Posts Tagged ‘Deep Purple’

heavy

Who needed high school when we had material like this to learn from

I recently unearthed this item and man it floored me. Like being introduced to an old friend you haven’t seen in years. ‘Heavy’ was something special to me and the Cowboy. You see my rock n roll sibling owned this and we all but wore it out. Back then our rock n roll brains were sponges, eager to soak up and learn what we could. Rock knowledge was gained from print press, friends or by listening to compilation’s like this. No internet in back ’83 egg-heads, remember that. So this indeed was a vital part of our rock n roll education and we learnt a lot from it. Maiden’s Number of The Beast we knew well – but it is always a great album opener. How can anyone not dig Maiden ? Their songs still smoke most bands of today and their tunage will always sounds vital and fresh. If you skip over Iron Maiden on your  iPad or similar, you need to get into their back-catalogue. Having Purple follow them up is like switching from a 1000CC to a Vespa. At least it wasn’t Black Night. Followers of fossil-rock may disagree all they want – but this worn out plodder should be banished from hard rock compilations forever. They all came out to Montreux a freakin’ long time ago and shoulda f**kin’ stayed there.  Ditto with Sabbath’s Paranoid…finished with my woman ’cause she couldn’t help me BANG !!! Enough already. By 1982 this thing had not aged well….  god forbid how it sounds now. Sabbath with Ozzy recently toured here but it barely made the news – my how times have changed. Heaven, the Rosie Tatts and Southern Cross flew the Aussie flag and helped to point us in the right direction. Southern Cross were ex-Buffalo and it makes me wonder how a track released in 76 ended up on this thing six years later !? Mix in some Quo, Van Halen and even Bonnet-era Rainbow ! Great. Including two Crapton toons at the end really was dropping the ball on this project, but thinking back, we hovered over these style-lifters back then, quick to figure out how boring ol’ Slowhand really was. Clouds. Anyway, this is a snap shot of an album which helped ensure we stayed on the path of cool rock n roll.  10 out of 10 Mr Gold Air

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surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

better than any sleeping tablet

Y’know I was driving along the highway recently and Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ came over the radio. Classic it may be, but it has not stood the test of time. I nearly clenched my teeth and floored it out of frustration, willing the song to be over and done with. It sounds terribly dated but alas my friends, it is not alone. You see along with say Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, these two culprits are just a couple of what Mr Rockbrat will refer to as ‘tired old rock dogs’ – err hang on, that could me and the Cowboy. Ahem.

These are the tunes you know backwards – and sideways and upside down. Radio stations around the globe (is there a need for radio stations nowadays ?) should take a note of these and ensure they NEVER get aired again. But let’s move on…
You can bet back in the early 70’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ sounded raw and fresh – and would’ve no doubt angered parents around Britain, as their kids cranked it loudly whilst they sipped tea and tried to watch Coronation Street or whatever. Whilst on Purple, ‘Black Night’ is another of theirs which makes the grade. It could replace bran muffins. Whilst I’m at it, I’ve never been a fan of Gillan’s vocals, and I think that is a chief contributor to why these two plodders should be in a museum. Whilst on the subject of dusty museums, Eric Crapton and his ‘supergroup’ Cream are another contender.  Their ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is another teeth grinder and I instantly kill the radio when I hear it. Horrible. Sure Crapton is a genius, but he’s about as interesting as a plain biscuit. I’m sure Koresh and his band of zany followers would’ve been screaming for mercy had the authorities at Waco simply played this old tune over the PA (no God/Clapton pun intended here either !). At the risk of offending some of the narrow-sighted Kiss zombies, I am including ‘Rock n Roll All Nite’. The Catman does not even get to finish his drum intro on this song before I change it. Looking back, Rock n Roll All Nite had started to sound dated by the early 80’s – and I should know, as I was there….oh and just for the record – when it came to partying (ie boozing) everyday it was Space Ace and Criss and not the tune’s contributors, who were no doubt double checking their bank balances. Though as history has shown, Frehley did enough partying for the whole band back in the day. Moving on to our next old age popsioner is Suzi Q’s Devil Gate Drive. I hope to near hear that ‘a one a two a one two three’ intro whilst I’m alive. Plod plod plod. Next up is Don McLean’s American Pie. Haven’t we heard this enough already. It’s not only in February when this one makes me shiver – it’s all year round. The might Led Zep are not immune either. Their classic Black Dog is now a battered old hound and should be put down. Whilst on the subject of Animals (geddit) another tune which sounds like it was recorded in 1805 is the legendary House Of The Rising Sun. Zzzzzzzz. Sorry I was drifting off just thinking of the melody. The King (and I don’t mean Wally Lewis) makes the cut with Don’t Be Cruel. Wake me when it’s over.

Before you write and say what about Syknyrd or Golden Earring or the Stones etc etc stop and re-listen to the tunes. ‘Satisfaction’ still sounds great, so too ‘Radar Love’ or any Skynyrd tune. Skynyrd by the way do not rely on their back catalogue and continue to write and release killer tunage. Overall – these songs might be fine for one of those compilation ‘driving albums’ you can find at a road stop – but if that was the only choice, I think I’d rather roll the window down and listen to the engine.

Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Black Night – Deep Purple
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
Rock n Roll All Nite – Kiss
Devil gate Drive – Suzi Quatro
Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
American Pie – Don McLean
House Of The Rising Sun – Animals
Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley

We've always wanted to work with the London Philharmonic - note Ian Paice's rug.

Heavy metal’s fossilised fathers Deep Purple are to be backed by a 30-Piece Symphony Orchestra on their North American tour starting in early June. The question needs to be asked though. Why? Ian Gillan is what, 67 years of age now, when is enough enough? Taking a leaf out of the David St. Hubbins book, the tour is called, “A Night With Deep Purple And The Songs That Built Rock”. Yawn. The songs that built rock? That’s a bit of an overstatement isn’t it. What a bunch of sad old gits. In 2011, Purple are hardly relevant, and should be content to put the Purple legacy to bed. Purple sound terribly dated – fact. Don’t get me wrong, I love the early Purple stuff, and I really dig the Tommy Bolin, ‘Come Taste The Band’ period, but mixing rock ‘n’ roll with Beethoven and symphonies is such a desperate act of a band who is out of ideas yet still wants the cash grab. It has nothing at all to do with the spirit of rock n roll. Metallica, Ki$$ (no surprises there), and I’m sure the equally outdated Ozzy must have done a symphony rock thing by now). I really don’t get the Purple obsession nowadays. To coin an oft used Mr Rockbrat phrase, in 2011, Ian Gillan is ‘hard listening’. Thirty years after Hanoi Rocks debut album, Michael Monroe  is still putting out vital and incredible rock n roll – and as a live outfit, his band really smoke. There’s a reason for him to still be around. Purple are the antithesis of this. Give it away already. Do we really need to be hearing ‘Smoke On The Water’ in 2011? With an orchestra? What kind of person pays hard earned money to see this kind of dross? Next!

It is fast approaching August 1, Tommy Bolin’s birthday. If he were alive today he would be 59. Tommy Bolin died at the ridiculously young age of 25. He was very proflic though, and crammed far more into his young life than others who live to be a hundred. Not just prolific, but also a master of several different musical styles (hard rock, blues-rock, funk rock, jazz fusion) and instruments (guitar, vocals, bass, drums, piano). Bolin played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 through 1974), Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976), and also released a couple of solo albums. Go listen to the material he recorded with Energy, a fusion jazz-rock-blues band, or the Billy Cobham’s Spectrum album he played on and you’ll see he was much more than just Blackmore’s replacements in Purple. My favourite Bolin material is the material he played on in the James Gang, with whom he recorded two albums, ‘Bang!’ in 1973 and ‘Miami’ in 1974. Before he replaced Blackmore in Purple, he toured with Carmine Appice, Moxy and The Good Rats. He released his first solo album ‘Teaser’ in 75. After Deep Purple disbanded in March, 1976, Bolin was back on the road with his solo band and in 1976 he released his second solo album ‘Private Eyes’. Bolin’s tour for Private Eyes was his last. In his last concert dates, he opened for Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck. His final show was opening for Jeff Beck on December 3, 1976. He died of a drug overdose on December 4, 1976, at Miami, Florida. There is a wealth of Bolin material to discover. My favourite tune from his solo material though is the beatiful ‘Dreamer’. A toast my friends, to the memory and music of the great Tommy Bolin.

Ask any vintage rock fan to name a tune about Japan and it’s likely that Purple’s ‘Woman From Tokyo’ will be the first song they mention. It’s a fair answer. There have been many songs penned over the years with Japan in mind – even as far back as 1928 when the tune ‘Nagasaki’ was a popular Tin Pan Alley hit. But the Rockbrat has been wondering – what are some of the better known rock songs ? I’m not talking about that well worn-out Vapors tune (which I ain’t even gonna name), or even recently recorded rubbish like ‘Bullet Train to Osaka’ by the Smashing Pumpkins. I’m talking about loud, 70’s and 80’s rock and metal bands ! Here’s my list in no particular order:

– Deep Purple: ‘Woman From Tokyo’
Lifted from the ‘Who Do We Think We Are’ album, this timeless song still sounds ballsy and just plain rocks ! It peaked at number 4 in the UK. Recorded in mid 1972 the track is obviously written about the band’s experience of touring Japan. Gillan’s distinctive wailing on lyrics like “Fly into the rising sun, Faces, smiling everyone, Yeah, she is a whole new tradition, I feel it in my heart – My woman from Tokyo etc !!! Great !! If you a youngster reading this, and have not heard this pure chunk of rock history – go find it and educate yourself.

– Queen: ‘Teo Torriatte’
Another obvious candidate taken from Queen’s great ‘A Day at the Races’ LP. Freddy even sings two verses in Japanese ! It was released as a single in Japan and climbed to number 49. In 2008, the song was covered by popular Japanese singer Kokia. Queen were so far ahead other outfits with this kind of creative feat – taking their musical efforts to new heights. By the way – the translation means ‘Let Us Cling Together’.

– Bon Jovi: Tokyo Road’
This is recorded before the band had conquered the planet. It’s quite a likeable piece of pop rock. Included on the 1985 album ‘7800 Farenheit’, the beginning of the song features a female vocalist – whom I presume is Japanese – singing the traditional Japanese folk song ‘Sakura Sakura’ – which is a well-known Japanese tune about cherry blossom trees in Spring.

– Krokus: ‘Tokyo Nights’
Lifted from the classic ‘Metal Rendezvous’ album, this could be my personal choice cut. The guitar into has that typical ‘traditional Japan’ sound and is an all-out ballsy classic. Not sure if the lyrics would pass the political correctness test of modern-day scrutiny – but vocalist Marc Storace sings his ass off about his encounter with a Geisha girl: “Last night when I was laying in my bed, Had a dream of a flag in white & red, ” Swiss cross turned into the japan dot, A yellow girl appeared and made me hot”. I’ve never heard the rising red sun referred to as a ‘dot’, but it does rhyme with ‘hot’. Lyrics aside, this songs freakin well rocks. Turn it up loud mutha and enjoy the trip. Actually the whole album which this song is on – 1980’s ‘Metal Rendezvous’  is a top-to-bottom all-killer-no-filler classic ! Enough cliché’s for ya ! Go grab this album – 30 years old !! Sheesh – great to see Switzerland’s finest ever export still going strong and turning the amps up !

The Bombers: ‘Flash In Japan’
I’ve already penned enough info on Sydney’s Bombers – featuring Quo’s Lancaster and Coughlin – and Angel John Brewster. This song ‘Flash In Japan’ was penned (circa 1990) with the dreadful Nagasaki/Hiroshima bombings in mind – a reminder to never repeat man’s horrid history. Song wise – it’s great. Slow tempo, great drumming, top-notch vox from Tyrone Coates – and with an important message as the song’s theme.

Two other notable’s which spring to mind are by Australia’s Cold Chisel. ‘Rising Sun’ from the ‘East album – written by Barnesy about his girlfriend leaving him to live with her parents in Tokyo (her step-father was an Australian Diplomat). The other track was ‘Yakuza Girls’ which I think was released also on the  ‘East’ album (Japan pressing only)