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

78 - authors & Mexican food, a history of touring, Mary Jane & Old Bill, excess & early exit,
Martian philosophising, on throatish things, security pickle arrogance

From: Alfonso Fernández

Hi Gillan,

How are you?
I have some questions if ýou don't mind :

I was wondering, how much do you like literature and who are your favorite writers?, do you think that literature and music are a good mixture?

And finally, have you ever tried Mexican food, what do you think about it?

Hope read your answers!

Best wishes
Alfonso Fernández


Hello Alfonso,

If you have an appreciation of music and literature early in your life then you are already wealthy.

You must stimulate the imagination of a child if you expect it to function in maturity. Good literature makes you think, but you need a little help in the beginning and for me it all started with bedtime stories.

I didn't have the benefit of Dahl until reading to my own daughter, so then came Kipling, Melville, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Homer, Twain, Hemingway, Asimov, Le Carre, Hunter S. Thompson and so on; I could build a house from the books I've read - In fact I'm sure my library is holding up the roof.

Sure, I have tried Mexican food - in Mexico and many other countries. I love the flavours and the honesty of Mexican cuisine. Like Italian, it is honest food served in a cheery ambience with unpretentious liquid accoutrements.

Cheers, ig

From: Simone Wagner

Ian Hey!

Yes I would like to write in English, but my vocabulary in that language is still rather limited.

So first I must apologise for the absolutely brilliant concert in Benediktbeuern thanks! It was the purest joy watching you! We have also had the good fortune to rent a room in the front row to get, so direct field of vision to you (and an incredible volume, we were right in front of the guitar amps).

I now have a more general question of the tours in the 70s. I am 16 years old, and therefore little idea about this time, but I have set in the head, a book about a band at this time to write, and now it would be interested in me, as it then was, on accommodation, transportation, preparation, daily operations, etc. heat great if you could help me. I would also be interesting if you change your life with Deep Purple Mk 2 occupation in three (okay, it may also four) words could simply the first terms that you will invade! Quite spontaneously.

Thank you in advance, for reading. I know that you have quite a few e-mails get, and probably contain 70% of the same as my, but an attempt is worth :-)

So, thank you again, I hope that I have in Munich in November can listen :-)

Many greetings
Simone Wagner (Munich)


Hello Simone,

Thank you for your letter and kind words. Glad you enjoyed the show in Benediktbeuern; great location wasn't it - interesting guest on stage too.

Not sure if I can do all that in just a few words, because the complexity of a DP world tour would require a book in itself. But you have got me thinking about how the logistics have changed over the decades. Of course, in the beginning it was hard enough to put together the basic elements:- musicians, bookings, transport and even the most rudimentary equipment.

Rehearsals would be in someone's house, until we got thrown out by irate parents/neighbours. Bookings would be normally unpaid in return for rehearsal facilities in the storage room at the local youth club or school. Transport would be shank's pony or bus, and equipment - well - my first amplification was a Grundig tape recorder with a table microphone attached by a three foot cord. Being the drummer too, I had a Sally Army bass drum (with no pegs, so it marched away at the first kick - no pedal either), a hi-hat mechanism with one cymbal that rose and fell impressively but without that percussive effect that would have been so usefully provided by a lower partner. A Gigster side-drum with one strand remaining on the snare. And - Oh yes, one stick and one brush made up the weirdly exciting, but almost totally silent, kit.

As we got better and more determined everything became larger - including egos. We obtained more bookings and developed a coterie of loyal friends who unknowingly became our first roadies. I'll skip the next few years because it was a largely forgettable period of hope and disappointment mainly spent learning the craft that was to serve us so well in later times.

Things reached a peak in the early eighties. Many articulated lorries and coaches were required to transport our equipment and army of roadies from one venue to another. Bookings became itineraries, words like venues and concerts were added to our vocabularies, roadies became crew (collectively) and technicians (individually), and - sadly - 'a thousand on a raft' (beans on toast at the Blue Boar) could no longer be found when you followed the signs and your nose to 'catering'.

Then everything got a bit smaller again due to digital technology so we don't quite need the convoys of old, in fact everything has been downsized although - paradoxically - the tours are bigger than ever.

On the subject of personal comfort, the lyrics of '69 describe the discomfort of flying through the night in a beat-up wagon with a mike stand up my jacksie. After that we had decent cars, but it's not a good idea for a band to travel separately, so we spent most of out lives in tour buses for the long haul (check out 'Hurtling' in DF 1, Oct '96) and vans for local stuff. We still use the vans but charter planes have replaced the buses - much to the chagrin of Don Airey - so we cover the ground more quickly and sleep in non-moving beds, which for the most part is beneficial.

Cheers, ig

From: Nunzio


i'm nunzio. an italian boy. i have one question for you: what do you think about the legalization of marijuana? thank you for your time. you are a cosmic person. Bye

i wait the ask


Hello Nunzio,

Personally I prefer blissing (see DF#40), but look at what happened when I tried it in Heathrow airport…the problem is the kind of people who enforce the rules. It's not as if we have a copper on every street corner anymore. Police are no longer part of the community. In England, Old Bill is now the enemy of nearly all who consider themselves to be law abiding members of society (as opposed to involuntary rule breakers).

Regarding marijuana specifically I support the use but not the abuse, and so long as it is criminalised, society will have to deal with criminals and we know where that leads. There's an old truism… 'prohibition never works'.

Look what criminals have done to the natural coca leaf.. Instead of it being a pleasant chew or brew (coca tea is a mild pick-me-up), it has been chemicalised so that idiots can shove toxic powder up their stupid noses.

However you'll always get some smarty pants saying 'Well, we banned murder, cannibalism and slavery, women squatting to give birth and all that worked…' yawn, yes mate, you're quite right, you win.

Where's my Bliss????


Extract from DF#40…

...Anyway, there it was in the pages of another bloody miserable BA experience - Liar, Liar, Frequent Flier.

So, I put a Bliss to my lips, focused upon a secret place, and then drew back gently.
'Excuse me Sir!! You can't smoke in the Terminal.'
'Yes, I know.'
'Sir!! You have to put out that cigarette.'
'What cigarette?'
'Sir, I'm calling security - YOU CANNOT SMOKE IN HERE!!!!!!'
'Do you see any smoke?'
Security arrives - puffing...
'Gentlemen, what's the problem? Oh, I see, SIR - You are under arrest for smoking.'
'But I'm not smoking. Do you see any smoke? I have no lighter; this thing is not on fire.'
'THAT is a cigarette and it's against the law.'
'Actually, if you look carefully you'll see that it's not a cigarette, I'm Blissing.'

'Yes, it's my new invention. You draw on one end of the Bliss - this one is filtered - and then just use your imagination; it's quite nice really. There's no tobacco, and you get no flames smoke or ash. No matches or lighters are required. Can you smell anything? No, it's odourless. It has no effect on anyone except of course the inhaler.'
'But we don't like the look of this - Do you have a license?'
'Don't need one.'
'But I'm just sucking on a tube.'
'Well, it looks like a cigarette and until we've decided that it isn't, you are under arrest - and we'll take those cigarettes for analysis.'
'They're not cigarettes.'
'You need a lawyer?'
'No, I need a cigarette.'
'Put it out!'
'I cannot - 'tis not alight.'

Cheers, ig

From: Jason


In nearly every artistic medium, there are countless examples of artists who died prematurely as the result of addiction to and experimentation with a variety of substances. Many of these individuals were wildly talented and creative people - in the Deep Purple family, the example of Tommy Bolin immediately leaps to mind.

These behaviours often begin under the pretence of expanding creativity and opening perceptions to new experiences. But so often they seem to hinder artistic progress rather than enhancing it; I think the exceptions to this are rare. Furthermore, they seem like a short cut in lieu of working at your craft and integrating life's experiences into your consciousness.

So many have taken the poet William Blake's dictum that "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" as some kind of doctrine to justify self-destruction.

The cliche of the suffering artist, the sense of entitlement that such a point of view engenders, and the indulgence we allow such talented people have silenced more important voices than any amount of critical neglect ever did.

I'm interested in your point of view on this subject; your experience in this area is unique and authoritative. Do you think that your drinking or drug experiences made you a better songwriter or musician?

If not, was there a time when you believed this to be so? Do you have any personal experiences in dealing with this that you would care to share? What are your thoughts on the concept in general? I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter.

God bless you, and long may you continue to create, experience, and love.

Bloomington, Indiana


Hello Jason,

That's not a difficult question. I think it's impossible to write or perform any better under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It may be that some naturally talented people get rid of their inhibitions in bohemian company, and those benefits may be long lasting, but there is no finer condition for writing than with a clear head and a keen disposition.

The path of knowledge is littered with the corpses of dead genii who've done their brains on mescal, opium, LSD, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana and so on; all in the cause of higher things.

Like smart paedophiles claiming their downloads to be 'research' it is self-delusionary rubbish. If you want to get legless then don't use your thirst for knowledge as an excuse for a week at the bar.

That's not to say that when you wake up after a sensational binge you can't write eloquently about the debauchery, misanthropy or glimpses of higher things. And if you're able to employ irony it might even be worth reading.

Blake's words are obviously not meant to be taken literally, any more than 'rules are made to be broken'. Most would scoff, but some might say that metaphysical experiences are part of an enlarged reality. I'd say anything that gives you a broader perspective is of some value, but not if it becomes the dominant feature of the view because then it is reduced to dogma and becomes worthless. A shift of stance is patently beneficial in order to triangulate the object, see its other sides. Either that or the object itself has to shift, as the stars did to early observers of the heavens, and as the Sphere did in order to help Mr. Square grasp the idea that there was another dimension - other than the two in Flatland where he lived - it just had to jump up and down to become visible (Abbott).

As for your question about whether society should allow such indulgences I have no doubt that it should. Consider the alternative anodyne world of homogenous guardians and regulators with nothing to rail against. What would the pulse of humanity throw up in answer to that?

Cheers, ig

From: Franz Lehmann

Dear Ian,

Many people around me are very astonished because I love Deep Purple. I cannot stop hearing it and sometimes, when I hear you singing on CD (or LP!!!), I cry together with you.

But I do not only love that old-classics, I am also interested in martial-arts. I can say that it is the basic of my life.

Therefore I would like to know whether you had ever contact to martial-arts or the philosophy of asia.

Thank you very much for reading and answering.

Sorry for my bad English - I tried my best.

A german fan,
Franz Lehmann


Hello Franz,

Thanks for writing. I don't know much about the physical side of Martial Arts but the spiritual and psychological aspects have fascinated me for a long time. From Judo or Ju Jitzu - never quite sure which - I learned how to use the strength of an opponent to my advantage; that's when I realised the importance of being centred or balanced.

One of the first things my mother taught me was to be aware of my surroundings. So I like to use all of my senses,....... to use more than just my eyes. Feel the tremor, the movement of air, listen for something that shouldn't be there. Know what is behind me, around the corner and over the hill.

And once, something called Iron Horse came in very useful in a moment of violence.

As for the philosophy of Asia - as Confucious once said, Have you got a minute?

Cheers, ig

From: Geffen

Hello Ian,

My name is Geffen and I've been to DP concert in Israel on the 17th of September (last month). It was amazing and beyond anything I expected. I was so moved that I persuaded my friends to stay after the show (it was easy) so that I could shake your hand and say thanks for this experience. my friends (my drummer and his lady friend) didn't leave empty handed, they got your autograph and photos of you :-) Roger Glover and yourself stepped out of the car and very kindly apologized for keeping us out there for so long... you were very sweet and I would like to thank you once again for the most beautiful, moving and inspirational show!

I'm very glad to discover your official website, especially the Q&a part. my appreciation to Steve/Ed and yourself for a very special, sharp and enjoyable humour.. It might got you in trouble in the past, but some do appreciate it :-)

My question for now is:
As you can already guess, I have a band :-) my question is about singing and touring: I saw that you sometimes have two or three shows scheduled day after another. doesn't it weigh heavily on your vocal chords? (makes it tired, sore etc.)
I wonder how you keep your voice and your throat from getting sore during a tour? and if it does give you problems, how do you deal with a sore throat or worse (god forbid!!) in the middle of a busy tour?

With love and appreciation,

My Band's website is: If you have the time and patience to listen I'll be grateful forever!!! :-)


Hello Geffen,

I used to get terrible trouble with my throat until a smart doctor (Theobold) in München identified the problem as grossly infected tonsils, which led to bad projection as I began to sing unnaturally, which of course led to inflamed vocal cords and nodules.

All the celebrity/high priced Harley Street ENT experts agreed - my nodules should be removed surgically. They all suggested voice training so I could sing correctly and all that rubbish.

Professor T said I should have my tonsils out as that was the cause of all the other troubles. So I took his advice and have never had a problem since - apart from the occasional rare lurgi that can't be avoided when flying commercially.

But in general I have no sore throats and no strains. I put this down to a relaxed approach to our performances and the power of meditation. That may sound a bit odd but I do (still) get the butterflies of nervous excitement every show day when I wake up. My adrenal glands are capable of pumping enough juice to power a small city so I have to keep them passive until I walk onstage, otherwise I'd be drained of all strength.

So, I do my interviews in the morning before the journey, then focus on anything but the evening's performance. This could be writing, reading, cryptic crosswords or Mah Jong (I'm hooked), going for a stroll, followed by a massage and then - my favourite - a siesta.

Ain't life grand…

Cheers, ig

From: Jeff Lundius

Hello Ian,

Just returned from the Frankfurt concert (7 Nov) and really enjoyed it! Near the end you were singing Highway Star and talking to a Security guy (?) standing by the bass amps on the floor to your right (I was just in front of those amps in the first row). You were ticked off about something and did tell the guy to "f*** off" ... unless those are new lyrics to Highway Star :-) Just curious what that was all about.

And since I am here and a harp player myself .... what model were you playing? You stuck it in your pocket too quickly.

Best regards,
Jeff Lundius


Hello Jeff,

You are right I was angry and I did tell him to footle off. What is it about these guys that makes them so busy. Their job is not to control the crowd; that is done by the configuration of the hall. Their job is to be helpful to the audience. If some nutter causes a problem then sure, deal with it. But our audiences are there to enjoy themselves and don't need to be threatened by some bulging thug when they lean over the barrier to claim a Morse or Glover pick. To be fair security has been fantastic lately, but it only takes one doesn't it.

I tried to be pleasant at first but the arrogant pickle wanted a fight - so I had him removed.

The worst example of this is at Wembley in London where the nasty BTs sit glaring at a seated crowd - daring them to move. Horrible it is.

I play a couple (C and D) of ancient Hohner Blues Harps, the old ones were actually made in Germany and you can slide them about without lacerating your lips. I give them a rinse in my ice bucket before the show, then shake them out. I suck as a harp player so this practice stops me choking on dust as well as brightening the sound of the reeds.

Cheers, ig

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