Photo Credit: Amy Farrer Photography
The word iconic gets thrown around quite a bit in music, but nothing fits its definition more than Deep Purple. Known as one of the holy trio of heavy metal, arguably no band has influenced the genre more than the Hertford quintet. Five decades since their inception, the band still continue to expand their legacy, touring at every opportunity, most recently to coincide with the release of their twentieth studio album InFinite back in 2017. Noizze writer Morgan Richards spoke to bassist Roger Glover on their expansive rock and roll story, continuing to write new music, retirement rumours and their controversial induction into the Hall of Fame. True tales from the life and soul himself.
MR: So Roger, it’s been almost fifty legendary and crazy years on the road touring for Deep Purple now. You just recently released your twentieth studio album, after all this time I’m sure the last five decades have just been full of some crazy and serial moments?
Roger: Yeah that’s the perception isn’t it, that rock and roll is crazy and serial and stuff. It’s actually not, I’m quick to point out that the glamour is non existent or very little of it you know haha. Of course we’ve seen a lot of the world, we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs. There's been peaks and valleys in our career but I think if you look at anyone's life over fifty years you’re going to find the same thing. People get divorced, people get new jobs, they have children, whatever it is that governs their lives. Our lives have been governed by basically the public and our own ambitions, desires, our own work. You make some right moves and you make some wrong moves but you never know which is which until later. But I’m a great believer in luck, luck has been a huge part of it. Luck gives you the chance to do your best and hard work then follows. That’s what changes things.
MR: You just recently released your twentieth studio album InFinite last April, what’s some of the biggest challenges and inspiration for you now continuing the songwriting?
Roger: I think the hardest thing to realise is that if you’ve got a long career with a certain kind of music that people associate you with, you tend to become a parody of yourself. That’s what we try to avoid, yeah we have to same instrumentation that we did fifty years ago and we still write songs in pretty much the same way but we try to make them fresh and different. Stay away from our own cliche if you like. That’s the most difficult thing, it’s really hard to write something like a Smoke On The Water riff. So simple but yet it’s like nothing else. I had a argument with a Russian guy recently and he said: “If you release smoke on the water today it would still be a hit.” and I said I don’t think so. It’s of its time and he said: “Well just write another riff.” Haha I said go ahead, they’re hard to come by that don’t sound like anything else. So that’s what we do, we try to have fun and relax and not try to be what people expect us to be.
MR: You’ve been supporting this record on The Long Goodbye world tour, when you first announced it [the tour] a few of you were suffering from health issues and weren’t to sure what the future really held for Deep Purple but you’ve stated now that you’ve all been enjoying it more than ever. For you are plans never really set in stone, is it just see how everything goes and enjoy it and much as possible?
Roger: It was never set in stone in as much as we couldn't give you a date, but we know we're gonna end sometime in the next year or the year after. Who knows? But at our age, we're in our 70s now. If it's one person, then you can know, but when there's five of you and you all have a mixed bag of health concerns and reasons and whatever. So we really don't know, but as long as we're enjoying it, we'll try and keep going. But when will it be? How long is a piece of string?
MR: With that, are there any plans for maybe more material or again are you just seeing how everything goes?
Roger: We don't plan. We just let things happen. I'd love to do another album, but we haven't booked studio time or thought about it much. We'll get into next year before we even start thinking about that.
MR: One thing I wanted to mention was the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Finally you were inducted in 2016 but there was a lot of controversy and uproar leading up to it from other musicians that you hadn’t been inducted sooner. Did getting that induction after so many top names plead your case, make it that bit extra special knowing there was so much support from you peers?
Roger: It's not that special to us. I mean, it's special that people support us, yes, we're very thankful for that. And lots of people from METALLICA to Alice Cooper to RUSH, wondered why we weren't in there. It hasn't changed my life in any way except I got a gong and a free mug haha. But it's a bit of icing on the cake. A friend of mine, when he was getting an award like that said, 'The real reward for what you do is getting onstage and playing. Every night, that's the reward.' Something like a recognition like, it's just a little bit of icing on the cake that's all.
Deep Purple’s new album InFinite is available now. Keep up to date with their latest tour dates and news at www.deeppurple.com. You can also listen to the interview below: