Delving into Deep Purple
June 30, 2005
By Larry Widen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fueled by the unforgettable riffs from songs such as “Highway Star,” “Woman From Tokyo” and “Smoke on the Water,” Deep Purple became one of the most successful and influential hard rock bands of the 1970s.
Its distinctive sound was forged by keyboardist Jon Lord, lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bass player Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice. This thunderous musical machine was fronted by vocalist Ian Gillan, whose shattering screaming paved the way for metal singers who followed.
As the band’s success increased, so did the internal tension. By 1974, Deep Purple was torn wide open when Gillan and Blackmore left to form their own bands. The remaining musicians recruited American guitar sensation Tommy Bolin and vocalist David Coverdale and continued on.
A decade later, the five founding members made an attempt to regroup. After one album, “Perfect Strangers,” Blackmore again left the band, this time not to return. In 1994, Gillan, Glover, Paice and Lord tried again, this time with guitarist Steve Morse, founder of the Dixie Dregs.
The chemistry was there, and the band members’ personalities gelled. This resurrected Deep Purple has been recording and touring for 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Glover offered some insight into what audiences can expect from the band’s show tonight at Summerfest.