to everyone who sent in questions for former Deep Purple producer
Derek Lawrence. Derek begs everyone's forgiveness for taking
a while to get round to going through them, blaming problems
with Windows XP, but has answered just about everything.
isn't very much known about the Joe Meek days. How did it
work? Were the tracks recorded in a few takes without overdubbing
or was Meek a perfectionist who needed a lot of takes?
How much time was needed to record a track (2 hours or one
whole day)? What time did these sessions usually start (in
the morning)? In the ground floor there was a leather shop.
Any stories about Meek causing a disturbance by with the loudness
of the music"? Bernt
Meek tracks were usually done in the afternoon and evening
and then Joe would work most of the night on them. Cutting
any one track could take 3/4 days to be finished. I always
thought he got on well with the Shentons (who owned the leather
shop below the studio), although in the end he murdered Mrs
Shenton with Heinz's shotgun.
much of an influence was Joe Meek on your production style,
and did you use any of his techniques on the mk1 albums? David
Joe had a large influence on my production style and yes I
used a lot of Joe's echo ideas and his in your face drum sounds.
I assume you first met Ritchie Blackmore during your time
with Joe Meek, can you recall that first meeting? How long
were you there for and when did you leave and why? Jeff
first met Ritchie when he was with The Outlaws at a gig at
the Harrow Town Hall. I worked at Meek's on and off for about
a year and then I just drifted off to do my own thing.
was your first reaction when you clapped your ears onto Deep
Purple? Had you heard anything like it before, and was it
a case of "Jesus, what can I make of these herberts?"
When I first heard them there was no Deep Purple! So it
all evolved over time.
first, was there a unified approach to the style of music
they wanted to play? Dave Jackson
I was present at the formation of Purple and the form and
style evolved over the first two years, from my point of view
much of this came from Ritchie's unique style. It is my opinion
that Ritch found it hard to copy anything and that's what
made him special.
you ever meet Chris Curtis or Bobby Woodman while the group
was being formed? David
No I didn't.
was it working with Ritchie Blackmore? Was he more difficult
to work with than the others? Gerardo
had known Ritchie for a long time already and it was he who
brought me in to the Deep Purple project, and so knowing him
as I did I just ignored his winding up of people!
would you describe each Mk1 Deep Purple member?
was very easy to get on with, a very young but brilliant drummer
and the most organised. Simper could be very miserable or
funny, the kind of guy who always wanted what you had ordered
in the cafe! Evans was more interested how he looked. Jon
was the trained musician who was everyone's friend. Ritchie
was the driving force, a practical joker and wind up merchant
and a unique guitar player.
you use mk1 to play on your other productions while they were
at Deeves Hall? Dave Jackson
guys played on several things for me during that time i.e.
Boz, Dragonfly and others. Some are on that Pre Purple collection
Simon issued recently.
participation did you have in making Deep Purple rise out
was just a name to use for some gigs in Scandanavia.
Deep Purple pictures always keep me curious - they are very
posed, very "sympathetic". They seemed to be managed as a
standard "star" band. In Simon's excellent In Rock booklet,
he quotes Ian Gillan joking about the "bouffant" hair Deep
Purple used. Their sound, though, suggested they wanted to
do something different. What were the guidelines in that image
production and why did it end?
was the look of the day, suits and poovy haircuts! Don't forget
most of the guys had come from backing solo artists on theatre
tours, and most backing bands dressed in suits at the time.
a hand picked 'super group' with financial backing, were you
surprised that they were only given two days to record their
debut album? Daniel
think you are wrong to call it a super group. When they came
together they were journeymen musicians who later became a
super group. In 1968 the time taken was about normal, you
went into the studio with the songs and arrangement in your
head and recorded it.
recollection as to why the Pye studio was chosen for the first
album? Is it still there? Jeff
I'm sorry I really can't remember who booked the studio. I
think it has been moved now.
(It was round the corner from Marble Arch - Simon R.)
did Deep Purple do so many cover versions in that first formation
When you're first starting a band it's easier to learn songs
you all had played before and then start to compose at a later
any covers suggested or played which didn't end up being recorded?
think there were many discussed between Ritchie and I. The
one I remember most was Makin' Time, Ritchie always liked
The Creation version so we ended up doing it on the Green
you have some part, or voice, in the composing of Deep Purple
What did you feel about Ritchie's overuse of wah-wah on the
first album, and the strangulated Fender sound? Did you encourage
him to return to using the Gibson more on Book Of Taliesyn?
but I disagree about the overuse of the wah wah, as most players
at that time were using it on the beat but Ritch was playing
on individual notes. I always loved the Gibson sound, I thought
the notes were much rounder and melodic, but the Fender with
the Vox had more sustain and bite.
was Ritchie's amp set up in the studio on the first three
albums; was it all Vox AC30 or a mix of Vox and Marshall?
far as my memory goes the first two were on the AC30, but
the third was the AC 30 in a Marshall cabinet.
most tracks effectively recorded live or were there lots of
overdubs? Andrew Good
You must remember that we were working first with 4 track,
then 8 track, so there wasn't a lot to play around with. On
most occasions the basic rhythm track was put down on 2 tracks,
vocals and solos mixed down to the other 2. I had learnt to
track jump from Bruce Johnson of the Beach Boys at Abbey Road.
you feel your style of recording changed over the three Purple
albums (both in terms of the sound you were hoping to achieve
and even things like how many instruments were recorded together,
styles of overdubbing, mic placement etc)? Malcolm
main difference in the three albums was that the second and
third were recorded at a different studio (Kingsway). The
longer the band were together the more time they had to put
together original tracks and start to develop a unique sound.
The mic set up at that stage was very much done by trial and
error, the thing I remember most was putting four screens
around the organ's Lesley speakers and lining them with tin
foil to try and get a more biting sound!
there record company pressure on you to make Deep Purple sound
more poppy (whether they liked it or not)? David
had recorded the first album before any record company heard
it, so the answer is no.
you think, at the time, that Deep Purple would be as big as
could have known how big they were to become and how long
they would last.
you remember Deep Purple's first UK gig... was it supporting
The Byrds at The Roundhouse? There seems to be some research
which shows they did a show there in May right at the bottom
of the bill. Ian
do remember a gig at the Roundhouse but that was for a TV
51 - Were you aware of groups like Vanilla Fudge and Iron
Butterfly who Deep Purple seem to have based their style on?
If so how much did their albums influence the first Purple
- Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly were not heard by the boys
untill they were touring America and if my memory serves me
correctly both those groups were influenced by Cream anyway.
Did you find any members of Deep
Purple easier / more difficult to record with (not necessarily
a personality based question! Also to do with the band members'
expectations of sound, position in mix, final vision of product
etc). How much say did you have in this? Malcolm Garrard
I really didn't find anyone hard to work with at first
but then everyone became more opinionated as they became more
confident, and that is only natuaral. When it came to mixing
I did a mix then the boys came in, listened to it and told
me what they wanted changed.
you remember much about 'Shield' from Book of Taliesyn, which
sounds like a particularly large amount of work went into
The Shield doesn't particually stand out to me as being any
more difficult than the others.
were mk1 made to record three studio albums in under a year,
and do you think it was an unhealthy decision? Dave Jackson
In those days three albums in two years was a standard contract!
I don't know if it was unhealthy!
it mean that you had to rush the production more than you
would have liked? Which of the three albums are you happiest
with? Dave Jackson
me those first three albums stand up well for their time,
the third album is my favourite simply because the guys had
been together longer and were tighter.
Were Tetragrammaton annoyed that the band progressively recorded
less and less commercial material? Dave Jackson
As far as I could tell the Tetragrammaton guys were just
happy to have an act selling records!
One thing that amazes me is the work Deep Purple recorded
at the BBC studios. Other artists have issued compilations
of their recordings at the BBC, and some of the Mk1 Deep Purple
sessions were released in the remasters. The Beeb seems to
have had a great role in developing British bands at the time.
How was that relationship with the Beeb? Marcelo.
A few of the BBC producers thought that heavy rock was cool
and did a series of sessions. The early Deep Purple ones I
went along to to supervise the sessions.
you kept any unreleased mk1 recordings, and did you follow
their bbc session work? Sam
no, all the tapes were kept by management. I was present and
worked on the early BBC sessions but again I didn't keep copies.
I have always thought the first
three albums were extraordinary in their approach to experimentation.
Three tracks that have always been highlights of early Purple
for me are Listen Learn Read On, Chasing Shadows and The Shield.
Also, can you remember any humorous stories from the early
sessions that produced the first three albums? Drew W,
Thank you Drew. I think these tracks came from Jon's classical
background intermingled with Ritchies left rock influence
although I do see some similar production values that appeared
on my later work with Wishbone Ash.
Not really, though I do remember that the boys went to
see Rosemary's Baby at the cinema and came back and wrote
Why Didn't Rosemary!
accesss to the multi-tracks for the first three albums, do
you think it would be possible to remix them and achieve a
heavier sound closer to mk2? Sam Reynolds
As far as I know there have been remixes done by EMI, but
it's very difficult as most are just 4 tracks.
How were the orchestral musicians on the early albums chosen,
who arranged for them to take part etc.? Jeff
used a session fixer, who supplied musicians for all kinds
of studio sessions.
did you feel about Jon's classical leanings, and was he allowed
to go too far with it in the band's first year or two? David
to my point of veiw it was what it was and as such was very
suitable for the times.
was your reaction to hearing that the Albert Hall had been
booked, and that Jon was writing the Concerto. Did you think
that the band were threatening to disappear up their own backsides?
the time nothing was happening much in England and it was
thought by management to be a very good publicity gimmick.
Personally I wasn't much impressed.
I seem to recall that you were originally going to be involved
with the Concerto project. Is this so? How come you weren't?
was never intended to produce Concerto, it was not my thing.
did you deal with the moment when Ritchie, Jon and Ian Paice
decided to replace Rod and Nick? Did you have some part in
I wasn't informed.
Evans and particularly Simper fired purely for musical reasons?
always knew that Ritchie felt Nick was to rock'n'roll for
the band and Rod's tuning left a lot to be desired at times.
Ritchie was looking for a new singer in May 69 did you make
any suggestions? Jeff
because Ritchie was looking for a new producer at the same
you have any personnel suggestions for the band, either before
Evans and Paice were hired, or at the end of mk1 when a new
singer and bassist were required? David
It had nothing to do with me as I was fired at the same time!
what point did you part company with Deep Purple, and why?
the third album I was fired - end of story. Actually, it occurs
to me that they never officially told me I wouldn't be producing
you remember if you produced a version of Hallelujah with
Evans and Simper taking part, before Gillan and Glover did
their version? How did you learn about the line-up changes?
I didn't do a version with any Purple line-up, Roger Greenaway
sent it to me as a demo and I said I couldn't see Purple doing
it but I passed it on to Ritchie anyway. I went on and recorded
it later with my own group for Bell Records in the States.
your producing work help make Ian Gillan sound "silver-throated",
or were his vocals that
powerful and clear to begin with. Gerardo B. Reynaldo
As I said above I never worked with Ian Gillan.
the sound and style of In Rock a surprise to you? Did
the appearance of Led Zeppelin have a noticeable impact on
Deep Purple mk1's approach? Ian
No In Rock didn't surprise me, I knew that's where Ritchie
wanted to go. If anything had an impact it was Hendrix.
you approached to help with any post mk1 groups, such as Bodast
or Warhorse? Sam
was going to something with Nick Simper but never did get
around to it.
Derek remember when Green Bullfrog was recorded? I have read
different dates reaching from mid 1970 til mid 1971. Thank
you you Derek, thank you DPAS! Bernt Küpper
The Green Bullfrog album was recorded in 3 days in 1970.
I know, I was there!
The CD series The Derek Lawrence Sessions from Line Records,
Hamburg was announced as a 5 CD set. Only 3 CDs and a 5 track
promo sampler have been released. What about the 2 missing
CD releases ? Has the project been cancelled ? Thomas Meyer,
Yes the Derek Lawrence Sessions were cancelled, mainly
because of a lack of interest from record buyers.
The early 70's 'Babyface ' sessions undertaken by Ritchie
(along with Ian Paice) and Phil Lynott have entered Purple
mythology over the years. Ritchie is reported as saying two
or three tracks were worked up, while Phil in the early 80's
stated as many as five songs were in various stages of development.
Did you have memory of these sessions, and what (if anything)
was consigned to tape? Roy Davies
The three of them did record at The Music Centre at Wembley
(November 22nd 1971 - Simon R.). I have no idea
of how many or what happened to the tracks. I seem to recall
Ritchie telling me that they cut a track by Johny Winters
called "Dying To Live".
you still have contact with the mk1 members? More specifically:
do you know where Rod Evans is now?
No, I believe Rod lives in the States.
What did you think of the "bogus Deep Purple" episode Rod
got involved in, in 1980?
was just trying to make a living but it was a stupid idea..
do you compare Deep Purple Mk. 2 with today's latest incarnation?
I have never worked with either and I can only give my opinion,
which is no more valid than yours. For me Mk 2 was fresh,
innovative and musically brilliant. Since that line up first
time around it has all sounded tired. Sorry!
Our thanks to Derek Lawrence for taking the time out to
answer the questions.
copyright DPAS archive & EMI