Dark purple drummer Ian Peace talked about how the band’s signature song Smoke on the water came and revealed the strange story behind it.
If there is one more band influencing rock music and bringing it to betterment, this band is undoubtedly Dark purple. As some of you may know, Dark purple is a rock band formed in 1968 that is considered one of the pioneers of modern heavy metal and hard rock. As of press time, the band has contributed to the growth of the genre with their 22 studio albums, 45 live albums, 28 compilation albums, and more.
One of the band’s favorite albums is the band’s 6th studio album, machine headwhich was recorded between December 6 and 21, 1971. Released in 1972, the album contains some of the group’s hit songs such as highway star, never before, Pictures of the house. It also includes Dark purpleit’s classic Smoke on the waterwhich is a very emotional song for them and the fans just because of its exhausting recording process.
At the end of 1971, when Dark purple was recording his machine head album, the place where they recorded it, Montreux Casino, had burned down after a fan set the venue on fire. Later, the group went through difficult times to record it. At first they went to a ballroom in Montreux to record the album. Shortly after they started recording, the cops arrived asking them to stop the noise. As a result, they again had to move. And finally, in a closed Grand Hotel, Smoke on the water arrived.
Recently, the legendary drummer Ian recalled those difficult times during his appearance on Hangin’ & Bangin’: confined artists. At first, the 73-year-old drummer began to describe the recording location as a blackened ruin. Then he shared the hard story of how Dark purple finished his machine head album.
“When we started recording the album, the casino had already burned down” Payment noted. “And that’s where we were going to make the record… It was just a blackened ruin, and so we had to try to find another place to record. And the guy running the festival said, ‘Look, you can follow in this ballroom.’
“So we settled into the ballroom. And we were just trying to create a sound together. And Ritchie had that riff. ‘Let’s try the dah-dah-dah song.’ “So how are we going to start?” I said, ‘Try the riff and I’ll just do a hi-hat thing and let it ramp up.’
“And it was a banging old ballroom. Montreux, at this time of year, had kind of fallen asleep. It’s a resort — no skiing there; it’s too low. But there is the lake and all the rest. So at 10 a.m., the whole village is in a coma.
“And then this rock band kicks off in this banging old ballroom. Anyway, we had been there for about 10 minutes and then the police… We saw these blue lights flashing near the door. We were just finishing one take; I think we did two takes or something. Anyway, [producer] Martin Birch said, “Don’t let anybody in.” The roadies held the door until we finished the take. The cops came in and said, ‘This is it. you can’t do [that] more.’ So we had to move again.
“And we finally went to the Grand Hotel which is a hotel that was closed for the winter. And we forgot about that track. We were just getting a sound.
Ian Paice Reveals Difficult Story Behind Deep Purple As He Completes ‘Smoke On The Water’
In his further remarks, Payment mentioned the time they finished the record and realized it wasn’t long enough. Saying they got space to fill with new music, Payment touched the bass player of the band Roger Gloverlooks at his notebook and sees things that ignite in relation to Smoke on the water. According to him, it was the story of how Dark purple completed Smoke on the water.
“When we finished the record, we found we were a few minutes behind; it wasn’t long enough for an album,” he continued. “We had a lead that could have gone on; it was the ballad “When a blind man cries”. But Ritchie wanted the slowest song on the record; he wanted it all to be over.
“So [we thought]’And that piece we did in the ballroom? [Let’s have a] listen to him. It sounds good. It sounds good. There were no words yet, so Ian and Roger left.
“And Roger looked at his notebook and he was writing down his impressions as we saw the flames rising. The downdraft from the mountains pushed the smoke down across the lake. ‘Smoke On The Water’ is where the title comes from. I said, ‘Why don’t we write a song about the making of the record?’
“And that’s how ‘Smoke On The Water’ ended, and that’s how it ended up on the record. Otherwise it would have just been lost as a soundcheck.