David Coverdale Recalls ‘Madness’ of His First Deep Purple Show
David Coverdale recalled the “madness and mayhem” of his first concert as Deep Purple singer in 1973, and admitted he wasn’t in a position to contribute to the destruction that was taking place around him.
The Mark III lineup -- consisting of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Glenn Hughes and Coverdale -- played its first show in Copenhagen on Dec. 9 of that year, four months after Coverdale had been recruited as an unknown working in a clothes shop, and ahead of the release of Deep Purple's Burn album.
“I walk onstage for the first time – where it came from, I don’t know, but I still do it – ‘Are you ready?’ I screamed into the microphone, and I’ve got a very powerful voice," Coverdale told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show. "So, like, everybody goes, ‘Oh my God!’ and there’s this roar from I don’t know how many thousands of people. And it was great.”
The moment seemed to energize the lineup, which knew it had a lot to prove after having parted ways with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover six months earlier. “Suddenly I’m singing, Ritchie’s smashing a guitar, dragging amp stacks over,” Coverdale recalled. “Paice is trashing his drums. And I’ve like become a member of the audience while I’m actually onstage. Lordy’s thrashing his organ, boys and girls, thrashing his organ every which way! And I’m going, ‘My God, I should do something, I should do something … ’ I’m going, ‘I can’t afford to smash anything!’”
He quickly made a decision. “I had a ring on, which was like ten bucks, so I took it off with great drama, threw it on the floor and stamped on it," he said. "That was my contribution to the madness and mayhem!”
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