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

71 - unspotted, size of a banana, Barbied Doll, JCS film non-appearance,
voice transplants

From: Neil Wakeman

Hello hi Ian,

Do you drive a Hummer, in black with plate name GILLAN ?????

If so you past us outside the Hollybush pub on the Stourbridge to Bromsgrove Road. You visiting Robert Plant? He lives not far away.

Liked you in the Sabbath album, short lived though.

thanks for your music.
the old times of rock music was good.
thankyou ..... from neil.

Hello Neil,

Thanks for the enquiry. Sorry to disappoint but no I don't drive a Hummer and I don't have personalised number plates either - maybe it was Robert Plant. I have a thirty year old Land Rover and you probably can't see the plates for mud. However I do have a new T-shirt that says on the front 'I am the lead singer of my band'.

Glad you enjoyed Born Again - me too!!

Incidentally I have just re-recorded 'Trashed' along with many others from over the years for my anniversay album, called Gillan's Inn.

Cheers, ig

From: Adam Gelston

Whether I'm Writing to Caramba Or Ian Gillan I Don't know But this is Directed Towards Ian... Which Fans Were You directing the Bananas Album Towards When Writing/Recording it.... Young Or Old???? or was it a one size fits all album...

Adam, 15, Dublin

Hello Adam,

Thanks for your question, it is very interesting.

First of all you are writing to me in person; we have an automated system at Caramba, so that every question sent to the Q & A section is directed to my personal Email address. I read every one. Some are discarded because they contain queries that have already been dealt with. Some aren't questions at all but comments, and others are put into a file named 'Unusual'. This is reserved for the small minority who need to see a doctor sometime soon.

I have explained this before but it bears repeating; the remaining Qs are dealt with by me when I get a few moments or when I'm nagged by Ed.

I send the completed Q & A to Steve Campbell (Ed.) and he queues them for publication; if you look back over the archives you'll see that he does a very good job in the category 'balance'. So sometimes a letter will wait for months until it finds suitable companionship.

Now we've got that sorted may I address your question. Like many aficionados, your question is formed around a presumption and we have to deal with that first or you won't get the answer I think you're looking for.

You ask 'Which fans were we directing the Bananas album towards?' then you helpfully offer three answers 'Young, Old or One Size Fits All'.

Well, shocking as it may seem we don't think of the fans at all when we're writing or recording music; that's the beauty of it. The ideas emerge from the creative consciousness of a group of disparate souls, drawn together by a common thread. That thread or spirit of the band/family gives us those two things that we all need: A sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. If we had set out to achieve a defined commercial end then the whole thing would have come off the rails by 1975.

So, Bananas was just the same as every other record we or I have ever made. Musical and lyrical ideas are developed and blended in a writing process that hasn't changed much in forty five years. The essence of a Rock Band is the importance of all the musicians as opposed to the other forms of music that lay emphasis upon the voice and the production with musicians playing a supportive role - Pop Music basically. For example when I signed my first record deal - Episode Six with Pye Records in 1965 - we were sent to a publisher to find songs. Being little known at the time we were offered only material from the 'bottom drawer' of the filing cabinet stuffed with sheet music of contracted writers.

Roger Glover was already a developing writer but we found it difficult for him to find acceptance within the existing structure of the Music Business (sic) which always seems to place the Business before the Music, and that's a shame - they should go hand in hand - hence Moronica (Any Fule Kno' That).

I have written quite a bit in previous Q & As about the way we write so hopefully this explanation will satisfy your special question.

We are lucky to have all kinds of people coming to our shows and thankfully our fans understand that the music comes from our hearts and minds, not a drawing board.

I hope this makes sense.

Cheers, ig

From: Tomasz Rymer

Hi Ian,

I have question for you.

Have you ever had live performance of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. Even if once. If so, then where and when? If you remember and if, I can ask about such information?


P.S. I was in 1996 on Deep Purple concert. Poznan/Poland. Well, you were great. I apologize for my english.

Hello Tomek, Thanks for your letter, and please don't apologise - your English knocks the spots off my Polish.

In answer to your question, No, I have never performed JCS live. I played JC in the original interpretive studio version, recorded in London, October 1970. I was offered the movie and the live show, but I was very busy with Deep Purple and regretfully had to decline both. As a matter of interest this question has been asked a few times before but it is a good opportunity to remind you all that you can research your topics before sending in your Questions.

For example I went to search, bottom left on the home page of Caramba and typed in JC Superstar - try it - and chose the following from Q & A 16, but there is a lot more on the subject.

Cheers, ig

From: Will Simmons


When you're not on tour, do you grill out? If so, are you a gas or charcoal man? Is there a noticable difference between the way Britons and Americans cook out? Any specific insights into your grill technique, recipes, etc. would be appreciated.

Will Simmons
Pittsburgh, PA USA

Hello Will,

I use charcoal. I suppose there are some differences between U.S. and U.K. styles of grilling.

For example when I was last arrested - ah sorry wrong grilling...

I tend to drink beer and cook sausages - burnt to death; but normally I'm relieved of the cooking because everything ends up looking and tasting like a small black cinder of unknown origin. Delicious I say, but it's not to everyone's taste.

I have a picture of my Ma-in-law, who spent far to long in front of the flames and burned her breasts. We didn't believe her until she lifted her T-shirt. I snapped the evidence and called it 'Barbied Doll'. (truth is always stranger than fiction..... - steve / ed

Cheers, ig

From: Ross Clement

Dear Ian,

If you were forced to swap voices with one of the other singers who has been in DP, who would you swap voices with and why?

And, if you had to swap musical role and abilities with one of the other members of DP, who would you swap with and why?


Hello Ross,

Thanks for your questions.

First, that would be Rod Evans; no disrespect for the others - David, Glen etc - but Rod was there during the nascent period of the band and appeared on the three albums that I bought, loved and played at home regularly. This was before I got the strange and thrilling invitation to replace him!

Second, that would be Ian Paice, because I'd be at the heart of the rhythm section, I wouldn't have to bother with tunes or lyrics and I'd get to sit down all night. There would be other benefits too; those that combine to bring a new dimension to the word 'thrift'.

Cheers, ig

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