22.1.18

DEEP PURPLE, November 1970


I am at present engaged in revising my 1983 biography of Deep Purple for publication in a different format later this year. Here's a story from the book that I decided to expand, all 100% true.
        It is late 1970 and Deep Purple are enjoying their first taste of genuine success. 

Touring continued for the remainder of the year, with trips to France, Scandinavia and Germany slotted in between UK shows that included universities and seaside towns. The French trip, which I covered for Melody Maker, was hastily rearranged to exclude a club where fire had recently broken out with tragic results, and a prestigious show at the Paris Olympia on November 1 was followed by an impromptu performance at the Gibus Club whose enterprising owner had somewhat cheekily advertised an appearance by Deep Purple that hadn’t been agreed, let alone contracted. 
The club’s manager met with a furious John Coletta backstage at the Olympia but Purple’s manager, unwilling to disappoint scores of French fans, was backed into a corner. The group didn’t seem to mind, though, and free food and drink was provided for the whole Purple entourage in exchange for a short set that comprised old rock’n’roll 12-bar songs like ‘Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Lucille’ that were simple to play. Though the club was packed, it is doubtful whether the increased attendance compensated for the unlimited supply of beer, wine and champagne, not to mention fillet mignon, that was consumed by a party numbering a dozen or more. 
After the feast Ritchie and I left the Gibus to check out the Rock’n’Roll Circus, the Paris rock club that would become notorious as the place where Jim Morrison was last seen alive. We finally left the club in the early hours, by which time we had become attached to a couple of agreeable French girls but much to our frustration the night porter at L’Opera, the hotel where we were staying, refused to allow us to bring them up to our rooms. Livid, Ritchie stormed back outside, with me and the girls in pursuit, and together we hatched a plot to ensure that he, at least, would not spend the night alone. I agreed to abandon my girl, a bit reluctantly to be sure, and while he returned to the lobby and distracted the porter I was to sneak back inside with his girl and meet him on the first floor where he would reassume his courtship of her. 
I recall the tearful farewell to my girl on the steps of the hotel and my poor attempts to explain to her in French why we were not destined to spend the night in each other’s arms. ‘Un autre temps peut-etre,’ I said dismally as she went off to find a cab. 
The night’s fun and games were not over. As it happened the porter saw me and Ritchie’s mademoiselle sprinting through the lobby and, although I met Ritchie as planned on the first floor and ‘handed’ the girl over, a few minutes later the phone rang in my room. It was the night porter. In vain did I deny having a girl there but he came up to look for himself and when he couldn’t find her he demanded to know where she was. A confrontation ensued, not helped by my bad French.
‘Ou se trouve la fille?’ he yelled, looking under the bed and opening the wardrobe door.
‘Quelle fille?’ I responded, smirking.
‘La jeune fille qui arrive avec vous il ya quelques minutes,’ he replied, going into the bathroom. 
‘Il n’y a pas de fille ici,’ I said. ‘Recherche toi-meme. Il n’y a personne.’
He looked like he was staying put until she emerged from somewhere or other so as a last resort to get him out of my room I suggested he try Mr Coletta’s room down the corridor. Unlike him, I knew full well that Mr Coletta had taken a girlfriend, a Playboy Bunny as I recall, over to Paris for the weekend and had, of course, booked a double room for he and her.
        John wasn’t best pleased to be disturbed in the middle of the night by the night porter, or so I gathered in the morning. Ritchie, whose girl remained undiscovered, was highly amused by the whole business and for my sacrifice I earned his undying gratitude, or so I thought.


9 comments:

  1. Dear Chris - I can help a little bit with DP formation stuff - pan_cheslav@mail.ru RAD

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's exciting news about the book. I've had the original since '83.

    Are you bringing the story up to date?

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not really. It's not possible to cover the later years in the same detail, but there will be a brief resume of what happened later.

      Delete
  3. Jim Morrison died in July 71 so if this is set in November 1970 no one would know where Morrison was last seen alive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. peut-ĂȘtre

    jeune fille

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looking forward to the revision Chris. The original 1983 tome changes hands for a lot of money these days. Sad that a lot of the negatives from it have gone 'missing.'

    ReplyDelete
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