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Bob Ezrin, Deep Purple: Legendary Producer Had to Be Convinced to Work With Rockers on New Album

Jim Ross, Getty Images

Bob Ezrin, the man behind the board for such classics as Pink Floyd‘s The Wall, KISSDestroyer, and Alice Cooper‘s Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare, needed some convincing to produce the new album by 40-plus-year institution Deep Purple.

The outspoken producer, who has as much a way with words as he does a studio, admits, “I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea because I didn’t want to be pegged as ‘the guy who does old people,’ so I said, ‘No.’” Ezrin has recently worked with Taylor Swift, K’naan, Lang Lang, Fefe Dobson, Canadian Tenors, 2Cellos and other relatively young – and not hard rock – artists.

So how did he come to produce Now What?! (out April 30) the English band’s first album since 2005?

Telling the story at a recent keynote interview in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week, he says, “I got convinced to go see them here at Massey Hall here in Toronto and 15 minutes into the show, they went into this big long fully prog jam.

“Steve Morse stood up and played Rock God and played the most amazing guitar I’ve ever heard and then Don Airey filled it with these huge keyboards and then the drums and the bass and everything came in and the whole audience went nuts and then I realized we never see that anymore.

“That used to be a staple at every concert you went to when I was a kid. The only people doing that are like Dave Matthews and jam bands but that’s all like hey-yo (toke sound) but this is all like YEAHHH, this was rock power.”

Watch ‘All the Time in the World’ Lyric Video

Ezrin says he met with the band after and didn’t mince words: “I said, ‘If you want to be a contemporary rock band and be relevant give up, forget it, it ain’t gonna happen and I’m not the right guy to produce it. No one will pay this record on radio; no one will care about it in the contemporary business, but I you want to make THAT record – if you want to make that unashamed musically brilliant record, I’m in,’ and they did.

“It was Roger Glover one of the great bass players of all time, he said, ‘We want to put the ‘deep’ back into Deep Purple.’ And I said, ‘You’re on. Let’s go.’”

Deep Purple’s Now What?! will hit stores in North America on April 30.

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