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

63 - Falling hatchets, Bulgarian bladder infections, banana friend, planetary concerns,
banana Italia?


Hi Ian,

Wonder if you and Jon Lord have had a bit of a falling out. For example, you quoted in your last Caramba writing a man who mistakenly said he "never heard Jon Lord play so well" at a Purple concert in which Don Airey actually was the keyboardist, not Lord. I MAY BE WRONG, but it seems the prudent thing for you to have done after that quote was to put a disclaimer along the lines of "Jon's still the man, but it shows Don can play with the best of them." I mean, if I'm Jon and I read that quote, I may take it as a backhanded slap from you. Also, in an interview Jon recently commented on a proposed project that would bring together all the past and present members of DP to do a one-off concert. He denied actually proposing anything, and said it was a mere suggestion. However, in reference to your purported refusal to participate in such an event, he said "it's been shit on from a pretty high place". I sure hope there are no hard feelings between the two of you. You all love each other a lot, I can tell, and you would do well to keep that foremost in mind. Likewise, I know that Deep down inside you and Ritchie B. love each other, too, no matter how much you deny it.

You know, I had a chance to view the original Concerto for Group & Orchestra on DVD the other night for the first time. (To me, it was an epic event. You and Lord stole the show). Everyone was grinning from ear to ear when it was over, especially Blackmore. Years later he claimed he hated the Concerto, but the video evidence proves otherwise. So, I would very respectfully request that you take each other's barbs with a grain of salt, and be careful how you say things to avoid hurting feelings unnecessarily. Be brave enough to be the first one to bury the hatchet again. Life is short, Ian. Good luck and God Bless.


James Gemmell
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Hello James,

No, most definitely Jon and I have not had a 'falling out'.

Can I say with the greatest respect to your obvious stance that you really are misreading the whole situation.

From your position of course the truth (sic) is undeniable, but may I please in great humility offer you some perspective.

The quote to which you refer (from Q & A # 62)....'Yes, Don is doing a great job. I had a letter from someone who took his Dad along to a DP show, and his father remarked on the way home that he'd...'never heard Jon Lord playing so well'....from the guy who brought his father to a gig was not in any way meant to be disparaging about our lovely Jon. It was merely a wry observation from the son of a man who'd not been to a Purple show for many years, and to those of us who are not so intense about these things, it seemed amusing. It was not a backhanded slap, as you say. I would never dream of slighting Jon Lord, who has been a hero to me since the day I met him. A truly inspirational man and friend who's wisdom and wit is treasured by me and all who know him.

Furthermore with reference to the one-off concert, my refusal to entertain the idea and more specifically Jon's so called quote "it's been shit on from a pretty high place" well, that all seems to be fairly accurate in the way of reportage, but I think it's just Jon's way of saying Hmmmm...IG doesn't seem to be up for it. You have to understand that's the way we talk amongst ourselves; it may seem brutal to you but amongst friends that's how it is.

Please don't put words into my mouth and say that I love Ritchie (no matter how much I deny it). It's a romantic notion. Of course I have great affection for Ritchie as I remember him, and I try to blank out all the bad stuff. I used to room with him in the early days and there's no denying the phenomenally powerful role he played in the band before I joined and during my tenure. As a matter of interest I was a Purple fan way before I got the gig and I owned all three of the first albums with Rod Evans and Nick Simper. Let's put it this's been a long road and I don't harbour any bad feelings. I have great respect for Ritchie and I genuinely hope he's happy. However Deep Purple is a living breathing thing and that is due in no small measure to the love and sheer talent that Steve and, latterly, Don have brought into the family.

You are right James, life is short. Hatchets are buried and we do try to avoid hurting each other.

Also, I do understand how fans of the early days miss Ritchie and now Jon, but all I can ask is that you look into our eyes and judge if we are really doing what is expected of Deep Purple. I hope we are up to standard, it feels that way to us.

Cheers, ig


Dear Ian,

I wanted to say thanks for pith and everything. I´ve been through two sinister suicidal days. Nedka, the Bulgarian bladder-infection didn´t want me. I got to know her in the new dorm where I live now. I wrote you a very long e-mail, my computer destroyed it, I hate computers.  In the last one and a half year I had two public performances, sort of a karaoke thing, but at least I broke the ice and sang before a public, then I had two rehearsals with bands, but it wasn´t the right thing. I had three rock singing lessons, where I sang Tommy Bolin´s ´Dreamer´and other stuff. The teacher was amazed, but he´s been sick for the past half year, so there is no singing tuition.

Poor Johnny Cash died, I admired him very much, in 1979 we, my parents and brothers saw him in the Westfalenhalle Dortmund. I still treasure all the photographs my now dead brother Patrick made at that show and the autographs and rare singles that Johnny and June sent him. I´ll quote Frank Zappa who put in words what I often felt:`To put it in a nutshell: information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music, music is the best.

Cheers, why don´t you play ´Living wreck´once, maybe in November in Dortmund, I´ll be at that show, Bananas is great though not as good as Purpendicular.

See you,

Hello Gernot,

What an interesting letter. I'm always humbled by the intimacy of my correspondents.

I've written about Tommy before and yes, how sad that Johnny Cash passed away...but what a rich legacy.

Frank was always brilliant, cranky and pithy but here's my take on his words....Information is helpful on the path to knowledge, and knowledge is a bonus in the field of wisdom. Wisdom recognises many truths and all truths are cosmetic. Beauty is a certainly a thing of perception and always a matter of love in the garden of choice. Love is music to those of us for whom music is the best.

I'd love to sing 'Living Wreck' but I'm not sure we can put it into the program, I'll mention it to the guys at rehearsals. 'Bananas'...'Purpendicular'??? It's all a matter of taste. I respect your opinion and personally love both records, but right now I'm getting off on 'Silver Tongue'.

See you in Dortmund.

Cheers, ig


Dear Ian,

As I understood from your interview with Thierry Ardisson, is that your banana appeal has something to do with Africa and how it may be sabotaged out of it's bananas or maybe forced to grow them GM style?

Africa is such a rich continent with it's diamonds, gold, copper, malachite, lions, elephants, jungles, palm trees, mango's and of course bananas. Yet it's been exploited, sucked dry, infested, abused, humiliated, destroyed and abandoned. I don't even want to think about it, which is mainly the problem I guess. People today are so swept up in their work, mortgages, children, insurance, holidays, doctors, television, videos, computers, telephones, shoes, personal hang-ups and lack of time, blurring and numbing the brain and the senses. In modern society there is hardly time to eat, let alone room to care about where the food is coming from. We are being manipulated and are willingly serving money, with these poisoning genetically modified foods. It's good that you care, publicity has a lot of power to draw attention to things. I'm all for awakening awareness, life is so much fuller when we can see it clearly.

I don't understand much about politics, I like your banana appeal, but how can these things be stopped ?

I'm a banana friend, I like them just the way they are.


Hello Yemaya,

I think you've hit the nail on the head there my friend. You say you like them (bananas) just the way they are. So do I, so do I, but that's the point...I can't get them just the way they are unless I travel (and I'm lucky in that respect because of my job) to where they are grown and sold naturally.

The horrid grey tasteless seedless lumps of matter that we are offered in those parts of Europe (like England) where the Town Hall Hitlers operate (or petty fascists as they are known). They triumphantly wave wads of Euro-piffle in our faces, and sneer at the so-called 'Eurosceptics', all in the name of standardisation (yawn).

I'm sure that, in the light of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Dr. Beeching, Thalidomide, Iraq etc. my allegiance is with the sceptics rather than the zealots.

So Eurozealots beware, I've got your number.

Cheers, ig


More planetary concerns:

The weather conditions at the moment are unbelievably warm and wet, and the temperatures seem to be rising. Is this a frequency in global warming or is it just my imagination.

Jessicca R

Hello Jessica,

Thank you for your warming warning and seemingly rhetorical conundrum.

I wouldn't worry too much; these conditions may appear climactic but I think there's a way to go yet. History tells us that temperature rises are normally cyclical. The relief of a mini ice-age between peaks should keep the the frequencies and averages at pleasantly tolerable levels.

In most places things will tickle along nicely. I suppose it depends where in the world you are.

Cheers, ig


Dear Mr Gillan

Just a short note to let you know that we have enjoyed your singing on Bananas tremendously.  You are awesome!  Lyrics are just so meaningful, too (though, perhaps, different people might get a different meaning!).

We also enjoy browsing through your site, which is great.  Some Italian friends wanted to know when they'll have the version in their tongue? I laughed last time I watched 'The Island of Dr Moreau' ('77 version with Michael York and Burt Lancaster)- The so-called treatment room was known as the 'House of pain'!

Cheers & take care!

Hello John,

Thank you for your kind words.

The translations we have are all from voluntary contributors, and we are very grateful for their work. If your friends, or anyone who has a good grasp of colloquial English as well as their native tongue, would like to offer their services they should write to our Editor, Steve Campbell.

He will run through the requirements and maybe we can get something going in Italian and other languages to add to the international offerings that are gathering pace here at Caramba.

Cheers, ig

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