Dear Friends

DF 6 - Garth (April 98)

Dear Friends,

So there you are. I hope you're all well. The Purple thing is done and should be released in a month or so. the album is called 'Abandon'. The definition I favour, from my Oxford dictionary, is, a) yield oneself completely to a passion or impulse, n) lack of inhibition or restraint; reckless freedom of manner. In simple terms it's f*** off rock'n'roll. My choice of tracks is 1) Almost human, 2) Anv fule kno' that, 3) Bloodsucker, 4) Don't make me happy. that could all change though, as I learn to forget the process of recording and start to gain a little perspective. I guess I'm still counting the fingers and toes.

At some point 'Abandon' will have to submit itself to the pundits, each of whom will have something to say. So, just for once, I thought I'd get in first. My wickedness will not be contained. I am prompted by Tom Leonard's piece in today's (the 9th) Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph is a quality broadsheet newspaper, with transparent political leanings. No harm there, not really known for it's spite or tackiness. George Michael's newsworthy encounter with a policeman, and his subsequent arrest, provided all of the British press with the opportunity to display their true colours. 'The Sun' (which I always call 'The Cloud') has banner headlines, the whole front page 'ZIP ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO' is a brilliant parody of George's most memorable 'Wham' hit. (I almost considered re-subscribing). Leonard's article, however, was ignorant and odious.

".....a string of frivolously forgettable hits such as ....'Wake me up before you go go', he whines. the few accolades delivered grudgingly, the snide tone, the money, kick the poor sod while he's down.' I don't know what makes these people tick. It is generally considered prudent to take your punishment from the critics, for fear they may hurt you even more. However, when I was a kid, a critic described me as a genius. I thought, 'what a prick', and I've had little use for them ever since. In my book, a good critic is able to conceal his hatred and display some intelligence. Tom Leonard fails on both counts. If only his wit was as sharp as his pencil, we'd all be better off.

You won't find this definition in the Oxford dictionary, but I imagine Ambrose Bierce, who wrote the Devil's dictionary around tbe turn of the last century, would have raised a smile.

'Critic' n) A position of some responsibility reserved for those with the least ability in their chosen field.

"...and what do you want to be when you grow up?' 'A critic, Sir'

'Then you have no ambition.?

'Yes Sir, I do, but I'm deliberately setting my sights low, to increase mv chance of success.'

And from the Devil's Dictionary itself.

Critic n) A person who boasts himself hard to please, because nobody tries to please him.

There is a land of pure delight,
Beyond the Jordan's flood,
Where Saints apparelled all in white,
Fling back the critic's mud.

And as he legs it though the skies,
His pelt a sable hue,
He sorrows sore to recognise,
The missiles that he threw.

Orrin Goof

Ode to a critic

If you can't do it, criticise it
If you can't have it, despise it
if you're not part of it, deride it
But, if you get there first, lionise it
Idolise it
Make a meal of it
Make a big deal of it
Eau-de-nil it
Cochineal it

the reflected glory
Will bathe you in the light
Of your very own star
Your own creation
You made it happen
You sad and sorry
Lost and lonely soul

Garth Rockett

This is fun. I tried for years to avoid epidermal thickening, that protective callous which suffocates the soul and induces paranoia in the oversensitive artiste. My saviour was 'Kettwang'. The psychophantic comic ( I know, I know) devoted, on Gillan's case, to reviews of my lower half. So much so, that I became convinced that it was some form of illiterate trouser press.

I guess I'm pretty battle scarred by now. I've been pounded head-on by punks and pomps, who can barely conceal their fashionable (sic) disgust at my very existence. I've been sucker-punched by sweet smiling ingrates. I've been dismissed as irrelevant I've been scorned and I've been patronised.

Little wonder I choose to deny these people their self-appointed right to be my conduit to the public. If the good ones get hurt by this, so be it. You're judged by the company you keep. I'm free of them.

All I can say is thank you all, for making up your own minds. It is the fans and music lovers and friends who will tell me, soon enough, what they do or do not like.

The Devil finds work for idle hands. That's what they say, isn't it? Well I'm supposed to be relaxing at the moment, in preparation for the DP tour, which kicks off in June. However, I'm sort of mentally in gear already.

The U.S. and Canada version of 'Dreamcatcher' Is now ready, and will be released on Caramba, through Forbidden Records in mid May. 'Forbidden' has done some brilliant work, and the result is great point of view, and I'll have to wait for your reactions. That is obviously a subjective point of view, and I'll have to wait for your reaction. I was going to give you a selection of notes from my travels, since we last 'spoke'. However the George Michael thing set me off on a tangent. Next time. If I was a thief I'd steal Molly Shannon's knickers. I d better go now, before, before......before what?

Peace & love,
Ian Gillan
Copyright © Ian Gillan 1998

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