By Bob Nalbandian

METAL BOOK REVIEWS - By Bob Nalbandian

The following reviews are from books related to metal music that were published in the last few years.

Smoke On The Water: The DEEP PURPLE Story
Author: Dave Thompson (ECW Press 2004)

Being an avid Purple fan for some 30 years now, this was certainly a book I've been looking forward to. I wouldn't say it's the ultimate book about Deep Purple, but author Dave Thompson certainly did his research on this one. Not only is the book well researched (and very accurate, as far as I can tell), but it seems obvious when reading the book that this British native is fanatical about Deep Purple and not just some scribe looking to make a quick buck. Mr. Thompson is also one of the most respected journalists in the UK, having written over 80 books as well as being a contributing editor to Goldmine, Melody Maker, Q, and the All Music Guide. Smoke On The Water: The Deep Purple Story expands over this historic metal band's 36-plus year career from the pre-'68 Mark I era all the way to the Mark VIII era, with up-to-date information on their current "Bananas" album and tour, all done in a most (almost too) comprehensive manner.

Informative to say the least, even for an avid Purple fan such as myself, I gained more knowledge from this book about this phenomenal band than I ever thought possible. Not just senseless accounts, but significant information about the band I never previously encountered (such as the recordings Blackmore and Ian Paice did with Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy) but found fascinating to say the least. Thompson even goes as far as to analyze in great detail the members' offshoot bands and projects, as well as the other artists involved in those projects. What I found most interesting was Thompson's elaborate accounts of the original Blackmore split back in '74 when he went on to form Rainbow. I was deeply intrigued with the amount of detail the author gave about Dio's original band Elf, and the relationship he had with Deep Purple, particularly the fact that Dio was introduced to Blackmore through Glover and Paice (who produced the first Elf album) who invited Elf as support act on numerous Purple tours before Blackmore left the group to form Rainbow (taking Dio and three other "Elves" along). Also equally admirable is the incredible detail given about the accounts leading up to the tragic death of the sorely underrated guitarist Tommy Bolin. Thompson also includes an ever-so-elaborate discography of not only Deep Purple, but solo discographies of all 14 musicians associated with Deep Purple.

At times, quite honestly, the book gets a bit rigid, almost to the point of a school book, so unless you are a true Purple fan, or a scholar wishing to educate yourself on one of the greatest bands in rock music, this book probably isn't for you as, chances are, you won't find this the least bit entertaining. But for me (and I suppose for millions of Purple fans), this book is sacred.

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