“Butterfly Ball”: A New Look At The Movie

Butterfly Ball - Live At The Albert HallSince its release in 1974, Roger Glover’s “The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast” has had a double life: one of a glorified rock opera, and the other of a slightly surrealistic film that interjected footage from a 1975 concert in Royal Albert Hall with strange scenes that saw actors play various animal characters from the Alan Aldridge book, the basis for the album. Most fans disliked those scenes and demanded to see live tapes in their entirety – rough as they were, with artists such as Tony Ashton and John Gustafson giving it all a perfect loose feel, and Ian Gillan in his first post-PURPLE stage appearance, John Lawton and Twiggy taking up the tracks of Ronnie James Dio who was unavailable. The DP quotient heightened even more thanks to Jon Lord joining David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, and musicianship at its peak in the presence of Mo Foster and Ray Fenwick, there’s a lot to enjoy, especially now that the footage which the movie director Tony Klinger, fresh from producing “The Kids Are Alright” doc, thought long lost has been uncovered.

To be released later in the year, fully officially for the first time, the “Director’s Cut” version that can be pre-ordered via PledgeMusic campaign will restore it all to Klinger’s original vision, and the fans have a chance to own the film as a strictly limited edition of a box set – signed and supplied with various goodies – or a double DVD, with a classic variant and a new one each given a disc. There will also be, for the first time ever, a double live CD released, and additional collectors items are being offered.

Tony Klinger and I touched upon the movie a few times over the years, and that’s what the the director has to say now:

“It’s just my creative input around the music from those artists and me as the film maker. [Gonzo Multimedia] did ask me creatively if they could follow my originally wished-for length and edit notes, and that meant a great deal to me because the finance from the original company was cut by about three quarters the day before I started the shoot. That meant all my dreams for quality and originality were compromised to pieces. I should have walked but I was in my early twenties and weak. Hope that helps explain my feelings about Pledge who with their repackaging have given new life to something I’d long since given up on. They’re supplying the original concert footage as an alternative if the viewer prefers it. I have no idea where the material was found because I was under the impression it had all been lost to posterity 40 years ago.”

It’s a great piece of history to own.

May 20, 2017

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