Released: 2011, Powerchord Press
There is a small, niche market for very specialized books about Rock and/or Metal bands. Essentially,(or so I thought) the reader would have to be a pretty big fan for the book to have much value when you get down into the deep, deep trivia zone. So therein lies my issue with THE DEEP PURPLE ROYAL FAMILY ‘Chain Of Events’ series. I’m not a die-hard Purple fan. I came late to the band and really only truly appreciate the last six or seven albums and the smattering of classics. I like the band but I’m not a Platinum Card carrying lifetime member of The Deep Purple Appreciation Society. By the way, if you ARE a member of DPAS, go buy these books immediately. Don’t even bother reading my review, just go online to http://www.martin-popoff.com
and slap down yer credit card. Blind buy. Easy. Satisfaction guaranteed.
So, for the rest of us lesser mortals, what are the Deep Purple Royal Family books about? Well, basically the books are a collection of advertisements relating to Deep Purple and it is surprisingly good. There is a bit more to it than that, but more on that in a minute. Much like my January 2011 review of his pair of Deep Purple biographies from 2008,(GETTING’ TIGHTER and A CASTLE FULL OF RASCALS) I paired these two, virtually identical, books into one review because they really are one set, just printed as a pair for logistical reasons. Martin has issued these on his own indie publishing firm, Powerchord Press and like all his books, the quality is high for a self-made job. By now he has the experience to make these things look good and read well. Part One, from Year Zero to 1979 runs about 285 pages and Part Two covers 1980-2011 and runs a shade longer at 295 pages. Each book has a longish intro, detailing something that has never really been done before as well as comments about style, methodology and the fun detective work behind finding the dates of publication of all this stuff.
THE DEEP PURPLE ROYAL FAMILY as mentioned is a massive collection of print ads from across the ages. Not only those ads but, all of the offshoots of Deep Purple (ie. various solo albums, Whitesnake, etc) have their ads sampled in as well. The rambling text is minimal but there are lots of quotable quotes and notable notes. Martin created a timeline framework that runs the entire length of the books, hitting all major highlights related to the production of music and less about the war stories about individual members. It’s almost like a visually enhanced bonus to a traditional text-based timeline. As Popoff alluded to in his introduction to Book One, the ads seem a little more creative and interesting in Book One. I suppose back then the band had a bigger budget, (the band was selling millions) and the record companies had cool, young people in the art and advertising departments and the grass was greener if ya know what I mean! The ads just seemed a bit more…groovy. There certainly were some interesting projects back then, The Butterfly Ball concept album, the Jesus Christ Super Star rock opera and of course the glory years of Deep Purple.
Over in Book Two I actually recognize more of the ads but as Martin pointed out, the ads tend to be a little less creative, namely a picture of the album cover and some text. In general I prefer Book Two a bit more just because it was a bit more familiar. I have more of the albums, know more of the cross-pollination of the various bands and members, for example Joe Lynn Turner in Yngwie, Roger Glover producing an album for Pretty Maids, countless Glenn Hughes solo albums, the Hughes Turner Project; all that stuff. It’s all a fascinating trip down memory lane.
Here is the only bad part. The books are printed in black and white. These books just scream to printed as a full-on, hardcover in full technicolour on glossy plates. It would weigh a ton and cost a fortune but man, it would have been worth it! As it stands the black and white is what we get and admittedly a lot of these print ads were black and white to begin with. That’s not to say it doesn’t look good. The ads are clear, high-quality reproductions, the printing is crisp and the pictures are large enough to see the detail, ya don’t have to squint.
Naturally, THE DEEP PURPLE ROYAL FAMILY pair of books are the perfect companion to the definitive Deep Purple biographies that Martin wrote back in 2008. These books look good, are a fun and easy read, well laid out in a simple readable design, loaded with trivia and key points about the band and all the various mutations and permutations. I’m surprised how much I liked them considering my limited knowledge of the band. If these are your first books on Deep Purple ya can’t go wrong the condensed, highly visual format is a treat so you don’t get bogged down in pages of dry, historical text. If you are a die-hard fan you will want both of these titles as well, so you too can compare your own beloved dog-eared, Deep Purple scrapbook to Popoff’s. My money is on Martin’s.