Greg Prato has released Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story, a new book about Tommy Bolin featuring almost 50 interviews with people that knew and played with Tommy during his youth, meteoric career and up to his untimely passing at age 25 in 1976. The new book also features a number of rare photos that will surprise even veteran Tommy fans, and Greg will be posting other rare photos that weren’t used in the book on his MySpace page.
A Long Island, New York-based music journalist, Greg writes for a variety of sites and magazines, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, Rolling Stone.com and Record Collector magazine, among others including the popular “Diamond Teaser” story on Tommy in the November 2005 issue of Classic Rock.
Touched By Magic is available for purchase online by visiting www.amazon.com. Other recently released books by Greg Prato include MTV Ruled The World: The Early Years Of Music Video and The Eric Carr Story.
SAMPLE CHAPTER COURTESY OF GREG PRATO
Foreword by Johnnie Bolin
After reading Touched By Magic, it seemed to me every interview ‘takes you there’ for the moment. Being three years younger than Tommy, it walked me through my teen years; when I used to visit Karen and Tommy in Boulder, listen to Zephyr live at 15, and growing up following his career/playing music together, and eventually, joining the Tommy Bolin Band. One of the many things being said in this book is how kind and loving Tommy was, and what a beautiful soul Tommy had. Yes, he did have a serious drug problem, but we all have our problems, and deal with them in different ways. He chose his path because he truly was going to be a star, whatever it took. He had very loving parents, two brothers, and a very religious upbringing. My mom was truly a saint, and it showed in all of us. Enjoy the book — I give 105 stars to Greg!
Johnnie Bolin (Iowa, October 2008)
Johnnie Bolin: The thing with Moxy, I think Tom Stephenson played on that record. They asked Stephenson how to get a hold of Tommy, and he said, “He lives out here.” He was getting those calls. At that point, he was kind of in limbo.
Earl Johnson: Regarding Tommy — I loved his playing, but never met him personally, and wish I had. I wrote about 95% of Moxy’s first album [1975’s self-titled release] as the guitar player. I got into a fight with the producer about the guitar solos I was playing at the time, more like Page and Beck, and Tommy was brought in one night when I was thrown out of the studio by the producer. It actually made me a better player, as I felt challenged, and knew I had to improve my playing. Tommy had a great feel and style, and I admired him for that. Moxy went on to record two more albums, and by the third album, I was ripping and completely confident — much of that was derivative from the first album. I was lucky in that our two biggest songs from the first album were songs that I played all the guitar tracks on — “Sail On Sail Away” and “Can’t You See I’m A Star.”
Johnnie Bolin: He did that because they paid him in coke. That’s all he remembered about it. He played good on that though. That song “Train,” that’s not even Tommy playing that guitar solo. Really listen to it — put on any track before that or any track of Tommy’s. He does the first part of the solo, but the actual solo itself is not him — it’s the other guy.
Earl Johnson: I deeply resented the producer as he took the feel to a different area — but it did work, and the hype on Tommy helped the band.
Phillip Polimeni: There was a time when Tommy was up — believe it or not — for the Stones, before Ronnie Wood took over. He was supposed to be going over for the part of the other guitar, and they decided they wanted an Englishmen. But he was being considered for the Stones. He never got to rehearse with them, but they’d heard about him, and he was on ‘the list to be considered.’
Johnnie Bolin: As far as having a band, he was figuring out who he was going to have. It wasn’t a slow period, it’s just I think he was unsure of what he was doing as far as a band. That was the era of Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, and Gary Wright — the solo male singers. So Tommy got his solo deal with Nemperor Records by saying, “Would you like some stuff with Energy?” The record company said, “Why don’t you be the singer?” And he’s like, “I don’t really want to sing.” But they said, “If you do, then you’ve got yourself a record deal. If you don’t, you probably won’t have one.” He wanted Stevie Winwood and Terry Reid to sing. They knew he could sing, but it was hard for him, because he was so used to just playing and singing in the studio — now he has to sing the whole night and play. He didn’t start really singing until he was 22.
Barry Fey: When I started managing him, he put a group together, and I got him a record deal with Nat Weiss — Nemperor Records. When we were getting the deal together, he gets a call from Deep Purple.
David Coverdale: When Ritchie Blackmore decided to go [from Deep Purple], Ritchie had invited me to go with him to do the Rainbow project. But I felt uncomfortable about it — I didn’t think it was appropriate. And that’s what led to some abrasive aspects of Ritchie’s and my relationship for a while, unfortunately. When we had a meeting without Ritchie, my recommendations were number one, Jeff Beck, number two, Rory Gallagher, and number three, this guy called Tommy Bolin, which no one had really heard about. I’d heard Tommy Bolin on the Spectrum album by Billy Cobham, and I’d heard him on Alphonse Mouzon’s album, Mind Transplant. I was really impressed with this work, and I had no idea if he was a 70-year-old African American — I had no idea. So everyone went, “Oh wow, he’s pretty good!” So we sent the word out. Now at that time, Purple was this huge global entity — one of ‘the rock n’ roll aristocratic bands,’ before the market was so oversaturated, as it is now. Even we couldn’t find out where he was. And we found him a few miles down the road from where I used to live in Malibu — he was living there. We arranged for him to come down and jam with us. This guy walks in with multi-colored hair, lime-green Arabian knight… they weren’t trousers, they were like pre-Steven Tyler floating pants. And on four or five inch sole platform… they weren’t platform shoes, they were kind of platform sandals!
Glenn Hughes: He wasn’t nimble with his feet; he was falling over a lot.
David Coverdale: He was a sight to behold — this exotic creature. He walked up to this line of amps — which had been pretty intimidating to whoever else had been there — and turned them all to eleven. Hit a chord, and the chord got everyone off their smug ass and started jamming — immediately. All his guitars were in hock — for whichever reason — so he had borrowed a guitar for the audition. It was quite an extraordinary, explosive audition.
Glenn Hughes: We were rehearsing at Pirate Sound — that’s where we were ‘auditioning,’ if you will. We only auditioned two people — Clem Clempson, and then Tommy. Clem didn’t get the gig, not because of his ability as a guitar player — I think it was because to fill Ritchie Blackmore’s boots, you have to be a character. Tommy on the other hand… when I walked in and saw him, I shouted across the room, “Whatever happens, you’re coming home with me!” We were just peas in the pod together. Tommy’s a Leo; he’s a sensitive, funny, and very sweet man. An artist, y’know? I saw he had the Echoplex set up on a stand, his Hiwatt’s, and just the way he picked up the guitar — he was going to get the job. I particularly wasn’t looking for a Ritchie Blackmore clone. Let’s just say that if Yngwie Malmsteen would have been present at that time in the ‘70s, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go for a clone of Blackmore. As we didn’t clone [Ian] Gillan and [Roger] Glover with Coverdale and Hughes. So I think getting him in, we weren’t interested in jamming old Purple songs that day. We wanted to just forge ahead. And lo and behold, I think we started coming up with stuff immediately — that first day. For me, Paicey, and Lordy, that’s what we liked to do anyway — jam a lot. We probably shouted out some chords and drifted off into some jazz stuff. And then we probably picked up the tempo and played some really intense rock stuff. It was a very brief audition, because we knew he’d probably got the gig.
Tommy Bolin: When Purple first called me for an audition, I hadn’t slept in a couple days — not a wink — because I’d been up writing stuff. The rehearsal was for 4:00, and I was lying there thinking, “I gotta figure a way to tell them, y’know, tomorrow or something.” And I thought, “Well, fuck it, I’ll just go down.” So I walked in and I was like a zombie. But in the first tune, right away, it was smiles all around. You know, I was shocked to see how good they were, because I had never heard that much Deep Purple.
Glenn Hughes: It probably was [the best Purple’s ‘Mach IV’ line-up ever sounded]. Because as the annals of history know, there was some other stuff going on with substances that we didn’t really know too much about. The ‘darker’ substances were being probably used or dabbled in — opiates. Even I, who was participating in some of the things with Tommy. But yes, he did sound good at the Pirate Sound rehearsals. He got the gig, and he moved straight into my house until we found him a home. Tommy stayed at my house for about a week. We had impromptu sessions, where I’d tape stuff on my TEAC. I’ve got a bunch of those tapes —it’s just me and Tommy jamming. I would play Fender Rhodes and he would play my Les Paul — just him and I going off. I’d been going to Herbie Hancock’s quite a bit — learning how to play Fender Rhodes through Herbie, and hanging out with the Weather Report guys. And having Tommy come into my life, I was learning how to play triads on the keys and guitar — a very new way. I was learning to branch out in that world, and that’s what you heard on my solo record, [1977’s] Play Me Out. We ate from the same plate, went out a lot together, got a little high together — this was back in the years when it was kind of cool. But nobody realized he was ill with a horrible addiction.
Carmine Appice: I got a call from the guys in Deep Purple, asking me about Tommy — what I thought of him, was he a cool guy, and this and that. I remember telling them I thought he was a real cool guy and a great guitarist. The next thing I know, he was in Deep Purple.
Barry Fey: I said, “Why don’t you try to have a dual career — a solo career and a career with Deep Purple?” I talked to Bruce Payne — who was the manager of Purple — and they went along with it. So Tommy was going to be their lead guitar player, and also have his own band. I was his manager. They got none of his earnings from his solo career. They were never his manager. They had him sign a contract.
Bobby Berge: The first thing I really remember was going down to Beachwood Sound Studios, and watching them rehearse. It just blew me away. The place was huge — had a big stage set up. It was just like a huge wall of sound. When I think of Deep Purple and Tommy, I think of Glenn Hughes — because those two were really tight, and I love Glenn’s playing and singing. I think I was with Stanley Sheldon, watching their rehearsal. Frampton popped in there. What was real exciting for me at that same time was when Ritchie left Deep Purple and started Rainbow, I got a chance to audition with [Rainbow]. I didn’t get the gig, but hell, it was a real treat getting a shot at it.
Tommy Bolin: I was very depressed at the time, and when I went along to play with Purple, it was like a tonic. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was great. Purple are so tight, they’re a great outfit. I don’t think my playing has ever been better.
Robert Ferbrache: Let it be known that Tommy Bolin never listened to Deep Purple, and he used to loathe that kind of music before he was in the band. The only thing he liked about Deep Purple was he realized — when he started playing with them — that Ian Paice and Jon Lord were incredible musicians. He only did that band because of money and Barry Fey — he didn’t do it because he loved the music at all. It gave him ‘the rock star attitude.’
Mike Drumm: For us who had ‘the Boulder attitude’ back then, him being in Deep Purple was not cool, because Deep Purple was felt as commercial. They were mining a certain base music to be successful. In retrospect, they’re better than what we all thought back then — it wasn’t quite such a terrible thing to be in Deep Purple. One of the things it meant to him was he had access to a lot more drugs and alcohol.
Karen Ulibarri: I think it was more business than anything — he wasn’t a fan of theirs. You may say they weren’t good musicians, but he was surprised to find that they were all really incredible musicians. They just hit on a good formula, and took the money and ran.
G. Brown: He said he’d never heard any of Deep Purple except “Smoke on the Water.” But then he went in and I think co-wrote over half the tunes on Come Taste the Band.
Tommy Bolin: It’s an ideal situation for me, because I can get my cookies off playing rock while taking them in a new direction. I’m not replacing anyone. I’m joining a new band.
Ritchie Blackmore: Tommy Bolin is very good. He’s one of the best. I think Purple will probably be quite happy with him. He can handle a lot of stuff, including funk and jazz. Maybe they’ll turn into a rather different band, but I really don’t think so. I think they know that if they did they’d be just another funk band. They’ll still keep to the rock side of things, I’m sure of it. In fact, the next album will probably be a lot rockier than my last record with them, Stormbringer.
Johnnie Bolin: Tommy ran into Ritchie when they both lived in Malibu — he invited Ritchie over. Ritchie went over to Tommy’s house, and there’s no furniture at all — there was a bed and a couch. He lived in L.A. at the time, so he had two different places. He showed Ritchie his Strat, Ritchie went to play it, and he must have had the strings on there for months. I think I remember him saying in an article, “He was a really nice guy, and he’s a really great guitar player. He kind of reminded me of Elvis!” I think they got along O.K. He appreciated his playing.
Glenn Hughes: Look — Ritchie was a genius. In the early ‘70s, him and Page stood alone in the rock era. When Burn was completed, we started to make Stormbringer — Ritchie sort of lost the plot in a way, because my [funk] influence was very strong, and I don’t think he liked it. He sort of dropped the ball and disappeared.
Ritchie Blackmore: I just didn’t like the way things were going with Purple. In the studio we’d be five egotistical maniacs, pushing up the faders so each of us would be progressively louder than any of the others. It wasn’t a team effort any more, and the songs seemed to have been forgotten. But at the same time, it was all becoming too classy, too laid back and… cool. That’s not Deep Purple, Deep Purple are a brash, demanding band.
Glenn Hughes: Well he was he different, wasn’t he? I mean, at the point, I’d only played with two [guitarists] — Mel Galley and Blackmore. Ritchie came from a very melodic, European, classical way of playing guitar. And Tommy came from a very South American-flavored, Brazilian, reggae-ish twisted, Americana way of playing guitar. It wasn’t European. It was very be-boppy, it was jazz — it was everything Deep Purple weren’t. Which I liked — and having another guy in the band that wasn’t frightened to do that, or play on instinct. So I’d bring in the soul and the funk, and Tommy would bring in that Brazilian, be-boppy, jazzy flavor. Which was a very interesting aspect.
David Coverdale: Weeks later, we were at a party, and somebody put Spectrum on. Tommy and I were standing over by the record player, and I said, “Oh, I love that!” And he goes, “That’s Jan.” And I go, “Oh… what about this? I love that!” he goes, “That’s Jan.” But still, there were enough licks there to keep me more than happy.
Tommy Bolin: I consider myself a full member of the group. But Deep Purple isn’t gonna take up that much of my time each year. The other months, I’ll probably go out with my own band, which will probably include different players each time.
Johnnie Bolin: Teaser and Come Taste the Band was about the same time. I think he was going back and forth with recording each album. In the music stores, they hit about the same time — that was kind of confusing to people.
Bobby Berge: It was really great, because so much was happening at that time. I ran into my old friend, Buddy Miles — we went to school together in Sioux Falls. We started rehearsing, and he said, “Hey, do you want to play on my album?” So I’m starting to play with Buddy, Tommy is doing his own thing and he’s hooking up with Purple. In the meantime, we’re rehearsing Teaser demo stuff at Phillip Polimeni’s little studio. At the Record Plant — the spring going into the summer — Buddy’s doing his first solo album there, [1975’s] More Miles Per Gallon, Tommy’s doing Teaser, so I’m hanging out there a lot, which is a beautiful studio. Really big studio, and there’s all kinds of rock stars — George Harrison, Bad Company, Stevie Wonder. I did “The Grind” [Jeff Porcaro is listed as the drummer on the Teaser album credits] — I don’t know how the record company got the wrong idea — and “Lotus.” It was great, fantastic. I’d be doing “The Grind” in Studio A, and then I’d run down and do a cut with Buddy down in Studio C. Back and forth.
Jeff Cook: By the time they were in the studio, I wasn’t a part of it. We collaborated in the oddest ways. We wrote some of the songs for Teaser over the phone, with me in Denver, and him in California. We’d get on the phone, knock ideas around, and talk about things. I’m pretty sure “The Grind” was written over the phone. I do remember him playing me the lick to “Teaser” and saying, “Do you think this will work?” So we were on the phone discussing how that song was coming together. I know we wrote “Spanish Lover,” “Gypsy Soul,” and one other song on the phone. Most of the songs had been written well in advance. I just remember that the Teaser album was recorded at a time when everybody was partying their brains out. It’s funny, because I got a call not long ago from somebody that was remixing the Teaser record, and his first question was, “I want to ask you guys one thing — how high were you when you were making Teaser? Because I’m finding tracks that were never even listed on the track sheet [laughs]!” So the fact was that it was a huge party. He had some of the greatest musicians in the industry coming together to play on that thing. While it wasn’t a huge sales success, I think it was a pretty good critical success. Tommy didn’t seem to be intimidated by anybody or anybody’s musical credentials, and was completely at home playing with a jazz player, a rock player, a country player — whatever kind of genre of music. He was chameleon-like in that way — he could just fall into it and play with the best of any genre of music.
Stanley Sheldon: Tommy had come to New York, while we were mixing Frampton Comes Alive. We had come back from San Francisco in the winter of ’75 — with our tape of Frampton Comes Alive from our Winterland show. We were at Electric Lady Studios, mixing it down, and going to release it in January or February [of 1976]. So we had a couple of weeks at Electric Lady to do that. Well, Tommy comes to town, and books Electric Lady Studios, and that’s where we recorded Teaser. Half of it — we did the other half in L.A. But for the New York stint, I was there doing both those projects at the same time. So it was a wild time — I would be going from studio A to studio B. I had no idea that these records were going to as enormously successful as they were…well actually, the Teaser album was not enormously successful, but it’s a great record. But Frampton Comes Alive was certainly an enormous success. I knew it was good, don’t get me wrong — I knew I had the world by the balls right then — but I didn’t really realize the deep impact of all that stuff. I was just there having some fun, making some music.
Prairie Prince: Lee Kiefer engineered the first Tubes album [1975’s The Tubes] — it was shortly after that record, I got the call from Lee saying that he and Tommy were doing a record. He had mentioned my name, and Tommy remembered me from playing out in the desert. I was working in San Francisco and flew down to L.A. I went in there, and Paul Stallworth was on bass — from the Attitudes — and I saw Tommy. It’s like we’d been old friends — he was just so sweet and warm. We immediately set up the equipment and started jamming — I didn’t hear any songs previously. I think he started playing “Savannah Woman” — it was kind of a bossa nova groove, pretty easy to fall into. We just jammed around for a while, and then he broke out “Wild Dogs.” We jammed on that for a long time — several takes of that, that went on and on, which you can now hear on the Whips and Roses record [released in 2006]. I’m so glad they found that stuff — I have to commend Greg Hampton for digging all that up and re-engineering it. I thought they had pumped up the sound quality — the drums especially. I always loved those two songs, but I was disappointed in the drum sound that they ended up with in the [original album’s] mix. So that was just like a marathon session — we got in there at 1:00 in the afternoon, and we didn’t get out until 1:00 the next day. I remember after I had done a lot of playing that night, we took a little break, and everyone turned the lights down in the studio, and Tommy started overdubbing on the two tracks. Everybody was lying on the floor, just completely lost in the genius that was coming forth. We were all astounded. It had a little something to do with the drugs — ‘cause I knew there was a little of that going around — but other than that, it was all music and very innovative for the time. I don’t want to condemn myself, but there was definitely a fair share of ‘marching powder,’ let’s put it that way [laughs]. But he seemed to handle it pretty well at the time. We were all younger then — it was easier to do more and enjoy it more.
John Tesar: Although [“Savannah Woman”] was always credited to Jeff Cook, if you asked Jeff, he’ll say I wrote the lyrics. That was a song about women who are leaving their boyfriends for other women. So then I started to think about what those storylines would be like. Somehow, it got into a wealthy woman who was keeping young women in Brazil. Tommy liked bossa nova and Brazilian stuff very much, so I put it in Brazil, which is why it’s “Savannah Woman” and not “Boulder County Woman.”
Narada Michael Walden: I think we were upstairs at Nat Weiss’ office in New York — [Tommy] was signed to Nat’s label. I was working with Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Nat was manager of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. And then we didn’t really meet again until… I remember being down at Electric Lady, and I was doing something there — I’m not quite sure what it was. He was there, and was very excited about working with me. I just chimed in and said, “Sure — let’s do something.” And we did — fast. We recorded a piece called “Marching Powder” not long after that. That session was quite something — a live session at Electric Lady, in the same configuration when I’d done the album with Mahavishnu Orchestra, [1975’s] Visions of the Emerald Beyond. My drum set was in that same corner, and I loved that sound that comes out of there. They brought in Jan Hammer, David Sanborn, Stanley on bass, Sammy Figueroa on percussion, myself on drums, and Tommy. Tommy taught us the song, and I think we cut it once or twice. That was it. Pretty blazing. It was fun to play like that — live, with everybody in the same room.
Jan Hammer: Narada was scheduled on the [“People, People”] session to play drums. We were in Electric Lady, sitting there hour after hour, waiting. [Narada] was stuck in traffic somewhere in New Jersey — but his drums were all set up and mic’d. So we just said, “Let’s have a run through,” and I played drums — I can always overdub the organ later. So we did it, and it ended up being on the record. I played drums all along — I played drums on many records. For instance, the famous record with Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin [1972’s Love Devotion Surrender], I played drums on that. That was around the same time. That was just a wonderful thing, but the atmosphere was very ‘stoner-like’ — everybody was chilling. Again, nothing wrong with that — lots of fun. It’s just eventually, Tommy took a wrong turn, and it became less ‘chill’ and more frightening.
Prairie Prince: I was really taken by his voice — I thought he had a really beautiful voice. Maybe even more than his guitar playing — I thought his voice really stood out.
Johnnie Bolin: People go, “I fell in love with his voice.” That’s cool, because he didn’t even want to sing! I mean, he did want to sing — but he didn’t think he was going to be good enough to carry a whole song. Tommy sang from the heart. He was a real a romantic — he had it in him. He liked guys like Terry Reid and Marc Bolan — he liked that little ‘lightness,’ and saved the heaviness for his guitar playing. He wrote everything acoustically, and then when he plugged in his guitar, he decided if it was going to be a rock n’ roll song or not. If you listen to Tommy’s acoustic demo of “Teaser,” that could have been the way the song could have went. He plugged in his guitar, and went that way. Maybe because of the neighbors downstairs — he never really had his guitar plugged in. He always had his acoustic laying on the bed — I don’t think he played his electric much at the apartment.
Jeff Cook: “Teaser” [the song] to me, the music and the lyrics are a really great fit. I remember every night when we played as Energy, the band maybe looked better than they played — even though they played pretty well! There were always a bevy of beautiful women around the band, and all of us had women. There was one woman that I wrote the song about, that was just ‘unavailable.’ And to me, she became the biggest challenge of all time. And that’s what that song was about — the one woman that wasn’t making herself available. I really wrote that hoping that Energy would record it, and then Tommy decided to record it on his solo record.
Glenn Hughes: Tommy asked me if I would sing on Teaser — not all of it, but three or four cuts. But I convinced him I didn’t want to do that. Like Hendrix had his own great style of singing, you have your own style of singing these particular songs. I mean, I can’t imagine myself singing some of those songs. He really loved what I did vocally, so he was always pushing for that. I went to London to record it, but I couldn’t use my name because it was a tax thing. You won’t see my name actually on the record, but I sang on “Dreamer.” I probably would have sang more, but I convinced Tommy that he needed to sing this record.
Tommy Bolin: I really love the whole album. I’m very proud of the whole album. It's doing tremendously in the States. You know, far beyond which I thought it would do. I love “Lotus,” “Homeward Strut,” “Marching Powder,” “Dreamer.” Those four I think are probably my favorites, and “Wild Dogs.”
Jan Hammer: If I were to contrast [the Spectrum sessions] to the sessions for Teaser, there was much more of a drug fog descending. [Spectrum] was very laid back.
Johnnie Bolin: I remember he was really happy — he was proud of the Teaser album. He finally did something that he really wanted to do. All those breaks that he had were all for the better. I don’t know how to explain it, because I didn’t know how badly he wanted it. That’s why he did what he did, because it was very puzzling to me and a lot of people — like when he said, “I can’t go out with James Gang.” He had to do the Purple thing… he didn’t have to do anything. I mean, Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones because he wanted to do his own thing. But Tommy, if you think about it, that’s why he did what he did. He just had this drive. It wasn’t real noticeable in the things he would say — in his actions of quitting or leaving.
Tommy Bolin: I think I will be bringing out my own individuality with [Deep Purple], and bring some things out in them. The L.P. we're making will surprise a lot of people. We start recording on August 3rd in Munich.
Glenn Hughes: Tommy coming in was a breath of fresh air. I’ve always evolved in my music, I don’t stand still. I won’t mention names, but certain bands stand still. And we were always evolving. Come Taste the Band, look at that — it’s ‘an evolving record.’ Tommy came over to my home, and he’d already gotten a barebones structure of “Gettin’ Tighter.” I helped with some of the music on that.
Tommy Bolin: I love that song. I wrote that at one of the rehearsals. I just thought, “Oh man, you know they would probably enjoy”… y’know, because I was starting to feel them out, and they were starting to feel me out, and it was like a give-and-take situation — even musically. I just kind of presented, with all the tunes, mostly the music — a riff, or whatever. I would construct the tune around it and David would take it from there, and do the lyrics, or Glenn would do the lyrics.
Glenn Hughes: He had come in with “Lady Luck” — wrote the lyrics with Jeff Cook.
Jeff Cook: Well unfortunately, my memories of that are not happy ones, because David Coverdale basically changed they lyrics to the song. The song was originally a sort of Steinbeck type, ‘Cannery Row’ song about living in a certain part of town and wanting to break free of the poverty and so on and so forth. But a lot of that was lost when Coverdale started making up lyrics [laughs].
Glenn Hughes: Came in with some riffs maybe on one or two other songs. Pretty much wrote the rest of the record together as a unit. In Musicland in Germany, we were still sort of writing the record when we got there. “This Time Around” was written in the studio in Munich. “Owed to ‘G’” was Tommy’s instrumental that we added on to “This Time Around” — it was written separately, but we forged it together.
Tommy Bolin: Jon and Glenn were going to call their half 'Gersh,' and I was going to call my half 'Win.’
Greg Hampton: Some of the songs and riffs that ended up on Come Taste the Band are from parts of sessions from early ’74 to ’75. I’ve heard a lot of those riffs in these multi-tracks that I’ve been listening to, that inevitably became Deep Purple songs.
David Coverdale: Those were interesting times. Not having the strong presence of Ritchie Blackmore was very noticeable. It was a lot more casual. Ritchie was much more work-focused and oriented — I favor that, personally. The ‘hanging around’ is interminable for me. And it was a couple of ‘social aspects’ — not necessarily with Tommy, but within the band — that could have been extremely damaging. I’m very happy that we actually came out with a worthwhile project.
Glenn Hughes: I guess if Tommy and I had our own druthers, we would have drifted off into our own camp — we were definitely a ‘Hughes-Bolin camp’ going on. But remember, you’ve got the lead frontman, Coverdale — that’s the way it is and that’s the way it was. But Tommy and I began to feel really comfortable playing together ‘after hours’ and hanging out.
David Coverdale: It’s one of my favorite projects that I’ve been involved with. It actually works very well with my Coverdale/Page project — I put a lot of my stuff in an iPod shuffle, that magically spins around like some kind of crazy digital jukebox — and whenever either Come Taste the Band follows a Coverdale/Page track or vice versa, it stands up very well. To be honest, I have no relationship with the management company of Deep Purple, who consistently scrape the barrel with Deep Purple compilation stuff. Unfortunately, for such a powerful band, we have no say in the matter. I would love to present the albums to modern rock engineers to remix, with that perspective. Y’know, like your Brendan O’Brien’s or your Kevin Shirley’s — I’d love to hear them brought up to date in a sonic way. Because I think they’d stand up very well.
Glenn Hughes: When you listen to Come Taste the Band, it’s a great album. It didn’t sell as much as ‘Burn’ or ‘Stormbringer,’ but from most people I ask from any age group; Come Taste the Band is their favorite.
Tommy Bolin: I think they’re going to love it. The new album is more sophisticated than the old Purple stuff, but I don’t think that’ll matter. The kids are more clued in than they were a year ago, so I think it’ll be accepted. Highly. Very highly.
Bobby Berge: When Come Taste the Band came out… shit, here we go again — it just blew me away.
Otis Taylor: We were so proud of him. It was like, “Now he’s a star.” Everybody was happy for him — “Deep Purple, that’s so fucking cool!” In those days, when people made a record it was a big deal, when people got elevated it was a big deal. If they were your friends, you were happy for them, because if they were a star, you knew a star. For me, there was no jealousy. I was really happy for him.
G. Brown: When he left, that was kind of ‘it’ — everyone thought that he’s only 24 and he was in the ranks of the masters, and everyone believed in him. But that was probably a bad thing, because in retrospect, he was always able to get what he wanted from people.
Tommy Bolin: Nothing’s going to stop me now.