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

42 - *******balls, from Russia with love, post Jon, patience rewarded, Machine Head dreaming

From: Anon

Dearest Ian,
I am a huge fan (not quite as long in the tooth as most) of your music from Episopde Six to "In Rock" through "Battle Rages 0n" etc.. However I am consistently disgusted by your left wing, anti-American drivel that you post on "Caramba". Ian ..... **** off and stay home in Europe ..... we Americans don't need your ***** Eurpoean opinions. We're quite well off without input from the continent that has no balls, thank you.

much love

First of all you will notice I have edited out the profanities, but the rest of your letter remains unaltered.

You take offence where none was intended.

My late father was a union man, worked in a factory, a shop steward from Glasgow, labour party through and through.

My mother is a retired school teacher and her political heritage is from the other end of the spectrum, being from a long line of Victorian conservatives.

I love them both dearly, yet became aware at a very early age of the bigotry associated with ideologies of the so called left and right.

My country has been torn to pieces by successive governments spending their entire tenure ripping apart the work of the previous incumbents.

My choice for the worst UK leaders of the last half century are Heath and Blair, right and left.

I do not subscribe to left or right.

I have relatives and friends living in America. I come here for pleasure as well as work.

I am not anti-American. Nor am I anti-Russian or anti-Japanese or anti-any-country, vis-a-vis the people.

I have travelled in every continent and been to some pretty out of the way places.

Generally speaking the local people think their behaviour patterns/accents/food etc. is the norm and the outsiders are somehow weird.

With the greatest respect in the world I think you are wrong about not needing ****** European opinions, not just European opinions but multi cultural/national information. We all need input from different perspectives, that's what breeds respect and understanding; it's called education and with a bit of luck it leads to tolerance. If you live in isolation you will always think you are right and everyone else is wrong, and if you pursue that line for too long you'll run into trouble.

I was disturbed to get your letter; if you read the last line of the DF you'll see that I describe America as a spectacular country, albeit in terms of double negatives, but that's just my fun with words.

In the past I have satirised German, French, English, Brasilian, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Swiss, Japanese and Belgian idiosyncracies, to name just a few.

What makes you so special that no-one can have a pop at you. You're just as daft as we are.

And, as for 'a continent with no balls', well that really makes me mad....have you never heard of Wimbledon or Wembley or Wentworth?

Actually, upon reflection, you might have a point there.

Speedos forever,
Cheers, ig


Dear Ian,
I am russian and I've been your big fan for the last 20 years, since I've heard your FANTASTIC voice on one of the tapes that somebody had brought from England. At that time in the Soviet Union not only Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin were forbidden, but even the word "rock'n'roll" - (hard to believe, but there was such period of time) and a friend of mine was suspended from school for a "terrible crime" - on October 9, 1982 he made a party (at home) to celebrate John Lennon's birthday... Of course we were sure that there is no way we could see you live, could see your show. Unfortunately even at that age (I was 11)I knew exactly what the word "never" meant. In such darkness and hopeless you were a light and a hope to us. Now my family and I live in the US (and I love your comments about US - they are so true - for example the story how they made you dress your 1 year old daughter up is exactly what happened to my youngest one (she was 3 at that time) and they made my husband put a bra on her in the pool - topless bikini is not allowed even if you are 3 and there is nothing to cover!). We were at your show in Columbia, MD. All the time I had a feeling that something is happening that could not ever happen to me. It was magic! We saw our light, we saw our hope - the man who helped us survive when we were scared and confused kids (kids who's grandparents disappeared in Stalin's concentration camps and who's parents preferred to keep their mouths shut, because they knew too well how much one word could cost), one and only - Ian Gillan!

Thank you for everything, Ian. You are fantastic. We wish you a very happy birthday, that's coming soon and here is my question: We want to send you a birthday present, but we don't know where to send it (Ian Gillan, Sussex County, UK doesn't look enough). Of course I am not asking about your home address, but may be some P.O.Box or whatever place where you could pick it up. Thanks again, Happy Birthday and Don't worry, be Happy. Always yours
Val Smirnov

Dear Val,
Thank you for your letter and kind and informative words. Is it not truly a wonderful thing to live in a society where you can speak freely. The cornerstones of speech and the grace to abide by the will of the majority.

Of course things are different and much better in Russia and the old Soviet Republics these days. Each is finding it's way progressively along the turbulent path to democracy, some more comfortably than others. The Warsaw Pact countries perhaps have it a little easier because there will be some still alive who can recall how it was to live in a market economy, whereas the Republics were absorbed in the aftermath of the revolution; and so there is no living memory of such an ethos. Different models and forces are at play here.

All great democracies were bloody hard won, and they are hard to maintain. If we lose the right to free speech and the tolerance which that engenders, then, in my humble opinion, we can't really expect other nations and cultures to listen to or respect what we have to say. It's back to 'might is right' and that never solved anything in the long term, because it's against human nature to back down in the face of physical threats.

My address in London is:

Ian Gillan
1, Water Lane,
Camden Town,
London NW1 8NZ

Cheers, ig

From: David Bussey

Dear Ian,
I don't know how much I have to subscribe to this (sent to - are you suggesting we charge??? hmmm ..... Steve) but having been a fan of purple since 68 and of your own personal career I am curious as to what the future now holds to both you & the rest of the band now that Jon has retired because for me it was really sad when I read about it on purples website as he is still a very talented musician both within the rock & classical fields of the music business I know it was stated that a new studio CD was in the offering sometime in the future but will their be a farewell CD for Jon also because we cant just let him go after he has given so much time into developing the musical trademark of the band which made it & still is the best rock band in the world.
Keep on rockin Mr Universe!!
All the best,
David Bussey

Dear David,
Thanks for your letter of concern. We all miss Jon and will have forever memories of the amazing work he has done since he was a founder member of this band in 1968. He is of course very much alive and happy with all the time in the world now to devote to his own projects. He will be making a special guest appearance on all the UK dates, as that tour ended halfway through due to my illness, and there's a sense of unfinished business.

I think it's fair to say that Jon can get up and jam/play/guest with us whenever and wherever he wants; as the musical threads will not have been broken; due to the way in which he has handled himself, as always, with dignity and panache.

We start work on the new album in October, a year later than originally planned, but all the signs are good now. I hope that Jon will feature on the album and symbolically hand over the keys to Don, who is doing a magnificent job as our new ivory tinkler.

Jon's contribution can never be overstated and I consider myself lucky to know him and call him a friend. I'm looking forward to dining with him on 5th September.
Cheers, ig


Dear Gillan,
I just can't count how many times I wrote you and as the email title says I will not give it up ! So it is a great pleasure to share a direct line to you, thanks a lot for your great job in the last 30 years with episode six, ian Gillan band ,Deep Purple, etc.... Well my question is very simple : when the Brazilian fans can expect a Deep Purple tour in Brazil ???

Ps.: My eight year kid Joao Pedro is a great fan and says hello to you !!!!

Amauri Porto de Araujo

Dear Amauri, and Joao Pedro,
Thank you for perservering.

I have just heard that there is a likelihood of a tour in November of this year. As soon as we get confirmation and dates we will print them on the tour section of this website.
Cheers, ig


Hi there,
this is one of those slow summer sundays with the usual lousy weather and not much else to do, so I decided to refer to a Q&A published some time ago (No. 32 I think). Back then, a guy inquired about what the "Machine Head" title was referring to, suggesting that there might be a sexual allusion. Reading your answer, I was of course awash with shame, having shared that self-same idea about the album's title for such a long time... so I dug deep into my subconscious, in order to find the reason behind so strange an idea - I mean, how could I possibly have conceived the idea of a sexual allusion in a Deep Purple song, I really don't know what must have possessed me ... Fortunately, I did not have to dig too far to come up with an explanation, although I'm not quite sure if it's the same that James would have used, as mine is deeply ensconced within my German mother language ... anyway, you asked for it, you got it.

In fact, the German technical term for a train's locomotive is "Triebkopf", which would literally translate as "drive head" or "machine head". Now thinking of those sleek German High speed trains "ICE", thrusting the landscape at a couple of hundred miles an hour ... I meant to include a picture of them, stolen from Deutsche Bahn's homepage, but it doesn't seem to work; in case you're interested, try for a swift glance. In everyday practice, those beautiful trains have developed a weird tendency of showing up late, or not at all, hardly ever on time, and every now and again, they crash into a bridge in quite a spectacular way, but I'm sure it's possible to push an analogy too far.

I must say this much about ICE's, though:

They never, ever come early.

I've been asked before to do something about my dirty imagination but I think I quite prefer it to remain this way.

Eagerly looking forward to DP's concert in Cologne's Tanzbrunnen in August (your music still is such an effective means to have my blood sizzle ...)

- kind regards,

Well Hello There Ursula,
This is one of the more cerebral forms of auto eroticism that I have come across, you sound like a Ballard part.

Have you ever owned a model railway?

The reason I ask is because I'm into comedy sex, and a hilarious picture springs to mind, which suggests that we may just have something in common.

Did you know that the German company Siemens will be supplying trains to a South East English railway company. Siemens sells trains to twenty two different countries and customises its product, with the usual German efficiency, to match the local conditions.

When the company discovered the dire state of the system in England it had to downgrade, for the first time, it's seven mile test track at home, to cater for the mismatched rails, the gaps in the points, the intermittent electricity supply and all the other disgraceful and fatal flaws in a system that was once a credit to the country where the railway was invented (well that was Scotland actually, if we're being picky).

Which is why, in England, the phrase 'level crossing' is one of the finer examples of that contradiction in terms, the oxymoron.
Cheers, ig

Q: Why are Brazilians well endowed?
A: So they can lob Seaman from a great distance.

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