‘Still room to bring in new music’: Deep Purple balances performing Now What?! with classics

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Deep Purple purposely kept its new music under wraps, in order to create more buzz around the forthcoming album Now What?! But even when they start playing original tracks like “Hell to Pay,” they’ll sprinkle them throughout a set of established hits.

“We try to blend the old and the new and the obscure, and keep it moving,” founding Purple drummer Ian Paice says, in the attached video. “We knew if we came on stage and played the whole album, before people even knew what it was, that it would be very unkind to the new songs.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: ‘Now What?!’ was worth the wait, as Deep Purple recaptures the glories of its signature sound, even as it takes some notable chances to keep things interesting.]

Now What?!, Purple’s first studio effort since 2005, was also preceded by the release of the song “All the Time in the World.” The album will be available in much of Europe and the Far East on Monday, April 29, 2013; and in North America, Mexico and Italy on Tuesday, April 30.

“We understand that these are incredibly popular songs that have been around a long time,” Paice adds. “They must be played. When you go to a concert, you want to go home happy. But there’s still room to bring in new music, and obscure music.”

Pacing has always been important to Deep Purple, as they’ve tended to sprinkle these lesser-known efforts in with the setlist staples. That goes all the way back to the turn of the 1970s when Ian Gillan used to invite the crowd to sit during a section of their shows while founder/guitarist Ritchie Blackmore explored lengthy blues jams.

Playing fresh material in blocks “is unfair to the new songs, and quite demanding for the audience,” Paice says. “If you have two or three new songs, you surround them with their more well-known brothers and sisters. That way they get a fair chance to be listened to, with the audience still in that happy place they want to be in at a concert.”

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