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

74 - Transatlantic potato conundrum, pirates ahoy, rock on vinyl, GillanHair.cut, the Great Q&a Comparison

From Michael Thomas Roe

Hey Ian,

couldn't help notice that in the title track to "Bananas" you set yourself up to pronounce "bananas" to rhyme with "honours", which would imply that you were going to use the proper English pronunciation. But at the last second you switch to the American pronunciation, thus avoiding the rhyme. Anything deliberate here?

This made me do some thinking about English singers and how some of them (Jagger, Stewart, Plant - the biggies) have adapted American pronunciations in their singing. And then there are the English singers who keep the English pronunciations (early Bowie and Ian Hunter spring to mind). Any thoughts or comments on this? Is rock n roll more suited for the American accent?

It is hope for the dope who rides a horse without a hoof.


Hello Michael Thomas Roe,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to print the lyrics to Bananas.

I was just being mischievous, but you raise an interesting point.

As in your country we have different accents for different regions, although untravelled Americans expect us all to speak the so-called Queen's or Proper English, and that is a serious bone of contention in many English circles.

We do have significant regional variations from - for example - Newcastle to Cornwall, or even from Liverpool to Manchester, and they are almost next door to each other.

You can imagine the difference for yourself if you were to go from Louisiana to Massachusetts - it's equally dramatic.

Quite simply the short 'a' as in 'cat' is very common in English pronunciation. So you will hear dance - like dants - in the North and the West Country and Dance - like darnts - in the South.

Much of our music came from America though, and so it was quite natural for some of the early Brits to emulate the blues or pop exponents from across the water. I used to refer to this as a sub-Atlantic accent.

And doesn't it behove the dope to hope for horses with four hooves instead of three?

As a footnote: The old lyric 'You say potayto and I say potarto' is completely wrong as we all say potayto the same way.

Cheers, ig

Bananas

(Airey, Gillan, Glover, Morse, Paice)

I've got nothing to say today
I used my words up yesterday

I'm just lying here in the sun
Watching you guys having fun

Seven days and seven nights
Working till you get it right

Don't help me I'll help myself
I'll pull some crackers off the shelf

She had her hair done yesterday
Now she's coming out to play

First you pull and then you push
Two in the hand and one in the bush

Oh, my love is
So excited
When I say we've
Been invited
Now we're going
To the palace
Dressing up for
Tea with Alice

Some will rise and some will fall
Some will come to nothing at all

The strangest people have the power
To lead me to my darkest hour

How can you be sure it's me
When it's payment on delivery

Oh, my love is
So excited
When I say we've
Been invited
Now we're going
To the palace
Dressing up for
Tea with Alice
Now my love is
Richer than rich
'Cause I studied
Mathematics
Graduated
Without honours
Everyone has
Gone Bananas


From Chris Fairhurst

Hi,

can you please tell whoever should be interested that there are 2 pirate albums on Itunes (the UK store at least, I don't know about other territories)?

One is a live Gillan album with dreadful bootleg quality sound, which may be a semiofficial Angel Air thing (sorry, I'll wash my mouth out with soap and water later), and the other which is definitely a pirate is a compilation of mk1 stuff called "Soul Masters: Hush" (I'm not sure where they got soul from). I know Ian's not on it but I know he cares about piracy a great deal and he and his management are in a position to hopefully do something about it.

I had to let someone know,

Cheers, Chris


Hello Chris,

Thanks for the info, I do share your concerns but on the face of it there's very little one can do to stop this, other than reflect upon the case that we must be doing alright if we are supporting so many parasites; that's a sign of good health in my book.

However I have passed this on to my legal people, to get their views.

I have written a lot about the ethics of bootlegs/piracy so I won't go into more detail here other than to say that on my forthcoming solo tour in Aug/Sept (dates to be announced here very soon) everyone will be welcome to photograph - with or without flash - film or record whatever they want; I consider that to be part of the ticket.

Regarding the thieves (because that's what they are, the romantic word 'Pirate' is a misnomer, people that steal are quite simply thieves), well they will always exist; it's not the real fans that support this activity. And regarding the use of 'semi-official' in the context of Angel Air (excuse me while I - ah never mind it's not worth it!), none of that material was ever approved by me and is consequently considered sub-standard. I would recommend that no-one should spend another penny on that sad stuff, particularly as we have now set in place a fabulous program of proper, re-releases; news of that on Caramba soon.

Cheers, ig


From "Rad"

Hi Ian,

i know most artist dont sit around listening to there own stuff,but if you had to choose songs from the old days to compare w/todays metal groups,which would you choose........

P.S. Deep Purples (In Rock) album had to be the best production recording i've ever heard,even w/ todays gadgits i havent heard anything w/the same quality of sound as that album from anyone,what was the secret to that album sounding so great........Rad Mangum

   
   

Hi Rad,

That's an interesting point. I have a friend who swears that vinyl sounds better than CDs...'Why do you think that might be Steve?' 'Well, it's the vinyl isn't it!' He replied in that rhetorical way that normally ends the discussion. 'Well, I'm not so sure' I ventured...

In the days when vinyl was the only medium for music, the musicians used to rehearse the material first, then turn up at the studio and set up their gear which was duly miked-up by the engineer. They'd have a run-through to get individual sounds and a balance at which point the producer would utter the magic phrase 'Take One'.

That's exactly how '...In Rock' was recorded, although the more adventurous engineers, like Martin Birch, were trying to capture the excitement of the new live sound, unlike the traditionalists/old school who had been trained to destroy the ambience by baffling it into oblivion. By that I mean they didn't capture the 'room' sound, there were cushions everywhere and the ideal studio was considered to be the place where the words dribbled from your mouth directly to the floor, and they didn't bounce no matter how quickly they fell. Martin put up room mikes as well as close mikes.

BTW that's why 'Rapture sounds like a vinyl record - even though it was sent digitally straight into a computer - it is actually a performance you are hearing on each track and the instruments were miked in the same way as in 1969.

Regarding the first part of your question, that requires a long and complex analysis, so I'd better post this off to Ed. And hopefully have some time for the rest of it another day.

 

Cheers, ig


From David White

Dear Ian,

I hope I find you well and appropriately relaxed enough to answer my question, which I must admit I've been meaning to ask for quite some time...... and which by the way, isn't anywhere near as an important issue as the perils of ice caps melting and rising sea's, the potential loss of our gulf stream, poverty and politics in third world countries, politics in the US of A, or indeed just how are England going to do in the world cup?

No my question was inspired whilst browsing the picture gallery on a DP website today and particularly Kavarna, Bulgaria 2005 or more precisely, what happened between Kavarna and Dusseldorf, September 3rd 2005???

So, why oh why did you get a hair cut?

Gillan's Inn? - love it to bits! Hang me out to dry and Sugar Plum - brilliant! Best wishes with the DP tour, hope to see you live in blighty.

All the best mate
David.


Hello David,

Thanks for the rhetorical tone. I'm really glad you don't find GillanHair.cut as much of a world issue as those that you mention. Personally I would place the problem somewhere between the logistics of routing between Faro and Athens and the difficulties of toileting backstage at outdoor venues.

I don't recall the exact reason for cutting a hair, but once the process had started there was really nothing I could do until they were all shortened to a relative length. I think that it is correct to say that you or I can blame neither the inspiration of Bulgarians nor the anticipation of Germans for this insignificant but - now you mention it - potentially chaotic procedure.

The normal reason for getting my hair cut is because the stuff is getting in my beer when I'm drinking, or my eyes when I'm swimming. However on this occasion I can't remember.

Cheers, ig


(Now this is the point where, upon reflection, I should have become an editorial fascist....... - steve / ed)

Note from ig:

Whilst replying to David White's letter it occurred to me that the questions I get from Caramba contributors are so much brighter than those put forward by - so called - journalists (I haven't come across a music reporter in ages). Mostly they want to know when I'm going to retire or why we don't put the entire ex DP cast together again. As I mentioned to one bloke - '...if your wit was as sharp as your pencil you'd be quite impressive!'

All you have to do is take a brief riffle through some past Q & A's and spot the irony, intelligence and genuine concern from fans and readers about the real issues, and an acute awareness of the living-breathing Deep Purple as well as its historical interest and of course, from time to time, my own bits.

As I promised when we closed the Guest Book here - due to fascist, irrelevant and sometimes libellous activity - I would not avoid the difficult questions; for example about Ritchie, Child in Time etc. All but a handful of the letters to me have been written in a non confrontational, egalitarian tone but were still challenging to answer.

Here's an example of the sort of thing I do every day, either by phone or face to face, but in this case it's one of the increasing number of internet questionnaires from small ponds inc.

This takes a different form to the usual Q & A (Ed hates it!), so my answers are shown in an emboldened font (much, much better terminology than the more usual 'bolded' font. Now, which slayer of the English tongue came up with the term 'bolded'? Come on, stand up! You can't skulk away at the back of the class forever, you know. Not that I'm that best pleased with the wanton waste of black ink used in ig's emboldening - steve / ed). Here we go…

Having recently reviewed "Gillan's Inn" the latest album from Ian Gillan, "legendary singer from Deep Purple", I was offered the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Unusually for me, it was a favourable review, so I was pretty hopeful that Mr Gillan would be favourable to me and my questions. I jumped at the chance - here's what I asked:

To Ian Gillan

1. Do you ever get tired of being called the "legendary singer from Deep Purple"? (I'm guilty of doing this myself, I must admit - but only so lay people would know who you are). Even when you bring out your own solo album, you can't seem to get away from this label, is this a frustration?

Well, I've been called a lot worse.

Sure I have done a lot of other things in my life but - essentially - Deep Purple is the most fulfilling and continuous.

Someone asked me if I felt that I had lived my life in the shadow of Deep Purple. That was a shocking question because I have always - well mostly - considered that I have been bathing in the sunshine of Deep Purple, not lurking in the penumbra.

As for the legendary bit, I had a chat with King Arthur the other day and he said 'Not to worry lad, you keep at it!'

2. This is one to reassure the fans, and the last mention of Deep Purple, I promise; no doubt you are already sick of this question - are you splitting from Deep Purple again?

No. If you could be a fly on the wall in our dressing room, the tour bus or the hotel bar you wouldn't need to ask the question. All is well; I made a record and will - maybe - do some dates.

Right now I have twenty to thirty songs - in various stages of completion - lying around looking for a home. None of these will end up on the next Purple record - that's not the way we work - so what do I do? Wait for a break and have some fun doing something different in order to keep my palate fresh; we all do it, it's called a bit on the side!!!

3. Why choose now for a career retrospective? It has a kind of a finality to it - or is this the beginning of a new chapter?

Last I heard it was an anniversary album, celebrating forty years of hard road. You are talking to the wrong guy when you mention 'finality'. Every journey ends at the start of another and no two people can see things the same way.

4. What's on the cards for the future - are you touring with the album? Or would this be a bit of a logistical nightmare considering the guest appearances?

Logistical nightmare - hmm, now where have I heard that before? If I can find some space I will do some dates - fer sure!

5. I recommend in my review that people should give "Gillan's Inn" a listen for its sheer professionalism and production standards. Some people are never satisfied; how pleased are you with the finished product?

It's very good in all departments; you can't avoid that when Nick Blagona is at the wheel.

6. How and why do the songs on "Gillan's Inn" differ from their original versions - now I know you're going to say "Well…they're better!" - but in what way? Some folk still believe if it ain't broke, don't fix it…

You seem to know a lot more than I do. There was no intention to improve or even challenge the originals. They were all treated with the respect they were due as stepping stones along my journey and as the set list for a party. Apart from obvious freedoms the only intentional change was to 'Loving on Borrowed Time' where the sotto voce intro/outro was dropped into the basement and the dreaded 'Phil Collins' drum break was ritually assassinated.

7. From listening to "Gillan's Inn", it seems that you enjoyed recording the album - was it as much fun as it sounds, or were there any moments where you thought "I don't need this?"

There was not a negative moment. With no lyrics or arrangements to write it was the most 'relaxed' project I have ever experienced.

8. Now's your chance to impress us all with your 'Rock Star' credentials - have you ever demanded anything as befits your status? Do you have an extravagant rider, for example? Underpaid lackeys, or hangers-on?

Well I did have a 'Dirty Old Roller' once. Also, get this; a snotty journo came to my undressing room before a show somewhere and started gurning over the deli table that had been laid out…'…ALL THIS!!' He spat out, whilst flipping his speechless fingers along the generous display of food and drink etc. 'FOR YOU?' So I gave him the cold eye and explained that, first of all we paid for everything that was ever put on a rider. Secondly, I personally never ate before a gig. Thirdly, this was some sort of gesture called 'hospitality' laid out for visitors like him, and finally - I was going to offer him some refreshment before we started but would he please now bugger off quickly and stick his interview up his unlubricated portfolio.

As a direct result of this experience, no journo or bigwig has since been offered a drop or a morsel in my room, and no amount of ogling my two beers and the dried apricot will make me weaken - Moronica can starve or die of thirst for all I care.

9. I travel around and see a lot of bands and acts at various gigs and 'Open Mic' nights - what advice would you give to somebody starting out playing to a half empty smoky pub? How do you keep going?

It's not that easy to explain; music can be a good friend to you but it sometimes takes a while.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, and best of luck with the album and the future.

Cheers, ig


Now class, pay attention.... please compare & contrast with the following. You may write on both sides of the paper and you have 40 minutes to complete the examination. You may feel obliged to use the following, in an emergency, as lavatory paper. If so, you may continue to write or scribble all over it but you may not submit it to the invigilator. By the way, guess who's likely to have written what lies below. Go on, guess. (steve / ed)


Most would simply release a best of, why create an album of new versions of old songs?

Ah, the simple road is not always the best. I prefer to get off the Rock 'n' Roll Highway from time to time and take the scenic route. This is just different musicians paying respect to the originals which cannot be improved upon. A compilation of these tracks would have been a mess and wouldn't cover my formative years, before I started writing. We had a ball.

What is your response to those who would say the old versions are better and they'd rather stick with those?

Well I'd say that you/they would be missing the point.

How did you choose the tracklist from your vast back catalogue?

It was self-selective. Once Tony Iommi said yeah I couldn't miss the opportunity of putting him together with Paicey and Roger on Trashed. Satch was a natural for Unchain your Brain. Janick had to be on Bluesy Blue Sea. Joe Elliott and I got locked into a pub in Dublin many years ago after a football match and sang the entire Everly Brothers catalogue for the landlord and his daughters; hence his harmony on the Dylan track I'll be your baby tonight. Jon Lord and Jeff Healey were the perfect match for When a Blind Man Cries, and so on…it was easy.

You've a very impressive list of performers on the new record, how did you go about recruiting them and working out who would contribute what?

See above, I made some calls and sent some Email messages. The response was immediate and overwhelming. It was amazing to be able to work with so many old mates.

Was there anybody you wanted but couldn't get?

Yes, Brian May was working on the new project for Queen so couldn't make it, sadly.

Reading your biog it quotes Pavarotti as saying he considers you a genius, how does it feel to have that kind of praise from a performer at the top of his game but from a completely different part of music from yours?

Actually he said 'some call him crazy and some call him a genius' - I would have opted for the former, but he chose the latter. You'll have to see the full quote in the forthcoming RockDoc but the meaning behind his quote was not as bland as it sounds. In fact it's all about doing something for a charity, like when we used to play football with great players for a benefit or something. Doesn't mean we're good footballers. Just prepared to have a go, have some fun and raise some dosh.

How are you looking forward to headlining Monsters of Rock?

Hope the rain keeps off, should be great!

What can we expect from the current Deep Purple live show?

Same as always, a mixture of current and historical material all held together with a bit of mayhem. These guys still practice six hours a day and so can hold a musical conversation better than anything you or I could do with mere words.

Which of the fan favourites do you get the biggest kick out of playing live?

Well I enjoy all of it. I can't say what the fan favourites are because it changes from country to country and we are about three months into a two year tour right now. Basically we have to stick to what we've always done; heads down and trust in the lord, as we say.

Which countries do you most look forward to visiting on tour?

Every country has its own attractions, there's no answer to that question.

If you could create your own music festival, where would it be and who would you want to play: past and or present?

It's late here in Sydney and that answer would take too long, please forgive me.

What state do you think the UK metal scene is in right now?

No idea, I know nothing about metal.

What new or current acts have most impressed you: both UK and otherwise.

Could give you a glib answer but I'm sorry, I've been out of the UK for so long I've lost touch.

What advice would you give to a band just starting out?

Learn your instrument and play live as much as you can; then however things turn out music will be a good friend to you.

Have you any idea how long the Deep Purple machine will carry on going?

Oh dear, you were doing so well.

Have you thought ahead to bringing out another album of new Deep Purple material?

Are you out of the loop or what???

Thanks for your time.

No worries, ig

Return to:
Back to the Q&a index