Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The Supertramp revival begins here. I even heard "Fool's Overture" coming out of someone's Walkman on the SkyTrain yesterday. I remember discovering FM radio back in the late Cretaceous Period and being frightened by that song. I wasn't creeped out as much as when I first heard Dark Side of the Moon, but it was spooky enough to leave an impression. Believe you me.

I recently saw a Classic Albums show about the making of Deep Purple's Machine Head. Besides the good stuff you usually get in a typical CA episode (washed-out old film footage, band members listening to the master tapes and marvelling at how good they used to be), you also got Ritchie Blackmore in full Three Musketeers mode being interviewed in some kind of medieval grotto, complete with candelabra and suits of armor in the background. Gillan, Paice, Glover and Lord were more down to earth. Glover sported a balding rocker bandana, Lord seemed quite the country gentleman, and Gillan and Paice looked like they’d come in from a backyard barbecue.

The band as a whole were remarkably soft spoken. They had a few good stories about the perilous circumstances surrounding the recording of Machine Head, but I got the impression that they directed most of their attention towards the music back in the day. (I expect they enjoyed a drink or twelve as well.)

Roger Glover delivered what I thought was the best quote of the show, while discussing "Pictures of Home": "We never had a formula, but it's always good to have a shuffle on an album." I totally agree.

Actually, Machine Head features two shuffles. They didn't talk about "Lazy" on the show, and that's the shufflingest shuffle of all possible shuffles.

Machine Head always takes me back to our late-summer visits to the Sarrell family home in Oliver, B.C. The Sarrells were teacher friends of my parents. We’d drive out there in the VW van and load up on fruit. Their son Michael was the epitome of cool to me. He had the big seventies afro (what my hair will become if I don’t get it cut NOW), the sketchy peach-fuzz moustache, and the first collection of serious rock music I’d ever checked out—he had all the Kiss, Purple, and Heep albums. Mike was also a budding naturalist, so his room was full of dead things that he’d found out on the Okanagan bluffs—sheep skulls and snake skins, very large bugs. When he was out, I’d sneak in there and just be in awe. Anyway, it was through him that I first heard “Highway Star,” “Maybe I’m a Leo,” and “Lazy” (not to mention “Detroit Rock City”).

I think Michael now works as a wildlife biologist in the area. He pops up in the media occasionally whenever some strange faunal phenomena occurs. I remember him being interviewed on CBC radio when a massive colony of bats was discovered in a church attic.

After returning from one of those trips to Oliver, I joined forces with the men of Huxley Ave. They had also seen the light, and my life was set.

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