Canadian writer Martin Popoff is of the unconventional opinion that many of the supposed rock dinosaurs of the 70s are making music that is as good, or better, than the albums released in their commercial heyday. A Castle Full Of Rascals – an appropriate title for this ageing bunch of musicians, whose very English sense of humour infuses this volume, despite Purple’s current transatlantic line-up – does an excellent job of proving this point of view.
Largely structured as an oral history, with interview quotes gathered from Popoff’s own interviews and a few outside sources such as this magazine, the book begins with the Mk II line-up’s reformation in 1983 for the much-praised Perfect Strangers album. The band’s subsequent decline into a state of tension and incompatibility seems inevitable in retrospect but, with the process illustrated by candid first-hand quotes from the main antagonists Gillan and Blackmore, the resulting line-up shuffle comes to life like never before. There’s a happy ending, of course, with the author and subjects fully aware how much guitarist Steve Morse has revitalised the band over the last 17 years. Top-quality work on a largely unexplored subject.