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

75 - Friends & relatives, in the mood, flexible green purple sky, passion stamina,
uncommunicative flare gunner , obliteration by media, singers listed

From: Gert Drews Jensen

Hi Ian,

I know this is just a Q&A, but I have to tell you that my three sons - age 10, 14 and 19 - have inherited my musical taste from the past. During the last couple of years we have been to 4 Purple concerts here in Denmark + Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and the loved it and so did I. Even though Priest were a bit "old" and Maiden didn't play the old tracks enough. Way back in the late 70's and early 80's I went to all rock concerts in Copenhagen and I'm as a father happy that my sons have the same musical taste. Now to the Q's, there's one new and one that's more than 30 years old. Ready?

1) During to the recent death of my father I went through the old stuff in his house and I found a magazine "Kerrang" from 1982 with a picture of your sister Pauline, dressed in black leather, with her boyfriend Paul Dean, and the text said that they were looking for group members. What ever happened to her?

2) This is the old question and you have probably heard this many times. It's about Blackmore. I vaguely remember that I read in a magazine many years ago that the reason that you dislike (or disliked) each other was that the one of you had an affair with the others wife/girlfriend. Please clear out this 30 years old thought in my head. Finally I would like to say that DP - in contrary with some other bands from that period - is still full of power and energy. Keep on going. Last year I watched the Stones here in Denmark. It's not my kind of music but it was an experience and though you can discuss if Keith Richards can play and Mick Jagger can sing, I must admit the truth in the words: The greatest show on earth. And such things matters for the ordinary audience. Look for to next time DP is coming to Denmark.

Keep on rocking,

Gert, Denmark


Hello Gert,

Just a Q & A? Merely a Q & A??????? 1

My sister Pauline is now a teacher in London, I think she would have done really well having a great voice, looks and personality. She made one record but that was about it. However she is very happy and a great teacher.

I do love Ritchie's taste in women; they are all delightful. But no, I didn't have an affair with any of them - yet!

Cheers, ig

1 Listen here Gert, I also take exception to this cavalier attitude towards the Q&A. Ian's right on this point; ok, so he's utterly WRONG when it comes to calculating the starting points of millennia but then we're not all perfect... Steve/ed

From: Manolis Kroussaniotakis

Hi Ian,

I recently dug up my Rakintzis LP on which you sing three songs, one a duet with Michalis. I have a slew of questions, if you are in the mood to answer any of them:

1. How did you end up working with him? Although he comes across as a really nice, down-to-earth guy, his main interest to me was that he and my wife's cousin are spitting images of each other, and of course when I saw you guesting on his record... His musical style is not to my taste- he represented Greece for the Eurovision song contest...- but his writing/playing on the three songs show a much more interesting side to him, for me.

2. Even though the musicianship is not at the level you have been associated with, most of the time the songs really work, especially "I think I know". Have you considered re-recording any of these? Did you contribute to the writing? Ian Gillan with bouzoukis, even pop/radio-ok songs- who would have believed it? And how well they come across!

3. Apart from these songs written for you, I also rate as one of your best contributions "Walk On", written by someone outside of DP on the one band, but very much part of the DP family/spirit as you have said before. These songs, show a more bluesy, melodic rock, rather than hard rock, and I think you could build on this.... How about the next solo record to be along these lines? There will be more IG albums, won't there?

4. Vana Barba???? Those of us from Greece know of this beauty well!
Did you get to meet her?

Manolis Kroussaniotakis


Hello Manolis,

I can't remember how it came about but I'm glad it did. I must admit the main song - Getaway - was a challenge when I heard it. How was I going to make it work? Then the scream appeared from nowhere at the end of my first verse and we all relaxed. And who'd have thought that a blues harmonica would work so well with those scales, it surprised me as much as anyone. You are right, Michalis is a nice guy, and there's nothing wrong with that. His style is light and poppy but he has a depth of emotion and thought that is appreciated by his fans. I must say that when I toured with him the fans were bemused when I walked on to do my spot, they hadn't a clue who I was, but they absolutely adored him. He loves his Rock 'n' Roll though and that project was a great joy to us both.

No, I don't think I would re-record any of those songs; they are what they are. And I had no part in the writing; I just fiddled with some of the words to make them work for me.

Yes, there will be more solo records, when I can fit them in around my priority, which is of course Deep Purple. In fact I had an A & R meeting last week to evaluate the thirty two songs I have in various stages of completion.

A direction? Now there's a thought. A definite pissabolity.

Ah, Vana..yes I met her alright. We shot a video in various exotic locations. For one scene we were standing on a rocky hillside with the ocean in the background, if I remember correctly. There was Michalis and there was I and there, in a gossamer-thin black dress that was blowing in the wind, clinging to her form - and as you know she has some form - was Vana. It was a long shot; the cameras and crew were away on the road, together with a gaggle of friends, including my wife Bron.

Michalis and I exchanged meaningful looks. He indicated that he would like to know her better biblically, but was too shy to ask. No problem, 'Hey Vana, Michalis would like to know you better, in fact I'd like to know you better too; how about we get together for some fun back in the hotel?' I shouted into the wind out of the side of my mouth, so as not to be caught by the camera.

She turned and smiled lasciviously. 'Oh what joy' she purred, 'let's do it. Just one condition though - you must bring your wife, I really fancy her.'

This ranks alongside Sandra Ashton's classic riposte (see anecdotage 43) as the perfect cold shower. She was quite a girl.

Cheers, ig

From: Dan Ceska

Dear Ian,

I am really enjoying your web site, your sense of humour has always made me laugh. I have enjoyed your work with all the various bands you have been in and have seen you perform at the Philadelphia Spectrum for the Sabbath Born Again show and the Perfect Strangers show.

Both shows were excellent. I remember at the start of the Born Again Show you tripped over the microphone cable with the big red boots you were wearing and got up laughing .Perhaps you were trying to see the lyrics on the floor. I had a blast!

I have difficulty remembering lyrics and have to use cheat sheets as well, even for my own stuff.

My main question is about a song which I have on a flexible green piece of plastic called Purple Sky. I think it came with some magazine probably the Kettwanger ....was that recorded with the same guys from Future Shock? Was it available anywhere else? Do I really have something special with it as far as rarity?

I know it is special to me because the Chorus runs through my mind for weeks on end every so often...."Purple Sky,Get Me High " An excellent melody. Thanks very much, a fellow musician and music lover.

Dan Ceska


Hello Dan,

Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed it; we don't have much to laugh about now, in England - except maybe that old rascal Peter Hain.

Regarding Purple Sky, I think you have an extremely rare item. The flexi-plastic disc was indeed issued with a copy of Kettwang! How many still remain in caring hands is unlikely to be a lot, so the value should be more than just a little bit.

Now I have some good news for you. The recording of Purple Sky is to be included in the imminent release of a wealth of back catalogue; lovingly re-mastered and repackaged by Edsel Records. It appears on the Magic CD where the bonus tracks are:

Breaking Chains
Purple Sky
Helter Skelter*
Smokestack Lightning*
South Africa*
South Africa [extended 12" version]*

I can't remember what the asterisks mean, but you can read about the whole shebang on Caramba.

So maybe these new releases, due in April, will raise interest in some of the more obscure material in my catalogue and draw attention to Purple Sky. However you have the floppy and that is rare. Wish I had one.

Cheers, ig

From: Chris Sigman

Hi Ian!

Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of your body of work, and "Gillan's Inn" hasn't left my CD player since the day I purchased it!
I even named my son Ian!

I was privileged to have seen your show this past August in New Hampshire (front stage center) and most sincerely, it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Even my wife, who has not been to one of your shows was blown away. (Missed hearing Trashed tho!)

To my question.

I have been quite lucky that I have had opportunity to catch most of my favorite bands live (I've seen Deep Purple 22 times now) and with that, you tend to "feel" it when an artist is simply going through the motions. With your shows and in particular the Hampton Beach (NH) show, you gave the vibe that you were as thrilled to be there as I was. My question is;

"How, after all these years, do you manage to have such passion for what you do when so many others have lost that loving feeling?"

Finally, I just want to say thank you. You have provided the background music for damned near 30 years of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way!


Chris Sigman
Fall River, Massachusetts


Hello Chris,

Well that's blown me away. I've always believed that the audience is the sixth member of the band. And to hear that you get as much satisfaction at the same level as us is so cool. Also, I'm honoured for little Ian to be named after me. Thank you.

You may be interested to know that - somewhere in the blizzard of Gillan stuff that is being released in the next couple of months - there is a tour edition of Gillan's Inn, along with its accompanying book Smoke This! My record company - immergent - has included some fabulous footage of our American tour. So you may be able to relive your New Hampshire experience at home.

Regarding your question - that I may have already answered - can you imagine working in such a creative environment with incredible musicians and supportive management, not forgetting family and friends?

Passion is not a lonely pursuit.

Cheers, ig

From: Doug Seely

I have always appreciated great talent in music. Your ability to write lyrics are vastly under appreciated by the music world in my opinion. Major congrats on your many successes!

This is a minor question, but when I think about how large a song Smoke on the Water is world wide for so many years, I've always been curious to know. Has the actual "stupid with a flare gun" ever corresponded with you, or have you met him?

To know that you have been immortalized in the #1 Rock Song of all time would definitely make me wonder if I would tell everyone it was me, or would I keep my mouth shut?

Cheers to your career, thanks for great music!



Hello Doug,

Nice words, much appreciated, thank you.

Ha! Now that is a good question.

I didn't meet the guy - officially - and he has never written to me oddly enough, but he did shoot his flare gun from just behind me in the aisle. I caught a glimpse of his back as he ran out. Some people said he got into a Rolls Royce and sped away. I'm not sure you can give much credence to that as there are a lot of fancy cars in Montreux, it could just as well have been a Ferrari.

However, there was talk of a rich Greek guy who boasted in advance that he was going to deliver 'a happening'. That would be a spectacular semi-spontaneous event in the language of the day.

It's all rumour and gossip though and I guess the culprit got away with it, up until I got your letter which has opened a can of worms wouldn't you say?

This brings me to the intriguing question: You've never been caught, so why own up now? I can see there would be an element of kudos attached to such a claim but is it worth the hassle? On reflection I think you should go for it. You never know, some Greek guy might make a counter claim. Then we'd have some fun.

One last question Doug - How old are you?

Cheers, ig

From: Alona

Dear Mr. Gillan,

I am a huge fan of Deep purple as well as your unique vocal talent. You must hear that a lot from your fans so I suppose I should get straight to the point as it would be much appreciated and I would be most obliged if these questions were to be answered.

My one question that really concerns me is regarding today's music which I do not understand being a musician myself.

What is your personal opinion on today's music? Do you think that the media is slowly obliterating the true meaning of Rock n' Roll? As well as do you miss the good old days (60's, 70's)?

Alona (age 14)


Hello Alona,

Thank you for your letter and good question. I remember my early days as a musician; there was no thought of success as it is talked about today.

Earlier today I was doing an interview. We had a laugh and exchanged a few anecdotes. The journalist remarked that all the young musicians he spoke to have an attitude and not much to say. I told him that I'm sure I had an attitude too and not much to say when I was a kid because nothing much had happened and at that age you're immortal, so that's understandable. That's the image side of it though; if I didn't have some real music under my belt at the time then I too might have been seduced by the prospect of fame. Fortunately the business was not as voracious as it is today and I followed my dream relatively untouched by the desire to be a celebrity.

It is very hard for young musicians/bands to develop their talents in the glare of public scrutiny. Also, we are living in a here today, gone today world.

In fact, the talent pool is much greater today, but sadly the focus is very much short term. There is a huge amount of great talent, most of which will die on the vine. It's not their fault; it's the climate in which we live.

It is quite the same in other fields; sport in England particularly is a good example. How many young world beaters end up beating nothing but their own drums?

It's a shame isn't it?

Good luck with your music.

Cheers, ig

From: Marcos Miacci

Hi Ian,

My name is Marcos from brazil, great fan of yours...

I started taking a look at your web site, just recently... and I did not see any question about " What's-your-take-on-these-singers?" kind of stuff.

I mean, I would like to ask you what is your thought about these particular singers below ...... (This is not a "rate-question", it is just your thought about these guys below..)

1) Freddie Mercury
2) Bruce Dickinson
3) Ronnie James Dio
4) Rob Halford
5) Joe Elliot
6) Arthur Brown
7) Meat Loaf

Take care
Thanks you very much indeed.

Marcos Miacci


Hello Marcos,

Thanks for your question and a chance to fill the gap that you have noticed. I have a great respect for all my fellow artists, but let me give you a light hearted response in a stream of consciousness; here goes. I'm typing this very quickly:

Freddie Mercury - bloody brilliant. Freddie was a great singer, front man and personality. I loved him and still do, along with millions and millions of others.

Bruce Dickinson - what a guy, I knew Bruce in his early days. There are one or two stories that he'd prefer me not to mention, but look at him now. He's an accomplished pilot, an internationally recognised fencer, a great front man, with a stylised voice that is perfect for Iron Maiden. He's no Nat King Cole but hey, the man Rocks!

Ronnie James Dio - I've always looked up to Ronnie. When we did an American tour, Ronnie, Klaus Meine and I formed a loose association called - with great deference to The Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras - The Three Fivers. Ronnie James Dio is a great singer and a good mate. Stunning harmonies and footage on Gillan's Inn.

(This picture, courtesy of Bruce Payne, first appearing on this very site in 2002; of course, there could be other captions for this. Actually, we could have an Editor's competition. The first person to suggest the caption that's in my head gets a copy of 'Smoke This'. It's not for the best caption and if no-one gets it then no-one gets a prize. I may be lenient on a near miss - Steve/ed.)

Rob Halford - I have no doubt about his singing ability; I just find him a bit scary!!! All that metal!

Joe Elliot - Joe's a great character and he's with a great band. We've known each other for a long time and his harmony on I'll be your Baby Tonight is awesome. (Gillan's Inn)

Arthur Brown - Fire!! I met Arthur a couple of years ago in a lift at the BBC. 'Ian Gillan' he said, 'Arthur Brown' I replied. We had a brief chat and he came to the Brighton show where we hugged a lot. I had the opportunity to tell him how much his scream let me loose!

Meat Loaf - is a great performer of Jim Steinman songs.

Cheers, ig

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