Dear Friends

DF 8 - Questions (December 98)

Dear Friends,

This tour has been the best ever. The camaraderie of the band and crew is second to none. A lot of people remark on how much we seem to be enjoying ourselves. Well, you tend to develop a bizarre sense of humour in this job. Looking at the map of ' the story so far ' we all fall over again, tears of joy, gasping for air, that sort of thing.

Have to be careful I don't upset any of the Moronicas when I talk about tour routing...(Oh Moronica etc.) because they tend to get a bit iffy; but I often wonder what they're up to, bless 'em, when we're hurtling back and forth over the same soul destroying, mind blowing, morale busting ground,(doesn't affect us - NO!)

All I know is this... I could piss, blind drunk, in the snow, and draw a straighter line.

Here we are, approaching the end of 98, still some territory to cover for ' Abandon ' in 99 and then of course the 'next ' project is looming large. Whatever the ' next ' project may be, it seems to have already adopted an aura; quite how this happens I don't know. Maybe it's all in the mind. If it is it can stay there and I'll enjoy Christmas at home with my family, while I can.

Let me explain; it's not that I plan to cease enjoying myself with my family at Christmas... just that we may not be able to call it Christmas for much longer. The authorities in Birmingham (England's second city) have decided to replace the word ' Christmas ' with ' Winterval '. In the name of p.c. what's all that about? I'm not a Christian but... Jesus Christ... give me a break. The term is generic and harmless, goodwill and peace amongst men (sorry, I didn't mean to leave out the women or the children!)... let me say again... peace amongst hupersons everywhere, it means a mid-season break from the horrors of society and a focus on higher things, as well as a special remembrance for Christians who have been known to stop squabbling amongst themselves for a short while, in their devotions.

The most horrible sound I ever heard was 'The shadow of your smile ' played on a musical saw (oxymoron) in the BA Executive Club Lounge, Terminal 4, Heathrow Airport. My face was in rictus, I wanted to crush my glass of Pepsi. Who is it, that decides we must listen to 'happycrap' muzak in public? And who chooses the repertoire and the equipment, who negotiates with PRS and who controls the volume? Is it the perpetrator himself or does he delegate to junior misery mongers. It is just another of the ubiquitous pollutants to which we've become vaguely immune. I suppose we should show some gratitude for the effort which has been made to dull our minds; so that we may travel or shop, without those maddening bursts of individual thought which do so irritate the conscientious airline, hotelier, supermarket retailer etc.

I suspect that the ugly truth behind the whole business is... nepotism. Can't be anything else. It's obvious isn't it... Jimmy the Muzak Director (who, just by chance, happens to be the Chairman's nephew) failed miserably, after a seven year apprenticeship and could not, in all justice, be certified as a hinge-oiler's assistant in the' bogs and broom-cupboards' department. So... voila!... they put him in charge of tapes. The alternatives of 'politics' or 'BBC Management' or the 'City' could not be stomached; as our Jimmy may easily appear 'bright' in that sort of company and, after all, the upper classes do have a reputation to uphold.

In the interview dept.... it's been a poor year for classics, but here are some excerpts.

Q ' will you have a big production all will you just stand there?'
IG ' we'll just stand there.'

Q ' we hear that Steve Vai is replacing Steve Morse, is that true?'
IG ' no'
Q ' but it's in the papers!'
IG ' what in black and white?'
Q ' Yes'
IG ' Oh well then, what can I say?'
Q ' so, it is true then?'
IG ' No'
Q '...?...?'

Q ' what about Ritchie?'
IG ' what about Ritchie?'
Q ' will he work with Deep Purple again?'
IG ' No'
Q ' why not?'
IG ' what's the point?'
Q ' what do you mean?'
IG ' well there has to be a reason doesn't there?'
Q ' what for?'
IG ' my point, exactly!'

I'm disappointed sometimes when interviews turn out weird. I spend an hour or so giving candid thoughts and intimate offerings to a seemingly trustworthy journalist (silly me) who turns out to be a liar. My words twisted and my motives misinterpreted and the context changed and all in the name of the artless craft of paraphrasing... you see and hear it all the time Q blah A blah

Q ' Oh, so what you mean is... followed by an unlikely interpretation...
A ' No, what I mean is what I said, wash your bloody ears out you fool.'

Questions are sometimes difficult to answer. Does the questioner have an ulterior motive? Am I being led, maybe innocently, into an area I'd prefer to avoid?

Whatever it may be, I have to say something; and, of all questions I get, so many are the same. The answers, however, are always different.

Here's a Q & A I had recently. I've lost (or filed sic) the original enquiry, but I still have the answers, to which I'm sure you'd be delighted to imagine the questions!

Answering your Q's, in order of paragraph,

1. It's a pleasure.

2. Pride comes before a fall, as they say. I try to eat a little humble pie each day and shit... yes, of course I'm proud.

3. Never thought about it. I was never ambitious, just a dreamer. There is a big difference between wanting and dreaming.

4. I sing a lot. I smoke a bit, sometimes. I drink a bit. I eat good food, mostly. I'm very active physically and I consider myself lucky.

5. I have a certain regard for dignity; so I'll rock till I roll.

6. Once, my wife consulted a genealogist and discovered, to her great amusement, that the name' Gillan' means: son of a small servant. In this case 'small' means insignificant. Is this irrelevant? Maybe. Interesting? Definitely not. It's a strange feeling been respected when you still have ' the rebel' in your heart. Can't say I'm entirely comfortable with it.

7. Our audience make-up, I have to admit, is nowhere near as good as that you may find at a ' KISS' concert.

8. DP is DP. I hope there is something there for every rock fan.

9. Here's the most recent set list... blah, blah. New songs are going great; they were all new songs, once upon a time.(Now that's a tricky one).

10. This tour is about one year, with 10-14 day breaks between continents. We average five cities a week, when we're hot.

11. I got very drunk with Tony and Geezer. Next day I was in the band. I love those guys. It was a great year; the band and the audiences made me very welcome. I didn't feel at all like a hired hand, but I got to understand how Ozzy was the man for Sabbath. It was cool... I did my best.

12. A) Can't remember. B) Weird.

13. The band is alive, functioning, confident and dangerous again. Steve was the catalyst and all the other elements fell back into place.

14. It's a long story.

15. Haven't spoken since he went. I've got no hard feelings, wish him luck, and, no, I can't see it.'

16. ' Dreamcatcher' is a different story, it's not a ' Rock' album. Steve Morris and myself are the only two. I think when they read the story behind ' Gunga Din', people will understand the mood of the album. You can get all the lyrics off my website, as well as many other interesting nuggets.

17. I generally listen to extremely obscure music. I like to annoy my friends. No I won't list them.

18. I drifted in and out of various hopeless enterprises, with talented friends and associates. Unfortunately, there wasn't a businessman amongst us. But it was all fun while it lasted.

19. My contribution was recorded in two 3-hour sessions. I had great respect for all involved, but none more than Tim Rice. Tim called me a couple of years later, to play General Peron in Evita. I declined with great apology. I can't imagine doing anything like that again, but who knows? ' Anti-Christ Superstar' I know nothing about, but I suspect it fares badly by comparison; particularly in the category ' wit'.

20. I thought the director was a dickhead.

21. Yes. I use it as best I can. No, I don't download any porn... I'm into comedy sex.

22. Touring until way into 99, then another album, something really special this time.

23. My pleasure and Hello.

It was a sultry night in
   the third week of May
I was dreaming
Lying face down
I frowned
Darned dogs
Darned squi
rrel Hmmm
Snuggle down
A crescendo
Canine warnings
Get up
What's that?
A figure
Rub my eyes
A flashlight
A man walking away
Something heavy on his hip
Thanks boys
  (one's a girl actually, does she care?
Someone's stealing away
I rush downstairs
And grab
... a rainstick...?
Fumbling through doors
Suddenly enframed
In the lamp light
I shriek forward
A banshee
After two strides
My bare feet
Hit the gravel of the driveway
Beyond gravity
I watch the milkman
Drive away
It's alright
I called to my wife
As she calmly advised
The police
That the crisis
Was over
According to the dogs, anyway
Who were already somnambulant
With the twitches
Of woofy greetings...
For the postman.

May your Winterval be Merry and Bright
And you all sleep safe on Christmas Night.
Season's greetings,
Love & Peace,
I thank you, see you next year.

Season's greetings,
Love & Peace,
I thank you, see you next year.

Peace & love,
Ian Gillan
Copyright © Ian Gillan 1998

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