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

68 - shock & law, warmed up, problems of sprout registration, female road crew,
Randy collaboration, footfall recall

From: Keith Thompson

Dear Ian,

I was very sorry to hear about your conviction. Unfortunately it was a dreaded and dreadful tabloid that broke the news to me. I also had a badly planned 28th birthday celebration back in the late 80's when my wife was eight months pregnant. The boys in blue spread eagled me over my old Ford Escort estate, Starsky and Hutch style, only 100 yards from home before they took me back to the station, threw me in a cell where I had to piss in a pot while some guy got his head kicked in next door. Nice.

Still, I think I recall a certain Garth Crockett playing my local rock club around the same time, so it can't have been too bad a time. Oh yeh I never thanked you. You played Birkenhead twice (once with a fledgling Gillan and then a post Purple Garth). This is relevant. You cheered me up. Simple.

I know what you are going through. Regret. Turn the clocks back! Shame. Yeh I deserve it. Stupid of me. What was I thinking? But it does pass Ian and nobody got killed, which was always my saving grace. If anything had happened to you, we'd have wept. Instead we are happy in the knowledge you are still among us. Be strong and enjoy your travels with Purple. See you in Manchester with Frampton and Thunder.

Keith Thompson
A fan of ages

Hello Keith,

Thank you so much for your sensitive letter - regarding my recent conviction for driving with too much alcohol in my system.

I have been banned from driving for sixteen months and paid a fine of £500 plus £50 costs.

I was shocked and humiliated in just a few moments when I realised that I had broken the law.

Shocked, because I had no idea that I was 'over the limit'

Humiliated, because my arrogance had been flattened.

I spent the night in a cell quite away from home. So, thanks for saying you know what I'm going through. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Cheers, ig

From: Peter Helperin

Hello Ian,

Before I ask you two questions I have to apologise for a embarrassing thing my brain did. Last year I went to the DPconcert in Malmoe. I was thrilled not just to the concert, I also had a backstage pass and was maybe going to meet the band!!! This was the first time for me behind the stage and I didn't really have a clue were to go. After trying for ten minutes to get some info from the roadcrew were to find the band I gave up and walked to the entrance when I saw a group of people that looked like they were in the same situation that i was in. After a while we were led into a room were we was told to wait for the band members to turn up. After a while Don Airey came and then Steve, Ian P and Roger came. I had brought along a photo of you that I hoped to get signed by you. After a while you turned up and I got the picture signed and someone took a picture of you and me. And then my brain collapsed. I heard my self saying:

- You look like my father!
You looked at me and said:
- I take that as a compliment.
My face turned red.

Now to the questions.
Do you and the band have anything to say about wich warm-up band you will have before the show. Or is it the management who deside that? Have you ever heard the Spanish band Jarabe de Palo? Alltough my spanish is very poor their music and lyrics really make you happy. If you haven´t heard them you should listen to their album "De vuelta y vuelta". I think they would be a different, but good warm-up band to DP.

Kindest regards,

Hello Peter,

Thanks for your letter.

The first part I can relate to - as I too have had many moments of embarassment over the years. For example - and similarly - when I attended my first 'interview' for the job with Deep - was - actually - pretty - scary . So don't worry mate, we all have moments of difficulty.

In answer to your first question... You have touched upon a subject dear to my heart. Warm up bands.
In the mid-sixties I was in a band called Episode Six - *Roger Glover on bass*. We got a job on the Dusty Springfield tour - opening at the Finsbury Park Astoria. We had seven minutes opening the first half and four minutes opening the second - the ultimate warm up band.
We were - musically - pretty good, but learned over those three weeks more than could ever be absorbed by a self kidder. I'm sorry I've not heard of 'Jarabe de Palo' or 'De vuelta y vuelta', but I'd like to wish them well.
We don't actually have much input - generally - with the package. Although...we are consulted before it's all signed off.

Cheers, ig

From: David White

Hello Ian,

It's been a while since I last wrote (sorry), I continually keep contact with your Qs & As, just never got round to writing - until now.

I'd like to talk briefly about the Brussels Sprout 'Peer Gynt'. Since it's introduction in the late 1960's, it's been a firm favorite for us amateur growers. It was one of the first F1 hybrid Brussels with all the reliability that implied and firm, numerous tasty buttons. A variety cropped from September to December and among amateur growers, quickly became the leading Autumn and Christmas sprout and is currently one of the most popular Brussels sprouts in Britain.

By law 'Peer Gynt', like every vegetable variety, must be looked after by a 'maintainer', generally a commercial seed company, which takes responsibility for breeding and supplying the best specimens to keep the strain pure and healthy. The 'maintainer' of 'Peer Gynt' is a Dutch company called Syngenta, who in their wisdom have decided that they are not going to renew the registration of the sprout and withdraw it from sale. Two leading British seed companies recognised that many amateur gardeners in Britain want to continue to grow 'Peer Gynt', individually offered to take over maintenance of the variety, but both were rejected!

Now agreeably, some might say "so who gives a damn", but whether it be sprouts or bananas, surly here we have yet another case of dictatorship, those in authority influencing the shape and variety of the food we can eat and now even grow! Ironically I'm going to grow a Purple variety this year - whilst I still can!

Still in love with Bananas, House of Pain does it for me.

Good luck to QPR, It'll be lovely to see them in the 1st division - see you at Portman Road perhaps??


Hello David,

Thanks for your illuminating letter. Well I give a damn and I think that about does it don’t you; the revolution starts here. English Gardeners Unite. We shall grow Peer Gynt and to Hell with Les Bruxelles. The paradox will confuse the Idiocracy and by the time they’re up the garden path the first crop will have been smuggled into the kitchen. When the wretched inspectors for the latter day Spanish Inquisition – Le Questionnaire des Jardinaires Anglais (or Gardeners Question Time as it’s known in Blighty) - are rooting around the vegetable patch for evidence of independent husbandry, we shall accidentally-on-purpose drop the lid on the compost box; by the time next autumn comes around they’ll be indistinguishable from the organic matter that they have attempted for so long to pollute. After that we can mix ‘em up with a good bit of old farmyard manure and put ‘em back where they belong – in the earth. The good pagan earth.

If I’m in the country when QPR play at Portman Road – I’ll be there.

Cheers, ig


You have been on the road long enough to know the answer to this question:

Are there any female roadies in the music world? Have you seen any female sound engineers doing Live shows?

I have finished a sound engineering course not too long ago and before I start making dreams of how to start working in the Sound world , I decided I should get some advice and insight from " someone from the Top"....So, should you have the time and care to answer , please do.

I am sending this message from Athens - Greece (yes I have been to your concerts when you came over here) but I am mostly interested in the North European scene , as there aren't too many women working in Live events over here (to say none).

Looking forward for your reply,
Stella Koufidaki

Hello Stella,

In answer to your question, yes there are female roadies, including sound engineers.

At the moment we have five females in our tour party. One assistant tour manager, one sound engineer, one wardrobe manager, one in catering, one bus driver and one truck driver.

There are no doors closed these days. However we do not hire directly and all the crew except for our personal party are sub-contracted.

We'll send you a contact address for the sound company we use in Germany, you never know.

Cheers and good luck, ig

From: HA aka

Hi Ian -

Would you please elaborate on your mysterious collaborations with Randy California in 1977?  Were tracks actually recorded for an album and what has become of them?  When Randy drowned it broke my heart. I am certain anything you created together would be very special.

H.A. in Imperial Beach CA

Hello H.A.,

Thanks for your enquiry. Randy was a good friend of mine and like you I feel the loss deeply. Unfortunately we didn't work together in the studio. I wanted him to guest on my U.K. tour, but we couldn't quite meet his price. So I offered him free time in my recording studio, as he wanted to make an album in London. I can't remember exactly how long it was, but he was happy with the arrangement and took with him all the multi-track and reduced tapes when he left.

The tour went ahead, we shared a bus and many magic moments. Randy's humour was ever present; he complained a lot (quite rightly) about the Trust House Forte Hotels in which we mostly stayed. For example, one day he said to me '...My room is so small; I put my key in the door and broke the window...'

His spirit lives on.

Cheers, ig


i want to let ian gillan know i just recently remembered the time i stomped on his foot in colorado. at cherry creek reservoir


Hello Keith,

Er, right then.

Cheers, ig

(yes, it's the intellectual 'cut and thrust' I always look forward to when putting this page together - steve/ed)
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