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

85 Perfect location for strangers , alcohol travel conundra, spirituality & wisdom, down under tonsorial observations, inspirational conversations with my breakfast, ceci n'est pas une lettre d'amour

From: Alexandre Fraguglia

Hi Gillan...I hope you and family are very well....I managed to see you at Olympia theatre in Sao Paulo, Brazil...back in 92, 93? I think.

First... I never saw Deep Purple as band, any chances to come to Liverpool this year for a gig?

I remember when I was a teenager back in 84 in Sao Paulo watching Perfect Strangers video and it is something that I will never forget. I would like to know where this video was made....Wales, England? Someone else's house or a music studio?

Thank you and God bless you.

Alex Fraguglia


Hello Alex,

Thanks for your letter.

The video for Perfect Strangers was made in and around the Town of Stowe in Vermont, USA. We had rented a house there for the purpose of making our reunion album in private.

The most remarkable bit of the video from my point of view was the hot air balloon sequence. I think the pilot may have been nervous or newly qualified…or quite possibly drunk as a skunk…but it was certainly a bumpy landing at the end of my segment. The basket was dragged along the ground for quite a distance before we managed to bail out.

The next up was Roger Glover; I crossed my fingers as he soared aloft. In vain as it happens because a few minutes later the balloon crashed into a tree. Fortunately Roger was alright and is still with us…although he took a bang on the head and has never been quite the same since.

Cheers, ig

From: Sassan Emam

Hi Ian,

I'm an Iranian-Canadian living in Toronto who've had the joy of seeing you in concert 3 times so far.

Couple of pieces of information that I thought you might find interesting:

First of all, DP has a huge fan base in Iran believe it or not! I can't tell you how many people I know who love purple's music and are true admirers of DP. I became familiar with your music over 30 years ago when I was a kid, and through my uncle who was and still is a big fan of DP. Needless to say that I was hooked! And my love for your music has never diminished over the years.

Secondly, when I saw you at the Phoenix in the summer of 2006, I'm not sure if you recall or not but the audience were told that for some reason the arena's liquor license had been suspended and they could not served alcohol! A friend of mine who wasn't familiar with your music and had just tagged along since we were going to a birthday party after the concert asked me if I still wanted to see the show. My reply was" are you nuts! Of course I wanted to see the show with or without beer it'll still be a joy to watch.

Deep down though I was also curious to see how you would handle the non-booze situation. I heard some people in the audience saying that Ian should at least apologize for what had happened. I thought to myself "apologize"? , why should IG apologize? It's not his fault that the people at Phoenix were not able to reinstate the license in time! Can't these people think?! I told my friend that if I were IG, I wouldn't mention a word about the situation, and that's exactly what you did! Although I also saw you sneaking backstage couple of times in what appeared to be you, trying to be discreet about the non-booze situation and having a couple of sips of your beer backstage! But still, I thought you handled it very well.

Not to mention that your performance was excellent as always.

Now here's my question for you:

If Iran is freed from its current thugocratic government in the near future, would you consider having a concert in Iran?




Hello Sassan,

Of course I would love to perform in Iran, but I guess it would be difficult to get an invitation at the moment. I have heard from many Iranians and do appreciate the fan base we have there and also amongst the ex-pats like you.

As for the no-booze situation, isn't it funny how some bigots hate alcohol and nudity and yet embrace gambling and violence.

(Extract from DF5 - '…In Oklahoma they just banned the movie 'The Tin Drum' claiming it is pornographic. Just like in the 80's (was it one of Carolina's which banned 'Splash' (que?) while you could still rent 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', it's horrible…')

This subject has come up a few times but quite recently, at a casino in Canada, we discovered the place was dry. Now, it so happens that some of us enjoy a modest tipple before and even during the show, but at this vacuum-sucking palace of greed it was strictly and sternly forbidden. It was left for me to remark to the audience, something along the lines…'…I hear there's a drink problem here, insofar as there is nothing to drink. Well it may have slipped past the promoter's attentions but in one of my previous jobs I played the role of Jesus Christ. It was then that I learned the helpful ability to turn water into pure alcohol. So, I raise this bottle of Evian and say to you…BOTTOMS UP!!!! (Or something like that - it might have been 'go forth and multiply' I can't remember). To a few ironic cheers; most people didn't know what I was talking about.

Cheers, ig

From: Bob Edwards

Hi Ian. I've just finished listening to an interview where you talk a lot about spirituality. I've been a Wiccan and an Evangelical Christian. At the moment I'm pursuing a relationship with a God of Love. I'm seeing the person of Jesus Christ as love incarnate. At the same time, however, I'm seeing that a lot of the institutions that have been built around his name do not reflect his spirit.

I found a book that was really very interesting to me. It's called "The End of Religion" by Bruxy Cavey. To be honest, I felt directed to it at a book shop after I said a prayer expressing a lot of questions to God about the church. I'm finding that exploring a spiritual relationship with God, outside of oppressive religious institutions is really amazing. Here's a link to the book: I thought you might find it refreshing and perhaps inspirational, since I believe you're writing a book on similar subject matter.

Thanks so much for sharing your musical gift with all of us, and I wish you all the best.

Bob E.


Hello Bob,

Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful comments; I wish you luck on your journey of discovery. I am travelling a different path, unguided by the old prophets, but hopefully we'll all come to a similar conclusion.

God is a master of many tongues; adaptable to all situations and a symbol of reverence to everyone, even atheists - who tend to reject the dogma of religion along with its prophets and officers, rather than spirituality itself. In all religions, just as in civilian life, there are bad adherents and good ones. There are belligerent and peaceful ministers. You can find atheists with a strong personal code of ethics and those who are amoral parasites - it takes all sorts. Some worshippers are fearful of their God and some see Him as a benevolent presence. A decreasing number of us see God as a creator of the universe; that concept began to lose ground when we discovered our planet wasn't flat, with heaven being 'up there' and hell 'down below'.

He must be frustrated by the abuse of His name in all languages as each mainstream church claims to represent the one true god, and the consequent self-serving misdirection of His cause. I'll dispense with the gender issue now if you don't mind as it is just too clumsy for words if I was to write he, she or it every time. In fact Mother Nature is the most easily understood manifestation of the concept (god) that one could wish for, but we'll be here forever if I don't get on with it.

Because God is not he or she, is it? God is you, me and all the herebefore (and the hereafter if we get it right), individually and collectively, just waiting for cohesion.

As I have said before to illustrate the parochial and entrenched nature of the ancient religious beliefs…'If I had been born in Mecca it is most unlikely that I would have grown up to be a Catholic'. Let us not confuse our spirituality with the fierce or benign disciplines of religion, where unthinking obeisance leads to blind faith and maintains stagnation in the holistic development of humanity: This is against all the forces of nature.

Spiritual development is vitally important, because without it we have very little hope of survival. I have outlined some thoughts about our options - transmutation for example, which is a bit like going to heaven but without the required ministerial approval - in previous articles here at Caramba should you care to browse. But it seems obvious that it's going to be quite a challenge unless we start giving it some thought and practical opportunity now - and the time does seem right, the ground is fertile.

Of course this idea - and any other that I would welcome with an open mind - is anathema to the military controllers of the most extreme religions, and to the woolly-minded keepers of the gentler faiths who might - just lately - concede there could be elements of metaphor in parts of 'the good book'. Demonisation of alternative thinking is older than the Spanish Inquisition or the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Witches and heretics are still put to the sword pre-emptively before any of the passive fold start getting ideas. And all this because of the missing last chapter in Darwin's book that I reckon would have postulated…'the driving post-survival force in humanity is supremacy'.

It's not your land or your children they want any more, it's your living soul the witch doctors are fighting over on behalf of their tribal gods. We all have something of value, we should use it wisely.

Cheers, ig

From: Jane (from Oz)

Hello Ian,

As someone who has observed you (a lot), albeit it from a distance, I couldn't help notice that your presence (aura - on stage anyway), seemed to change around the same time as you cut your beautiful locks off.

Question: as one who has arguably the best heads of hair in the business (and managed to use it to full advantage on stage to exacerbate your come-hitherance), did the lack of said hair affect how you felt/performed on stage, or was it that you suddenly became aware of the progression of time and felt the need to appear more distinguished/well behaved commensurate with your age? Are you even aware that your presence changed while performing at that time?

Regardless of the answer, I remain in awe of you and am a big fan (even though I do miss that beautiful hair - just sayin')

Jane from Oz


Hello Jane,

Thanks for your letter.

In fact I cut my hair off regularly over the years.

But I have had a sort of tonsorial disconnection ever since school, where I'd get beaten for being in possession of disobedient locks. I first felt my mane touching my bare back one summer when I was horse-riding; it gave me a sense of animal freedom; something primitive was unleashed.

When it became annoying - as it did every few years when I found it getting in my beer whilst drinking and in my face mask when scuba diving - I'd cut it all off and start again.

I have never been overly careful about my appearance so I didn't pay much attention to it until people started calling me 'The Nose', on account of the fact that my proboscis was the only thing attached to my face that was actually visible through my curtains.

But you are right in a way; a few years ago my hair was permanently tied back for convenience. On some people it's fine; Jon Lord for example looks most distinguished with that style, but a grey ponytail is not for me.

So off it came and there we are.

As for a change of personality, I'm sure you are right - I came out of hiding and it felt good.

Cheers, ig

From: Oleg of Website

Dear Ian!

Maybe stupid question, maybe not... What is your inspiration? How you get it ? Are you going through the park with your dog and waiting? Or are you in your kitchen cooking breakfast and then... SPEED KING? How?

Greetings from Russia, Chelyabinsk, we love you.



Hello Oleg,

I remember Jon Lord being surprised when he overheard me talking to my breakfast, not as I was eating it because I was taught not to speak with my mouth full, but as I was cooking it; the ingredients probably needed some encouragement that morning.

When I used to walk my dog - in truth she used to walk me - in the ash forest along the west Dorset/east Devon coast I rarely came home without some inspiration; the experience was spiritually uplifting. Many songs and articles were written after those cliff-top adventures. As a matter of interest but of no particular significance I should mention this observation…it has probably been mentioned before when no-one was listening, but now I have your ear….Every now and then I'd meet a walker coming in the opposite direction that would bring us - that's me and my dog or dog and her human - back to reality. It was easy to tell the difference between country people and town or city dwellers. The rural folk would always say good morning and normally stop and talk about the weather or the dog or anything and nothing, simply to acknowledge each other's existence.

However I could spot a metropolitan from a distance; as soon as we came into range he would put his head down and avoid eye contact until we had passed - unless he was an alpha-met of course in which case our existence was - eyes ahead - unnoticed. It's quite understandable. That type can't say good morning to every stranger that passes on a crowded street; it would drive them potty (and make a wonderfully surreal movie now I come to think of it), but it shows how difficult it is to change behaviour patterns quickly. These little bursts of reality are quite important, especially when you know that actually it's not during your reverie that it takes shape, but when you get back home to your pencil and paper.

Inspiration is taking in and expression is putting out. It's a bit like breathing.

Cheers, ig

From: Petra

Dear Mr. Gillan,

Have the impression you are a humorous, balanced and happy human being, who can bear the following:

Two weeks ago, one of my brothers came by, asking if I could click to the video Highway Star - Live in Denmark 1972 on the internet. He wanted to watch a certain guitar player, as he is playing guitar himself. Nevermind. Suddenly my alter ego, who decided to stay 19 since 30 years kicked me in the stomach.

- Look at the singer, he is hot!

This is Ian Gillan, yeah he looks good.

- Looks good? I could jump on him right now!

Cool down. Behave!

- Oh god, look how he is moving. His voice makes me shiver. And this gorgeous hair.

Fade out the side-burns!

- Oh, shut up! I am just falling in love with this guy. He is so handsome, tall. Look at his grin, these eyebrows, how he is grabbing the microphone. Watch this: at the end of "Lucille" he is blowing his hair out of his face, touching himself. Voluptuous.

Stop drooling!

- No way! Could rub myself all over him. Will write a lover letter to him.

Don´t you dare. This is ridiculous. Do you want to make a fool out of you?

- Too late. Already wrote an e-mail to him.

This is horrible. He is 65 now. Although he is still looking good....But, do you think he is keen on getting this kind of e-mails?

- Had to tell him.

Don´t you know that he is only answering questions on his website?

- Well, don´t mind if my letter won´t ever appear on the website, and: I did ask him a question in my e-mail.


- During the performance of "Lazy" in Denmark 1972 quite at the beginning of the song somebody called his name. Twice! From a place above the stage. He went up and came back a little later. Need to know who it was and why. It surely was a pretty Scandinavian girl, who gave him her telephone number.

So what! Are you jealous? This was 39 years ago. He won´t remember anyhow.

Forget it. This is history. You are obsessive.

- Maybe you are right. But you can´t keep me from daydreaming about him. This will hurt nobody.

I surely can´t keep you from doing so. If it makes you feel good. Go ahead.

So, that´s it. She keeps on emerging from my subconsciousness since then once in a while. And some day my Über-Ich will lock her in again.

All the best for you and the people you love.

Best regards,



Hello Petra, I couldn't possibly comment on this matter, so I'll let my alter ego communicate directly with yours…over to you René…

Aaaaaah dear one,

Yes I do remember this encounter.

We met during a long guitar solo. She was in a febrile trance, dancing to our music, wearing nothing but a gossamer gown coloured bright green and fuchsia, up in a private box on the balcony of a hall somewhere in Denmark circa 1972.

There was no time to talk.

Cheers, René Magritte (Ceci n'est pas une lettre d'amour)

Be what you are, I tell myself And myself tells me we can't be anybody else…ig

Return to:
Back to the Q&a index