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

80 Ferropolian raincoat sex appeal, private stuff, home is where the hat is,
jumping sphere triangulation, tour annoyance, Brief Encounter, Q&A within the Q&A

From: Alessia

Hello Ian,

How are you?

I hope all is well with you and your family and I hope that on your face there is a beautiful smile.

Today I decided to stop myself with telepathic messages and so I write you this Email.

I continue to follow the events that concern you.

My favorite moment was when you sang in Ferropolis, so it would have been nice to be there.
It's fun to sing almost naked?
The effect with your raincoat was sexy, but above you are very lovely! :-)

Now I wait Deep Purple in Italy.

It's a long time that I want to ask you a question: What do you think about your alter ego Garth Rockett? Have you ever afraid of him?

I wait anxiously your eventual answer and I send you a warm greeting.

Love.
Alessia

 

Hello Alessia,

Please continue with the telepathic messages. They will be received when I regain my innocence but interim I am still groping for the medium upon which they travel.

It was cold and wet in the dark bowels of Ferropolis. The less than adequate promoter provided two feeble sound boxes and a barely covered stage upon which the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra huddled in drenched confusion.

At the merciful interval I was as saturated and miserable as the audience when Sally - my PA - told me that at least someone was profiting from this experience by selling plastic ponchos. I had no change of clothes and so...ha ha, guess what.

The orchestra nearly choked when I reappeared wearing nothing but a transparent pacamac, but they played with renewed gusto and the audience got up and started dancing, so it was worth it in the end as the concert was saved - but really you had to be there to appreciate the horror and hilarity of it all.

Garth is actually very helpful to me although I would never admit it to his face.

Cheers, ig


From: Elena Barros

Do you usually talk about your personal life, I mean, whether you´re married, how many kids you have, this kind of stuff?

I´ve tried to look for this kind of information online, but I can only find info about your career.

Sorry if I´m being too nosy!

Kisses,
Elena

 

Hello Elena,

That's alright, it's a fair enough question - but no, I don't usually talk about private stuff.

I never really thought about it before but I do have a long-held distaste for personal publicity; it's a side of 'the business' I don't like much.

This is clearly a character flaw that has led to a shadowy existence lurking in the corridors of enigma and understatement, all the while peering around corners and under tables in fear of meeting my alter ego.

My Wig and my Wam are not in balance.

Cheers, ig


From: Tom Green

Hello Ian,

I am a huge fan of Deep Purple and your other projects, particularly because of your vocals. I would be really interested to know why you have almost always chosen to record your own backing vocals on Deep Purple tracks. I think it sounds great, but has it always been this way because no one else in the band can sing? Haha! I recently saw you in Manchester, thanks for a great night and I hope you'll visit the UK again soon. I understand that you are now living in Portugal? I hope you and the family are well and happy there.

Regards,
Tom Green

 

Hello Tom,

Backing Vocals (BVs) can range from a simple call and response, like The Javelins on 'Can I get a Witness' - where it doesn't really have to be tuneful, just rhythmic - to complex harmonies as on DP's 'Never a Word' where texture is vital to create the desired effect.

The ideas normally come as I'm performing in the studio during the writing process. I let them develop naturally and by the time I'm done they seem alright - so generally there's no need to call in the troops.

Funny how rumours start and end up being facts isn't it. I do have a place in Portugal, but if where I keep all my stuff can be taken as the criterion for official residence then I still live in England with my family. Admittedly I'm hardly there these days as our work is broadly international but I don't live in Portugal.

Cheers, ig


From: Mat Kutub

Ian,

A short but heartfelt thank you for your web site.

I'm a regular reader of it and hugely enjoy the intelligent and witty comments I find in it. What drove me to email though was the "Magic Bus" story, which stirred me greatly as a fantastic window into the magical relationship between Father and Son. It also perfectly encapsulated the awe a son has for a father, and reminded me of how I felt for my own father (he died 18 months ago) and my joy for my own son.

Thank you once again. For me it's an added bonus on top of the literally thousands of hours pleasure I've had listening to your music and seeing you on stage.

Regards,
Mat Kutub

 

Hello Mat,

I'm glad you found some comfort in the parable of the magic bus. It was a miracle at the time but from a higher point later in my life its character became a triangulation point to Abbott's elusive jumping sphere (Flatland) and so - in my madness - gave me a fix on dimensions hitherto beyond my understanding.

I'm talking about things that dwell over hills, around corners and under tables and before the Big Bang: Things I can't see from a fixed position but will become apparent if I shift my stance.

Cheers, ig


From: Simon Wakely

Dear Ian,

I'm a bit annoyed - and have been for a while … so rather than sit on it I thought I'd let you (and hopefully the rest of Deep Purple) know.

In this month's Classic Rock magazine Roger Glover was asked: Five dates including two in London, it's not an especially long tour.

His reply: "I agree, but it's not me that books the dates. There was some discussion about doing lots of little halls up and down the country, but I guess we'd have lost money on that. Five is much better than one, but not as good as 12 or 13"

Sorry, but this is rubbish.
Since when are places like Plymouth Pavilions, the BIC (Bournemouth), Nottingham Trent Arena and so on small halls? I do not believe that DP (or anyone else) loses money by playing these places. They might not make as much, but I'd be very surprised if you'd actually lose money. A quick look around the internet reveals:

MEN - capacity 30 000
NIA (Birmingham) - capacity 13 000
Hammersmith Apollo - Capacity 5 039
Glasgow - Clyde Auditorium - capacity 3 000

and examples (not quite at random) of venues not played, but would give a much better geographical coverage:
BIC - 4,200
Trent Arena - Capacity 10 000
Plymouth Pavilions - 4 000

Certainly the BIC and Plymouth are at the lower end, but DP are playing Glasgow with a capacity of 1000+ less. Nottingham Trent Arena stacks up quite well I think. The Hammersmith Apollo is hardly massive is it? So the question remains - if they make money at Glasgow, why will you lose money at either Bournemouth or Plymouth where the capacity is 1000 more?

This feels like a kick in the teeth for long standing Purple fans. Of course you're in it for money (I would not expect you to tour and lose money) - but it looks to me as if you do not really want to tour the UK and that you're turning your backs on those who have supported you for so long. All this coupled with what you've said recently about the UK rock scene (with which I agree!) together with you saying something along the lines of "we're not sure when we'll be back" makes me very pessimistic. I was lucky enough to see DP at The British Motor Show but that cost me well over £650 (tickets, hotel , travel, food etc etc) - something I was not in a position to repeat this year. I was hopeful you saying you were going to tour smaller venues this year were true …

But this attitude to fans is not unique to DP - but DP's attitude saddens me particularly. I've been a fan for virtually all my life (1st DP LP bought when I was 7!!!) and this seems very poor to me. I don't really expect any kind of reply - though it would be nice!! But there are many of us who feel the same.

We've supported you - time to return the favour?

Simon Wakely

 

Hello Simon,

I haven't read the article so I'll take your quote as accurate.

Nor have I spoken to Rog about this as I've only just got your letter and it's knocking on a bit here in Helsinki - I don't like to wake him on a night off, even though I can't sleep.

Had it been me we would have done 24 theatre size venues around the UK.

But it wasn't me or DP or the manager or the agent or the promoter - it was circumstances.

It most definitely was not the money. Even if we'd agreed to work for nothing (and we've done that before), even if we'd further reduced the ticket prices (to less than reasonable - que???) there still would have been no more than a few dates this time around. Your figures are fair enough but you miss the element of 'demand'. Sure we could have done plenty of unfilled halls, but that would have been no good for anyone; certainly not us and especially all you guys that want to see things going well. I can't imagine fans that would enjoy standing around in a venue with no atmosphere.

It's obvious to me that we did all we could in the UK as far as ticket sales were concerned but (there may be some raised eyebrows back at base camp for me saying this but…) we could have explained it a little better, and for that I apologise. Particularly for my caustic ramblings in 'that' interview - I swore I was going to do no media at all in the UK (what's the point?) but one slipped through on a bad day.

There's nothing I would like better than to embark on an extensive tour of the UK but there's some slack water there (and the USA) right now - particularly in comparison to all other territories. I have my own theories on that but it's really another subject and I've said enough today.

Cheers, ig


From: Michael Steiner

What happened to the dwarf from the Born Again tour? Did he suffer any long-term injuries from falling off Stonehenge?

 

Hello Michael,

As far as I know they were all short term injuries.

Cheers, ig


From: Tovisi Eniko

Dear Mr. Gillan,

Since I've found out about Q&A (what a surprise I can ask questions- maybe answered- must have missed many years in music business) I thought to resend my original mail added by some questions. It would make me so happy if you read the whole thing-I know it's long and thousands of mail sent to you in a short time-but it means so much to me.

Questions:

1. Have you ever lost - I mean really lost-patience towards fans or journalists? (you seem to have so much patience and tolerance).

ig: I've never really really really lost it. Most fans are terrific; generally speaking I've found them to be kind, non-intrusive and understanding of my shortcomings - i.e. I can't please everybody because I'm not trying to (does that make sense?).

I get an ear bashing now and then for a perceived sleight or injustice, but like all things it depends where you're standing and I understand that so never take offence. And bigotry isn't worth getting worked up about is it.

As for journalists, well there really aren't many of them in my line of work; you need more than a backstage pass to describe yourself thus. They are mostly music lovers, reporters who work within their chosen genre, so their thoughts and scribbles tend to be subjective.

However - with the clear exception of a super few - the loftier breed of intellectual vandals that call themselves journalists or critics have to be feared because without their patronage you are dead in the popular market. These are the arbiters of taste, the left-over prefects of a teenage army; the conscripts to which have long moved on. They define the flavour of the weak (sorry, week) - to be fashionable today is all that counts. Tomorrow you're not even history - yes, who on earth do we think we are? Do I know who I am young man?

No, it's not worth getting excited about these people - they come and go almost as quickly as their protégés. Fortunately our style is not fashionable, he he.

2. My daughter is 12 years old. This was the time in my life when I met your voice and music for the first time. This special event made me turn to rock/blues.

She listens to Lady GaGa, Hannah Montana etc. (there must be something wrong with her). I'd like her to listen to khm...musically higher level performances. She seems to be a GaGa fanatic. Of course I don't tell her it's shit ('though I think so) and I don't expect her to be a Gillan/DP fan but tried to present her some of my fave bands/music and she did not show much interest.(she said she liked two songs only -at least these two-Smoke on The Water and Sleeping On the Job(!).)

How can I direct her to listen to 'normal' music, even if it's not rock? Can you offer me some hits of Yours I can try with? (don't know maybe from album Accidentally on Purpose?!).

ig: I would leave her alone to enjoy the music of her generation. No matter what you think of it, pop music defines her age group. She will resent your music if it's thrust upon her, but - if she grows to like music - not everybody does - soon her taste will broaden, then she'll start raiding your collection. That's normal.

3. What's your opinion (I know it about piracy) concerning the uploads of your albums i.e. to YouTube etc.? I met 'One Eye to Morocco' for the first time there and ok. I bought it immediately as I want to listen to it in hi-fi quality and in our car too but these uploads are done by fans. Do you mind it? I think a fan's top appreciation to buy the albums and go to live performances if possible.

ig: There used to be a clear line between bootlegging and piracy that made it easy to support one and condemn the other.

Bootlegs would be taped copies of live recordings - price according to quality or rarity - bought and sold between aficionados of the artiste or anoraks of rock. We all knew that there was a code of honour on this side of the street, i.e. most collectors had everything legitimately available from the artiste and so no-one was losing out. Surplus trading merely greased the wheels and was therefore nothing to worry about.

Piracy on the other hand was straightforward theft. Studio albums would be mass copied with high quality artwork so punters were often unaware of the source. This practice was hugely damaging to the industry.

While I'm at it let's dispel the often bandied impression that it is only the rich and famous artistes that suffer and they can afford it can't they. In fact they can afford it but it is not them that really suffer...it's the knock-on effect that shrinks an industry once so mighty. Whilst a lot of the music business troubles and woes since the digital age really began in 1982 were self inflicted, what I called The Napster paradox was as evidently self-devouring as the 'Free Music..' campaign fronted by Edgar Broughton in the early seventies.

However time moves on and we learn from history that chaos can reign in every walk of natural life. As it was with the transistor that gave us freedom from huge valves and - as a result - portable radios (music), so the internet has redefined the mechanics of our business and leisure patterns to the extent that the latest methods of exchanging music have demanded new ways of making it.

I'm not sure I understand it any more than others who grew up in the flat world, but one thing has never changed and that is the live performance of music. Sure it irritates me that anyone with a camera can send images from a venue to YouTube - that's poking your nose in where you're not invited. And we still have to pay our fantastic crew, and get them from A to B, and foot the bill for all the logisics without a penny ticket from the up/down/freeloaders - but I'll get over it, that's progress.

Thanks for all-really!

Szia ( this is the Hungarian 'see you'),
Eniko

Cheers, ig

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