Deep Purple has become, since it was first issued as part of 1972′s Machine Head, inextricably linked to the song “Smoke on the Water.” To think the track almost didn’t make the final running order for the project.
“Certainly, we didn’t see it coming,” long-time Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover says, in the attached video. “In fact, it almost got left off the album. We thought it was just a mid-tempo, boring song. It wasn’t a story about love or anything, it was just a story about something that happened to us. But I think that’s the mystery of it.”
The song details a 1971 incident in which a fire swept through the Montreux Casino during a Frank Zappa concert, destroying the entire complex, forcing Deep Purple to move its nearby recording studio elsewhere to finish the album. Glover came up with the memorable title, based on the image of smoke rolling across Lake Geneva during the incident.
Somehow, though, despite the song’s many direct references to that day, not everyone has been able to follow the narrative of “Smoke on the Water,” Glover admits. Once, a radio DJ asked him if it was true that Deep Purple had “set fire to an island.”
“The lyrics are so real, and conversational — there’s no exaggeration,” Glover says, laughing. “It’s exactly what happened. So, how people can see different things into it, I don’t know.”
Deep Purple’s newest album, titled NOW What?!, is set for release on April 30, 2013 via earMUSIC. An advance single will arrive, the band says, on March 29.