Questions - you got 'em; answers - we got 'em

15 - Just about everything, QPR, future fireworks, Top 5, Pubs of yore, Dreamcatcher

From: Jeff Summers - Hounslow

Dear Ian
What a fantastic idea your Q & A's feature is!! It gives all us lifelong fans of the remarkable Gillan voice an otherwise improbable opportunity to pose often pondered questions and have them factually answered directly by the man himself!!.

I have just revisited "Who do we think we are" (thanks to the 25th anniversary re-issue) a record that despite the well documented inherent problems - I have always admired, and considered to be some of yours and Purples finest work - certainly from a song writing perspective.

It occurred to me recently, just how different from each other the four classic Mk II Purple albums are, each record can definitely be classed as Classic Hard Rock, which is a limiting factor musically, but the general song writing and style improves and progresses with each release, there are no two songs that are alike from "In Rock" to "WDWTWA" and compared to your contemporaries of the time (Led Zep, Black Sabbath, Free etc.) I think you were unique in this. Add the Concerto to this equation and you are looking at a musical anthology within the Genre that is second to none.

Ian my question is twofold, I know that (to coin a just made up phrase!!) musical beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, but do you think "Purpendicular" and in particular "Abandon" can boast the same pedigree? I think not, although musically they are perhaps shall we say more "challenging" to those involved in the performance, but to the listener I believe the overall impact and "timeless" quality of the songs to be less dramatic... What do you think? Also would you and the boys consider performing a song or two that was written by somebody else, albeit written with the Classic Purple/Gillan style in mind?...

In the meantime thank you for the many hours of joy your remarkable voice has given to many.

All the best
Jeff Summers - a fellow Hounslow dweller.

Dear Jeff,
Thanks for your observations and excellent question. You have set a challenge by putting your well considered opinion on the platform ahead of the response.

I remember very well how badly 'Fireball' was received at the time of it's release. Because it was different from 'In Rock'. The reaction was negative right across the board and yet, at the time and still today, I thought it was the most significant album of that era.

It made possible the transition from 'In Rock' to 'Machine Head'. It stretched us out and then, to a certain extent because of the criticism, it drew us back. The evolution of a band is not a singular thing. It is complex and full of uncertainties. There is not only the 'internal relationships' on a personal and musical level to be dealt with, which sets the tone for everything else, but the performing,song writing and recording complexities wrapped in a souffle of artistic temperament and hard-nosed business. Then of course you have the time itself, or more accurately the era.

You mention Zeppelin, Sabbath, Free etc. It was an explosive period, a potent mix of youth and culture and politics which changed the world. We've seen nothing like it since. So , before I get on to the question, I'd like to point out that it is very difficult for anyone from that era to make a judgement about this one, purely from a sense of perspective. I'm not suggesting you are from that age, but history is hard to change and don't we know it; the industry itself has been unsuccessfully attempting to consign us there for a quite a while. There has been a long hard road between then and now and we have survived the 'Dinosaur' and 'Wrinkly Rocker' insults and we (and others) have proved to ourselves that there is something still alive inside us which was the original driving force behind our early efforts. That driving force was never remotely concerned with commercial success or the concept of celebrity, those ideas have been raining down on us since it all started and the fact that we produce songs like 'Any Fule..' now (Abandon) and 'No-one Came' then (Fireball) gives me a certain confidence when I say that the overall impact and timelessness is equal. Considering the circumstances are different and no bugger will play the records any more on radio or TV, I think the comparisons are even more favourable for today given the 'underground' nature of the band these days (as it was in the beginning) and the monumental support of the DP aficionados. If I didn't believe this with every fibre of my existence then I would have to quit today.

The next question sort of naturally follows on. A guarded yes, is the answer. Bearing in mind that I know things that you don't about the next record. Put it this way we are not actively looking for outside material but if something perfect popped into the frame then who knows. Give my love to Hounslow. I have so many good memories from there. I had a letter from Melv Higgins and Mick Weathers a couple of years ago but it got lost as I was moving house. You don't know them do you? If so, tell them it's my round and get in touch through Caramba.
Cheers,. ig

From: Someone....

Are you a QPR fan? I would like to know as you mentioned the team on your website, if you are then I hang my head in shame as I am a Gunners Girl, my only redeeming feature is a son and husband who support QPR`s. I first saw you in December 1981 at Hammersmith and met you when you played football for a charity function around the time you started courting your lovely wife, would I have ever stood a chance? LOL P.S. it was me who nicked your towel...LOL

I am indeed a QPR fan. I've supported them man and boy as they say. Fate is fickle but I'm sure you ended up with a great family, as did I. I wondered where that towel went.

Cheers, ig


3rd movement of Concerto would be completely brilliant accompanied by large scale professional type fireworks display - how about commisioning it?!

Ian, Chesham, Bucks

Hi Ian,
Thanks for the suggestion. If we ever do the concerto again after Japan, I'll put the idea forward to the guys.
Cheers, ig

From: 'Dr John'

Dear Mr Gillan,
I have just had the privilege of seeing Paul perform in Folkestone, the last time I saw him was in 1975 in the "Valley" (Charlton's football ground) when he was in Bad Company. He looks very well and his voice is as good, if not better than ever. He and you have been my rock idols since recorded history began. I just wondered who, apart from yourself, you rated as a rock singer and I don't mean who sang brilliant songs ie someone else doing the hard work, I mean the VOICE. I'd like to know your top five, both men and women. I'd also like to know your top five instrumentalists.

Dr John

Dear Dr. John
I'll have a shot, with the usual disclaimer. I don't see music and performers in this way. I've never subscribed to the Rock Olympics, but just for the crack I'll give you the first five greats that come to mind in each of your categories. Paul would have to be in there, he has a unique and very pleasing voice. Obviously Robert Plant and certainly Cliff Bennett, Little Richard and John Lennon, that's five already, oh dear, see the problem? Dusty Springfield was probably the greatest rock singer I ever heard. If anyone should raise an eyebrow at that, I'd like to say that I toured with Dusty in '65 and believe me.......she rocked! Suzi Quatro of course, Chrissie Hinde, Brenda Lee and Janice Joplin...Then the players, I'm leaving out Steve, Jon, Rog, Paicey, Ritchie etc. etc. (oh there's another five) so....Jimi Hendrix, your namesake Dr. John (or Mac Rebanack as he likes to be known), Keith Moon, Angus Young, Ian Anderson.
Cheers, ig

From: Peter and Peter (Karlsruhe & Stuttgart, GER).

But we don't know where the famous 'IAN's / GILLAN's PUB / Club (?)' is located and when it's opened.

PS. When is the landlord 'on board' and can participate our heavy hour?


Have you guys been drinking? I have a pub sign which was given to me by my manager Phil Banfield a long time ago. It reads 'Gillan's Inn' and it hangs over the piano in my pool room back home. Maybe I'll get a pub to go with it on one day. Heavy Hour Eh? Sounds painful to me.
Cheers, ig

Hi Ian
Will you record a follow-up to Dreamcatcher? It's one of my favorite albums, also, will the best band of all time ever play "Loosen My Strings" from Purpendicular live? It is one of Purple's best tracks ever. Thanks Much!

Hi Les,
Thanks for the kind remarks. Yes there will be a follow up to Dreamcatcher. I have quite a few songs in the pipeline, but I'm not sure when I'll get into the studio as the Purple stuff takes priority. 'Loosen my Strings' I love it. We did rehearse it once, not sure why it didn't make it. I'll bring it up again with the guys. You know sometimes a song just doesn't fit the show because there's another one or two which are very similar, it's difficult to get everything in and keep a balance. We'll see.
Cheers, ig

Return to:
Back to the Q&a index