Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Deep Purple—
Made In Japan: The Remastered Edition


Released 1972 on EMI/Warner Archives/Rhino
The Seth Man, March 2002ce
If there is one thing to say about Deep Purple, it’s that the legendary ‘Mark II’ lineup consisting of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (organ), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums) was THE lineup. Especially live, when they were at their most explosive. And in the wake of their tour for “Machine Head,” recordings of three concerts in Osaka and Tokyo between August 15 and 17 of 1972 were collated and issued as the double live album, “Made In Japan” which is represented here in its entirety on the first disc while disc two of this 2-CD set holds three shit-storming encores from the same series of concerts.

The album sees tracks from “In Rock,” “Machine Head” and “Fireball” trashed out with near contempt, as well as coming close to breaking the land speed and loudness record for any band on the planet in 1972. Lord’s organ is set to volumes just squeaking under constant-feedbacking levels while Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar rages in a nowhere zone at times barely tethered to what the rest of the band happening to be playing. Ian Paice’s tightly-knit playing with the mere fluttering of his wrists hammers his huge Ludwig kit into submission as the floppy-hatted gentleman bassist known as Roger Glover lays out solid and distinctly percussive bass lines while Ian Gillan sings --nay, yelps, cajoles, shrieks, wails and perfectly adds tension when, of course, none is required. And the first track, “Highway Star” is all this. It drives down the middle from the opening “Wooo!” to the final gong wallop and everything in between is PERFECT: Jon Lord turns in a solo that ascends its own mountain while Blackmore’s guitar solo hangs so perilously close to falling apart at each turn, even tempting all three fates into by diddling up his Stratocaster at neck’s end just for the sheer fuck of it that it’s a miracle he was aware of the precise moment to switch back to the gunning rhythm behind Gillan’s closing stanza. It’s incredible. It’s so incredible, I’m gonna skip over the next coupla songs because they pale so greatly in comparison with it (“Child In Time”, “Smoke On The Water,” “The Mule” and “Strange Kind Of Woman.”) But the last two tracks of “Made In Japan” do deserve mention for their wantonness alone.

“Lazy” begins with space bleeps from Lord’s over-amplified Hammond organ, trailing slowly overhead before he slowly pries lower chords and then fucks horribly with the volume faders and distortion while rocking the keyboard back and forth to get that gloriously tortured sound where the springs inside rattle and explode with crackling reverb. Soon, he’s going at it with both fists, ripping into “Louie Louie” followed by random banging of chords and runs which only calm immediately into the familiar keyboard strains of “Lazy.” It starts with earnestly overwrought 1965-era Klook’s Kleek Hammond organ pumping, but since the intro’s a little under four minutes who cares and besides: for the rest of “Made In Japan” Purple show no signs of being in a hurry either to begin or finish a song. Ian Paice gently but firmly follows Blackmore’s loitering in the parking lot strumming until Blackmore and Lord break into the main theme at shattering volume, which will continue to circle and reappear throughout the track. It breaks down again, this time with Blackmore hamming it up with some old corn popular tune, which only serves to build the already slavering Japanese audience’s expectations even higher. After Blackmore’s big Strat teasings, the main theme comes crashing back in at top volume and when they FINALLY propel into “Lazy” for real, they’re rocking up such a storm they have to turn things more than slightly when Gillan steps up to the mike, and it’s down to business at last.

“Space Truckin’” takes up the entire fourth side of the album as its studio length is extended by roughly 15 minutes of instrumental passages. After the vocals sing the last phrase a speed bump is hit and they all immediately lurch forward into a quicker tempo as Lord inserts Purple’s own “Mandrake Root” into the fray, completely souped-up beyond its previous baroque 1968 EMI-Parlophonics. Eventually, he launches his organ straight into VCS3 Land, touching down with Morse code transmissions over the never-halting down and dirty drumming, soon battening down to low snare rolls to keep the tightrope taut for Lord to dance upon. He promptly exits for Blackmore to enter with soaring, whammy-barred and wavering/quavering and lawnmower-type sounds. It all simmers down and regains a footing when Blackmore begins sending out reflective patches of volume controlled tones he first laid down in the middle section of “Fools” off “Fireball” as Gillan moves in on maracas and Paice still hasn’t budged one itty bitty from continuously laying down a bare bones drum pattern for Ritchie to search for chords that speak more eloquent than he... All builds to a crescendo caught in mid air and there is nothing for a few seconds of precious silence...Then -- CRASH -- the ensemble re-ensues and everybody is going nuts. Blackmore is soon unyoked from his Strat and ramming it into his amps, whammy-barring it and just plain bending it to make the notes sustain into near-infinite reaches. Finally, a group decision to resolve “Mandrake Root” with soaring notes from all and sundry burns into a thrashing of cymbals and amps. Lord’s organ is emitting police siren wails that are not feeling all that hot, with a final trace of a comet that shoots across the sky and a completely dumbfounded audience. The shocked audience doesn’t react for a little longer out of mere politeness; they do not (or rather, cannot) express exactly what they’ve witnessed. But when they regain their senses and start to uproariously applaud into a roar previously unheard of on a live album, ever.

The second CD of encores is 21 unbridled minutes long, and it almost seems as though the gig proper was a mere warm-up for these noise-fests. They are ruthlessly wayward, skyward and (to coin a phrase by Louis Armstrong) “every-other-‘ward” as they head nowhere and everywhere simultaneously. First up is the single, “Black Night” in a feedback-spattered exercise of un-sense nearly on the verge of collapse as each second of its smoldering build keeps on pointing forward faster at a reckless pace made even more so by Blackmore’s hammering of his Stratospheric-caster as though his highest muse has now wrapped herself around him and smiling in ecstatic anticipation whilst cooing in his ear “Ooooh...Ritchie, honay: give it to me RIGHT NOW.” But Ritchie’s onstage and can’t do anything but unleash an electric storm of feedback churning into pure sustain and near disdain of rhythm, melody and the expectations of his Tokyo audience. But the next track, “Speed King” is performed with such blinding white light, full on stamina and total pandemonium that it stands EVEN MERCILESSLY TALLER than “Black Night.”

It’s out there.

REALLY out there.

The roars of audience approval cut through everything as:

a) firecrackers are set off in the audience and
b) Blackmore is dry humping his axe against the Marshall cabinets and makes an uncalculated motion that rips out the cord to his amp and causes his guitar to cut out completely

It’s so ROCK as and just adds to the entire atmosphere of sheer shit-storm mayhem already in process. Blackmore probably didn’t even HEAR the absence of his guitar for a few moments due not to only the temporary deafness from abusing his guitar so that there is nothing but waves of sonic torture emanating from his amps during the raging feedback war with the rest of the band blasting out behind him but because he’s in a different headspace altogether. Even better, he does manage to find the end of the damn thing and slams it right back in mere moments before the last turn back into the lyrics.

It’s all delivered at such top speed, volume and energy, it’s about as liberating as your first fuck. Almost.