Watch Deep Purple Perform Their Classic 'Perfect Strangers' Live in Japan: Exclusive Video
Roger Glover likes to talk about how Deep Purple is "a live band, not a cabaret act" -- which makes the veteran hard rock group's latest releases particularly appropriate.
On Sept. 18, Deep Purple will release a pair of concert albums -- From The Setting Sun...(In Wacken) and ...To The Rising Sun (In Tokyo), both taken from 2014 performances at the Wacken Festival in Germany and the Budokan in Japan, respectively. Both titles will be released on CD and DVD, with the Tokyo set also available on Blu-ray and the Wacken on Blu-ray 3D. Glover, Purple's longtime bassist and primary producer, says both concerts were easy set-ups to bring out the best in the group.
Watch the band perform their song "Perfect Strangers," from To The Rising Sun (In Tokyo), which Billboard is premiering exclusively below.
"Wacken is the most amazing organization I've ever seen," Glover tells Billboard. "They've carved this iconic festival out of the very earth, if you like. The crowds are great -- crazy wild, but respectful. They gave us a good welcome despite the fact that our version of hard rock is nothing like their industrial power-chord heavy metal stuff. We're much more melodic, so we felt a little out of place, but still they gave us a nice welcome. And Budokan, of course, we've played many times and kind of know what to expect. It's a special place; like (Royal) Albert Hall, you know you're in a hallowed place, so it respects you and you respect it."
Both titles feature the Mk.VIII edition of Deep Purple, the longest-lived lineup of the band (since 2002) that includes guitarist Steve Morse (since 1994) and keyboardist Don Airy, who replaced the late Jon Lord 13 years ago. Glover acknowledges that fans still like to bandy about names from the past, but he's confident this version of Purple continues to hold its own alongside any of its predecessor.
"Change is necessary and has to be embraced," Glover says. "A lot of people complain, 'Oh, Purple, they're not the same without Ritchie Blackmore. Of course we're not -- that's the whole point. You have to change. It's a very natural band. It's just five musicians playing from the heart, and I think the players come in with a respect for the songs that happened in the '70s and at the same time put their own personalities into them. The songs are kind of skeletons that you kind of hang different clothes on; as long as the structure remains the same, you can dress it up in different ways."
More songs are in the offing, meanwhile. Purple has already had one session this year, during February and March, to come up with material for a follow-up to 2014's Now What?!, which was the group's first new album in eight years. The group will reconvene to do more writing in September, after its summer touring commitments wrap, with recording planned for some time in February.
"Anymore (when) we get together as a band, and then Ian (Gillan) and I get together and try to make sense of the jams and see what we have," Glover explains. "Ever since Gillan and I joined Purple (in 1969) it was always the instrumental first and then somehow we had to tuck something on the top of it. In a way it's like a salvage job; there's no rules, and the best ones happen naturally and don't take any thought. 'Smoke on the Water' was easy, for example; it just tumbled out. Some others you have to employ the craft rather than the art, but you're always hoping for the ones that come naturally and quickly."