One Track Mind: Deep Purple's Roger Glover, "The Car Won't Start" (2011)

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A tune that couldn’t be further away from the dark organ-based groove of his band, “The Car Won’t Stop” finds Deep Purple’s Roger Glover indulging in a childhood passion for skiffle.

“It all started with (skiffle legend) Lonnie Donegan,” Glover says in pre-release press materials. “The energy of skiffle was infectious and I was a huge fan. In short trousers! Then Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, et al, turned the world around. It hasn’t been the same since, except for the trousers!”

This British folk-rock tangent influenced many of Glover’s generation, including the Beatles. But there may not be a more surprising connection to be made between this homemade amalgam of roots influences and Glover — an early member of Deep Purple from 1969–1973, the period that included the titanic “Smoke on the Water.” (Glover returned to Deep Purple in 1984 and still helps lead the band with Ian Gillan and Ian Paice.) Machine Head, home to “Smoke,” has become one of the essential heavy-metal albums, a well-spring — along with Led Zeppelin IV and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, for every long-haired guitar-wielding rock band that followed.

Yet, improbably, “The Car Won’t Start” works perfectly, likely because Glover — a thankful survivor of the rock ‘n’ roll life — is connecting to something elemental from his own youth: “The world’s gone insane,” Glover happily sings, performing alone except for some additional guitar work from Nicky Moroch. “But who’s complaining? Not me!”

Roger Glover’s If Life Was Easy, issued on Eagle Records last week, also features Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty (on “The Dream I Had”), fellow Deep Purple bandmate Don Airey on electric piano (“Stand Together”), singer Mickey Lee Soule of Elf/Rainbow (on “The Ghost of You”), and Glover’s daughter Gillian on vocals for two cuts, among others. The album, a richly personal gem, was recorded in hotel rooms, on the tour bus and in spare studio space over the past decade.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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