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Deep Purple: Machine Head (DVD)

Machine Head remains one of the quintessential hard rock albums of all time, and while some Deep Purple fans might argue whether it is their best album (I personally prefer In Rock ), there's no denying the lofty status it has endured over the years. Any record that contains songs like "Smoke On the Water", "Highway Star", and "Space Truckin'" deserves special treatment, which is what we have here on this DVD. Eagle Vision gives us a documentary focusing on the making of Machine Head, told by Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, and former members Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore (all the players were interviewed seperately, with the exception of Paice and Gillan who were together). The musicians go in-depth on each song, and how they came about putting them together from a writing, recording, and production standpoint (producer Martin Birch is also on hand here as well), and there are plenty of live clips included as well. Some of the footage recently became available and can also be seen on the Live 1972/73 DVD, but there is some ultra rare footage, TV performances, and promotional videos (a very cool "Black Night"), all which make for some fascinating viewing.

Roger Glover gives some good insight into what went on in the studio and how songs and riffs came together, and Blackmore pulls out his acoustic guitar and demonstrates some of the classic riffs for the camera. Glover is especially funny in spots and has a lot of stories to tell, most of which are saved for the special features section of the DVD.

In summary, Machine Head the DVD is an informative and fun tribute to a classic and influential hard rock album, and will make a great addition to your expanding Deep Purple DVD collection.

Chapter Listing
2)Highway Star
3)Smoke On The Water
4)Pictures Of Home
5)Space Truckin'
6)Never Before
7)When A Blind Man Cries
Bonus Interviews
1)No Smoke Without Fire
2)The Beast
3)Make Everything Louder
4)Black Night
5)Keep On Space Truckin'
6)Maybe Leo's Off Beat
7)Break A Leg Frank
8)Roger's Machine Head
9)'Never Before' original 1972 Promo

Added: December 23rd 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Deep Purple Website
Hits: 1994
Language: english

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Deep Purple: Machine Head (DVD)
Posted by Steve Pettengill, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-07-16 08:29:06
My Score:

The Classic Albums series is a new line of DVDs that gives a detailed history of the making on the particular album in question. Albums such as The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden and British Steel by Judas Priest are some examples of the series. These are great and highly recommended. Now comes one of my all time favorites, Deep Purple's Machine Head. Recorded in Switzerland in 1971, Machine Head is one of the most influential hard rock/heavy metal masterpieces alongside Led Zeppelin IV and Black Sabbath's Paranoid. For some reason, nowadays Deep Purple isn't hailed in the same way as Zeppelin or Sabbath, but for me, they were the best of the bunch-and that's saying a lot because I love Black Sabbath!

The DVD itself is broken down into seven chapters with nine chapters of bonus interview material not present on the VHS version. All five members of Purple are interviewed about the making of Machine Head. This is great because Ritchie Blackmore isn't one to delve into his former band's history anymore. It's pretty well known that Blackmore and vocalist Ian Gillan have never gotten along and it's refreshing to see them in recent interview footage avoiding personal attacks. Even better, they very often compliment each other on concepts and performances for the album. Most of the "problems" that the band had are blamed on a horrendously executed touring schedule.

Organist Jon Lord demonstrates how he gets "The Beast" sound (as he calls it) out of his Hammond. Engineer Martin Birch offers some insightful recollections as well. My favorite interviewee is bassist Roger Glover. We see him at a mixing console and cheerfully talking about the technical aspects of the album. It's great to see and hear him playing and separating the individual tracks and how decisions were made with regard to production. Unfortunately, there's also an editor for a guitar magazine who makes some annoying comments, particularly about the lyrical content of "Smoke on the Water".

Happily, the DVD contains vintage live footage of the band that I've never seen. There are clips of the band playing at Hofstra University in 1973. Clips of the band playing "Space Truckin'" and "Smoke on the Water" give unique glimpses of the band that were only recently unearthed. Apparently, Dick Clark owns the rights to the footage and won't release any more just yet. Hopefully, that will change one day. Also there is some rough looking Super 8 MM footage of the band playing in an arena somewhere, while the studio version of "When a Blind Man Cries" is heard over it. This is all wonderful stuff.

I highly recommend this DVD to any Deep Purple freak. My only complaint (aside from the guitar magazine editor) is that it's not long enough! The back cover lists a 100-minute running time but the main program is actually just over 45 minutes. Even with the bonus interviews, the DVD only has a total time of just over an hour. Anyone expecting a lurid history of the band on the road will be disappointed. This is a more technical and informative slice of Deep Purple's past. It will give you a whole new appreciation for Machine Head.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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