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

90 Sad arse gets 'the eye' from mad cat, celebrity disinclinations, Stuttgart and pre-breakfast orgies, on the importance of being well-shod in an instrumental group ,self-identified bumweasel reappearance, cheese & religion, Dr Watter gets fully Shakespeared

From: Jo Drake

I know you'll probably think I'm a sad arse but anyway .. I took in a stray last Sunday after my heart strings were pulled seeing a Facebook advert asking for someone to take in this depressed cat . It's owner had died and no one had come to rescue him and he'd been in a penn at a dog rescue place in Essex for three weeks. He looked like a nutter cat when I first saw him, his eyes bulging and looked very aggressive and scared. I gave him a go anyway and he's now calming down and acting like a normal cat and cleaning himself again . He'd been called 'Mr Tibbs' , not quite rock 'n' roll enough for me so it was very quickly changed to ' Gillan' :)

Dear Jo,

Look into my eyes........

..,cheers, ig

From: Andrew Lamb

Hello Ian, I am generally not inclined to write to celebrities. Not sure why but not. I have thoroughly enjoyed your work since I was small and no doubt remains that you are partially responsible for some percentage of my hearing damage, though that process I have certainly enjoyed. I have to console myself with the knowledge that I am also responsible for some tiny percentage of yours but likely to a lesser extent. Makers of hearing aids should give you some small token of their esteem probably for your contribution to their welfare.

As my own age advances and my senses decline I realize that what I have come to appreciate most from our very small association is your humor. Thanks.

A good grin replaces many other forms of pleasure and is less detrimental to my host than previous forms of er. …Entertainment shall we say.

Andrew Lamb
International Playboy (Temporarily marooned in the Tennessee hills)

Dear Andrew,

I don't write to celebrities either, but…International Playboy - Wow! I am impressed.

I have aspired to that grand status but never qualified. All of my school teachers agreed that I would never amount to anything. Especially the careers master who told me that if I wanted to be an International Playboy I'd have to smarten up a bit. Then I got distracted by music and it's been downhill ever since.

Regarding your ears…it's best to clench them when threatened by excessive volume. Or do as I do and stand with your back to it; then you are protected by your flaps. I'm no great fan of surround sound, or quadrophonic sound as it was called last century, because there is no escape.

Happy hunting, ig

From: Helge Andreas Mayschak (*)

Dear Ian,

thank you very much for the tickets and the wonderful show in Stuttgart.

Everything went fine (though unexpectedly), I got my tickets early and was inside in time to find a good place (10th row or so in the middle) to watch the show.

Your costumes were amusing. Was it just for Halloween or do you do that on very show of this tour (the German mailing list of The Highway Star has been shut down, so I am not as well informed these days as I used to be)?

The show itself was fantastic. A perfect mixture of well-known and new songs. Looking around I could recognize that the new songs weren't unknown to the people around me at all, and reaction showed that the people liked them.

But the most amazing thing again was your voice. How do you do it that you seem to sound better and better every year? Is it just my imagination? I think not. Obviously the lack of excessive backstage parties do you good ;-))

So once again thank you and all the best for the rest of the tour.

We all hope to see you again soon on the next tour. Why don't you do a tour with your own songs? You publish a lot of great solo work but never seem to perform it live on stage, at least not in Germany.

(*) East or west of Stuttgart - (ed)

Dear Helge,

Thanks for your nice letter. It's true I don't party after shows as much as I did; I have all my orgies before breakfast these days; then catch a nap on the plane to the next city.

I haven't done a solo tour since the Gillan's Inn tour of America about seven or eight years ago.

I often think about it, but I am so busy with my main gig (DP). Setting up such a thing has to be done a long time in front, so I haven't been able to get beyond the dreaming stage.

Who knows?! Maybe one day. Cheers, ig

From: Marie Rose

Hi Ian,

I'm yet another long time true fan of yours and Deep Purple, I bought Deep Purple in Rock when I had gotten my first pay-check in 1976, but started to "get into" Deep Purple in 1973. Deep Purple may be an instrumental band, as you put it, but for me the band MUST have you on vocals, otherwise there is no Deep Purple.

Now then, after doing the introductory "sucking up";) (although seriously meant) here are my questions for you:

- how do you create the vocal tunes to a new song? Do they just come to you in your head by listening to the instrumental ground or ...?
- why are you not working barefoot anymore? (I accept if you find this question being to personal, and not wish to reply)

I'm only asking since I'm interested in "details" and of course being a curious cow;) Stay well, happy and content!:) See you in Linköping Sweden on Feb 10th 2014!:)

Lots of hugs and X
from Marie Rose in Sweden

Dear Marie Rose,

Thanks for your interesting letter.

When I say that Deep Purple is primarily an instrumental group I mean that's where it all starts. You should see the writing sessions; they jam for hours without even thinking about a vocal top line. All this while I'm trying to keep up; dum-de-dumming in the background without a microphone, searching for tunes and phrases that might work. And just when I come up with something they dump it and move on to something else; so I've learned to be patient and wait until things develop. Once the jelly begins to set I can work on the topping.

As for the shoes, well life can be dangerous without them, as I have found out. So, after some sprains and lesions to my Achilles tendon and various toes as a result of barefoot adventures like ski jumping and the previously mentioned tantric sex with an Anaconda (I really wish I'd kept my boots on for that one) I have decided that the risk is just too great.

Earlier in my life I discovered the dangers of using a steam iron and frying bacon whilst in my normal state of nudity and now, sadly, it is time for my feet to seek protection when I succumb to rash and spontaneous impulses. As you can see from the picture, I am getting help with footwear from caring friends.

Cheers, ig

From: Alessio Zanelli

Dear Mr Gunga Din,

Now What?! is a fantastic piece of work, the best since Perfect Strangers maybe.

Now... what? I think I'll be happy to listen to this album for quite many years, but the question arises spontaneously: will there be the twentieth studio album? I know it's way too early to pose such a question, nonetheless DP's fans have been thinking of such a matter for a long time already: will the story eventually end? Or is Deep Purple, as you once said during an interview, to become an 'idea' rather than a band?

Who knows? Maybe in year 2040 Deep Purple will be still touring the world, with your, Rog's, Ian's, Jon's (or Don's) and Ritchie's (or Steve's) grandchildren in the then line-up!

Be that as it may, long live Deep Purple! And I hope to be still there (though eighty-some) to attend their gigs! I'm looking forward to seeing you galloping in Milan on July 21st (you're going to play in the local racecourse, aren't you?).

Alessio Zanelli

Dear Alessio,

Call me a pedant and a bumweasel, but I always thought you needed a brass section before you can claim to be a band. Therefore Deep Purple is a 'group'. But never mind that, it really doesn't matter does it?!

I see no reason why there shouldn't be another album; we all enjoyed making ?! We'll see.

And, it was a musing moment when I chewed on the possibility of DP going on when we're all down below, in the inferno, where the evil flames of desire burn higher, and higher. Where was I? Ah yes, given that we have evolved from the formation in '68 to the living breathing thing that we are now, I reckoned it might be possible for the right people to carry on the name. Apart from one or two minor departures we have stuck to the original ethos, grateful for our beginnings that were so diverse and deeply rooted. It's never been done before but almost certainly won't happen, because it would need planning and we have never planned anything - ever.

Note to myself: Do not think out loud.

Cheers, Gunga Din

From: ольга иосафатова

Hello Ian,

thanks ya.Ogromnoe it again for a concert in Moscow, your 'spasibo'na Russian language super.ya just have a question, which of the religions you belong to the first place? I know that you do not wish to refer themselves to any of the them, and here I am with you solidarna.Spasibo, perfect vacation,

cheese, Olga

Dear Olga,

Well thank you for noticing; I value my reputation as a cunning linguist.

It was normal for families to go to church when I was a kid. Disapproving squinty-eyes and tut-tuts from the neighbours were hurled in the general direction of over-sleepers, doubters and unbelievers; topers, agnostics and atheists. Not bad really when you think that hurling a tut is a damn sight less dangerous then swiping someone's head off with a scimitar, which is the punishment meted out for being an infidel in some of the more histrionic religions. I've always thought that was going a bit far.

Being a lifelong misfit I never really belonged anywhere, which perhaps is why I value a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose as the two things most likely to make us happy. So, my church and religion was not a matter of choice but, like all religions, an environmental placement. I have often said that, had I been born in Mecca it is most unlikely that I would have grown up as a Catholic.

I attended the Church of the Good Shepherd, which was a branch of the Church of England defined as Anglo Catholic (weird) or High Church (even weirder). That enabled the priest to swing the incense and for me to drink wine at communion. Naturally we looked down on the Low Church and felt more innocent than full Catholics, who were always going to confession; no smoke without fire I say.

I did experience congregational euphoria, but that's another story.

Since those days I have been lucky enough to know the difference between god and religion. If you have time to spare there is much written on this subject in other parts of the Q & A.

Dolcelatte, ig

From: Andrea Perrault

"What was it you studies at University?" (Cambridge, I'm led to believe?) "Are you a scientist as well as a rock singer? Or a Professor of, Philosophy. This Homo Spirit Papilio, U must have spent a lot of time on this theory, or belief. Over how long of a time, did you give thought to this belief system, (~optional Or was this belief really created, "if I can say it, "since it sounds really cool??" Or is this just a light~hearted belief, that you designed?"

I am quite curious.

Thank-you, for your time and attention, you have a wonderfully interesting, mind. ( if I can say so. )

Andrea Perrault

Dear Andrea,

How nice to hear from you again with another interesting letter. Sadly my formal education ended when I refused (no pupil had ever dared to refuse an order from a teacher) to push a pencil with my nose to the front of the classroom. The intake of breath from my schoolmates left the room bereft of air, which is the only explanation I can think of for the madness that followed. Dr. Watter, our English teacher who was only slightly madder than me, picked up my Chaucer and hit me hard on my left ear. There was no other option but to lift my entire works of Shakespeare, very slowly as he trembled with rage and impotency, and bring it down fiercely on the top of his head. I walked out and never returned.

Homo Spiritus Papilio (Spirit of the Butterfly) is the name I have given to what I imagine could be the next phase of humanity - a meta-physical state. Many creatures do it physically but I think humanity can and will aspire to greater things as it matures spiritually.

You can use the mighty search engine (oh, how so mighty it is - ed) provided lower down (on the front page) to see more on this subject.

The only time I have been to Cambridge was to perform at the Corn Exchange.

Cheers, ig

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