deep purple features

DEEP PURPLE Mk4, May 1975 - December 1975
May-June 1975 .... July-August 1975 .... September-October 1975 .... November / December 1975 .... January / March 1976 .... (back to Mk3 chronology)

MAY-JUNE 1975: With little in the press beyond speculation, we'll roll the two months together. With Blackmore out of the band, Deep Purple - having decided after discussion between band members and management that they would try for a replacement - now had to draw up lists of guitarists, and hold some auditions. These were done away from the glare of European publicity in Los Angeles. Jeff Beck was top of everyone's list, but quickly dismissed as unlikely to wish to commit to anything long-term.

Humble Pie guitarist Clem Clempson was seen as a possible choice, and was invited over to audition, but while he was very able, they didn't feel the magic was there. It seems that word got out in L.A what was going on, and various hopefuls turned up at the studios, but if any were auditioned, names have not been recorded.

"I spent a couple of weeks staying with Jon Lord at his house in Malibu, and I did jam with DEEP PURPLE a couple of times - they were looking for guitarist at the time but I was not invited to join the band. They were looking for a songwriter more than anything, they wanted somebody like Ritchie Blackmore who, I think, had been the main creative force behind DEEP PURPLE. I knew Jon quite well - I can't remember where I'd met him, but I'd played with Jon before - but they needed someone with a lot of songs to basically come in and tell them what to do." [Clem Clempson, interviewed in 2003 by Thanks to Dmitry M Epstein].

The next name to surface was that of Tommy Bolin, and he got the job. Coverdale knew his work from the "Spectrum" album, and he was living near-by. We can get an idea of how the band sounded at this period thanks to the "Days May Come" CDs. His audition blew everyone away, and while to his fans Bolin joining Deep Purple seemed an unlikely move (Bolin had quickly tired of the James Gang), Bolin himself realised that there were a lot of musical avenues they could explore. In addition he had just signed a solo deal, so could have the best of both worlds. London management were against the move but a contract was agreed which would give Bolin room for his solo work (and thus allow the rest of the band more time for solo projects), while Deep Purple could continue to tour and record. No time was wasted, and in a spirit of enthusiasm the group spent much of June jamming and writing. Meanwhile, Bolin bumped into Blackmore who said he'd recommended him to the others. Chuffed, he later found this was a wind-up (though Blackmore had in fact praised Tommy in an interview some time earlier).

May - June 1975 links:
Deep Purple Mk4 famly tree • 'Days May Come..' illustrated discographyDeep Purple 'History, Hits & Highlights' DVD reviews • Deep Purple 'Day May Come..' is available from the dpas online store.• Deep Purple A-Z, Los Angeles : Record Plant, Pirate Sound etc links: Jon Lord, Sarabande Deep Purple, 'Days May Come'

Clem Clempson
David 'Clem' Clampson

Tommy Bolin 1975
Tommy Bolin, June 1975

JULY-AUGUST 1975: Even with Tommy on board, Blackmore's ghost returned in July with news of a live double album from his final shows in March and April. It was wisely decided to put this on hold and allow the new studio album room to breath (the LP eventually came out as "Made In Europe").

Deep Purple Mk4Tommy himself left the writing sessions to record his debut solo album "Teaser", which he'd mapped out in detail on demos. The bulk of the album was done, and the tapes were ready for mixing. Although it went unreported at the time, both Jon Lord and Glenn Hughes made low-key appearences on the album. Tommy had wanted them to be involved more fully but they were unable to do so for tax reasons.

The mix had to wait however, as in August, Deep Purple met up in Munich to record the new studio album "Come Taste The Band". They spent almost the entire month closeted in Musicland Studios recording, with Bolin doing some interviews and photo shoots.

July - August 1975 links:
Deep Purple Mk4 famly tree • 'Tommy Bolin 'Teaser' is available from the dpas online store.

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1975: The recording of "Come Taste" ended on September 1st and the track list was released to the press during the second week of the month. The first dates of their world tour were also announced. (click the clipping to enlarge). Just a couple of days later, Jon Lord began work recording on his new 'solo' album "Sarabande" in Germany, which he completed within a week. No other members of the band took part. While he did that, Tommy Bolin returned to America to start recording his first solo album at the Electric Ladyland Studio in New York. This continued through into October, after which he flew to London where the album was mixed at Trident.

Deep Purple newspaper clipping 1975"You Keep On Moving" was also scheduled for release as a single at the end of September but held over. October also saw Jon Lord, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes join former Deep Purple members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover on stage at London's Royal Albert Hall for the Butterfly Ball Concert.

Based on the album, this was the only time the music was performed live, and the charity performance featured a host of other stars. The show was filmed but saw only a few cinema showings and a brief release on video two years later (it was quickly withdrawn). It is now available on DVD, against Roger Glover's wishes.

This was the first time Ian Gillan had sung in public since leaving Deep Purple. Towards the end of the month Deep Purple regrouped at Pirate Sound Studios to begin rehearsals for the world tour due to start in November. Friction arose when Tommy Bolin felt hampered by being forced to play Blackmore era songs note for note. October also saw the mailing of the very first newsletter from the Ritchie Blackmore Appreciation Society, which eventually became the DPAS.

September-October 1975 links:
Deep Purple Mk4 famly tree • 'Deep Purple 'Come Taste The Band' is available from the dpas online store. • Butterfly Ball live concert, photo galleryRoger Glover, family tree • Jon Lord, 'Sarabande' discography

Clem Clempson
Above: Butterfly Ball, ticket for live show. Below: Advert for live show
Butterfly Ball advert 1975

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 1975: By November Mk 4's world tour got under way. Come Taste The Band was issued in Europe on November 7th. The feedback was varied; some papers saw it as a retread of past glories, others were able to appreciate the energy and new elements which Bolin had inspired. Fans had a hard time, it was such a change from the Blackmore way of doing things. They kicked off the tour in Australia (after a warm-up in Hawaii - see Hawaii ticket left c/o Tonny Steehagen), their longest ever visit to the country. Reviews were again mixed, as were performances, but overall they went down well and once they started to warm-up (the band had after all been off the road for several months) there was clearly promise in the new line-up.

Deep Purple, Tokyo 1975Deep Purple ticket, Hawaii 1975The group moved on to two ill-fated shows in Indonesia on the 4th and 5th of December. The gigs saw heavy handed security imposed by quasi military personnel but off stage Bolin's bodyguard Patsy Collins died in mysterious circumstances in the hotel, and members of the crew and Glenn Hughes were jailed overnight. The band's concert fees were forfeited.

In Japan they were made more than welcome, and despite Bolin having problems with his arm at one or two shows (a result of a bad fix), things looked up. One of the gigs was recorded (and partially filmed for the promo Rises Over Japan), and is now available in full on This Time Around 2xCD (having first come out in a much edited form as Last Concert In Japan). The set list was adventurous and showed a determination not to rely on past glories. The bulk of the show (some eight tracks) came from the new album. They kept Burn as the opening song, and of course Smoke On The Water. Lazy made a reappearance and for the set closer they embarked on a lengthy take of Stormbringer, with Highway Star as the usual encore.

There was a break after the Japanese shows over Christmas and the New Year before they began a lengthy American tour.

November / December 1975 links: Deep Purple Mk4 famly tree • Deep Purple 'This Time Around / Live In Tokyo 1975' album review • Deep Purple ''This Time Around / Live In Tokyo 1975' ' is available from the dpas online store. • Deep Purple 'History Hits & Highlights' DVD review (including New Zealand 1975 tour documentary and live tracks from Tokyo 1975).• Deep Purple. Tokyo 1975 photo gallery • Deep Purple, Live in Tokyo 1975 illustrated discography link: Deep Purple : 'This Time Around / Live In Tokyo 1975'

JANUARY / MARCH 1976: Deep Purple's final few months were played out on the road at the start of 1976. If their shows in Australia and Japan had escaped much Western media scrutiny, they were now playing in their biggest territories and, while it would be wrong to suspect any kind of stitch-up amongst journalists, their live reports did paint an often bleak picture of the state of the band's performances. The powerful UK music press did repeat some of the reviews, as well as send correspondents out to cover shows, and it was impossible to ignore the often negative tones. Hindsight showed that drug problems affected two of the band and this clearly had a big effect on their live shows, but egos, and a seeming inability to address any of the issues didn't help.

Tommy Bolin 1976Deep Purple toured the east of America in January and tape evidence shows some inspired moments on many shows, but at other times they were a little ramshackle as various members of the band struggled to keep the set together. To their credit, the set did vary quite a lot, more so than it had in the past certainly.

Supported by Nazareth, the tour moved across to the mid and western states through February. Two shows on the tour were taped officially, though one exists only in partial form. The tapes from Los Angeles near the very end of the tour on Feb 27th 1976 were broadcast on American radio as part of a syndicated show sponsored by King Biscuit Flower Hour, heavily bootlegged and finally issued on CD officially nearly twenty years later in 1995. It remains a useful document of this final period of the band's career, and was given even greater clout by a powerful remaster and reissue as "Live At Long Beach Arena 1976".

Live At Long Beach Arena 1976 album coverOriginally Deep Purple had planned to take a break at this juncture, and then do a full European tour in May and June. However they decided to slip in some UK shows in March. It would be interesting to know - when common sense might have suggested the band rest for a while - the politics behind this; whether it was to keep fans happy, to counter negative press, to help bolster sales of the new album or what.

Whatever the reasons, it all back-fired in spectacular fashion, as members of the band seemed tired or disinterested on stage, with Bolin also having to handle hecklers shouting for Ritchie. It was often left to Lord and Paice to try and pull things together but the response from both fans and journalists alike was one of the worst I've ever seen for any band touring the UK. It didn't help that seemingly one of the poorest shows was the second gig in London, with all the press in attendance.

For fans who were still mourning the departure of Blackmore, as well as those still wanting Mk 2 to return, the tour simply reinforced their opinions. But even for those who had accepted the changes on the new album and looked forward to the gigs, it was a huge let-down. After the last show in Liverpool on March 15th, three members of the group decided they'd had enough. Lord and Paice agreed they didn't want to play in the band any more (which effectively meant it was over) and Coverdale resigned. Nobody told Bolin or Hughes.

Tommy Bolin 1976The press office kept the news at bay for some with talk of holidays and solo projects (Bolin had gone straight out on the road in America with his own band), while behind the scenes the management were trying to ensure that they still had something to manage and that any solo albums or new bands would remain under their auspices. Deep Purple were however defunct, though the news didn't finally make the papers until July.

January / March 1976 links: Deep Purple Mk4 famly tree • Deep Purple, Long Beach 1976 photo gallery • Deep Purple ''Live At Long Beach 1976' ' is available from the dpas online store. • Deep Purple ''Live At Long Beach Arena 1976' illustrated discography • Deep Purple A-Z, Liverpool Empire • Deep Purple Mk4, Liverpool Empire, photo gallery link: Deep Purple : 'Live At Long Beach Arena 1976'