We were very lucky to arrange an interview with bassist Roger Glover to pick his brains for our upcoming book on Deep Purple’s Machine Head album recently (Fire In The Sky.) The band played a handful of British concerts during November, so me and Stephen Clare spoke to Roger at length at his hotel in Manchester (once we’d got past security – which was not for the group, but Manchester United, who use it as a staging post to collect players together prior to matches apparently!).
We did warn Roger that this was likely to be a fairly tightly focused chat, and for two hours he did his best to recall tiny details of the albums sessions for us under a John Humphrey style questioning. This has given us a lot of new information and will help add extra details to the narrative.
I took along a little digital voice recorder which seemed to work fine, but when I opened the audio files on my computer was horrified to see they were all dated 2009, and assumed the worst. Then I realised I didn’t have the recorder in 2009, and had just neglected to set the machine’s auto file dating option! The interview had come out OK, and while it won’t win any Sony Radio awards, is perfectly fine for what we need. We are working for a publication date in early 2018.
In the usual tradition of such meetings, I would post at least one photo of the interview, but were so wrapped up in it we neglected to take any, so I’ll add a shot of Roger during the show instead, courtesy of Vince Chong (the background is from the back projections used during the evening.) We did remember to get Roger to sign our copies of the previous Deep Purple book…
Chatting last week – in broken French and English – with the owner of a small Italian restaurant in the Swiss town of Montreux, we explained that it was Deep Purple which had brought us there. He suddenly and unexpectedly went all misty eyed, and quietly proclaimed that Montreux was the band’s spiritual home. He may well have a point.
Work on our upcoming book about Machine Head – Fire In The Sky – is well advanced, but there remained a number of difficult to check facts surrounding the album recordings. So when Deep Purple were booked to headline the closing day of the 2016 Montreux Jazz festival, we decided to draw a number of threads together and plan a visit; to see the concert, check out all the sites associated with the album and arrange a visit to the Grand Hotel where the LP was cut.
Bassist Roger Glover was keen to see it again, and a number of people who were there at the time were invited, plus a few fans and important local worthies, and some of the residents of the building (now apartments) who had little idea of how famous the building was before the gathering.
Researcher Stephen Clare and myself met any number of interesting people and were able to nail a number of questions as well as uncover new stories and anecdotes. The trip was also to enable us to properly photograph the site, and the image above shows the exact corridor which Deep Purple sealed off and turned into their ‘studio’.
There have been a few changes; the end of the corridor is now walled off and become part of someone’s apartment, but they kindly let us in for a look as well.
One interesting outcome of all this is a plan to add a heritage plaque to the building, which has until now been hard for people to find and visit.
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The other photos show Stephen Clare (below right) discussing points with Roger Glover backstage after the show, and Simon (above right) alongside Roger Glover in the former foyer of The Grand Hotel where one of the crew there in 1971 recalls Ritchie disappearing into to record some of his solos.