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

67 - Pleasantly surprised, warming up, paradoxical Van, Running Bear á la Poe,
Oslo radio trucks amnesia

From: Bradford DeMoranville

Just a question for Ian. I know he gets a lot, so I'll be pleasantly surprised if he answers:

I was just listening to Bananas, and now I'm most of the way through Toolbox. I think Steve Morris's songwriting style would fit perfectly with today's Deep Purple sound. Now that you've breached the "no outside writers" rule(?) by collaborating with Mike Bradford on a couple of tracks, would you consider bringing Morris in as a guest writer for a track or two? I know you don't speak for the band, who might veto it, but I'm curious if you personally would be open to it.

To be extraordinarily articulate, I think the collaboration could kick some serious ass.

Brad in Florida

Hello Brad,

That’s a thoughtful question. Michael Bradford – our producer - was an honorary member during the writing/recording of ‘Bananas’ and so the songs ‘House of Pain’ and ‘Walk On’ weren’t breaking any unwritten laws; he was part of the family.

No, I wouldn’t be in favour of Steve Morris, or anyone outside the group, collaborating as a guest writer on a Purple record. That of course is no reflection on Steve’s exceptional talent but essentially it’s the spirit of the band that counts for us. We know instinctively that it’s not just the craft applied to the job; it’s the art of making it special. That’s why we keep it in-house.

Cheers, ig

From: Rodrigo Eymael aka Rod-Autobahn USA

Hi Ian,

First of all, thanks for the inspiration through the years.

I will be performing Jesus at a tribute to the music of JCS (in a very rock way), and have used your 1970 version as a template (since in my opinion your "Gethsemane" is the only recorded version that matters).

Do you have any tips for warming up to those screams? I'm developing my own technique, but your help would mean the world to me.

Much love,
Rodrigo Eymael.

Hello Rodrigo,

Thanks for your letter. Good luck with the show. I’m sorry to say that I have never ‘warmed up’, in the traditional sense; I generally hit the road running.

I do, however, get very focused - mentally and spiritually - before a performance. It starts around noon with the onset of ‘butterflies’ or what I like to call ‘anticipation’; that’s when I eat my main meal.

I normally try to have a siesta around 4pm – 6pm.

I like to arrive at the venue 90 minutes before the show. Then I head straight for my ‘undressing room’ and commence one hour of meditation. We get a twenty minute call and by then I am completely centred.

Each to his own, I guess.

Cheers, ig

From: George Vedel

Dear Ian Gillan,

I heard the man, who signed Steve Marriot and Peter Frampton as Humble Pie, say, that he signed them because they were "great looking guys".

Then later I heard John Lord say that the reason for signing Glen hughes and David Coverdale was that "these were great looking guys".

Then later I heard one million other key-people in the music-business say the same again. From where you stand, is there a way, that we, who are interested in the sheer musical aspect of the music, can prosper or have an advantage of some kind from the fact, that we are able to pick the best musical act from genuine musical criteria?

Very heavy,
Very humble,

George Vedel

Hello George,

I have a feeling that the statements to which you refer were taken out of context. For example, if these guys were not able to perform at the highest level then they would not have been offered their gigs in the first place.

I think your point may be applicable to the ‘pop’ end of the musical spectrum, where you generally don’t get through the door unless your promo picture fits the image of the team that’s putting together the new ‘act’.

However, in our field it’s not quite the case is it? We embrace oddness and although the people you mention above are conventionally ‘good looking’, what about all the others who have made it through sheer talent or eccentricity; those who might never have been given a chance by ‘the producers’ because they didn’t fit the ‘profile’? I can think of hundreds, starting way back with Buddy Holly right up to that funny looking guy in The Darkness.

I know there are a lot of purists out there and I subscribe to the principles mostly; but we have to recognize that ‘personality’ plays a big part in getting the music across to the audience.

Paradoxically there is Van Morrison – and that works too.

So, in answer to your question, no; I think the sheer musical aspect – as you put it – is irrevocably intertwined with the personality of the performer.

Cheers, ig

From: Langberth

 Hi Ian,


Hey thanks for having an active website.

Some years ago I caught DP in Phoenix for the House of Blue Light tour and during the encore you guys sang a song called "Running Bear".  (Johnny Preston ?)  To your knowledge is their a recording of you performing this song ?  Any info you could provide as to who or how you guys hit on this tune would also be appreciated.


That was a great show, I remember thinking at the time that not many in the audience probably even recognized that song, at least not many in my age group. I cut my teeth on 70's rock and roll and the only reason I knew it was because I was listening to my parents 50's hits 8 tracks prior to that. That was a neat song and seeing you guys perform it one of my favorite rock and roll memories.



Hello Langberth,

Thanks for your letter. Yes it was Johnny Preston, late 50's early 60's. It was one of the songs I used to sing with my mate Barry Higgins as we walked home from the day's harvesting through the narrow Devon lanes to our lodging with his Auntie Marge and Uncle Fred, in Mothecombe. Barry's pitching was a bit radical so I would think of his contribution as a rural harmony, but never let it be said that he was lacking in the category 'enthusiasm'.

It's one of those songs that sticks in your head. To this day I have the vision of Running Bear and Little White Dove who had a love as big as the sky; the forlorn lovers swimming towards each other through the swirling waters only to be dragged down, as if into Poe's Maelstrom.

There was one other performance of this song in a radio station in Melbourne. Roger Glover, Bruce Payne (our manager and an aficionado of this period of great American pop music) and I performed Running Bear a cappella to some enthusiastic presenters and bemused listeners. We have the tape somewhere, I'll dig it out and we'll stick it up on Caramba one day.

Cheers, ig

From: Harald Nilsen

Hello IG

I'm a 19 year old guy from Norway and first of all I want to thank you for a great show in Oslo in November (finaley we got Black Night). It's the third time I've seen you and it's getting better each time (not that it wasn't great the first time). I tried to E-mail you earlier but I think something went wrong so I don't know if you got the first mail. I've got some Q's I want to ask you (there's a surprise)

  1. What has happen to your voice since '98? It's getting better and better. How do you keep your voice fit and train it up from (that I honestly must say was) a down period (sorry!!!!)?
  2. Why has the band ignored Demon's Eye and album outtakes from the early 70's? There are some great stuff there I think the audience wants to hear.
  3. What do you think of the Post-purple bands (Rainbow, Whitesnake, Blackmore's Night etc.), and do you have a favourite?
  4. What's your favourite beer (I'm a critical beer-lover) and whiskey?
  5. What's happen to your congas?
  6. Why is it, that R. Glover, S. Morse and yourself prefer monitoring from behind?
  7. Was the show in Oslo recorded by the national radio, or were all the trucks outside just for interviews (in that case I feel sorry for you)?

Hope you will find the time to answer these rather unimportent Q's. And I wish all the best to you and yours and to the whole gang on tour. Have a merry chritmas and I'll see you next time your in Norway (and remember that DP never have had a seat empty in all the concert you have played in Norway (that's only SIX TIMES)).

Harald Nilsen

Hello Harald,

Thanks for your letter, the comments about the show and your questions. I don't think they are unimportant. Some issues have been dealt with before and you can always use the search engine to home in on a topic, but anyway...

Yes I have had down periods and they have been worrying, but I've come to the conclusion that it's all to do with that elusive little devil called confidence. I think we all go through periods of self doubt; fortunately for me, this is not one of those periods.

We haven't ignored Demon's Eye, I can't remember when exactly, but we have played it since Steve's been in the band. It's just not in the program right now. Having said that, I was discussing it with Don on the overnight bus trip from Copenhagen to Cottbus. Owing to the unbelievable sound he's getting in Strange Kinda Woman it may well be back on the agenda at some time, I'll mention it again to the guys. However the main focus this year is on 'Bananas'; progressive-hard-rock being the name of the game; that's if we must have a name, or even a game. I'm just lying here in the sun, watching you guys having fun...

Regarding the post-Purple bands, I think they are all just fine. Each one playing to its strengths and therefore instantly identifiable. I take great pleasure in listening to all of them.

London Pride or Otter Ale when I'm at home and a single malt of whatever distillery my friends might currently favour.

The congas are in storage waiting for a home. I fancied a change and the stage is less cluttered now I'm using a tambourine.

I've covered this before so I won't go into great detail, but I prefer to work with an ambient rather than a direct sound. Steve and Rog just need a tickle of what's missing from the others when standing in front of their own rigs. Also, front wedges just get in my way; it's another clutter issue.

Er, I can't remember anything about radio trucks in Oslo.

Cheers, ig

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