- the official site


Scott on 2003-02-20:
Dear Roger...

I have an interview on tape with you and Joe Lynn Turner from about 1982 (yes, going way back shall we), and you stated, when the question "What type of exercise do you get on the road," that the exercise can be mental as well as physical. Dearest Rog, would you care to elaborate on that answer a little.
Also, Snapshot has touched my heart in a way no record has before. Thank you for the music. You ARE the aviator.

Hi Scott,

Thank you. The road is a strange place to live and it can drive you crazy. By mental exercise I mean that you have to keep your brain from wasting away with the constant repetition of traveling from hotel room to hotel room. I read a lot and attempt cryptic crosswords, among other things.


Roy Davies on 2003-01-13:
Hi Roger
Its that damn bloke who wrote the Rainbow biography here...(many thanks for your kind words and time after the NEC show too...) Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.
Glad to see you're considering a book too; if you need any help sometime let me know! 🙂
However, on to a question; Are you one of those musicians (who invariably seem to be bassists for some reason) who collects all the various 'paraphernalia' through the years ; the tour posters, stage passes, gig lists, stage clothes, etc.?

Congratulations again on the book, it really was an achievement. I have
some stuff, of course, loads of photographs, some posters, magazines,
clippings, paraphernalia, etc. but I'm not like Bill Wyman, who kept
absolutely everything. Having said that I would probably surprise myself if
I actually went through all the boxes, drawers, files and cupboards in my
house. One day...


Steve Sowerby on 2003-01-12:
A goodly number of years ago, a well known accoustic artist was talking about his life playing to all sorts of audiences, large and small. (Akthough large in his case would be nowhere near the turn out you guys get.) He mentioned some of the other acts he'd sat through while waiting for his spot.

Not to put too fine a point to it, it must have been midblowingly awful, especially when the guy that introduced him said he remembered one of his previous gigs and how grim it had been. He didn't quite mean it like that but couldn't imply anything other.

Are there such happenings that spring to your mind. I'm not after the journalists 'worst of' bits, just the reality of the memories of the episodes that us humble workers don't get to see.

By the way, thanks for the inspiration of the years - my son (now 18) treasures the RG plectrum that I caught at Harrogate last year.


Hi Steve,

All artists or bands have had to start somewhere and that usually means performing in front of a numerically challenged audience at some point – in my case that meant an Episode Six gig where there were exactly the same number of people in the crowd as on the stage, namely six! We even got to know their names. I do remember it as a great time, however.

There was also an embarrassing moment in Rainbow’s career when we were doing an in-store signing session in Pittsburgh during the Down To Earth tour. This large music store outside of town had advertised our impending appearance one afternoon, when we would be signing albums and posing for photographs. Despite the fact that Since You Been Gone was huge at the time, not one person showed up. Not one! It was pure Spinal Tap. There we were surrounded by the equally embarrassed staff, waiting for people to appear, which they didn’t in droves. No One Came indeed. It was only later that we were told that the Pittsburgh Pirates were playing a crucial baseball game that same afternoon and that all of Pittsburgh was otherwise occupied. All it needed was Artie Fufkin to beg us to kick his ass.


Peter Mair on 2002-12-14:
Dear Roger,
thxs for your previous answer on 'weiss heim'.......i was watching Rainbow's 'Finyl vinyl' video today and wondered where the videos for 'i surrender', 'death alley driver' and 'can't happen here' and 'can;t let you go' were filmed.....seemed like the first three were done in the same place.

Hi Peter,

There's a good question! I have wracked by brains and all that I can come up with is not a lot; I Surrender was obviously in a studio somewhere, probably New York; Death Alley Driver, at least the outside scenes, were done in Connecticut, near where RB was living at the time; Can?t Happen Here was on a stage somewhere, again probably in New York. Unfortunately I didn?t keep much of a journal in those days, otherwise I would be able to look it up.


Robert on 2002-12-11:
Hello Roger! I have been a big fan since I "discovered" Deep Purple as a teenager in 1977. My favorites are still In Rock and Machine Head. My question is regarding a bass you used with Rainbow. It was a Hondo Longhorn bass and I was wondering on which recordings did you use this bass on? Also, do you happen to have a photo of you playing this bass that you can post on the website? Thanks for listening and know that you have a very big fan in Austin, Texas!

Thanks Robert,

I used a Hondo Longhorn bass on the album Straight Between The Eyes. It was an instrument I found in Manny?s in New York and I picked it up because it looked like a Danelectro (it is a copy). I immediately fell in love with it - it was fresh and zippy (am I really talking about a piece of wood with some strings on?) not to mention cheap. I still have it but, as I write, I am away from home so I can?t photograph it. I will, at some future date, catalogue all my bass guitars as a feature on this site, so keep looking. Thanks for the question.


Scott Bell on 2002-12-10:
Dear Rog,

Foremost I would like to say that you are the classiest bass player, not to mention a superb songwriter and producer.

I have an interview with you and Joe Lynn Turner from 1982. In the interview the question "What type of excercise do you do on the road...?" is asked to you and Joe. Your answer was, "It is difficult to keep yourself sane on the road."

Would you care to elaborate?

Also, I was wondering where you obtain your bandanas/headgear. I love them and I just can't find the styles that I see you wear.

Thanks for your time Rog,

A dream's a dream whatever they say...


Hi Scott,

Thank you for the kind words. ?The road? is a mythical place that to most people means crazy parties and outrageous behavior. Of course these sometimes occur but it is not a regular part of life. As Paul McCartney says, everyone thinks that The Beatles were having a hard time making Let It Be because that album marked the end of the band and there were some well documented struggles in the studio but in fact, most of the time, they were still having lots of fun ? others naturally focus on the bad stuff. DP has had its share of bad times but like-wise; there were many good times as well.

Most of the touring stories are exaggerated by the continuous retelling but in reality, touring is a bit like police work; grueling boredom. One of the stories that is not exaggerated took place in 1971 when we were touring with Rod Stewart and The Faces. Both bands were staying in a Holiday Inn somewhere in the States and a party was going on in two adjoining bedrooms. The Faces got tired of constantly having to walk out in the corridor in order to get to the other room so they decided that the architect had got it wrong and another door was needed. To that end they created one by knocking a hole in the wall between the two rooms. It may not have looked too tidy but it worked - at least until morning! They got banned from the whole Holiday Inn chain for that. (Some would say that was not such a bad thing.)

The constant travel can take its toll, which is why bands sometimes let off steam by getting crazy or drunk in some hotel bar and then getting into trouble when the staff start to object. The other strange phenomenon as that with repetition comes a sense of unreality and a loss of awareness about where exactly in the world one is. I have found this on occasion and over breakfast have had to ask the waitress not for more coffee or toast, but where am I? Ian Gillan once famously said to the crowd in Glasgow, ?It?s great to be in Edinborough,? which was duly greeted with an ominous hush and an almost audible clenching of fists. Quickly realizing his mistake he went on, ??but it?s even better to be in Glasgow,? to a huge roar of approval (some of which was from the band). These days I am not so alarmed at forgetting where I am, it?s who I am that bothers me!

My headscarves are cotton, not silk, and are usually Indian. They can be found in hippy markets in various places. Oddly enough, Carmarthen in Wales is where I?ve bought quite a few (there?s a large hippy commune outside the town).


Ake Nordh on 2002-12-09:
hi roger.
right now i'm listening to BOOTLEG from 18/8-1980(RAINBOW monsters of rock/ castle donnington)are there ANY plans to release that show,wich was taped AND brodcasted by the BBC?this show has a legendstatus amongst Rainbow fans,mostly because ''Stargazer'' was performed. i ,personally, belive that this version of that song is one of the best i've ever heard.
the Dio-lineup never could deliver the power
of that song done live. but this version (and 2 others that i have,one were don's mellotron goes completely out of tune, tape troubles?)is ''the final version'' if you like. i like the whole show, including the jets
taking of and landing 🙂
cheers and good luck


Hi Ake,

As far as I know there are no plans to release it. I don?t even know who has the rights to it. I do remember the recordings were difficult to mix, but that was those days, things are easier now (in some respects). I enjoyed performing that song, one of Ritchie?s finest moments IMHO.


Jim Moley on 2002-12-08:
Hi Roger:

Could ask you a million questions, but I've learned quite a bit about Purple online. You still should write the official biography of the band when you have some spare time! You guys are still the best, and I wish more people would realize that. However, considering the quality of radio these days, it's a wonder any of the great classic rock bands, still together, can stay alive.
I have two questions:
1.When Purple reformed in 83-84, did you ever feel constricted by the band's legacy, or was the writing as free flowing as in the early 70's?
2.Can you comment on the drummers you worked with in Rainbow, as well as Ian Paice. I liked all of them, but I thought Chuck Burgi was a real sleeper. I didn't hear much from him after Rainbow, but he did a fantastic job on BOC's "Heaven Forbid".
Looking forward to the new CD.

Hi Jim.

1. Before the reunion I had the feeling that maybe we should leave Deep Purple where it had come to rest; maybe it was a seventies phenomenon and should be left that way. Two things happened; first I listened to a few boots and reassessed what I thought the band was all about. Then my curiosity got the better of me and I wondered if we could still do that years later. The first thing we did was to have a jam together. At that point I knew it would work. It felt like slipping on a favourite old sweater. No, we didn't feel constricted. At least I didn't.

2. I don't like comparing people, as far as I'm concerned they each had something great to offer. Cozy was, well, Cozy - charm, power, determination and tons of charisma. Bobby had a fantastic sound, stage presence, great hair, and was, and still is, one of the funniest men I've ever met. Chuck was reliable, cool, intelligent and a superb drummer. That's why I used him on Mask.


Marcin on 2002-12-01:
Hello Rog,

thanks for this unique opportunity to ask you a couple of things!

1) Do you ever listen to DP albums recorded by other line-ups, without you being on board? If you do, what are your feelings?
2) Would you ever consider playing on one stage with Nick Simper or Glenn Hughes, for example if JL's idea of a special DP show with all former members came to fruition?
3) What were your feelings when IG announced leaving the group in the 70's? Did you initially intend to stay in the band regardless or did Ritchie immediately let you know he wanted to reverse everything?
4) What was your input in recording Big Ian's "Cherkazoo"?
5) Are there any recordings of Joe Lynn Turner's vocals to what later became "The Battle Rages On"? Or were all the tapes erased? It would be fascinating to listen to this stuff, just for comparison.
6) Didn't the band feel irritated with the neverending tours after Jon decided to quit?
7) Did you do anything special to make Don feel comfortable in a new band? Do you both talk to each other about the times spent together in Rainbow?
8) Would IG allow you & Steve to do some backing vocals on the new DP album 🙂 ?
9) If Episode Six were to reunite for a one-off gig, would you play with them? Have you been in touch with any of E6 members?
10) Do you consider exchanging music files via internet a threat for music business or a means of promotion?
11) Would you agree for a meeting with the Polish DP Fan Club while playing in Poland?

That's it for a good start 🙂
All the best, Roger, and hope to see you soon!
Warsaw, Poland

HI Marcin,

(taking a deep breath...)
1) Yes, sometimes I have but not recently. I had a hard time listening to Burn but had to admit that Sail Away and Might Just Take Your Life were rather good. As the others came out I lost interest and have no particular feelings about them, good or not.

2) Probably not, there is no reason to. While we're on the subject, I don't believe Jon's dream has anything to do with Jon, as far as I know it was a question put to him by a journalist that has since been taken completely out of context and is now widely believed to be Jon's idea, which it never was.

3) Sad. Ian seemed very set on the course he had chosen. I had no thoughts of leaving - the band seemed to be falling apart around me and I was trying to keep it going. Ritchie never said anything to me about his plans.

4) Cherkazoo was originally four unconnected songs that I wrote with Ian earlier on (mostly he doing the words and myself doing the music). We made the demos, involving a few different musicians, two of whom I remember - Pete York and Paul Buckmaster - and only later did Ian elaborate on the idea and add more songs to make a concept piece of his own.

5) There were some writing sessions, I have not heard them since. There was nothing finalized, don't know what exists.

6) I am not irritated by touring. It is a privilege.

7) I cleaned his shoes, made sure his bed was made and heated some milk. Occasionally a memory or two comes up.

8) Allow? It's not that sort of set up. We would do backing vocals if it sounded good. In fact he has suggested it from time to time.

9) Time permitting, yes I would. I speak to some of them fairly regularly, others I have lost touch with. Things change.

10) Both. There is nothing wrong with giving something away. Taking it without permission is stealing, there's no other word for it.

11) Yes, time permitting.


Peter Mair on 2002-11-19:
Dear Roger,
One of my favourite tracks ever is 'weiss heim'. can you tell me how Ritchie got that amazing guitar sound.....i have only heard him duplicate it a few times since on 'snowman' and 'wish you were here' by Blackmore's Night.
Thanks for all the great music over the years!

I love that song too. I can’t say how he gets that sound, it really is in how he plays the guitar. It's not a special guitar or a souped up amp that gets great sounds, it's in the fingers. The time we recorded Weiss Heim he did a couple of passes just playing great stuff but a little too busy in my estimation. I suggested that he play slower and it just sort of worked. Space is the answer!