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

61 - nutty bananas, oily bananas, goat obsessive, confirmation of good time required,
lyrical need, bass solo fetishist

From: (Kaj Åkesson)

Hi Ian!

Just read your latest "Dear Friends" and I just totally agree with you. But how can this happen? I don't understand the purpose if it's not to create a United European States in full. And, if it is, I don't want it. To much power to a group of WMB's. I love Europe and the countries and nationalities within, and I don't want us to become one uniformed and standardized group of mindless bodies. There are a lot of reasons, some of them are covered by you in DF and Q&A. I will not bring the others up here, but I just wanted to say "I agree!" and I love reading your DF's and Q&A's. Why not start a real campaign on this with an illegal banana as the symbol for our protests? Could fit well in with your World Bananas Tour! It could be fun! Ok. Thanks for reading.

Kaj Åkesson
Hässleholm Sweden

Hello Kaj,

Thanks for your letter, your support and your very interesting suggestion.

Illegal bananas, that's exactly what I need. Five-and-a-half inches or under and thirty centimetres or over should do the trick.

The WMB's will go nuts at having their authority challenged.

I will go overground and attack the regulators with scorn and ridicule in every medium available.

Anyone interested in forming a disruptive group can help by sending suggestions to me here at Caramba. (DP tickets and passes in return for ways to destroy Brussels, I don't mean actually Brussels, I have friends there.) (damn fine sprouts too - Ed)

I am pledged to a campaign of non-violence, but I won't be able to resist taking a pair of tweezers to the occasional bristle.

You've got me thinking now.

Cheers, ig

From: (John C Micallef)

Hi, Mr Gillan.

I read that there's a hullabaloo about the title of the new DP album.  I think it's great and very apt - Bananas!

Bananas is an excellent allegory to what's currently going on in the world - the 10 EU-accession countries going bananas over the EU itself, our holier-than-though megastates going bananas over Iraq and their oil, (perhaps Sting should revise the lyrics for the song 'The russians love their children too'?), religious institutions going bananas on how we should run our lives, others going bananas over GM foods, and on and on.

I sometimes wonder (while sitting by the water...)as to what a different picture we would have of all this if we lacked the media - TV and stuff like that - God knows what would be forced down our throats - what do you think?

Going back to the new Album, the title has made me curious and want to but the Bananas even more, although I must say that I prefer juicy summer fruits at this time of the year...

Anyway, time to go back to work - to toil and sweat, but for a little reward...fat cats getting fatter, wide eyed boys with their bags full of money.

Looking forward to seeing you somewhere around Europe, perhaps with Lynyrd Skynrd or the Pretenders, in the meantime, take care.

Warm regards,

Hello John,

Thanks for your letter and observations.

Blackberries are perfect at this time of year, small but full of flavour. There's an old saying here in England... 'Witches pee on blackberries in October', which might explain a lot.

Yes, a hullabaloo has occurred before anyone knew what it was about, and that might explain a lot too.

I heard a rumour about Molly Hatchett and Uriah Heep, but what they get up to in private is no concern of mine.

Cheers, ig

From: (CLARK TIM DWP Comms Internet and Design)

Dear Ian

As a massive Purps/IG fan (you really must watch your weight - ed) for most of my 41 years, I can't write without first thanking you for the great pleasure you and your music have given me over the years. Thanks so very much - you in particular have a special place in my heart.

But I'm not actually going to ask anything about music.

I've loved your 'Woolly Fish' poem-thing from 'Anecdotage' since I first read it. The other day I sent it to my friend Jane, who's spent some time in Africa - and she said this:

"In Africa, it's GOATS. GOATS and CATTLE. Whilst I appreciate that most humans eat meat and that their livestock is their wealth, the hooves of their beasts are destroying the land, leading to appalling desertification - the massive, creeping growth in the Sahara in recent decades shows this. If you have been to 'protected' areas in Africa (game parks, reserves and stuff), from where livestock is banned, it's all green and lush, with trees and undergrowth and stuff. When you come out of the reserve/park you can see just how much damage all those little cloven hooves and nibbling teeth do. I don't know what the answer is, because as I say, people need to eat...."

I must admit the imagery of 'over-grazing' etc had passed me by. I guess the parallel was intentional, was it?

It'd be great if you could reply either on the Q&A page or by mail, as I think Jane'd be tickled to know the answer too.

Good luck, always

Tim (Moth) Clark

Hello Tim (and Jane),

Thanks for your interesting letter.

Did you hear the story about the guy who hid in the wardrobe when his lover's husband returned home unexpectedly.

When the unsuspecting cuckold opened the cupboard door he was amazed to see a naked man clapping his hands in the air in a random fashion.

'Who are you?' he enquired.

'Oh, I'm the moth collector.'

'Do you normally work in the altogether?'

The adulterer looked down in complete astonishment at his nudity...'Little buggers!'

Woolly Fish wasn't a conscious reference to over-grazing, more the unsustainable growth rate of the human population. However the knock-on effects are more easily recognised I suppose, as humans generally speaking don't see themselves as being a problem.

Cheers, ig

From: (keith BENNETT)

Ian , hi

I don't know how much time you have spent in Blighty over the past few years but have you caught any of the ˜light hearted' nostalgia programmes e.g. "I love 1982" or "Top ten this and that". OK, so the media ignores rock now but do they have to erase it from history as well? Was it all a dream or did I go to all those gigs, nearly burst my eardrums, crick my neck through ˜freaking out', sit for hours embroidering my Wrangler cut off?

There have been a few exceptions such as Channel 4's Top 10 British heavy metal bands and top 10 guitar heroes . The best, however, was Bruce Dickinson's excellent series on Radio 2 charting the course of heavy rock. I caught the last 2 that were themed around the 1980 British scene and the 1982 US invasion by metal bands. It ended with BD stating that whatever was going on in the US it “didn't matter a diddly squat at Middlesbrough Town Hall and then proceeded to play Sunbeam from your Double Trouble album. With those two broadcasts I, at last, thought , I was there (literally).

Please confirm my sanity by telling me that it was a brilliant time for rock and in particular us the fans when ALL the bands played in (British) town/city halls, and secondly, that there were lots enjoying it not only me!


PS have seen a lot of bands over the years and Saxon's Strong Arm of the Law tour, when they were riding a crest of a wave after Wheels of Steel, is up there near the top, but at the peak is Gillan, October 3 Middlesbrough Town Hall, Glory Road tour. All the bands toured the halls and people came back from gigs reporting bands were good but everyone knew Gillan were shit hot!

PPS despite the current lack of interest in rock by the British media, thanks to the internet I can keep in touch with what's happening and look forward to seeing Purple later this year, I missed you last year due to illness (not amnesia!). I even look forward to seeing Whitesenake ;-)

Hello Keith,

Thanks for that fine encapsulation. The industry didn't want to know about us...nor did the media...apart from Kettwang!! bless 'em. But it was real and it did happen. Rock music was perilously close to a temporary bout of death during that period; helped through the crisis, and maybe even saved, by the bands and the fans who packed Town Halls and Theatres all over the country.

I clearly remember trying to get a record deal for Mr. Universe; it was recorded and ready to go, we had a tour of Britain...something like 28 shows...completely sold out, and yet we couldn't get arrested by the industry. We called every label in existence...big and small, and got rejected by them all. At the end of the day a tiny independent company...Acrobat, agreed to distribute the album. It stormed into the charts, then disappeared because the label went bankrupt; they hadn't paid the bills at the factory, and the factory refused to supply any more product. Anyway, the sales had been noticed and the next day we signed with Virgin, and had a wonderful time there for a few years until.....ah, well, that's another story.

The point is Moronica blew it (again!). Never mind, we had a great time.

Cheers, ig

From: (Gaston Garello)


My name is Gaston I live in Argentina and I'm a old fan of THE GREAT IAN GILLAN in my country is very hard to find any kind of thing of Ian Gillan. I saw a show in 1990, Naked Thunder tour, that show was amazing man!!! I love Naked Thunder but I haven't the lyrics of that great piece of art


If you got the lyrics could you send me?
Thank you very much.

Un abrazo para todos y suerte (Spanish good luck!!!)

Hello Gaston,

Thanks for your letter. If you go to the Wordography section of the Caramba website, you will find three lyrics from Naked Thunder have already been posted...Gut Reaction...Moonshine...and, No More Cane On The Brazos. I am working on...Sweet Lolita, and that should be up before long. (length here is probably determined according to EU Directive #3477AG41 for all I know - ed)

Cheers, ig

From: (m.persijn)

dear Ian,

I want to congratulate you for your birthday(same day as my mother's),hope you enjoyed a relaxed day in between the touring.I have become very fond of Deep Purple at my age of 50! Of course I knew about child in time and smoke on the water at the time,and I had the 2 records of JCS. My 13-old daughter now has discovered these records and plays them all the time knowing every syllable by heart.So that is how I realized that the ian gillan of JCS was the same one of deep purple and I started to explore all of your music.I have "dragged" my 14 year old son into deep purple and we are both big fans now. We saw you in Lichtenvoorde and Nandrin, and it makes me feel young(er) and happy being there with your music.I love especially your enthusiasm and genuineness. I find it very special that after so many years there is still this personal contact with the audience(I am sure you gave me smile)and that you are so obviously enjoying making music yourself!

I would like to ask you a few things: why is it you don't play the congas anymore?

Is it in your nature to remain an ordinary, not eccentric extreme person like many others being a star or famous. Do you think this is a compliment ? Does getting older affect you in your life or do you take things as they come. Do you play guitar and keyboard as well,is this only in domestic surroundings? Could you ask Roger if he wants to play more solos,I think he deserves a more prominent place in the group.In Nandrin we had a banner for him and my son asked him this by mail,but Roger is half a year behind answering his questions.!

We hope to see you again perhaps in Germany,we love you,


Hello marianne/bastiaan,

Thank you for your kind words and intriguing questions. I don't play the congas any more because I've beaten the life out of my fingers; not that anyone ever heard what I was playing, but it was fun while it lasted.

I think I'm ordinary and I think all my friends are weird. Do I take it as a compliment? Hmmm...Yes. Thank you.

Getting older is the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me. I'm climbing a hill; every now and then I pause for breathe. As I look around I can see further than before...I can see what I've done. Yes I take things as they gets better.

I play guitar for my own amusement and sometimes I groove on a couple of chords for hours until a song arrives. I can't play the piano, although I think I could have been pretty good if I'd ever have applied myself. My late uncle Ivor was a jazz pianist (and an inspirational artist) and he still travels with me. I doodle around on the harmonica, or harp as we call it in the trade. I use some old Hohner blues harps in the studio, but I can't play the new ones. They're made in China and something's wrong with the mouthpiece. I was ripping my lips to shreds so I use some other brand for now...I must have a word with Hohner. Here's a little piece of trivia...the best thing you can do with a harp before you play is to throw it in a bucket of cold water. Then shake it down, you'll get a really bright sound. Y'know, to get the right thing from a blues harp you have to suck!

Roger Glover is the nearest thing I ever had to a brother. BUT!!!!! Let me tell you something...a bass solo should be a once in a lifetime experience, a shocking thing that leaps out at you from a crisis in the band, a last resort. No...I'm just kidding. Rog is the greatest; He's 50% of the Purple rhythm section and 100% of one fifth of an entity which puts in more than it takes out thereby making room for all you guys.

Cheers, ig

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