The name of Nick Simper is a very well known name by all DEEP PURPLE ‘s die-hard fans as he was one of the band ‘s founders in the 1960’s. But DEEP PURPLE is only a small part of his talent which he has demonstrated in so many ways, for example being a part of the band PIRATES or working with Johnny Kidd. I had a chance to have an interview with Nick and I found him a very cool man, down to earth and genius.
Hello Nick, How are you doing today?
Hi dear Mohsen, thanks
You’ve worked with so many musicians throughout your long and varied career, do you have a favourite time? And why was that time special to you?
Working with Johnny Kidd and the Pirates still remains my favourite memory, probably because he had always been my musical idol, and to join one of England most highly rated bands turned a dream into reality!
You played with Screaming Lord Sutch in the early 1970’s, how was that experience for you, as he was such a flamboyant character, do you have any particular memories? How do you feel the music business has changed over the years?
Working with Sutch was also a dream come true, because his band “The Savages” were for years one of the best. It gave me a chance to play with great musicians such as Freddy Fingers Lee and Carlo Little. David Sutch became a great friend who was always fun to work with, which I did at various times right up until his untimely death. My favourite memory is of seeing him perform for the very first time and marvelling at the power of his band, and the amazing showmanship, which drew capacity crowds for many years. I miss him a lot and he deserves his place in rock history as a pioneering legend who inspired dozens of musicians who went on to greater things!
The changes to the music business since those great days are huge! Today there are only a fraction of the amount of venues left, where bands could play and learn their craft. “The road” as we called it has almost disappeared, resulting in bands appearing either in pubs or stadiums, with nothing inbetween. Some aspects have changed for the better with bands keeping bigger percentages of their income than in the sixties, but in England it is difficult to attract audiences without a proven track record. The majority of bands prefer to work abroad, particularly in Europe where audiences are more enthusiastic for live music.
Even thought it was now so long ago, you incorporate Deep Purple tracks in your sets, do the songs hold a special place in your heart?
The main reason for playing the purple tracks was to present these tunes to new audiences. The majority of the MK1 songs had never been played live since 1969, and of course some of them, particularly the ones that I had a hand in composing, were special to me. It is amazing to see the reaction to these tunes by young and old who come to our shows. The fact that the mk1 albums still sell well proves that they have stood the test of time!
As one of Deep Purple’s founders, how do you feel about the fact that there is only one of the original members left in Deep Purple now? And who do you think was/were the most influential musicians in the whole of the Deep Purple History?
I do feel that the constant changes in the band have diluted not only the music, but the whole ethos of a band that held such promise, but all the musicians are good and still draw the crowds, which is what counts. I am sure that most Deep Purple members have inspired others, but Blackmore will always stand out as a unique talent who pushed guitar playing to greater heights.
Nick Simper, DEEP PURPLE, Santa Monica Beach, November ’68
(photo by Don Lewis Photography)
It is now a long time since the day that you formed Deep Purple, perhaps there are a lot of young rockers who don’t know about the Deep Purple beginning-era. What kind of feed back do you get from them after your shows?
It is very humbling to see so many young rock fans at our shows who probably do not know too much about my history, but seem to identify with the Nasty Habits who are much younger than I am. These fans have great enthusiasm for heavy rock music and show a lot of interest in its roots.
May 17th is Ronnie James Dio’s anniversary, have you met him? And I’d like to know your opinion about him.
I never met Dio, but he certainly was one of the best voices in rock. He had a reputation as a very genuine person who always had time for his fans, so I am sure that I would have liked him.
Let’s talk about the “Live at Szene, VIENNA” album which was released on April 14th, how is it going so far?
The reaction to our DVD has been very positive so far, and I am hoping that it will spread the reputation of Nasty Habits outside Austria into wider territories. Of course these are early days, but we have had some favourable reviews to date.
Nick Simper with Nasty Habits
St. Veit, Austria, September 10th 2011
How do you choose the songs, especially Deep Purple MK1 songs?
I initially picked the songs from the first three albums and included the single release Emmaretta. One or two songs which did not work so well have been rejected. We added “Roadhouse Blues” because I have always wanted to play it, and it has proved to be a real favourite with audiences everywhere.
How was the experience working with NASTY HABITS?
Working with Nasty Habits has been an absolute joy!! They supported my band “The good old boys” several times and we were all very impressed with them. it was drummer Peter Brkusic who first had the idea to put on a show with me, featuring some of my Deep Purple back catalogue. Singer Christian Schmid is also their bassist, so no-one was made redundant to make way for me. They are all extremely good musicians who interpret the songs in their own way, but play in a style which keeps the Purple fans happy. We have had a lot of fun over the last couple of years, they are great people and I am very proud to work with them!
I personally and our audience would like to know what are your next plans?
We will continue to do more gigs, hopefully breaking into new territories. We have slowly begun to introduce our own songs into the show using material already written. We are about to start recording the next album which will be all new songs.
As your final word please feel free to send a message to your fans and our audience.
I would like to send greetings to all the rock fans in Finland and beyond and say Thank you to all the Purple fans who have supported Nasty Habits and myself. The continued interest in MK1 music after so many years is very humbling!
Thank you all and best wishes.
For more info. on Nick Simper and his talent:
Interview by Mohsen Fayyazi