I was just nine or 10 years old when my elder brother brought home Made In Japan. I’d already heard Deep Purple’s In Rock and Fireball, both of which had affected me in Biblical proportions. For some unbelievable reason I wasn’t familiar with Machine Head, the studio album that so much of Made In Japan is based on.
I went out and got Machine Head because I had loved Made In Japan so much, but as a naïve little kid from Sweden I couldn’t understand why Lazy and Space Truckin’ had suddenly become so short.
No other live album had such a huge impact on me. Made In Japan had so much crazy energy, man. Back then, without the internet, MP3 players and thousands of radio stations to choose from, hearing a new record for the first time was such a religious experience. I actually wore out three or four copies of the vinyl edition.
This is how much it absorbed me. The album is mixed with the guitar panned hard left and the Hammond organ on the right. I often listened to the album with Ritchie Blackmore’s solos turned down, replacing them with my own and recording them onto this cassette player of my uncle’s.
I took the tapes into school saying: ‘Listen to this.’ My friends would go: ‘Yeah, Made In Japan. So what?’ But it was me playing the guitar! I had everything down so faithfully; I even knew when Blackmore touched his pick-up switch, so I did the same thing… I could’ve fooled anybody.
I love the actual sound of Made In Japan. It was produced by the whole band but mixed by Roger Glover and Ian Paice. Those two did such a great job. You’d never believe it was almost 35 years old. In fact the only criticism I could make is the sleeve artwork – I’d have died for more of those photographs.
Later on I acquired recordings of all three gigs that were recorded [August 15-17, 1972, in Osaka and Tokyo], and it made me realise they’d really picked the right takes. Some of the others were out of tune or a little iffy. In a way it slightly detracted from the magic.
Sadly I never saw the Mk II line-up of Deep Purple until they regrouped for the Perfect Strangers album. But my very first concert was Rainbow on their Rising tour, at the age of 12. And I’ve since hung out with Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice and Roger Glover. I also got up on stage with Ian Gillan in Stockholm in 1990 – the footage is on YouTube.
But even now, when I put on Made In Japan in my car I still go: ‘Fuck! This is an incredible album.’ It really is amazing.
Interview by Dave Ling.