David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes

Classic Trax: Deep Purple's Stormbringer by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes.

Come record number two for the surprise Deep Purple Mark III incarnation, despondence was starting to set in, most notably on the part of Ritchie Blackmore, who would be casting his eye about for a solo situation in which to sink his teeth. But Stormbringer got made, and much to the chagrin of Purple purists, it got made… kind of funky. What distinguishes the album, however, is its almost invisible status, or its under-rating, if you will, as a fierce vocal showcase, more so than Burn or Come Taste The Band. But in total, it most definitely is quite mellow and quite funky.

But you'd never know it by the opening classic title track, a song that grooves large, riffs malevolently and gets downright artful come chorus time. “Oh my God!” recalls David Coverdale. “I wrote two songs which could be termed heavy metal or whatever. I've never embraced the expression heavy metal because all my themes are emotional. But I wrote two songs to keep Ritchie Blackmore happy, which was ‘Burn', which is, I still think, a classic and ‘Stormbringer', which basically if you look at the lyrics, they are more or less sci-fi poems. But it never felt comfortable for me to have those. In fact, I think that's where Ritchie got the name Rainbow from, the hook in ‘Stormbringer'. ‘Burn' I can enjoy any time of the day but I don't really go for ‘Stormbringer'.”

After that bombastic calling card however, things get slinky and r+b-ish for ‘Love Don't Mean A Thing' on which Coverdale delivers his most lascivious vocal ever. Ritchie however, is barely himself. Turns out he's even less himself than we suspected. “I love that track,” notes Glenn Hughes. “I'm going to tell you. I'm going to give you a real exclusive here. We were on the road with Ritchie, the last American tour with him, the Burn tour, we were going to do Stormbringer. This is... no... when we did the Stormbringer record, we were in Chicago and Ritchie had met this black guy and he was playing in, either a bar or a subway, and he was singing this song which basically Ritchie took for the vibe of ‘Love Don't Mean A Thing', you know? He just maybe borrowed it, if you will, just a piece of it. And funny enough, if you listen to the vibe of it, it's funky. And it's very funny when Ritchie says he hates funky music. But when you listen to that track, the groove that is laid down, even his vibe on it is funky! ‘You Can't Do It Right (With The One You Love)... its funky! So ‘Love Don't Mean A Thing', is funny, because Blackmore fans, when he talks about how he doesn't want to play this music, he's doing it on that track.”

Martin Popoff, Classic Rock Revisited, 2003 (edited)


You can read the complete interview here: