Burn 'Reflections' Part 2 (Go to Part 1)

It's quite remarkable how ideas change once you start jamming and routining the song ideas... certainly with such creative and powerful players as Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Glenn Hughes... I could sense, even then, that they all deferred to Ritchie... and most definitely didn't want to piss him off... but, still, it was quite democratic, and everyone contributed to the development of the songs...

I recall one day being very embarrassed when Ritchie caught me playing his Strat in the rehearsal room... I was messing around with an idea I'd had... in F#minor... He was very generous with me... and said he had no idea I could play... as up 'til then, I'd been quite happy to let the maestro play guitar, as you can imagine... and then he asked me what the song was... and quite rightfully took over and started to shape it into something which is still remarked on as one of the highlights of the Mark 111 chapter... 'Mistreated'...

Ritchie had already been experimenting with a new guitar synth device he'd brought to the session... and he created an aggressive, unique, growling tone to support a great riff he had... Mmm... 'Sail Away'... The guitar sound was particularly inspiring... and very different from anything DP had done before... Oh, yes... it was all shaping up nicely...

Ian Paice was playing explosively and tastefully and impressing me to the max... and he was obviously enjoying jamming with his new bass player... and Glenn was kicking arse as only Glenn can... It also helped that they were both dating beautiful twin sisters!!!... Ahh... there ain't nothing like a tight rhythm section... YEAH!!!

What a band... What an unbelievable, powerful collective this was... It was easy for me, as the singer, to stand back and watch and listen... and it was incredible!!!... I couldn't believe my luck in being involved with this enterprise... Please... if this is a dream... don't let me wake up...

Another memory from that time at Clearwell was being introduced to midnight seances... Ritchie enjoyed... er... 'dabbling'... and after a few pints he talked me into getting involved... and brought the ol' Ouji board out... I didn't feel it was right... and at times I had a hard time keeping a straight face... To be honest I was just trying to part of whatever was going on... After a while, I made my excuses and buggered off... Although some experiences stayed with me... One in particular... I was 'told' I should always wear a belt when near a large body of water... and that I should be sure of this when I was with Glenn... (cue the spooky music!!!)... So far, I'm happy to say... I haven't had any unusual 'encounters' when near a 'large body of water'... (ahem)

I also remember putting a noticeable amount of weight on while working at Clearwell Castle... Every evening we had a HUGE sit down banquet... accompanied by extraordinary and expensive French wines... and served by... er... no other way to describe it, but, 'wenches' dressed in renaissance outfits... you know... the dresses where the tits are pushed up under your nose... like ripe peaches... Very nice, actually... Mmm... very nice, indeed... and all overseen by our hospitable, and generous hosts... Bernard and Sue...

Interestingly... no drugs had surfaced... and there had been no discussion about them... It appeared that 'booze' was the 'drug' of choice for the Deeps... well... at that time, anyway...

That would all change in the future... but, right now... a couple 'o' glasses of this an' that... and some more 'o' that... and I was a very happy camper.. Oh, yes.. .and 'scrumpy', a harsh, but, tasty and very potent cider that was brewed in that part of the country... and that was most enjoyable, too... Although I must confess... I was enjoying smoking my grass on the quiet...

After a couple of weeks... I was told we were going to Hamburg, ostensibly to check out possible studios... but, in reality... a chance for a couple of days revelry for Der Boys...

There was much amusement at my expense when the guys saw my passport picture... There it was in all it's glory... THE MOUSTACHE!!!... I was stuck with that bloody thing for a couple of years... I looked like a smarmy second hand car salesman from a Monty Python sketch...

I was given a hundred quid to play with... (thank you)... and we flew First Class to Germany... checked into the esteemed Atlantic hotel... where I was told I was to be in a suite that had formally housed a certain... er... Mr. Hitler whenever he was in that fair city... (I still believe the guys set the hotel manager up to wind me up... Still it gave me a story to tell)... We were then supposed to search for a studio to record the album... but, first... I was to be introduced to the electrifying nightlife of Hamburg... and, yes... I lived to tell many stories about that weekend... Surprisingly... I had never been in clubs anything like this... and the band were treated like royalty wherever we ventured... The music the DJ's were playing sounded insanely good... I'd never heard anything like it... Ritchie told me to watch what tempos were inspiring the dancers... and to apply it to how I wrote music... He was definitely an observer was ol' Ritchie... I learned an immense amount from him...

What a place!!!...  What BEAUTIFUL women!!!...  I had an unbelievable time... and to further ruin my reputation... I will share a little tale with you about how 'internationally' naive I was in those days... As dawn was breaking, I remember drunkenly getting in a taxi with an illuminated sign on it's roof saying 'Frei'... Wow... I thought... how gracious of this fine city to supply free transport for visitors!!!... That thought was dispelled on my delivery to the hotel... I made my effusive thank you's... and commenced to enter the hotel... only to be assailed by the big bugger whom had just driven me there... 'Oi!!!"... he shouted in rather abrasive German... 'Where's me gelt???"... Oh... terribly sorry, Sir!!!... (potential involuntary bowel movement)... and immediately handed over probably way too much in whatever I had in Deutschemarks...

Well... I was rat-arsed, wasn't I???

Back to Clearwell Castle for more rehearsal... and... it was decided to announce to the World who the new singer in Deep Purple was going to be... and I decided I would be much better off WITHOUT the 'sleeping caterpillar' of a moustache... so... it came off... Ahh... that's better... and I was ready to be introduced to the World!!!

Buses loaded with journalists from all over the place were brought down to Gloucestershire to meet the new band... and Mrs Coverdales's little boy... David...

I'm still haunted by those pictures!!!... I had no idea how to 'pose' like a rock star... Absolutely none at all!!!

I remember the many headlines in the music press... "WHO IS THIS GUY???"... Thank God the band were supportive of me...

It was decided to return to the scene of former Deep Purple glories... Montreux in Switzerland... on the Lake Geneva shoreline... (ahem)... and once more they planned utilize the Rolling Stones Mobile recording studio again... with someone whom was to become one of my dearest friends for many years... Mr. Martin Birch... Sonic Architect Extraordinaire!!!

I spent a whole evening drinking with Martin and 'doing the clubs'... excitedly talking about we should record my voice... "I love how those Motown singers sound... all intimate and breathy!!!... Can you get me to sound like that???"... Martin would just smile... Of course, I had no idea having no real studio experience and never having made a commercial record before... I'd only made a few demos... Birchy was very patient and supportive and basically told me not to worry... (oh, dear... was it that obvious???)... and that everything would be fine... and it was...

We took over a conference centre... the Stone's truck parked on the ground floor level... tentacles of cables spilling out all over the place... and an industrial elevator ride to the top floor where we set up the studio proper...

November 1973... Montreux was 'out of season' when we were there... very clean... very quiet... er... VERY 'Swiss', I suppose... but, still all the places where we went out to eat, or drink, were exceptionally expensive... and completely compromising to my per diems... (no credit cards in those days)...

I kept seeing wonderful winter coats and snow boots that I would have loved, but, everything was prohibitively costly for a working class lad from Teesside...

...and so... the sessions began... I was blown away by how incredible these guys were... I had always felt blessed with the players I'd worked with in local bands, but, this lot were something else entirely... Suddenly... everything began to take shape... Much more focused than when we were in rehearsals... Jon Lord's scorching organ sound shaking the building as he played as only he can play... and impressing me immensely with his barrelhouse piano playing on 'What's Going On Here'... Glenn, such a natural musician, consistently firing on all six cylinders... Completely confident...

I remember during a take of 'You Fool No One', with that unique and relentless cowbell/drum pattern Ian created... All of us were having a laugh about something that happened as we were recording... when Ian threw down his sticks and stormed off the drumkit... 'Hey... this is fucking hard to play... Get it right... or I'm off!!!"... He was dripping wet from playing the song perfectly for the last 3 or 4 takes... so... needless to say... we got the song on the next pass... Nice one, Paicey... What a player!!!... His love of big band jazz drummers like Max Roach inspired him to swing much more than most of his contemporaries... Listen to his powerhouse playing on the title track... Exceptional...

I walked into the Stone's truck one night as Ritchie was overdubbing some guitar parts on the Bach influenced sequence at the resolve of his 'Burn' solo... He had Martin slow the tape down as he recorded a very high guitar piece... and when they played it back at the normal pitch Ritchie turned to me and asked me what I thought... Without thinking I said it sounded like a bouzouki... Well... you could have sliced the atmosphere with a knife!!!... Apparently, you do not say things like that to Ritchie... and live to tell about it... After a deafening silence... he told Martin to play it back again... then he said... "He's right... it does sound like a bloody bouzouki... Wipe it off!!!"... From then on I decided to be honest with Mr Blackmore... and I think he appreciated it... for a time, anyway...

After getting the job with the band the management had introduced me to a very accommodating Harley St doctor... who very agreeably prescribed for me just about anything my little heart desired... and it was decided I should start on 'slimming pills'... Ohh... what a splendid idea!!!... Lose weight WITHOUT exercising... or compromising my eating OR my boozing habits... Not too shabby...

My metabolism has never enjoyed amphetamine, despite a love affair with cocaine later on... and the pills made me emotionally edgy... at times disoriented... and certainly sleep deprived... All good stuff, as you can imagine... but... I was definitely losing some of the good ol' Yorkshire 'insulation' from my waist... which leads me to yet another anecdote...

I had been up pretty much most of the night writing tons of lyrics for what became 'Burn'... I joked later that I was so enthusiastic that I wrote at least a dozen versions of the song!!!... Not quite true, but only a slight exaggeration... probably more like 3 or 4 versions...The most memorable for me was called... wait for it... 'The Road'!!!... So, instead of 'All I hear is... BBBUUURRRNNN!!!"... t was... 'Take me dowwwnnn... the ROAAAADDDD!!!"

Not one of my finer lyrics... and a source of much amusement to Mr. Lord... Anyway... I'd left all the lyrics... including the complete sci-fi lyric for 'Burn' that I'd specifically written with Ritchie in mind... on a grand piano in the studio for the guys to look over and take their pick... Needless to say... I felt rather accomplished giving 'em so many choices... and I staggered off to bed... absolutely shagged...

I had no sooner climbed into bed when my phone started ringing off the hook... I picked up the receiver... and dropped it back into the cradle... This happened a few times... Next... banging on my door... and by this time... I was getting pissed... It was one of our assistants... "David... the lads are all waiting for you downstairs for the photo session!!!"

'What fuckin' photo session???... Nobody told me... I've been up all night working!!!... I've just now got into bed... Fuck off!!!"... I slammed the door and climbed back into bed...

More banging on the door...

"FUCK OFF!!!"

Incessant, irritating banging...

RIGHT, YOU BASTARD!!!

I tore open the door with the intention of causing Mr. Broad significant bodily harm to be greeted by Mr.Blackmore in my face telling me... "Look, mate...in this business you have to look after yourself!!!"

I saw red.."Nobody told me about a fuckin' photo session!!!"

Whereupon Ritchie and I proceeded to have our first serious falling out...

Thank God Ritchie could see how stressed out I was... and I'm happy to say, he was very patient and understanding... He just said... "Hurry up and get ready as soon as you can... I'll see you downstairs..."

We had a good laugh about it later... but, I felt very fortunate... it most certainly could have gone the other way...

The photo session with German photographer Didi Zill was bloody painful for me... I felt... and looked like hell... Not one of my better memories...

Another 'all-nighter' was writing the lyric for 'Sail Away'... I was particularly pleased with the words on this one... as was Jon Lord... but, when I was recording the song... I started to panic that the key was too low... I felt like I was doing a monologue instead of singing!!!... Oh, no... it's not working!!!... I was in emotional-slimming pill-despair... until Jon's voice came though my headphones on the talkback...  "Davey!!!... It sounds GREAT, man!!!"... What???... "Are you sure it isn't too low???... It feels really low to me..."... I was almost crying... (bloody pills!!!)... Jon excitedly told me to "Come an' 'ave a listen, if you don't believe me!!!"... Thanks again, dear Jon...

I took the elevator to the ground floor where the truck was parked... and climbed inside... Ritchie was there... the assistant engineer TP... and Birchy... so, it was pretty packed... Ritchie was nodding his approval... and when I heard it played back my confidence returned... I went back upstairs to finish the song... Phew!!!

Another memorable moment for me during the 'Burn' sessions was casually meeting a very beautiful German woman called Julia whom I was introduced to by her gentleman friend who was a good friend of Purple and had stopped by to say hello...... Little did I know that this lovely lady and I would become more than friends in the not too distant future... Not only that... we would also get married and have a stunning daughter together!!!... But, none of that was apparent to either of us at that time...

Deep Purple recorded very quickly from what I experience nowadays... a testament to how bloody great they were... I don't think we were in Switzerland for much more than two action packed weeks... then back to London... to take up residency in Ian Gillan's studio, Kingsway Recorders... and start mixing our sonic endeavors with the exceptional Martin Birch at the controls... accompanied by Ian Paice to his immediate left, in what became he usual position at the console... hunched over the faders that controlled the levels of his precious drums!!!

I had to have a bit of a giggle, 'cause everytime we set up a song, he inevitably felt he had to rush into the studio and overdub a tambourine to 'fatten' his snare drum sound... All through the actual recording sessions, Ritchie would be pressuring him in a light-hearted way to try a deeper snare drum for a thicker 'crack', instead of the lighter, crisp Ludwig snare that Ian preferred, and felt was 'his' sound... but, Paicey always, and quite rightly, stuck to his guns... 'til the mix, that is... when he'd be straight in to... er...  'Do The Tambourine'!!!

One of the first songs we set up to mix was 'Mistreated'... Glenn and I were particularly looking forward to hearing how our choir sequence that we recorded for the outro for the song would turn out... I can't remember exactly how many harmony voices we put on it...12...16???... Something outrageous... Anyway... we couldn't believe our ears when Martin solo'd the voices... He dimmed the lights in the studio... and pressed 'play'... My God... it was chilling to hear... no... IT WAS BLOODY MARVELLOUS TO HEAR!!!

When Ritchie came down to hear work in progress... I could hardly wait to play him the outro...

Mmm...he seemed completely underwhelmed!!!... I couldn't understand...

"You can't hear the guitar solo for the voices..."... he said without even looking at me...

You could have heard a pin drop...

Burn 'Reflections' Part 2 (Go to Part 1)