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Deep Purple at DTE, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Last year Deep Purple was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- a long-overdue honor, according to its fans.

This year the group has gone "Infinite."

Actually, that new album may be a bit of a misnomer. The "Smoke On The Water" group's current tour is called The Long Goodbye, implying a kind of farewell. If that proves true the group will leave a legacy of 20 albums, including the classic "Machine Head" and "Made In Japan," and a litany of rock favorites such as "Hush," "Highway Star," "Space Truckin'" and more. But one gets the sense it might be a minute before we truly hear the last of Deep Purple...

As the follow-up to 2013's "Now What?!," "Infinite" marks one of the quickest turnarounds in recent history for Deep Purple -- which bassist Roger Glover says was a direct result of working with producer Bob Ezrin. "After 'Now What?!' I emailed him and said, 'We really enjoyed working with you'," Glover, 71, says by phone. "And he emailed back and said, 'When's the next one?' I would love to have done the follow-up to 'Now What?!' a couple of years ago, or one year ago, but we had a lot of fun touring, so we didn't start until about a year ago."

As with other recent albums, Deep Purple went into sessions for "Infinite" without a particular game plan or creative goal. “When we go in to make an album we have no idea," Glover says. "We don't sit down and have a meeting and say, 'What are we gonna do?' We just let the music do the talking. The only thought for ('Infinite) that occurred...is after a real standout album like 'Now What?!,' what are we gonna follow it up with?' It's almost like the classic second-album syndrome. We wanted to make it different. We didn't want to make it sound like an extension of 'Now What?' So ('Infinite') sounds a little heavier than 'Now What?!,' a bit denser maybe. But, really we just jam and see what happens."

"Infinite" features a cover of the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" that guitarist Steve Morse says was also a result of producer Ezrin's participation.

"He really subtly suggested it, and he already had thought it through," recalls Morse, 63. "He knew it would be perfect. Ian plays harmonica and it's right in his range, a real comfortable range to sing. Everybody knew the tune more or less, so there was no stress about it. He got a real natural performance out of everybody."

So IS The Long Goodbye tour title trying to tell us something? "Well, we're letting you make your own minds up," Glover says with a laugh -- although he notes that age, as well as drummer Ian Paice's minor stroke last year, are certainly weighing on the group now. "No one wants to stop, but we know that I'm 71 now, (Ian) Gillan is 71, we're all about late 60s, early 70s, and bodies have a way of not keeping up with your brain or your career. We're all sort of approaching that point where I can't imagine another eight years to do an album. The time is approaching when it will end, but we don't want to face that. We don't actually want to make a date or a final tour or anything. We just want to carry on as long as nature allows or is kind of dignified. If we can't do what we do anymore than, yes, it's time to stop. But we're still doing it and we're still enjoying it very much. So all we're saying is the door is closing, but it's not closed yet."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was a pleasant experience, according to Glover, despite the absence of original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and some debate over which members were and weren't inducted. "It was an interesting night," he says of the April 2016 induction ceremony in Brooklyn, where the current lineup of the band played. "In a slightly defensive way we would always say, 'Well, it doesn't really matter that much. It's just an award. So what?' But it finally came around, and did occur to us that maybe we should just tell them to shove it, we're not interested. But when we were accepted I think we all felt, 'OK, we'll do it, ‘mostly for the fans and families and friends. It's more important for them I think, than us, but it's still an honor and I'm thankful for it."

Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and the Edgar Winter Band

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $45-$99.50 pavilion, $30 lawn.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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