The photo shoot for Deep Purple‘s new project, Infinite, was for the dogs. Literally.
The shoot — which took place in December 2016 in Hamburg, Germany — features the band decked out in vintage Arctic explorer gear in both exterior and interior locations, surrounded, appropriately enough, by a small pack of huskies. “Huskies are great, by the way. What marvelous animals they are,” bassist Roger Glover tells Billboard. “It was a real thrill to have them around.”
By Glover’s reckoning, the entire shoot was a good time, too. “It was the record company [earMUSIC’s] idea, the [album] title and the [photo] concept,” says Glover. “It’s always great when they come up with the idea, and I think we were all very happy that someone else was making the decisions for us. They sent us a mockup of what they were looking for, and it looked great. They said, ‘Be prepared to have a bit of fun. We’ve got some vintage Arctic clothing,’ so it was a real surprise. It looked great, although God knows how those explorers years ago survived — obviously, some of them didn’t — because [the clothes] are not that warm compared to the modern ski clothing of today.”
Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot here, which is soundtracked by “Time for Bedlam,” a focus track from Infinite:
The footage is the first image of the band for Infinite, which is Deep Purple’s follow-up to 2013’s Now What?! and the group’s first new material since its 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Bob Ezrin returned as producer, since he was keen to work on another project with the band.
“After Now What?!, I emailed him and said, ‘We really enjoyed working with you,’ and he emailed back and said, ‘When’s the next one?'” recalls Glover. “I would love to have done the follow-up to Now What?! a couple of years ago, or one year ago. But we had a lot of fun touring, so we didn’t start until about a year ago.”
The enthusiastic reception to Now What?!, which was Deep Purple’s first new album in eight years, only made the next effort a bit more challenging. “When we go in to make an album, we have no idea. We don’t sit down and have a meeting and say, ‘What are we going to do?’ We just let the music do the talking,” explains Glover. “The only thought for [Infinite] that occurred … is after a real standout album like Now What?!, what are we going to follow it up with?’ It’s almost like the classic second-album syndrome. We wanted to make it different. We didn’t want to make it sound like an extension of Now What?! So [Infinite] sounds a little heavier than Now What?!, a bit denser maybe. But, really we just jam and see what happens.”
With Infinite set to arrive April 7, Deep Purple is gearing up for a world tour it has dubbed The Long Goodbye, which starts May 13 in Europe and includes a late-summer North American leg with Alice Cooper and Edgar Winter. Is the tour title trying to tell fans something? “Well, we’re letting you make your own minds up,” Glover says with a laugh — although he notes that age, as well as drummer Ian Paice’s minor stroke in 2016, are certainly weighing on the group now.
“No one wants to stop,” says Glover. “But we know that I’m 71 now, [singer Ian] Gillan is 71, we’re all about late 60s, early 70s, and bodies have a way of not keeping up with your brain or your career. We’re all sort of approaching that point where I can’t imagine another eight years to do an album.”
Glover continues: “The time is approaching when it will end, but we don’t want to face that. We don’t actually want to make a date or a final tour or anything. We just want to carry on as long as nature allows or is kind of dignified. If we can’t do what we do anymore, then yes, it’s time to stop. But we’re still doing it, and we’re still enjoying it very much. So all we’re saying is the door is closing, but it’s not closed yet.”
Meanwhile, as far as being newly minted Rock Hall inductees, Deep Purple is pleased — but won’t be waving that flag during the Infinite campaign.
“It was an interesting night,” says Glover of the April 2016 induction ceremony in Brooklyn, where the current lineup of the band played and founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore opted not to participate. “In a slightly defensive way we would always say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter that much. It’s just an award. So what?’ But it finally came around, and it did occur to us that maybe we should just tell them to shove it, we’re not interested. But when we were accepted I think we all felt, ‘OK, we’ll do it,’ mostly for the fans and families and friends. It’s more important for them, I think, than us, but it’s still an honor, and I’m thankful for it.”