Intervju med Roger Glover i Deep Purple!
Roger Glover tillhör det gamla gardet och får väl ses som något av en legend inom den brittiska hårdrocken. Han har precis släppt ett nytt soloalbum, "If life was easy", och kommer snart till Sverige med Deep Purple och en symfoniorkester i släptåg.
Jag tänkte att det kunde vara kul att ta ett snack med denne basist och höra hur landet ligger. Efter att bara ha fått lyssna på Rogers telesvar under en dryg halvtimme, lyckas jag till slut nå honom och efter diverse strul med småbarn och en dålig telefon, kunde vi sätta igång med intervjun.
Are you ready?
Roger Glover: Yes, now I can sit down and talk to you.
RG: I have a little baby and I dropped my phone and the phone doesn´t work and I had to find another phone and get the baby. Well, you know what it´s like.
I know what it´s like.
RG: Are you a father?
Yes I am and I just put my two daughters to bed and that ain´t easy.
RG: Exactly! I´m glad we´re on the same wave length!
First of all, I just want to congratulate you on a really fine album and a great bunch of songs!
RG: Well, thank you very much! I haven´t had a lot of feedback so I actually don´t know what people think of it.
I´ve been listening to it and there´s some really good stuff on there! The artwork for the album, was that just something you found on a wall or was it made especially for the album?
RG: No, it´s actually just something I found on a wall. There´s an explanation for it on my website and there´s a little competition involved. I travel the world with Deep Purple and I always like to take my camera with me and if I see something interesting or an interesting view, I take a shot. This was taken in Poland, I guess, about eight or ten years ago and I never thought of it as an album cover until one night at about 3.00 in the morning, I suddenly woke up and I had been struggling with the cover and all of a sudden, the song “If life was easy” and this image came to mind. It´s one of those interesting accidents and I like accidents.
For how long have these songs been around? Are they songs that have been around for a couple of years or are they newly written?
RG: Well, it´s been about nine years in the making and in those nine years, which it says on the album cover, I´ve been through a lot. Moving and …in fact, I´m moving right now. I´m surrounded by boxes and it doesn´t end! Anyway, I think, probably one of the first songs was “If life was easy”. That was a little guitar thing that I was picking for months and probably actually a year or so, before I realized “Yeah, maybe there´s a song in there?”. Another one that was early was a song called “When life gets to the bone”, which eerily predicts the future I was gonna have with my problems like divorce, separation, countries and babies… especially divorce. In fact it´s not about the baby, it´s all about the divorce and all about lawyers and the crap you have to go through. A lot of my life of the last few years wound up as lyrics and hopefully somewhat poetic and deep enough so that other people going through the same emotions, can identify with it.
During all these years, were any of these songs stuff that you brought to Deep Purple or were they just made for a solo record?
RG: The thing about Deep Purple is that you don´t bring a song to a writing session, because they don´t like that. I mean, we don´t like that! If anyone brought in a song that was completely finished and all we had to do was copy it, neeehh, that´s not what Deep Purple is. Deep Purple starts its songs… I mean, we don´t write songs for start, they kind of evolve from a series of jams and really what you want to bring into a Deep Purple session, is just a riff or a chord sequence or a rhythm or a line or two and that´s all and then everyone else just kind of join in. There are a couple of ideas that I might have considered for Purple, but we had a writing session and a lot of my ideas went into the writing session anyway, and that was in March. There´s a Purple album bubbling under and we´ll get to it next year.
I was thinking about the song “Stand together” which I think, and that´s just me, it´s got a bit of a Robbie Robertson feel to it. Kind of the stuff that he did on his first album.
RG: Is that the one that has “Broken wings” on it? (I think Roger means "Broken arrow", Editor´s note)
The one with “Crazy river”.
RG: Yeah, I remember! I actually bought that one. I suppose… the Band is one of those seminal outfits that influenced everyone. In fact, I just bought the remastered “Big pink” to bring back memories. I remember the organ on “Chest fever”.
Oh, I love that song!
RG: That was an influence on Jon (Lord) as a matter of fact. You hear that sound and that intro… wow, it´s amazing! I mean to songwriting! I have Deep Purple for my hard rock side, so on a solo side I wouldn´t consider doing anything ultra heavy or in any way competition, you know. The solo thing is very much a personal thing! It´s a personal outing and a personal adventure, if you like.
Will you do any kind of touring behind this album?
RG: Well, I would love to, but time is a problem right now. If there´s a great deal of interest in the album, then that certainly is an impetus to the idea of doing some live stuff, but failing that, it´sprobably gonna have to wait untiI I get a little bit more time on my hands, which is a shame because I have a lot of songs between this album and the last album and several albums that I´ve done before. There´s a lot of material there and it could be a great live show.
Was it recorded in New York?
RG: If I used a studio it was in New York, but a lot of it I did at home. When I say at home (laughs), home is where the suitcase is these days. A lot of the stuff was done on the computer and a lot of it is actually demos! I´ve got a computer and Pro Tools set up, the whole business, and I write songs that way. Usually you write songs where there´s a little drum machine thing and a couple of keyboards and you program it all and bing bang, you have a song! It´s really a kind of demo, but the weird thing is, I don´t have to write for anyone except myself! That´s what I´m indebted to Deep Purple for and so I tend to write whatever comes into my head and that´s pretty dangerous. (laughs) Lots of things come into my head. I mean, I listen to a lot of internet radio and that´s probably my main source of music these days. Switching around and there´s a couple of radio stations that I really like and I thought of doing an album like a radio station really, where you get a lot of variety, so that´s the idea for the fact that there are so many different… I hate the word style, but you know what I mean!
I do radio for a small station here in Stockholm and you should check it out! It´s all in English and it´s called http://www.rocket.fm/! We play everything from Johnny Cash and Fogerty to Slayer and Depeche Mode. We also got Little Steven´s Underground Garage every Friday between 6 and 8 pm.
RG: Oh yeah! Hang on, I´ll write it down!
We have a lot of fun doing it!
RG: Fun is really what it´s all about! I think it´s all very serious and corporate and intense. One thing the internet has done is free up people to really go for themselves, but I guess the downside of it is that there´s so much crap out there! (laughs) You don´t have a life long enough!
Exactly! Are you based in Switzerland these days?
Ok! Are you hanging out with Phil Collins?
RG: No, no… I mean, I´ve met him, but I´m hardly a friend and call him up “Hey, how are you doing? We´re having a barbecue!”. I´m afraid not.
A few things about your history and stuff you´ve done. I found out that you produced Barbi Benton!
RG: I did!
That was a huge hit!
RG: To my memory it was never really legally released. What was the song from it…? “Ain´t that just the way”, yeah! Well, she had a hit with that because it was part of a TV program in America and I got involved with purely because our manager started thinking about managing other acts and ended up managing her for some reason. How it came about I don´t know. Maybe he just likes good looking women! He hooked me up and said that she wanted to do this album and she wants to be a country singer and “Do you wanna produce it?” and I said “Sure!”. It was for Playboy Records and as I recall it, we finished the whole thing and almost till the day, Playboy Records folded. It was never really complete and I never got paid. I think the musicians got paid and maybe the studio, I don´t know. It didn´t end very well and then six months or a year later, Barbi Benton called me up and said she didn´t like the sound of the record. I said “What? What record?”. Apparently what had happened or I imagined what happened, she got a cassette that I gave her of the finished mixes and somehow that ended up as being released in some way shape or form. So that it was a big hit was a bit of a victory.
You and Ian Gillan had a song, “Lonely avenue”, on the “Rain man” soundtrack. How did that come about?
RG: No idea! No clue! It´s not our song, you know, it´s just our performance.
RG: That´s a classic song! The first I heard about it was when our engineer Nick called up and he was in the movie theatre watching the movie and heard it. He immediately called us up and said “Your song is in a movie!”. I don´t know what Ian thought, because we don´t live together, but it was quite a surprise and how it got there I have no idea. I don´t think it means any money.
But still, don´t you need some kind of permission even though it´s not your song? It´s your performance of it.
RG: I don´t know how that thing works. I´m not really involved in the business.
You should sue Tom Cruise!
Another thing! You produced another album that is a favorite of mine, david Coverdale´s “Northwinds”. You should hook up with him again!
RG: Well, that´ll be the day! I don´t know how that might happen. He´s on his own, but I was actually really glad to do those two albums. Ian and I got kind of thrown out of Deep Purple, well Ian didn´t get thrown out, he left, but I got thrown out and to work with the ones that followed us, to work with those people was great! It shows that there´s no hard feelings. I don’t have a grudge against someone because someone else fired me, you know. They´re both talented people! I was glad to do them and I enjoyed them.
Yeah, I think it´s one of the best things that Coverdale has done!
RG: Yes, before his a… well, I´ll shut my mouth now!
It´s before he became a blonde and started dating models in the US!
RG: Yeah, you know what I mean! I was actually gonna put it a little bit more crude. (laughs)
You´re coming to Sweden with an orchestra. Are there any plans for putting out a live DVD or turn it into a live album or something like that?
RG: Yes, as a matter of fact! This last tour we did… well, we´ve done two tours now with the orchestra, one was North America and one was Europe and we did the Montreux Jazz Festival again, which is always a special occasion. We did it with the orchestra this time and we recorded it and there´s a DVD that will be out in November, I believe. It was a really good show and I think it´s the best Montreux we´ve ever done! The whole thing with the orchestra has actually been a total gas! I wasn´t sure about it to start with and I thought it was a bit of a gimmick, but maybe we need a gimmick, who knows? (laughs) It´s just hard to stand out these days! But it worked a dream and it worked on a musical level really, really well. I´m actually very thrilled with it.
Cool! It was kind of funny, because I read an interview with you and you mentioned Metallica and a few years ago, all of a sudden all metal bands were doing these live recordings with an orchestra, like Metallica and Scorpions.
RG: Well, they´re making the connection that we made years ago. It´s all simple really and it´s all music. Either you have a synthesizer making orchestral sounds or you have an orchestra!
True! And I gather from another interview that any kind of new Deep Purple album will probably surface next year?
RG: Yeah! We´ve had one writing session and it´s becoming kind of difficult. We´re kind of slightly directionless at the moment. I know what we wanna do and everybody else know what they wanna do. (laughs) It´s a question of getting together. It is a timing problem. We tour a lot and we live in all different parts of the world and getting together to do an album is a bit problematic, but it will happen! I´m fighting for it!
There´s all kinds of Deep Purple unreleased stuff and live recordings and we just has this “Phoenix rising” album. Will there be more of such stuff in the future? Are there more stuff in the Deep Purple vaults?
RG: Well, there´s always the old anniversary edition, reissue kind of thing! Some of which I´ve been involved in and some of which I´m proud of, but what people don´t seem to realize is that there are two Deep Purples. There´s the Deep Purple that exist now and there´s the Deep Purple that existed in the 70´s and all that material get kind of reissued and reissued and reissued and with live bits and it´s out of our control! We don´t have copyright of it or control it. So a lot of stuff get put out, which is really not in our interest. I sound a bit… I mean, we haven´t done an album in five years, so maybe I should think about that? But this older stuff is just scraping the barrel really and it doesn´t always go down well with us. Especially when they choose things that we don´t particular care for.
A final thing, listening to this latest album of yours, I just thought you should try and do something with Robert Plant! That would be really cool!
RG: Well yes. I know Robert and that would be very cool. It would be very cool for me and go and say “Hey, you wanna work with me?” (laughs) and he´d go “What do I get out of it?”. (laughs) I don´t know, maybe his reaction would be different, who knows? It´s very odd finding partners and especially if they´re big stars.
True! Do you have any more plans of doing some producing? Producing some other band or an artist that you´re thinking about?
RG: Well, yes I´ve been a producer, but most of that was in the 70´s when I had time. I haven´t done anything for six years as a producer! I did a few bits of production after that, when I was in Rainbow, but since Deep Purple started in 84, I haven´t really had much time to do it. The old traditional way of doing an album is that it´s gotta take at least two or three months and I´m hard pressed to find two or three weeks.
I guess that´s the way it is!
RG: That´s life! Maybe it´s something I´ll return to one day, assuming I still have ears, which I still do. I love producing and it´s an exciting environment to be in. Any one given problem can be solved four or five different ways and it´s a fantastic mental exercise to figure out which is the best way or the cheapest way or the easiest way to do something. Your brain is in overdrive “If I do this will it sound like this? If I do this it will cost more!”. You make that decision in seconds and it´s a bit like being on stage. When you´re on stage your life is down to nanoseconds. You´re so in the moment, because you´re listening to the band and you´re listening to your playing and you´re aware of the audience and you´ve gotta be prepared for any change immediately because things do change and just keeping in time with everybody. Then being an artist and making it mean something. It´s microseconds and it´s a fantastic feeling and that´s why everybody when they come off stage are so pumped up.
Makes sense! I´m looking forward to catching you live here with Deep Purple and I wish you all the best with the album and I hope you get to tour with it.
RG: Well, if you get a chance to come say hello, please do so!
I will and best of luck with moving again!
RG: Thanks a lot! (laughs) Yeah, it´s a crazy life!
Thank you so much Roger!
RG: Thank you Niclas!