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

3 - Themes, CIT, Dio, Morris, Mary Long & wooden lions

From: (Bongani Mail)

Dear Ian
Shalom! Specifically with regards to writing lyrics, how would you describe your approach today as compared with the past and what themes do you favor in your search. (both with DP & your own music). Are you drawn to other musical influences?

Faithfully, Arlene

Dear Arlene,
I don't think much has changed over the years in terms of approach. Of course the topics have changed and so has the perspective. Nothing is sacrosanct. Whatever seems interesting or fits the mood of the music. Whatever turns me on or makes me weep. Sometimes I'm very flippant and sometimes I'm deadly serious. Sometimes I try to deal with very personal feelings or subjects which are generally considered taboo, then I move into the area of euphemisms and imagery. In other words it's just like life itself, which means there's never a shortage of material. Yes I am drawn to other influences. Not like when I was in my formative years when I copied all my heroes, but I am sensitive to life and the music of the world.
Cheers, ig

From: "InRock"

Dear Ian,
i saw DP 3 times in the last 3 years and your voice is every year better! You are the greatest! I have 2 questions: I'm young (19) and I' ve never heard Child in Time to a DP concert: will I listen it on next tours? -whit which singer would like to duet with?
Cheers Andrea

Dear Andrea,
Thank you. I think I answered an earlier question about screaming, but 'Child' is a very special case. I didn't realise, when I wrote the tune in '69, that I was making a rod for my own back. It was originally a 'comment' on the absurdity of the 'Cold War' and the 'crying' was a lament that turned to fury. I had no idea it was going to turn into an Olympic event and for the last ten years or more that 'A' above the 'C' above top C has been just a stripe or two beyond me. It is such an integral part of the song that I'm not sure of a way around it. Of course I'd love to sing 'Child' again but it would seem incomplete without the top bit. I'll give it some more thought. I enjoy working with other singers and the other day I was dreaming of doing 'You really got a hold on me' with Tina Turner. Not that there's much chance of that.
Cheers, ig

From: "Reinaldo"

Hi Steve,
Congratulations for the change. Excellent idea about the meaning of the songs. Suggestion: dancin'nylon shirt from Toolbox.

Now 2 questions to Mr. Gillan:

1) It was written in a brazilian mag that you were pissed of by the fact of sharing vocals with Dio for the tour. Any true on that ? I have a video from Montreaux 2000 and you really sing and look much better than the gig in September in Sao Paulo. You looked tired for many fans we have talked to after the show. Any problem in Brazil ??

2) Any new solo album planned with Morris ?

You, still the best ever. Thanks for all the good years and autographs at hotel in Sao Paulo after gig !!

Reinaldo B. Alves - Brazil

Dear Reinaldo,
I don't know where these magazines get their stuff from. So often they are badly misinformed and so often they just make it up. Sometimes they just lie in their teeth. How could I be pissed off with one of my best friends? Ronnie is great to work with, a true professional and I enjoyed every moment. The Montreux Jazz Festival, as you know, was an entirely different proposition to the orchestra tour, both with content and discipline. I think it took a while to get what was basically the show from the Royal Albert Hall on the road with different orchestras and different expectations. By the time we got to Europe it was a different story. Different programme, different result. It was a good challenge but it took a while to get it right. No problem in Brazil other than that. If I looked tired it may have been the pressure of the situation, but more likely I had been enjoying myself too much. I am seeing Steve Morris in a couple of weeks. We often get together to write songs and when we have enough I start thinking about another album. However there are no plans at the moment. Watch this space.
Cheers, ig


Dear Ian Gillan,
having wondered for over 20 years about the lyrics of one of my favourite songs, Id love to hear about the deeper meaning of "Mary Long". I detect in it some animosity,to say the least, and the traces of a real person. Im curious. I know youre not wild about "deeper meanings" in rock songs, but I seem to remember an explanation in your book -an explanation I didnt understand, as I am one of what the germans call "die Dumme Schweden". By the way, we have met. I once gave you a lion, carved in laburnum wood,and if you ever came out in a rash from wearing it, Im sorry. Laburnum wood holds toxic resins which can cause irritation, a fact that I was unaware of at the time, which was 06.04.92 in Gothenburg, Sweden. As a matter of fact, swedish carpenters arent even supposed to work with laburnum ,but then,Sweden is a very safe place. And laburnum is delicious to work in. Im a true fan, so I would never rash you on purpose.
With love, Lotte.

Dear Lotte,
I will put up 'Mary Long' next on the wordography and answer your question at the same time. Just to clarify the 'deeper meaning' aspect of lyrics. I have said that the primary function of a rock lyric is to sound good, but there is normally a deeper level for anyone who's interested. That's often the fun side of writing for Rog and myself; particularly when dealing with delicate issues, or subjects which become boring or uncool when handled literally. Thank you for the laburnum lion, I don't remember any resulting rash. I have a laburnum arch in my garden but I've never used laburnum in my workshop; I'll have to give it a go.
Cheers, ig

From: " " (blame my brower's language support - SC)

Hi, Ian!
What do you think of an acoustic live with D.P.?(on c.d.)

I'm not entirely sure what the purpose would be of attempting such a stylised approach. Maybe a song or two, but a whole album, when it's been done so much, doesn't appeal too much right now.
Cheers, ig

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