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Paice, Ashton & Lord: Lifespan (1977)

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Bernie Marsden ...
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Paice Ashton & Lord documentary
21 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

I only caught this once, many years ago-sometime in the early 80's where it played on the USA Network back in it's very early days. I'm fairly sure this has never been available on videotape, certainly not on DVD. I'm not sure that it's even a full-length feature-it may be only around an hour from what I remember. Anyway this is a documentary about a very short-lived group formed by the only 2 original founding members of Deep Purple to stay with the group from it's inception in 1968 until 2000 or so, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice. After Purple's break up in 1975, Lord and Paice formed a group with vocalist Tony Ashton as well as 2 other musicians on lead guitar and bass. The music was very unlike the heavy Deep Purple formula, and the very noncommercial sounding Tony Ashton made sure that this stuff probably wouldn't get much radio play. For fans of Purple it's very interesting to see how different Jon Lords musical interests really are. This music is closer to 70's style rhythm and blues with perhaps a bit of jazz and rock thrown in, all sung with the late Tony Ashton's boozy sounding cigarette soaked vocals. It seems the idea was to document the start of a band that would be around for awhile. But sadly this wasn't to be. The groups initial start is seen here, along with the auditions for the guitar and bass player and rehearsals of material from the groups first album. The documentary doesn't seem to go far beyond the start of the bands very first tour. Late in the film a voice over announces that the group did, sadly break up. But this fact is announced simply in a voice over that sounds like it had to be added simply because the band ceased to exist before the final film was released and the filming had actually stopped quite a bit before this actually occurred. In reality the band made one studio album, did one brief tour (which is pretty much where this film ends)and started work on a second album, which for some reason was never finished and the band broke up. I've never seen an explanation of why the group broke up after starting to record it's second (never finished) recording and have always wondered what actually happened during this time. However, it's never explained in this film. Not bad at all but it does raise more questions as to the specifics of the groups break up than it answers...


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