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

88 Optimistic butterfly mind, Self-referential aural challenge, Exhausted crystal ball,
Importance of using the correct organ, Fortunate non-shorting of shrift

From: Andrea Perrault

What message are U sending, with "The Spirit of the Butterfly?". Where did this idea come from, were U inspired by a book or personal beliefs?? :)

Dear Andrea,

I am a born optimist.

'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' is not just a brilliant ironic song by Eric Idle in that marvellous Monty Python film The Life of Brian; that attitude really was the backbone of societal ethos when Eric was growing up in a deprived post-WW2 UK.

I am of the same generation and still think life is great. Of course it doesn't go on forever in this form, and I don't just mean individually, but it's a good starting point for answering your question.

I think of the body as a vehicle - or host - that serves to carry a human spirit through its time on Earth. I won't go into the past in this letter - other than to mention that even in a linear sense eternity is a two-way street - because we are looking forward.

Homo Spiritus Papilio is the name I have given to my idea of what happens next to humanity; I didn't find it in a book. This name for the next phase of our species seems to capture the natural metamorphosis from our current form into something quite different. I chose the egg/caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly phenomenon as an illustration of what can happen to life forms familiar to us merely as a convenience and to install the notion of 'flying away'.

If you have the energy you can find many detailed contributions in previous Q & A numbers to the development of this postulate; particularly regarding Edwin Abbott's book Flatland (perspective) and Darwin's missing last chapter (supremacy). Put those teasers into Caramba's mighty search engine if you're short of time.

You might also research and wonder about the taboo at the United Nations - indeed everywhere in my experience - described by Sir Richard Attenborough when he brokered the question of imminent population crisis.

We are breeding at an almost exponential rate. I have just drawn a rough pencil graph covering two millennia of growth. The line is steep enough latterly but rises to vertical as we arrive at 2083 when it is forecast that the figure will reach 10 billion. If you count from zero in the Gregorian calendar, then from modest beginnings it took our species One-Thousand, Nine-Hundred and Forty-Five years to reach 2.5 billion. Then in just Fifty years that number rose to 5.7bilion and in less than a further One-Hundred years it will virtually double again; draw breath while you can.

Traditionally, you will be told, population is controlled by famine, disease and war. That may have been true up to a point but the brakes were never more than touched before the race was on again. Those conditions also have changed in themselves; the devastation of famine and disease is diminished by medical science whilst war has changed in both character and substance since Vietnam.

Our survival instincts are strong and now, from what I refer to as Darwin's missing last chapter, supremacy is stepping forward as the real driving force of life itself. The famous phrase Survival of the Fittest is mostly linked with physical adaptation to a changing environment, but a more insidious interpretation can be found by looking at the exploitation of our non-physical, meta-physical needs. In this scenario it was witch doctors that made - mostly unholy - alliances with tribal/political leaders in order to influence the collective spirit by using the twin cattle prods of church and state. Heresy was and obviously still is discouraged by various methods ranging from demonisation to torture and murder. Spiritual guidance is all around us, with some of those speaking on behalf of the one true god being more insistent than others. As ever, moderate adherents are being dominated by the force of radical thinking, which aims for supremacy within its own faction then goes for the whole shebang, be it Christian, Islamic or whatever.

The upshot of all this, if you include the population explosion, religious fundamentalism, disparate textures of political ideology currently challenged by the trend for paradoxical minority controlled democracies, otherwise known as anarchy, is not encouraging and I suggest will end in more than tears this time around; that is to say in a hundred years or less.

I mentioned at the beginning of this answer that I was a born optimist, therefore my normal reaction to a crisis is to separate the unavoidable from positive options. Therefore I see the growth rate of humanity as unsustainable but not catastrophic; catalytic yes, because it might trigger a major Darwinian event - - it seems inevitable to me.

I'm going to digress briefly for the sake of illustration. We have all heard or seen written that doctors say the most important factor contributing to survival for a patient in critical condition is what they describe as 'The Will to Live'. At the same time they decry alternative therapies. For example, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that homeopathy can be efficacious, but - like god - if you believe, then it works often enough.

So, I believe in god.

The will to live, or survive, is something that we all understand and about which we hopefully agree; it is a powerful and primary force - and for us all to agree on something is a good starting point. The supremacy factor (I said it was insidious) sneaks in when survival is assured.

I have thought since the age of thirteen that the human spirit is subdued by religion. I am not having a pop at religion here; I really understand the power of congregational euphoria, it has nurtured our pure and childish souls for millennia. But maturity rates are not contiguous, sometimes centuries apart; a situation causing even more friction on this shrinking overcrowded Earth.

Spiritual freedom is one thing but like all humans we need a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging; it is in our nature, like strands of the will to live. There is no working plan, no map for this pioneering journey as we gradually move away from the mother ship of traditional religion and prepare to fly on our own or with like-minded groups, unsurprisingly scorned as cults, cranks and heretics; so be it.

Meditation or contemplation will help with balance and certainly improves physical life because the driver of your vehicle (body) is no longer asleep at the wheel or following a pre-determined route set by the vicar, mullah, rabbi or other self-appointed officers of your local creed, each of them speaking on behalf of the one true god.

We know deep in these teenage hearts that our spirits have always been catered for according to indigenous needs. As mentioned before on another page…Had I been born in Mecca it is most unlikely I would have grown up to be a Catholic.

And the supremacy factor is most easily illustrated by the struggles of belief and ideology. Not just Islam versus Christianity but Sunni v. Shia and Protestant v. Catholic and so on down the line until the buttresses of tribal and family blood eventually stem the tide. The wars of Faith are easier to dissect than other ideological conflicts, because in Faith there is no worry about survival, God is Absolute in most of them, forever and ever. So we just have to examine the motivation for spreading that particular version of it. Looking behind the holy veil of religion we can see the powerful need to convert, recruit and dominate. That manifests itself in everything from missionary zeal to jihad (all gods' work). It is not enough to prostrate yourself in your local place of worship, the very concept of One True God leads to the everlasting battle for supremacy. My God is better than your God.

Personally I've had enough of all that, and I'm not alone.

But I don't believe that squeezing your eyes tight and praying hard for something is ever going to bring a desired result, that's called wishful thinking. But releasing your spirit from the constraints of cultural expectations and disciplines will result in a different set of targets for your prayers and those should be more realistic and easier to attain as they become attuned with a new reality.

So, are we going to fly away in harmonious adventure or wither in the filth of our own making? It's not a difficult choice is it? But our talent for procrastination in an unsolvable crisis is almost unlimited. However, there is something about our collective unconscious that always rides to the rescue. Is it just me or are we hearing rumblings from the caldera of that aforementioned Darwinian event.

As children we are truly innocent, uncontaminated by church or school. Unashamed of our bodies or fairies and pixies - and we do believe in fairies don't we. Between the age of eight and thirteen - adolescence - we are seized and squared for the future; castigated for our sins of wondrous thought. Fairies become immature nonsense and we now have a one-way relationship with caring angels that won't listen for god's sake. And if we toe the line there are promises of a suffocating heaven. We are squeezed into a cultural sausage then expected to do the same to our own kids ad infinitum.

Well that's the playing field in its current state as I see it.

It may be that Darwin is at work as I type this. Could it be that our collective unconscious is aware of and feeling threatened by the population explosion, causing previously unconscionable and subtle alterations in behaviour patterns, for example, where it is allowed, the proliferation of same-sex relationships and birth control in all forms? The old Gods do not like these changes; they are not catered for in the holy books.

In any event those dancing partners Survival and Supremacy are generally one step ahead of any calculated moves we make so why not release the human spirit as it reaches maturity. We are building our cocoon in readiness for transition. Example: Social media, despite the mutterings of academics about simplicity and dumbing-down, provides feelings of purpose and belonging as well as a growing voice against the world of belligerence, greed and commercial bombardment. This has fostered waves of empathy leading to remarkable spontaneous activity previously impossible on such a scale.

What is happening?

Well, some things go without saying and because of that are rarely said.

Human imagination is the Fifth Dimension.

And…Souls having touched are forever entwined.

Homo Spiritus Papilio

Cheers, ig

From: Steve Meyer

Hi Ian,

I can't tell you how many hours I have spent over the last 35 years or so listening to Deep Purple, Gillan, IGB, and other 'projects' ('Born Again', 'Who Cares', et al.) and always come away feeling better about 'everything'. I am in your debt! Anyway, do you ever listen to your own material as a fan would? Or is that just not possible? I am sure that there must be a strong sense of accomplishment and pride when an album is completed, but would you ever just kick back with 'Glory Road', for example, just for the joy of listening. I guess I've always wondered how much creators enjoy their own creations .

Steve Meyer
Sudbury, Canada

Hello Steve,

Thanks for your letter, I really appreciate it.

Yes, I do have bursts of focus on one old thing or another from time to time; sometimes with friends and more often alone. A new record tends to get played a lot as I get used to it and absorb everything from a different perspective than the purely technical appraisal it gets first off.

The real problem is my peripatetic lifestyle, but I have a plan. Sometime in the New Year I will be getting help in consolidating all my music into one folder. This involves not just the published material but all the unreleased stuff and loads of demos too. And they are still in their original formats; tape, cassette, acetate discs, solid state etc.

Hopefully I will then have the luxury of being able to hear Glory Road whenever or wherever I feel like it.

Cheers, ig

From: Zdeněk Šotola

Dear Zdeněk

Hi Ian,

What is your opion about the not-so-rare claim that rock as a musical form is exhausted and since the advent of punk (as the last expressive change in rock musical form) is in fact only recycled? Can we still await in future something fresh and new similar to what happened in the past several times (1st wave = Elvis, 2nd wave = Beatles & Stones, 3rd wave = Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, 4th wave = Sex Pistols) Or we can only enjoy what has already been done either in the original or recycled shapes?

Cheers, Zdeněk Šotola

Dear Zdeněk, Ah, let me gaze into my old crystal ball. The smoke is clearing, yes, I see images, still not clear, white noise, digital symbols, nothing I can understand, sorry.

Cheers, ig

From: Patrik

Hi Ian

First of all: Happy New Year!! (? - ed)

I'm a real DP-Fan since I'm about 15 years old. At that time, DP weren't excisting anymore. A dream came true, when in 1984 "Perfect Strangers" was released and I could see and hear DP in Zürich for the first time. I play the Piano and the Hammond by myself and I'm a big fan of Jon Lord and Don. I go to DP concerts whenever you are in Switzerland!!! Last year, I saw you in Montreux. The year before in Stuttgart and in Huttwil .etc. At our marriage on 28. August 2010, a friend of mine played DP-tunes on the organ in the church! It was fantastic… Last Saturday (14.1.2012) my wife and I were in Zürich at the "Rock meets Classic" Concert. It was a wonderful evening (once again). There's one thing for me to complain about: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: Give the keyboardplayer of the Matt Sinner Band a Hammond with a real Leslie!!! PLEASE! It makes me very, very sad, to hear wonderful songs like "Perfect Strangers, Smoke or Hush", played on this silly Roland Keyboard!!! It almost ruins these songs!

Thanks very much Ian and the rest of DP for still making this wonderful music. For me, you are the greatest rock band ever!!

Have a good time,

Hello Patrik,

Thanks for your interesting letter. I can see that you're a purist; nothing wrong with that.

I'm sure a real Hammond with Lesley cabinets and a Marshall stack would be just fine for those songs, but you have to remember the circumstances. Jimmy Kresic was playing in the band and with the orchestra for six different singers and a whole range of material so lugging all that heavy stuff around just for my spot in the show would have been challenging to say the least and also would have taken up more room in the truck than the rest of the gear put together; so a few compromises had to be made.

Talking about compromise, I would have dreamed of making such sacrifices with my first band, in which we had to make do with comb and paper (couldn't afford a kazoo), biscuit tins and knitting needles (drums), tea chest, broom handle and washing line (bass), a couple of acoustic guitars (both short of a string or two) and a Grundig tape recorder with a desk microphone (P.A.), and yes it did sound rubbish but we thought it was amazing.

Cheers, ig

From: Mickey G

Hi Ian,

Have seen you in the original mark 2 Purple, IGB, Gillan and 8 times in the reformed band. The IGB gig at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 77 was a personal favourite. To a 16 year old that band was just shit hot, so tight and even 34 years on I can remember how exciting the future of the band seemed.

Obviously, it wasn't to be, but I must say that I am disappointed that you don't seem to have much affection for that part of your career.

Clear Air Turbulence was and still is one of my favourite albums. The title track, Money Lender and 5 moons are as good as anything else you've ever done in my opinion. I know it was a different style, but your vocals plus the wonderful musicality and production of the album draw me back to it again and again.

This isn't really a question i know, but I was keen to mention it.

I know i'll probably get short shrift for this question, but i wanted to ask if Mr. Morse might find time to slip in a Mark 4 riff in remembrance of Tommy Bolin who if I'm not mistaken passed away 35 years ago this year. If he can fit fit in riffs from Zep and other bands then surely its not too much to ask that an ex member of our own beloved band should be shown some respect in this way. I know the fans would really appreciate it.

Finally, please, please, please, please, please make a new album. It's the one thing every DP fan is desperate for. When you do, please use the Gillan's Inn producer Nick Blagona, and try to make it as heavy and rocking as that brilliant album.

Anyway, as a fan for almost 40 years, (just celebrated the big 5-0) i'd just like to wish you and your family all the very best in the future-your music has pretty much been the soundtrack to my life.

Mickey G

PS Why do you guys never do any tv appearances. Do you not want to, or are you not asked? Is Jools Holland just a Purple hating arse as I've always suspected? Surely more tv exposure would raise the band's profile in the UK.

Dear Mickey G,

Thanks for your good letter. If I gave the impression I didn't have much affection for the IGB period then I owe an apology to you; I thought it was amazing. Those guys were incredible musicians and Clear Air Turbulence and Scarabus were an important phase in my life. But it was just a phase, I think we played it out or took it as far as it could go. That kind of fusion can only last as long as the fuel supply and we all had different ideas of direction, and to be honest I wasn't the best leader because I was in awe of the company; Johnny Gus was one of my early heroes.

Regarding your other points, I don't think any disrespect is intended by not giving a nod to Tommy Bolin; we all know what a star he was (nice guy too), but that's not the way we work, we can only play what's in our hearts not yours. And expectations are different aren't they? I mean I see DP differently to even the other guys in the band.

And as for TV, well, for me it's a thing to avoid, although we did a little tongue-in-cheek jazz version of Smoke in French TV recently.

Nick Blagona is brilliant, but on this occasion we have been blessed with the guidance of Bob Ezrin for the new album. I hear the mixes are almost done and it's due for release in February.

Cheers, ig

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