83 Greeks bearing questions
The following Q&A comes from interviews given to Greek publications in advance of the coming Greek Tour
From: 'Makedonia' newspaper
1. You come quite often to Greece. Do you have any special memories of the country? And what would you like to tell to your Greek fans?
I have many fantastic memories of Greece, going back to a Gillan band riot in an Athens football stadium (can never remember which club- duh!), to a band holiday in Thessaloniki, family holidays with friends in Kea (I might just go back there and drink some hemlock if I live to be seventy - Ha!) as well as the busier islands, and of course all the lovely and varied shows we have done there over the years. Thank you, you have a lovely country and a great life-style.
2. Why have DEEP PURPLE lasted so long? Why are the musicians of your generation considered magical?
I think it is probably quite simple. We were never driven by commerciality and our roots are widely spread. We were lucky to be around at a time when musicians were not concerned with ‘the business’ just the music. That made it easy to appreciate, and trust.
3. How does it feel to be loved and worshiped by so many people around the world? Is it hard to be an icon?
I do not see it that way, of course it is nice to be appreciated and some people get quite fanatical, but generally I think it’s the music and the performances that people love. The audience is the sixth member of the group. This is not false humility - I really do try to keep in touch with reality and do not allow the fame to affect my day-to-day life. Don’t forget we’ve all had some very hard times too, and you look pretty daft strutting around like a peacock when you don’t have two pennies to rub together.
4. What about the music industry today and the “stars” that are produced by it?
Well, times have certainly changed and there are different priorities now. I am often asked by young musicians ‘how can I be famous?’ Truthfully I have no answer to that question, but I do say ‘…if you want to be a good musician you must practise for six hours a day.’ This invariably produces an expression of confusion and disbelief.
5. Is there anything throughout your career and your life you wish you’d done differently?
This is a futile exercise as you only get one chance in life and you should learn from every mistake. Having said that I would have liked to have gone to University, but there was no chance when music filled my life. Also, there’s one guy I should have punched on the nose, but I guess self-restraint is not such a bad thing.
Which is the main difference between being a part of a group and doing a solo career?
The best way to describe it is that being part of a group is like doing an enjoyable and rewarding job. Whereas solo projects are more like hobbies and pastimes.
What have you learned about yourself living as an artist?
The whole point of being an artist - in any field - is to be expressive. I am naturally shy so it has taken a lifetime to develop the confidence to write freely.
If you weren’t a musician and a singer, what else you could do in your life?
Well, I loved sport when I was young and was quite average at most things from athletics (pole vault and javelin) to football and cricket. I was ok at chess too, but not really good enough at any of them to make a living. I have always enjoyed working with wood, but I’m as happy bashing nails into floor boards as I am designing and making a fine mahogany desk, so a career in carpentry or joinery would have probably been a bit iffy. You didn’t mention ‘writing’ which has been the most rewarding part of my life (after writing some books and nearly 500 songs), so I’ll say that I could have been a writer, maybe a journalist or novelist.
There is a financial crisis worldwide and a lot of reactions and changes in the Arabic world. Do you have any thoughts about the whole situation?
Too many to mention here other than the thought that came to me recently…that Charles Darwin didn’t finish his book. We have come to appreciate that ‘survival’ is vital to the evolution of man. ‘Adapt or die’. And we make alliances or support our regional ‘culture’ in order to fight off the enemy that wants to take our land or suffocate our ideology. However, it is my belief that the driving force behind humanity is not merely survival, but - unpleasant as it sounds - supremacy. Even religions fight for supremacy…even sects within religions fight for supremacy…Protestant/Catholic in my experience, blowing the bejaysus out of each the in the name of some dogmatic tenets that are lost in the mists of time. Shia/Sunni etc, etc etc, and so on and so on and so on. As for modern politics…let us say it doesn’t serve democracy well as vested interests are invariably placed before the good of the people at large. Professor Dawkins recently wrote a book called ‘The God Delusion’, which I mercilessly criticised on my website www.gillan.com on the basis that the book wasn’t about ‘god’ at all, but about religion. You mustn’t confuse the two. For example, if I was born in Mecca, it is most unlikely that I would have grown up to be a Rastafarian, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, etc. And if you follow that line of thinking you may agree with me that religions - all religions - are environmental and merely a local interpretation of the ways of the human spirit, which we might as well call ‘god’ because that’s a word we understand. In other words the Arab world is going through the same upheaval that inflicted the so-called Christian world during the Reformation. Significantly, that period also produced the Renaissance so maybe we can expect another great creative age to follow the imminent upheaval. Always look on the bright side I say.
What is the main desire or motive for a singer, like you, to keep rocking in his 66?
To be honest I find it strange to be rocking away at my age. It seems almost undignified and I think I’ll stop quite soon.
From: Kostis of 'Rocking.gr'
It has been almost 6 years since “Rapture Of The Deep”. Are there any plans for a new Deep Purple album?
How time flies. Actually I don’t remember plans being made at any time in the history of Deep Purple. Of course you get the essential stuff, like planning tours and I’d say that’s a fairly recent thing looking at some of the old routings. But long term plans, strategic thinking has never been our way. However the general feeling is that it’s about time to write some new material, so we have had a session in Spain, and who knows, we may have another one somewhere else sooner or later. Hard to tell really but once something gains momentum it generally picks up speed, and the ideas were quite promising. We’ll see.
In some of your summer shows you are going to be accompanied by an orchestra. Could you give us any information or details on how this came up?
Not really, the idea gained ground because we all fancied it for a change and the promoters loved it, so a button was pressed somewhere, by someone. I’m looking forward to it. Will these shows include parts of Jon Lord’s “Concerto For Group And Orchestra” or maybe some solo tracks, as in your tour back in 2000-01? No. We’re talking about the set list now - because orchestras need to have paperwork and that means preparation, and there’s no mention of that material.
You recently recorded two new songs with Tony Iommi, Jon and Nicko McBrain. When are these songs going to be released? Are there any thoughts for a full album with this project?
These are coming out around 6th May, we have no plans (again) for anything further towards this project, but who knows what can happen in the future…
I know that you always cared about politics. Greece is currently facing a huge economic crisis, and so do Ireland and Portugal. Do you believe that the end of the Eurozone is near? What is your opinion on the situation?
Yes, I have written a lot about the EU or Common Market as it was originally named. You’ve heard about mission creep in military terms? That’s when a simple idea becomes mired down under its own weight and ideology because of a lack of foresight or political leadership; that’s the EU. Democracy - something about which you in Greece know plenty - does not have to be driven by extreme capitalism. There are better ways that still ride the waves and adhere to market influence. There are better ways to behave than this. When currency becomes a commodity and people - usurers - profit from others’ misery it’s time to stop it. The amazing euphemisms that we employ - ‘sub-prime mortgage’ for example is the most obscene expression I have ever heard. It means throwing money at people who can’t afford it and putting them in debt for the rest of their lives. Is no-one in charge of this? Is no-one putting a stop to it after the virtual collapse of the world economy that we have just witnessed? NO NO NO! My TV at home is still carrying advertisements for these filthy pariahs. The EU is politically bent, it’s not a democracy or answerable to anyone. The Eurozone is and always was a catastrophe in the making and the problems will get worse. The mandarins in Brussels, or wherever they hide, would love a common taxation policy - basically they spend the money - billions of it unaccounted for - and then decide how much tax is needed to foot the bill. And more - billions more - to bail out the victims caught in the maelstrom. I would love the whole system to collapse. More misery? Perhaps…but nothing like what is to come with the EC and its common currency which will fail more dramatically than even the naïve experiments with multi-culturalism that has done so much to destroy er…culture. Ironic isn’t it.
How would you compare Deep Purple now, with what Deep Purple used to be when you first joined?
We are no better organized but having just as much fun. The group has a sound ethos so we can’t go far wrong.