Episode #240 – Deep Purple – Bananas (Part 1)

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Lead up to the Album:

  • Jon Lord had been considering retiring from Deep Purple for some time. He suffered a knee injury in August of 2001 that prevented him from playing live with the band. They were able to get Don Airey on short notice to fill in playing his first show with the band on August 9, 2001 in Skanderburg, Denmark.
  • Shortly thereafter Don was asked to join the band full time.
  • As they weren’t able to complete a proper farewell tour due to illness they brought Jon back to play the second half of each UK tour date in 2002 culminating with his final performance in Ipswich.
  • February 22nd: Hammersmith Apollo. Jon Lord’s last full show with Deep Purple.
  • September 19th: Ipswich. Jon Lord’s farewell show, handling the keyboards alongside Don Airey.
  • Roger’s official statement on the departure of Jon Lord:
    • “I should inform you that Jon has told us he plans to retire from active participation in Deep Purple. We wish him the best.
    • The moment cannot pass without a personal comment. It is sad that Jon has come to this difficult decision but every one of us respects his right to determine his own life. I have learned so much from him that I could not possibly do him justice by attempting to quantify it.
    • Don Airey will be our keyboard player from now on and we welcome him to the band.
    • Roger Glover”
  • Don Airey in the 2003 Tour Programme:
    • “The thought crossed my mind a few years ago ‘ if John retired . . . ? .. . Naaaaah . . . . . they’d never ask me’. So when he did and they did I jumped at the chance and it exceeded my expectations from the first number I played with them, ‘Woman From Tokyo” at the Kanderborg Festival in 2001. Touring Russia and the US last year was a highlight and recording a new album with the band in Royaltone Studios LA, January 2003, the sort of experience I thought I’d said goodbye to years ago long may it continue!”
  • In April of 2002 Michael Bradford went to a Deep Purple show in Brighton. He was invited by the band to hear them play and consider producing the new album.  On his website he wrote: “Incredible band! They sound as good as they did back when ‘Smoke on the Water’ was a new song, which is back when I was a kid.”
  • Immediately after it was announced that he was going to be producing the band he started receiving communication from Deep Purple fans. Some were wishing him well. Others were concerned that he might “take the band in a rap direction” as he had worked with Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker.
  • He responded: “You can be assured that I will take this opportunity to work with them as the privilege that it is, and do my best to help DP make a great record. Just good, solid rock, with great playing and singing. And, there will be no ‘rapping’ or ‘scratching’ of any kind, so you can put that little thought out of your mind.”
  • The band booked three weeks in Decemeber of 2002 and six weeks in January and February to work on the album.
  • Roger said of the sessions: “What about DP music? I am smiling, is that enough? Michael is a joy to work with – professional, witty, quick, decisive, nurturing, hungry. He has a great appetite, I am in awe of the guy. He is an excellent player and writer, does all his own engineering, runs the computer, and laughs a lot. He and the band have a genuine mutual respect.”
  • Bradford said: “The band has stretched in many directions, but the sound has gelled in an amazing way. Some of the songs are classic ‘rockers’ in the best DP tradition. Some others are more progressive, but they also rock like crazy. One song is even in two different time signatures, but Ian came up with a solid melody that keeps the whole thing grounded. Ian’s also doing some great multi-tracked vocals ala Brian Wilson. The studio is a different world than live, so we took out the big box of sonic crayons and had some real fun. We took advantage of great vibes, a great studio and the best that modern technology has to offer. However, there is no doubt that it’s a =Deep Purple album. This baby really rocks! You should have been there!”
  • MB:– In the studio I like to keep things moving. The band came in to record a rhythm track each day. Ian would come the following morning, and we would do the vocals before the band arrived to cut the next rhythm track. Ian would do a guide vocal during the recording of the rhythm track. That way, we cut a song a day. After about two weeks of basic tracking, we could concentrate on overdubs, solos and fixes. The only rule was to keep moving, so self-doubt would not have a chance to creep in. If you give a band too much free time in the studio, they over-analyze things, and they un-do a lot of good ideas, in an attempt to make them better.

Core Band:

Additional Musicians:

  • hh


Album Art & Booklet Review

  • Art Direction, Design – George Vasilopoulos
    • Only a few other credits including the single for “Haunted.”
  • Art Direction, Design – Ioannis (2)
  • Art Direction, Design, Photography By [Front Cover Photo And Road Photo] – Bruce Payne
  • Photography By [Deep Purple Photo] – Fin Costello
  • Photography By [Cd Back Cover Photo] – Bill Homdell
    • Only credit on Discogs.
  • In the run up to the Liverpool Pops live show, an interview with Roger Glover has appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post in which he talks about the naming of the band’s new album..
  • “About three years ago we were on a plane from Australia and looking through the Sunday papers. I was looking at a travel feature about Vietnam and there was a picture of someone on a bike which was covered in bananas. I turned to Ian Gillan and said. ‘Wouldn’t that be a great picture for the front of the album, we could call it Bananas.’ Then to my surprise he was saying. ‘Yeah that’s a great idea.’ That’s where that came from. We’ve got the picture now so you will have to just wait and see what happens.”
  • Interview by James Eillis with Metro in 2003, Ian Gillan said: 
  • https://www.thehighwaystar.com/specials/bananas/ig-metro.html
  • Why Bananas?
  • We were in Australia four years ago and we saw a picture of this Vietnamese guy wheeling a bicycle and he had an absolute mountain of bananas. The picture was very evocative. It said to me: ‘Exploitation, exploitation, exploitation.’ I don’t know why – he probably wasn’t being exploited. My train of thought then shifted to: ‘Hmm… probably none of those bananas will find its way into the EU. What do we get? Chiquita? Mmm. Yummy.’ Then I started researching the EU regulations that are prescribed by the idiocracy, saying what size of banana we are allowed to eat and how much bend they must have. I thought: ‘Who are the only people who can fulfil these requirements?’ and the answer is those who deal in genetically controlled food and so really the only bananas we get are grey, rubbery, seedless and infertile. And my mind started twisting onto other things and I’m thinking of my freedoms being eroded. And I am so completely totally anti-EU and anti-Euro and as you can see the train of thought goes on and on and on. I’m not anti-Europe of course, I’ve got friends in every country, and I adore the culture and I respect ‘vive la difference’ but these rules aren’t what the Treaty of Rome was about. I haven’t chosen to use it as an ideogram, as a cheap trick: ‘Bananas means we’re all crazy, ha ha ha.’ It starts off with that but it develops into many things.
  • https://www.thehighwaystar.com/specials/bananas/ap.html
  • Deep Purple Album Title Gets Criticized
    Associated Press
  • NEW YORK – Deep Purple fans are going bananas over the title of the new album. Guitarist Steve Morse writes on his web site the album is titled “Bananas.” He says some deep-rooted fans are up in arms and are actually asking for them to change the title.
  • He says the title comes from Ian Gillan commenting in his proper English accent that Morse had gone bananas with an instrumental exchange with keyboardist Don Airey. Morse says anything that makes the band laugh usually sticks. However, Morse says Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover claims the title came from a photo of a skinny guy riding a bike loaded with hundreds of bananas they thought was funny.
  • Either way, Morse says everyone in the group is happy with the album as it has a variety of material on it and two guitar oriented instrumentals. Morse is also pleased that reviewers have been receiving the new album well so far. “Bananas” is due in August.

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Album Tracks:

All tracks by Gillan, Glover, Morse, Airey, Paice except where noted.

  1. House of Pain (Gillan, Bradford)
    • MB:– It is just a blues-based rock song about having a lover who is hard to live with, but you can’t leave because the lovemaking is so good. I have lots of friends who can not quite break up with someone. Maybe they are afraid, maybe they don not want to be lonely, and maybe they just like a twisted mess. That is exciting for some people. I am not one of them.
    • – Gillan and Roger are doing those backgrounds.
    • – After mixing was done. I just thought that starting the album with a big guitar riff and Ian screaming would be a great way to say “Wake up everybody! We Are Back!”
  2. Sun Goes Down
    • MB:– That one was developed in rehearsal. Steve comes up with some great riffs. The band really wrote that one as a team. It was the first song where we did background vocals on the chorus that we knew would not be doable live, but that is why albums are different. The song had lots of great parts; it was a matter of putting them in the right sequence.
    • His [Don’s] solo at the end of “Sun Goes Down” is a killer.
  3. Haunted
    • Arranged By [Strings] – Paul Buckmaster
    • Backing Vocals – Beth Hart
    • Cello – Paul Buckmaster
    • MB: They were concerned that maybe their hard rock fans would not like “Haunted”. I do not think that it is commercial sounding, because nothing on the radio sounds like it. If they were trying to sound commercial, they could have tried to imitate Linkin Park or a nu-metal band. “Haunted” is actually a throwback to a more 60s British soul music sound. It is probably more akin to Procul Harum or Spencer Davis or Traffic than anything going on today. They were not really worried about formula, because they have been together for so long and they have made so many albums. Like I said before, they have always been more versatile than people realize.
    • – Roger had the basic idea, and he played it for Ian and me. We made a very basic demo of it at my studio, and Ian took the CD home to write most of the lyrics. Ian and Roger worked the lyrics out, then they presented it to the rest of the band. It took its final shape in rehearsals.
    • – I made other mixes of it because of radio. I knew that for the single to have the best chance, we would need a few different versions. A pop station would want a little less guitar. A rock station would not necessarily want the string section. The version on the album is the one that the band wanted.
    • One, we were not afraid to put vocal layers on that they could not do live, so he had more harmonies than normal. Also, Ian had his own vocal studio within the main studio that was set up very comfortably for him. Once he was in his own world, he sang great, because he was relaxed and at ease. Also, we cut vocals when the band was not there, to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of having your bandmates listening to your every breath. The voice is the most delicate instrument. A relaxed singer is a happy singer.
  4. Razzle Dazzle
    • Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan picks his 5 favourite songs of all time
    • Long Tall Sally – Little Richard
    • Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
    • I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield
    • Razzle Dazzle – Deep Purple
    • Love Me Do – The Beatles
    • MB: I also love the honky-tonk piano on “Razzle Dazzle”. I think he made a conscious effort to not just play organ. That was a wise choice, because that is what made his sound different from Lord’s. I did not have to coach him. Great musicians do not need coaching, just a little editing.
  5. Silver Tongue
    • MB:– That song started off as a jam. It was just a matter of putting the riffs and sections in the right order. I processed Don’s clavinet to give the song a little bit of a mechanized feel. Of course, those are Ian’s cryptic lyrics.
    • I think it is a classic Purple tune, I even think it could work as a single.
  6. Walk On (Gillan, Bradford)
    • Guitar – Michael Bradford
    • MB: – I had actually written “Walk On” some time ago, but I never had a use for it. I played it on guitar for Ian and Roger, and they really liked it. Ian re-wrote the lyrics in a way that made the song flow better, and had removed some of the bitterness of my original lyrics. In rehearsal, I started the song off by playing that little rhythm part that gets the groove going. We did it that way for so long, that we cut it that way as well. That left Steve able to do the other stuff while the track was going down. Also, the solo that Steve played was a first-take shot from the original rhythm track!
    • I consider “Walk On” to be quite possibly a major hit, should it be released as a single. It is clear to me that your working relationship with Ian Gillan is a very successful one.

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