This year marks the 35th anniversary of Deep Purple’s landmark “Machine Head” album — whose hit single, “Smoke on the Water,” told the story of making the album in a Montreux, Switzerland, hotel after the original recording site was destroyed by fire.
But frontman Ian Gillan says the band isn’t doing anything special to commemorate the occasion.
“I didn’t even know it was (the anniversary),” says Gillan, 61, who’s on his third tour of duty with Deep Purple. “We’re still doing a lot of those songs, of course — ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Lazy,’ ‘Smoke ...’
“It’s always very interesting to me, because ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ is, to us, the real album. We see everything going from that. In America, I suppose ‘Machine Head’ was the one that made the impact, whereas in the rest of the world, ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ was the one.”
The group — whose drummer, Ian Paice, is the only founding member left — maintains a heavy worldwide touring schedule and continues to record. Its last studio album, “Rapture of the Deep,” came out in 2005, while the “Live at Montreux 2006” concert set came out this year. But Gillan, who published a new memoir called “Smoke This,” laments that American audiences especially have lumped Deep Purple as a classic rock act only.
“I despise that term,” he says. “It means you’re dead. It’s nothing to do with what we do. The average age of our audience in the rest of the world is 17 years old, so we have to adapt when we come over here to fans that remember those (older) songs.
“We try to keep them alive by surrounding them with new stuff and improvisations, but it’s very ... frustrating.”
Deep Purple performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday (July 27th) at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35.50 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet. com.
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