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

56 - Wembley, song writing, frank concerns, the cunning linguist, that scream, quiet dog

From: (


We are looking forward to the Wembley Arena show in June, and were wondering what format it will take and what part Lynyrd Skynyrd will be playing. Will they be on before, after or at the same time as you?

Lee and Rachel, Colchester.

Hello Lee and Rachel,

I'm looking forward to it too. It has a good feeling about it. There will be an opening act, I don't know who yet, then Lynyrd Skynyd (who are our guests) will do their slot, and Deep Purple will close the show.

Cheers, ig

From: (Scott Bell)

Dear Ian,

First of all, Purpendicular is the finest recording ever produced. Simply superb. I am curious...would you please describe the writing process of the band.

Is it just a jam session where you in fact come up with lyrics to the jam? Or does a certain person come in with a set idea for a song...anyhoo...maybe you could enlighten me on how this process works.

Can't wait to hear the new record, love your book!

I thank you...
Scott "The Aviator" Bell

Hello Scott,

Thanks for your letter, the kind words and your question.

Generally speaking we work up ideas from a jam in the studio or rehearsal room. Quite often Steve and Roger will introduce a more developed idea, which we then Purpelize. Everyone puts in what they can and sometimes we jam all afternoon. I say we, but in truth I'm more of an observer, hoping to catch a clue to the sort of thing with which I can sing.

Roger is wonderfully contributive in this process as he makes a DAT recording of all sessions, and then spends his evenings analyzing the tapes and picking out licks that might otherwise have been forgotten. The rhythm section plays a vital role in the arrangements. Ideas that are brought in originally take on the overall personality of the band during these lively and sometimes fractious sessions.

The lyrics are done by Roger and myself, sometimes together and sometimes not, when, for example, he or I dream up something in the shower, and finish it off there and then.

Occasionally someone will bring a complete song along, in such a case the credit would go to that person.

Cheers, I thank you too, ig

From: (frank quiring) names Frank (it's always good to be frank - steve)

have just read the news about the new album... Great....!!!

now im curious.. and cant stand still in those fastliving times ,waiting five months...seems to be an eternity..even for an old person like me ( joking .. im 43).. the statement " you cant compare it with anything, weve done in the past "...makes me frightning.. some way..because im afraid to hear something like "hip hop " or "techno " :)) please...!!! dont do that to me...

No.... now seriously.. i am sure, that the new album will be a sensational,fantastic,surprising ,bestselled masterpiece in this every DP-album (included those from markIV..markV..) by the way..should i mention it, that i own every official released studio-album an also every official "live albums " ????..hmmmm.. no ,i think every fan does this..

ok... i do not say it... question :on every show that ive seen (7 since1984..excluding the live tapes)..the way how you sing is allways amazing..your voice is allways on top. i feel ,that you go vocally all time on the curious to know, what you do between the shows to keeping your voice " ready for the next battle " thats all for the moment

..hope to see you all soon on stage and wish you all the best..cheers


Hello Frank,

Thanks you for your letter, your concerns and your question. I am refusing to go into any details about the album, but I recognise that there will be speculation, so let me assure you that the new record is not hip hop or techno.

Regarding my voice, thank you for the kind words. I do nothing special. I keep reasonably fit and enjoy life. It's mostly in the mind.

Cheers, ig

From: (FaCeHeAD Is Not Dead) (it is so, so very good to know these things - steve)

Hi Ian,

I am a singer in a band and i get stuck when talking to the crowd between songs. I have heard some of Purple's early live records and you say the strangest things, you are something of a cunning linguist. Could you give me a list of a few crazy things to say like you used to? Cheers Macca (vocalist for FaceHead: if you could sign our guestbook it would be great).

Ps. we do a great little version of 'smooth dancer'. Hehe
PPs. I'll be there at the NEC in Birmingham, cheering away

Hello Macca,

Thanks for your letter. Yes that's always a difficult one. Deep Purple used to take ages to tune up between songs and I had to learn how to fill the gaps. Ritchie used to sidle up to me and say 'tell them a joke I'm going to be ten minutes'.

Jokes don't work, so the best thing to do is ramble spontaneously. If it's vaguely related to the material you get bonus points, but if you're feeling whimsical then go for it. You have to ignore the band completely, don't anticipate their readiness, just let them interrupt you as and when they're in mode.

I have signed your guestbook.

Cheers, ig

From: (eyal)

Hi Ian,

I'm from ISRAEL i must say that in my eyes you are the best ever hard rock singer, the one who is to be studied at music faculties because of some great things you have brought to the world of rock. one of the greatest things you did is (IMHO) Child in time and another one is Into the fire. it's about them i would like to ask you - did you plan to put the screamings while you wrote the words ? or did it come in an instinct - or how ?

when one listen to this extra superb songs - you can imagine that the screaming came while you get the mood of the sound and beat...

so, i would like to know how was this invented ? was the screaming invented by yourself or maybe it was someone else's idea ? the same about Into the fire..

thanks a lot

have you ever been to Israel? if you did when ? would we be lucky to have DP visit for a show here ?

thanks again

Hello Adir,

Thanks for your letter, comments and question. Prior to joining Deep Purple in 1969, Roger Glover and myself were in a group called Episode Six, which was a kind of harmony rock band. Quite often, when not singing lead vocals, and with six voices to arrange, I would take the highest harmony, which involved everything from a conventional falsetto voice to what has become known as screaming.

Basically I just explored my range and got as high as I could with everything under control. The word screaming implies an uncontrolled yell, but I saw it as a way of broadening the scope of the harmonies. It had to be in tune or it wouldn't work.

So, when I got into Purple it seemed quite natural to employ this technique for the melody. When I got to the top of my natural range I just slipped into another gear as seamlessly as possible and took it up there. I don't think I invented it, it was just one of those things. There was a singer called Arthur Brown who had a record called 'Fire'. He had a pretty fine 'scream'.

I have never been to Israel, although DP did visit there when JLTurner was singing with the band during my enforced sabbatical, and Roger told me what a great time they had. I look forward to my first visit, I hope it won't be too long.

Cheers, ig

From: (Permit King)

What type of dog is heard at start of the song Hush?

Thank You

Hello it's you again, (see? - steve)

That would be a Hush Puppy.

Cheers, ig

Return to:
Back to the Q&a index