Famed British hard rock band Deep Purple is set to drop its new album next month. The album, titled Now What?! will be released in the United State Tuesday, April 30th. While fans wait for the release of this highly anticipated album, they have another recent release to tide them over in the form of the tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head. It may be a tribute album, but it is still a great album for both new and long-time fans of Deep Purple.
The new honorary compilation hit stores in late 2012 as part of the 40th anniversary of the landmark album’s original release. It features all seven tracks from Deep Purple’s original iconic album plus a pair of bonuses. One of those bonuses comes in the form of Metallica’s cover of ‘When A Blind Man Cries.’ As Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich notes in the compilation’s liner notes, “I have a list of songs in my head that Metallica should play before we either break up or die, and Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind man Cries’ is one of those songs.” The song in question is a bonus in that it actually never made the record. Again, the liner notes shed light on this. The notes, written by Classic Rock Magazine’s Mark Blake note that the song in question was originally a B-side to the song, ‘Never Before’ but has become a fan favorite throughout the years. So it only made sense to have it included on this tribute record. And it’s just one of the pieces that make this album a must not just for any Deep Purple fan but for any hard rocker, period.
‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is just one part of what makes Re-Machined such an impressive album of covers. Going back to Ulrich, he and Metallica constitute just one of the acts brought together to record this album who openly tout Deep Purple as an influence in their own career as musicians. Blake writes of Iron Maiden’s front man Bruce Dickinson (whose band also covers a track on the disc) that he [Dickinson] was also a “serious Purple aficionado.” He quotes Dickinson as saying, “I cut my teeth as a kid on Deep Purple. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what got me out of bed in the mornings.” Now if that isn’t a tribute in itself to the importance of Deep Purple in the music world, it’s anyone’s guess what is. Dickinson and company ended up recording ‘Space Truckin’’ for the record, which is an absolutely outstanding piece both originally and as a cover here. The way that it drives (no pun intended), it will have fans pumping their fists and singing along loud and proud.
If Iron Maiden’s ‘Space Truckin’’ isn’t enough to convince fans of this compilation’s importance, then maybe the album’s opener will. Carlos Santana (yes, that Carlos Santana) joins Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix for a cover of what is arguably the band’s most famous song of all time, ‘Smoke on the Water.’ What’s really interesting about this cover is that while it is a cover, it doesn’t feel or sound like one. Far too often, bands and artists try to take classic songs and update them. That’s not the case here. Shaddix and Santana have taken the classic and made it their own while still paying homage to the original. It makes perfect sense as to why the album would open with this cover in hearing Santana’s guitar chops and the solid vocals of Shaddix. It also serves one more purpose that at a passing glance is missed. But in really thinking about the generational mix presented here, one sees the purer purpose of using it as the compilation’s opener.
On the surface, having a bunch of bands and artists resurrect one of rock’s most important and iconic albums is a great thing. Having the album resurrected by a collection of rock’s greatest names past and present is even greater. What this does is it makes it more than just a tribute album. It makes the album a music history lesson in and of itself. As evidenced in the opening number, young audiences will be pulled in by the inclusion of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix. Older audiences will be pulled in from both the fact that it’s Deep Purple and that fellow veteran musician Carlos Santana is on the track. Also because of the inclusion of Santana, those same younger audiences will potentially be introduced to the music of not just one great classic act, but two in both Deep Purple and Carlos Santana, thus preserving both acts’ legacies for a whole new generation. The same could be said of the inclusion of Chickenfoot’s live cover of ‘Highway Star’ and Black Label Society’s cover of ‘Pictures of Home.’
It should be clear by everything noted here that Re-Machined is more than just a tribute to a band. It’s a tribute, yes. But it’s also a tribute to everything that was and still is right with rock and roll. It’s a musical love letter to real rock and an excellent way to get a whole new generation of hard rockers and metal heads into what is without a doubt, one of mainstream rock’s greatest bands. The album is available now in stores and online. Audiences can get more information on this album, the band’s upcoming new full length studio release and its tour dates online at http://www.deeppurple2013 and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple.
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