep Purple

    1. Rosa’s Cantina
      • Written on February 1.
      • Roger Glover writes: “”IG started strumming a Bo Diddley sort of rhythm and I joined in, then Paice weighed in with a very odd, unconventional drum pattern, and finally Steve and Jon started playing, turning the jam into a throbbing, bubbling rhythm. What appeared was a stunning idea which we immediately put down on the 24 track. The sound as we listened to the take in the control room, was truly uplifting, rough as it was. Darren (Schneider) did a great job today.”
      • Ian Paice: “I was trying to amalgamate two different styles of drumming; to get a funky, rock ‘n roll back beat thing and incorporate a 1940s swing thing – trying to find a way of getting the two feels to sit together. The only time we did it I’d just about got it, it was a jam and we kept it, we couldn’t get it any better. The whole concept of doing those two things was so new to me it was very difficult to play, now it’s a doddle. The hard thing is coming up with it and then, once you’ve come up with it, to teach your body what your brain is telling you to do.”
    2. A Castle Full of Rascals
      • Written on day 3 in the studio (January 18th).
      • Recorded on June 15th.
      • It was originally called “Spooky” while being written.
      • Steve Morse: “Actually, in a way, this was the first thing we wrote together; the very first time I ever played with the band, right after we came off stage in Mexico City in 1994 – we had just played Speed King and I liked the rock *n’ roll way it worked with the vocal line defining the time – I started playing this idea, lan Gillan started singing along and it sounded promising. That’s when I got my first glimpse of the possibilities of writing with this band. Later in the studio it grew some more. Roger game up with the middle riff and Ian sang a part over it that I wouldn’t have expected, and so it evolved.”
      • Jon Lord’s journal:  “A number which lan (G) is calling “Spooky Wooky” has appeared today. Everyone for a beer at The Thirsty Whale after rehearsals.”
      • Steve Morse: “I don’t know what it’s about, it seems political and yet it doesn’t come down on any side, it’s just a description of human nature. It’s a great title. I’m the only guy in the band that heard it two beats different to the way it’s turned out, I guess I’ve seen life from both sides now, ha ha.”
    3. A Touch Away
      • Song began same day as “Soon Forgotten” on February 14th.
      • Originally it was titled “Albert” until being changed to “A Touch Away.”
      • Song title wasn’t officially changed until August 16th.
    4. Hey Cisco
      • Written on day 2 (January 17th) in the studio.
      • Ian Paice: “I was thinking that Fireball had such a nice feel, I wanted to try and do something very similar to it but instead of having it broken up by regular little rock and roll patterns I would just do the double bass drum thing all the way through it and try and make that the centrepoint of the rhythmic pulse. Keeping it up and not stopping was the tricky bit. I was just practicing getting the bass drums going and trying to play something within that when Steve joined in, then everyone else jumped onto the band wagon, and there went my practice session!”
      • Jon Lord’s Journal: “Today we worked on something which is at the moment going by the unquestionably accurate name of ‘Very Fast?. lan (G) thinks it could end up being a story about The Cisco Kid.”
    5. Somebody Stole My Guitar
      • Recorded on June 29th under the working title “Pulse.”
      • Name officially changed on August 23rd.
    6. The Purpendicular Waltz
      • On February 9th the band began working on a jam in ¾ which was recorded.
      • On February 10th the ¾ idea became “The Purpendicular Waltz.”
      • Finally recorded on June 7th.
      • As previously covered Ian Paice had been a fan of using this title for some time.

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    Bustin’ Out The Spreadsheet

    Reception and Charts:

    • They are said to have come out of the studio with over 20 songs.
    • In an update posted online Roger Glover says that they rarely come up with more material than needed for an album.
    • Release on February 5, 1996 in the UK.
    • The mixing of the album was completed on October 15th, 1995.  In his final update Roger Glover writes: “I’ve rarely been this satisfied with an album (and I’m not easily pleased).”
    • During the mastering phase (attended by Roger Glover and Bruce Payne) two songs had to be dropped due to time constraints.
    • It was released later in the month in various countries and didn’t reach the US until April.
    • The album did not chart in the US but peaked at #58 in the UK. Highest chart position was #3 in Sweden.
    • US and Japanese version had bonus track “Don’t Hold Your Breath.”
    • In a couple of interviews following the release of Purpendicular Steve Morse admitted to have influenced Jon on his current organ sound:
      • I pushed Jon Lord to play the organ with more distortion the way he used to. We recorded it that way. I brought one of my guitar effects units and put it into his organ rig. That’s what he still uses now. I programmed some effects for him. ‘Cascades’, for example, has a heavy organ and guitar lines like in the old days when Ritchie and Jon played a lot of triplet lines together.
    • Ian Gillan: “ ‘The Stallion’ is written. IG: “Some songs have working titles until final lyrics are written but ‘The Stallion’ was always ‘The Stallion’, I don’t know why, it just felt right. Steve and Jon were playing the chord sequence that ended up being the intro and I started singing words that just floated into my head..I’m a little odd like that”
      • This song is one of a handful of “white whales” that has never seemed to have surfaced but it is said it was recorded during the Purpendicular sessions.
    • Assumption is that “Don’t Hold Your Breath” and “The Stallion” would have been the two songs dropped during the mastering phase.
    Darker Than Blue Issue 48  January / February 1996


    • Darker Than Blue Issue 48  January / February 1996
      • I should’ve known better, I should’ve trusted them – but it’s not always easy. But whatever mistakes they may have made in the recent past, this new album isn’t one of them. Deep Purple have delivered a very grown-up album and in many ways – for me at any rate – pushed rock as practiced by older bands in a new direction. Not that anyone else could follow this, it’s a direction very much created by the personalities involved and so hard to actually pin down that I’m not sure others could take it on if they wanted to. For this reason it’s also a very hard album to actually review – so much is in the feel of it all. But what the hell, nothing ventured…
      • So we begin in some roadside neon cactus lit cafe listening to “Ted The Mechanic’s” tale of life, retold over a Glover / Paice lick, anchoring it all firmly to the floor. “Ready An’ Willing” I cried when I first heard it, but the similarities seemed to diminish with each subsequent play and what the hell, it just sounds so good. Morse chucks in a spaceward solo (he’s already opened the proceedings by splattering his hands across the frets) and then climbs down for a quieter organ rhythm passage topped by laid-back vocal harmonies. Vavavoom indeed. “Soon Forgotten” also had a brief live outing early in ’95. Chunks of heavy guitar, discordant Hammond, with Ian Gillan rising and falling with a sound that reminds me of his work on “Superstar”. Jon adds to the strange ambience with one of his weirdest solos ever and closes the proceedings by steaming the organ to a close like some ancient locomotive drawing up at platform twelve. Then cut.
      • I feared “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” might lose its way as it starts just like a Morse solo track might. Fear not, with a band to fire off, he’s soon getting into forward gear and the band are quickly at full pelt – organs thrashing, bass pounding – on a track that gives proper meaning to the word dynamics. The contrast between the soaring guitar breaks and the heavy section adds to the interest and as it all crashes forward Ian gets to add some truly sonic screams before a lengthy closing passage with Morse again left to doodle away. “Rosa’s Cantina” – The man tickling the ivories OWNS this track and instead of giving way to others, proceeds to lavish “Hush” style phrases throughout. A thundering bass joins him, Paicey kicks in and I’m in heaven. Morse contributes enough clipped guitar riffs to make for a cauldron of sound and Ian Gillan sways over the lot. Paicey swings into a slightly military beat for “Hey Cisco” before leading off a head melting jazz-rock riff that Billy Cobham would’ve been proud of. But whereas for many jazz rockers that would’ve been it, here things are properly Purpleyfied and the amalgam of styles is fascinating.
      • The real point of the album is that I’m never stood waiting for the solos. Nobody is dominating anything – it’s just a sheer group effort. When they do throw in a break, it never seems to dominate – just kind of feels as if it belongs there. Morse’s influences are fairly fundamental musically but again it feels natural. How much his arrival has inspired the others and therefore contributed to this new freedom is of course something only the band can say but they don’t half sound good on it. The nearest feeling I can get to describe it is “Fireball”. It’s not another “Fireball” – but what it does share with that record is a new way of looking at rock. Nobody had ever thought of doing what Purple did on that album and the band themselves didn’t realise what they’d achieved on it until it was too late. To me what “Purpendicular” at its best shares with it is that sense of innovation. Of taking the tried and trusted, mixing it with all sorts of musical ideas and influences and coming up with something different. Yes they’ve mellowed and it doesn’t often bite quite as hard and the guitar players long gone and “Fireball” is my desert island disc choice but, even for it to come to mind as I think about this new album is something of a surprise – albeit a very pleasant one.
    • Scream Magazine, issue 28, February/March 1996
      • Submitted by Øyvind Fjeldbu.
      • I saw your request on Facebook where you asked for contemporary reviews of Purpendicular, and I actually found one from the Norwegian hard rock/metal magazine Scream Magazine, issue 28, February/March 1996. The reviews are attached here. Because they are in Norwegian, I have translated them for you below. I just want to say that the staff in Scream Magazine used to choose certain albums that everyone reviewed. Purpendicular was one of these albums, and that’s why there are 8 short reviews for this album, the first one being the main review. 6 (VI) was the highest possible score for an album, 1 (I) the lowest. Here’s the translation (sorry if my English isn’t completely correct all the time): 
      • V: I was incredibly excited about what Deep Purple could do without Ritchie Blackmore, but I was positively surprised. Many people will probably hate this album because they are prejudiced, but my words are these: Give this album a chance. Steve Morse does a fine job as Ritchie’s replacement. The man is probably a more typical hard rock guitar player than Ritchie, but that does not matter. Just listen to the beautiful “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”. The album is characterized by Steve’s more hard rock/heavy metal-oriented guitar playing, but accompanied by Ian Gillan’s voice and Jon Lord’s always incredible organ playing, this still sounds like Deep Purple. This is an album that should satisfy Purple fans unless they are completely addicted to Ritchie. I believe that very few who still appreciate good old hard rock will question Deep Purple’s future without Blackmore. (Jan Dahle – reviewer)
      • 1: The dinosaurs died millions of years ago. Deep Purple vanished with them. I don’t understand the point of hyping an album like this in 1996. (Anders Oddsberg – reviewer)
      • 5: It did not matter at all that Ritchie Blackmore went to his Rainbow. With Steve Morse on guitar Deep Purple deliver their most convincing album in many years. This is really a great CD! (Bjørn Nørsterud – reviewer)
      • 2: I have never been enthusiastic for any release from Deep Purple. I do not lose my control over this album either. Deep Purple will probably never be my thing. (Kenneth Hjorth – reviewer)
      • 2: If you want to buy a Deep Purple record, then watch out so it does not say “Purpendicular” on the cover. Walk to the nice price shelf where the good old classic albums are. (Sem Hadland – reviewer)
      • 3: I have not really decided if I like this album or not. Sometimes it sounds good, but overall it sounds a bit weak. It does not rock as much as my Purple favourites. (Frode Øien – reviewer)
      • 3: Purple now without Blackmore. It is a scandal that they are still active. With every album they release they lose more and more of their glory. There are, however, some playful moments on “Purpendicular”, and it sounds like the boys are having fun. (Håkon Moslet – reviewer)
      • 5: Now I am going to “curse in church” and say that Deep Purple really needed a new guitar player. A lot of goodies/great stuff for guitar freaks here. And Gillan is more spirited/lively. I have to admit that I don’t know the old classics that well, but this one sounds good. (Asgeir Mickelson – reviewer). 
      • A language thing: “curse in church” is a Norwegian expression and I do not know if you have the same one in the States. I guess it is self-explanatory, but it is synonymous to “blasphemous”. 

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