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

70 - Characters of interest, even that!, strange kind of woman, biker hoist, a stitch in time

From: Colin Shayler

Hello Ian,

Please can I ask you a number of questions:

  1. You have mentioned a number of characters in your songs (Boring Alice, Funky Claude and Ted the Mechanic) are there any other interesting characters that you have come across and not mentioned yet?
  2. Is there any chance of seeing you doing a solo tour, or hearing you producing some solo material, in between your commitments with Deep Purple? I thought that the stuff you did with Gillan in the 1980s and the Naked Thunder/Toolbox albums were brilliant.
  3. Are there any plans to work with anyone outside the Deep Purple sphere in the future?

Please keep up the good singing.

Thank You

Hello Colin,

Thanks for writing - good questions.

Spinning Jack (from '69 - Abandon) was Jack Barry - the man who ran the original Marquee club in London and booked all the acts for the Reading Festival - or The National Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival, as it was previously known. One of my heroes, he gave me a leg up by putting me on at the Reading Festival for the first time on a Friday evening - 27th August 1978 - supporting Rory Gallagher. After that I played there in 1979, '80, '81 ('82 I played Donnington instead) and again in 1983 with Black Sabbath. I owe a lot to Jack Barry. (Check out the Gigography in the basement archives here at Caramba)

Let's not forget Nancy, who has appeared not only in 'Strange Kinda Woman' as the dark representation of a composite lover, but also as a sweeter version alongside Sweet Lucy - who was a teaser - and The Rockett - that would be me (Knocking at your Back Door - Perfect Strangers). There she met Austin and Bentley and - before easing gently from one to the other - she toyed with various members of the diplomatic hierarchy in an effort to raise her social standing, or work her way to the top - as it's known in the world of linguistics.

Then of course there is Angel Jesus Manchenio. Manchenio was a gipsy dancer, working in Beirut at the Casino du Liban in the Charlie Henchis' production of 'Mais Oui!' I was there with Episode Six in 1966/7 when we met. He drew a knife from his boot and offered to kill me for seducing his girlfriend. It wasn't me at all and so he then put the knife to his throat by way of an apology. I suggested that there might be another way out of this and so he generously offered to cut my hand and his in an act of brotherhood. There was no delay - we did the deed right there and then on the hillside - and re-entered the party with our hands bound together by my headband...all was forgiven - we were and still are blood brothers. Sadly I have lost touch with Manchenio, so if anyone has any information about him - he went back to Spain I believe - then do let me know. (Angel Manchenio - on the album 'Clear Air Turbulence')

What about Fat Larry and Moronica from 'Any Fule Kno' That' (Abandon)?

Regarding your second and third questions, my total commitment to Deep Purple overrides everything, but this is a funny old year and - yes - I will be doing some solo projects and shows, check out the new DF for current information. I will let you all know what's going on as things develop.

Cheers, ig

From: Jacques Blanc-Talon

Dear Ian Gillan,

I've been listening Deep Purple (the band with Ian Gillan, not ...) for 32 years, since the age of 8. I have seen DP on stage in 1984 for the first time. I have seen you alone in Australia in 1992 in Paramatta, near Sydney and I have seen the band several times in Paris. I even read your autobiography.

What is the reason why DP comes to France so rarely? For instance, this Summer, there was a concert in every neighbouring country (Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, etc.) but NOT in France. And it's been like this for decades!

Thanks again, anyhow, for all the good time I had listening the best Rock band in the world.

Jacques Blanc-Talon

PS: I sent a message some weeks ago, rather frustrated by what I read. I just re-read it and noticed it was aggressive and a bit impolite. Or could be understood like that. That might be the fact of writing in another language, but I apologize for this bad attitude. Hope to see you in Paris again next year.

Hello Jacques,

Thank you for your letter, and please don't worry about politeness. It is a desirable thing but not always possible - I never take offence where none is intended. I/we would love to work in France more often but the simple fact is that we can only go where we are invited. I think it would be cool if we could operate like an old fashioned circus. The entire entourage travelling from town to town, setting up in a field on the outskirts and whipping up trade by parading through the main street on the back of a flat-bed lorry. Unfortunately modern logistics require us to have the booking in place before we set off on any particular leg - and that's probably a good thing.

We have had some great shows in your country over the years and I had the pleasure of living en Paris for a whole year in the mid-seventies - Rue de la Bienfaisance, arondissement huit, not far from Gare St. Lazare where I would walk each morning to fetch an English newspaper, to read the sports results. On the way I'd buy a crepe with Grand Marnier - delicious. Then a half baguette with a piece of cheese and a demi of red wine, I would sit on my balcony watching Paris go to work, eat my supper and read the paper. Then coffee and bed. I usually slept until 4.00pm. After ablution I'd meet the other guys in the band. We'd normally have oysters for breakfast and maybe catch a movie before going to work. We were rehearsing in the basement of the old Olympia Theatre. We skipped work one day to watch the Fats Domino concert upstairs - fantastic! After that we would eat late - with other artists and waiters and night people - way after the rest of the city had retired to bed. I would stay up until the newspapers arrived at the station, and so the cycle continued until the material for 'Clear Air Turbulence' had been written.

I am sure we'll be back but probably not until 2006; 2005 is going to be somewhat different to the norm.

Cheers, ig

From: david sanderson


Have recently started seeing a great lass who I have admired for years. Things are ok so far,but every time I go round to hers and browse the net I always end up on Deep Purple or related sites!

Last night,I didn't even notice I had a woman behind me making tentative attempts to climb the stairs,whilst saying in a very loud voice 'right,I'm going upstairs now,are you gonna be long on that computer'?

Can you recommend either a song or a cure I can use at such moments? Much appreciated.

Big D

Hello Big D,

Why not ask if you can have a go on her laptop? If she agrees, you can enjoy the simultaneous benefits of romance and Deep Purple.

Cheers, ig

From: Stuart Anguish

hi ian

been a fan since 82 (magic tour derby) what were your favorite gillan albums and do you still listen to them

stuart anguish

Hello Mr. Anguish,

I have great affection for the 'Gillan' years although - like most endings in real life - they didn't end too happily.

I do still listen to those records from time to time. My particular favourite is 'Double Trouble' - the one with the live Reading performance. I remember walking boldly on to the wrong stage after being announced by Tommy Vance, to be confronted by some puzzled roadies who were breaking down the gear from the previous act. The crowd played a huge part in that performance and I can still hear the roar as they joined in with 'No Laughing in Heaven'.

After the show I went back to the campsite on my motorbike, with a six pack in my rucksack. I joined a few fans by a campfire and after a while noticed movement in the embers. It was one of their friends who was snuggling up to the burning logs for some comfort after a long and emotional evening.

The next day I spoke to my mother and she told me how she had driven and parked on the outskirts of the festival grounds. She climbed on the roof of her car in an attempt to catch a glimpse of me on the stage - I really would have given her tickets and passes had I known, but it was just a spontaneous thing, she lived nearby. Seeing her difficulty, a group of bikers hoisted her up on to the top of the boundary wall and she sat happily with them throughout the entire show.

Cheers, ig

From: Andreas Rifani

Sent: 29 August 2004 03:38

Mr. Gillan,

This may be my emotion talking but I am a fan of yours since 1980 and Smoke on the Water is the first rock and roll song i have ever loved. Please consider playing in Toronto in the near future. Afterall, we Canadians deserve more than just the Bare Naked Ladies :)

Hello Andreas,

Thank you for your fascinating letter. Thank you also for your emotional support. I have pulled out all the stops and persuaded everyone to put in an extra show for you. We have managed to get a last minute date at The Moulson Theatre, eight days ago - on Saturday, 21st August, 2004. I understand the tickets are going fast so get in there quick mate.

Cheers, ig

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