Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord Dies; created one of rock’s signature sounds

Who was Jon Lord?

The name might ring familiar to early 70’s stoners and bluesy brit prog-rocker fans.  Lord was the keyboardist who enveloped Deep Purple (and later Whitesnake) with a deep, muscular over-driven organ sound.

He died Monday. He was 71. A statement on Lord’s official website says he died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Here’s what I know of Lord, and why he mattered in rock: Lord co-wrote “Smoke on the Water.”

Isn’t that enough?

Deep Purple was Lord, singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover. And it was Lord who wielded a Hammond organ that drove “Smoke on the Water” “Hush,”and “Lazy” and ”Highway Star.”

A signature sound. Wrote one of the iconic rock songs of the past 50 years.

RIP Mr. Lord.

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Plug pulled on Springsteen in London

On a night that began with Bruce Springsteen jumping in during John Fogerty’s set to sing “Rockin’ All Over the World”, and ended with Paul McCartney on stage doing Beatles rave-ups, the show was killed a bit early for Springsteen, as someone with access to the on/off switch shut down his show at Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park in London.

Bruce had pushed well past the three-hour mark during his show with the E Street Band, headlining the Saturday night schedule in front of about 80,000.  Curfew was 10:30pm and he was more than 10 minutes past the cutoff.

Up to that point, reports on the web say Fogerty had returned to duet on “Promised Land” and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello had joined for a trio of songs, supplying incendiary guitar solos.  But the big surprise was when McCartney ran on to do “I Saw Her Standing There’ and a raucous “Twist and Shout”.

And here’s where it gets ugly.

After “Twist and Shout,”, as McCartney was leaving the stage, Bruce motioned the band back to their positions after a bow.  They wanted to play one of the signature songs of the tour, the Clarence-remembrance  “10th Avenue Freeze Out”.  According to witnesses, Bruce tried to count off the song, but the PA had been shut down. Backstreets.com reported that “Bruce’s monitor engineer had to come on stage to advise that the PA had been cut off, though the stage monitors were on. Unwilling to just walk off without doing something else, Bruce sang a few lines of the folk standard ‘Goodnight Irene,’ audible only to those near the stage, before leaving.”

From the Archives: Untold Stories Series – BoDeans return to Indy, minus a founding member

NOTE: For whatever reason, there are columns/stories I write that never get published on the Rockforward blog.  Why is that?  I have no good explanation.  I mean, it’s my blog.  All I have to do is write it, spell-check it and hit publish.  Weird, don’t you think?  In the face of such insanity, I have created a series called Stories Untold: The Mysteriously Unused Works of Rob Nichols  (I am nothing if not a little bombastic when it comes to series titles).  So enjoy the first in the series.  It’s one written last fall, preceding the first Indy appearance by the BoDeans since Sammy Llanas had abruptly left the band.  We came to find out it was a long-simmering breakdown between Kurt Neumann and Sammy. (Read Kurt’s terrific Q&A with the Pollstar website or Chicago Tribune’s interview for  Sammy’s version)  The band soldiers on, embracing the name and the history, and released an album (American Made) this year – the first minus one of the two distinct voices of the band’s 25 years together. Take a listen here.

And if the story below feels a little dated,  it is. But it’s now part of a series, man.

(originally written October, 2012)
When the BoDeans make an appearance at the Vogue on October 6, it will be the first time that the band will play an Indianapolis show without founding member Sam Llanas. The singer – one of band’s two singers, along with Kurt Neumann – is no longer part of the group.

Llanas, a high school friend of Neumann’s, didn’t show up for a BoDeans show in Winter Park, CO, and officially left the group five days later.

According to their Wikipedia entry, the split was due to “differences of opinion” that had been “going on for years”, said Neumann.

Nuemann will continue under the BoDeans moniker, and has added Jake Owen to take the spot of Llanas. Their website (bodeans.com) has new pictures of the band – minus Llanas – and have five shows scheduled through November 4.

According to the web, the group is working on a new studio album for 2012. Llanas has a new solo album titled 4 A.M., which came shortly after the latest BoDeans album, Indigo Dreams, was released this summer.

So what do we make of the split? As I wrote in Nuvo in July, 2010, “I can’t remember walking away (from a show) thinking that the band hadn’t worked hard at making a connection. The sound they make is unique.”

At the time, I wrote that the new album, Mr. Sad Clown, was thoroughly BoDeans, and the unique blending of two voices the reason they survive.

REVIEW – Mr. Sad Clown – Rob Nichols – July, 2010

Without the Everly’s like harmonies, it is difficult to imagine the band not changing it’s sound; the BoDeans morph into the Kurt Neumann Band. And I am good with that.

But the BoDeans in my head is Sammy and Kurt, teaming up to harmonize through “(She’s a) Runaway” and “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Good Things”.

That will be gone.

We will get a chance to see an early version of the new lineup, with the Indy show the first of the aforementioned five shows. The band has used Indianapolis as one of their regular stops over the past 20 years and the local fan base seems loyal and always appears by showtime to fill up the Vogue.

It is BoDeans name on the marquee.  In Indy, there is value in that brand.  It will be up to the remaining membesr, especially the remaining, likeable frontman Neumann, to make the new lineup work.

The show will surely contain the rock and rolling deep catalog of familiar, midwest-flavored BoDeans songs, and it will probably be a little bittersweet for fans

But carry on, my man.  Carry on Kurt.  Because we still need American rock and roll.  It will be different, and it will be the same.  Played with some heartland passion and with a band that is a little sweaty and confident, it will work.

Check back in a year.  My guess is you will still be on the road, and just maybe, happier than ever.

(editor’s note: The band has continued to tour, and came back around to Indy for a show in June, 2012  -still rocking and still singing BoDeans songs.  And that’s a good thing.)

VIDEO: Springsteen with The Roots at Roskilde Festival – July 7, 2012 – “E St. Shuffle”

Springsteen’s current tour continues to amaze the rock critic/fan in me.  The E St. Band’s combination of majesty, soulfulness and power seemingly grows with each tour – defying the laws of getting old.  Bruce’s performances this trek rivals the sustained energy of the Darkeness on the Edge of Town tours of 1978 and the sometimes overlooked fireworks during the subsequent tour from 1980-81, supporting The River album.

Factor in his age (62), the loss of his musical soulmate Clarence Clemons, and that he continues play six cuts off a new record, the consistant excellence of the shows (YouTube is awesome) and the palpable passion that Springsteen invests makes the Rolling Stones at the same age look a bit mellow (though Mick was/still seemingly taking his own age-defying, dance moves-inducing supplement.)

After a run of At a huge (85,000+) festival in Denmark, Bruce invited The Roots,  his friends from the Jimmy Fallon late night show, on stage to honor their incredible, best-ever-TV-studio performance of the same song from earlier in 2012.  In front of many thousands, with a band swelled to nearly 25 members for this song, they blow it out again.  Dig the Sly Stone refrain in the middle, and the crunchy rock and roll mixed with Santana-esque rhythms.  A joy to watch…
(More pics from the show from brucebase.wikispaces.com)