[% META title = 'Deep Purple, Interviews' %]
The following is a transcription of a radio interview of Ian Gillan (IG) and Roger Glover (RG), as conducted by Bob and Tom of Q95 (Q) in Indianapolis, Indiana,, May 17, 1996. The occasion is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Smoke on the Water (SOTW). (L)=laughter

Q: Attention, America,...

RG: I was wondering if I can get a toilet break...(Laughter)

Q: One of the boys wants a toilet break. Well, we'll put you back on hold, then you pick back up...make sure that...that's a classic! Are we ready? Roger, Ian, you there?

RG: Yeah, we're here!

Q: Which one of you wants a toilet break? I know one of you has to take a pee, I heard! (L)

IG: It's the one with the eyes crossed!

Q: That's alright, good morning!

IG (Mickey Mouse on helium voice): You know, if I talk like this, it's alright! (L)

Q: Now Smoke on the Water on helium! Ah, fellas, good morning, you're calling to celebrate not only your new album, but the anniversary of SOTW. Now is it 25 years ago this summer that you wrote it?

RG: Yeah, it's either that or 25 minutes, I don't remember which!

IG: No, it was in Montreux in 1971, I think, no, something like that. We went to record the Machine Head album and, uh, obviously Highway Star and other things like that were on it, but SOTW was on that album. Because SOTW tells the story of, you know, the whole event there, Frank Zappa, the casino burning down, looking for a new place to record, and the flames and the smoke going across Lake Geneva. Um, as a result, I don't know--anyway, we're doing the Montreux Jazz Festival in July this year, so uh, that I suppose will be the definitive celebration.

Q: Now as a matter of fact the gentleman who is the new guitar player in your band was on this program about a year and a half ago? (Background "Um-hmm, oh?") Steve Morse. He's a great guitar player. Now how does he interact with the band? Obviously he's got a much different approach I would imagine.

IG: Yes. *YES*!! (L). Most completely different.

RG: Well, he smiles! (L).

Q: Yeah, yeah!

IG: He finishes the show, he finishes every song, he does encores, he writes music, he...

Q: He flies airplanes!

RG: ...has a sense of humor. Um, he does quite a few other things. Yeah, he's great!

Q: He does fly airplanes, you *did* know that of course...

IG: Yeah, he flies airplanes, yeah, that's right.

Q: In case you guys need a ride from the gig you can have him take over the plane I guess--Ritchie Blackmore couldn't do that!

RG: That's right, as long as we have change in our pockets for gas...(L)

Q: Can you tell us, I'm sure you've told the story a million times, the story of SOTW, you guys recording the album? How did your house burn down? What happened?

IG: It wasn't a house, it was a casino there, the beautiful old wooden building in Montreux in Switzerland, which is a summer resort. Umm, it was kind of a calculated accident, really. We were watching Frank Zappa doing the last show of the season. We were about to take over the next day with, uh, and record there. We had the mobile studio packed outside and halfway through the show someone with a flare gun came inside and shot it into the roof, into the ceiling, and within minutes the place was ablaze. But they got everybody out, and we went back to the hotel and watched the smoke, the downdraft from the mountains blowing the flames across Lake Geneva. Roger wrote down "SOTW" and, uh, at the end of the session, I mean moving on quickly to the, uh, to cut a long story short--it's too late for that, hmmm (L), we ended up in the Grand Hotel, and, uh, we decided to do a song based on the story of making the album. And, uh...

Q: Were you the only guys in the hotel?

IG: Yes, uh. They were redecorating for the winter. As I said, it was a summer resort so... Ritchie was in one bedroom, Jon Lord was in another bedroom, Ian Paice was on the landing of the stairwell, and, uh, the mobile was parked about two blocks away so between takes, we all got fit (L)!

Q: Wow! Running up and down the stairs, running cables all over the building...

IG: Exactly.

RG: And we had like 29 doors to walk through to get to the playback.

Q: I always wondered about the lyric, where it goes, uh, "We didn't have much time/Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around (sic), but some stupid' with a flare gun"... I was wondering if there was originally a "stupid *something*" with a flare gun...

IG: Yes, there would have been, yes, we left out a few words, it just didn't scam (?), but some "stupid" seemed, uh..., to use the noun instead of the adjective! (L)

Q: It works! It's really one of the great songs. SOTW, was that, uh, the first song that made you guys internationally famous or were you there already?

IG: Well, I think Highway Star was before then...

RG: Oh, no, Highway Star was on that album.

IG: Was on what?

RG: Was on that same album.

IG: Don't argue with me! (Much uproarious laughter)

RG: Well I *will*!! It's my turn! (More L)

Q: Now we'll have to get Ritchie to get into a big fight! (L)

IG: Just because you want to go to the toilet, don't argue with me! (L)

Q: Now your fans, y'know, they relate to your albums by...albums...you guys, it's your stuff, you probably don't sit around listening to your own albums so you can't remember what song...each song is on...I would imagine, which album and all...

IG: That's easy for you to say!! (L) Roger's the, um, sort, um...

Q: The historian?

IG: ...the filing system.

RG: I think that song was the song that made Deep Purple in America. Um, huge band in 72, 73. But we had a song called Black Night and Strange Kind Of Woman and Fireball...

IG: Child in Time...

RG: ...had all been very big in Europe. We were much bigger in Europe than we had been in the States. And then it kind of switched over with SOTW, then we got really big in the States. We were a big band when we made SOTW...

IG: We were?

RG: ...but not as big as we were afterward.

IG: Don't argue with me! (L)

Q: Now are you guys, uh, weren't you guys always been very big in Japan?

RG: Yeah, but we lost weight since then... (L)

IG: I think we were lucky to be in Japan at the right time. We did an album called Made in Japan...

Q: Sure...

IG: I think, yeah, Purple has always been successful in internationally, and I think because Japan is a fairly exotic culture, umm, there's been a lot of focus on that and umm, that's fine. I mean, we're going to Japan again this year. We're doing something like 15 shows over there which is, uh, y'know it's a pretty amazing thing to sort of kept this love affair going on this long.

Q: When you do a show in Japan, if you speak from the stage, do you, uh, do you say stuff in English, does enough of the crowd, that it makes sense, or do you learn a couple of Japanese phrases?

IG: Uh, yeah, I learned a couple of Japanese phrases.

Q: Do you remember any for the class?

IG: Pardon me? Oh, I guess like "Arigato" and "Sayonara" and stuff like that you know. (L)

Q: Of course, all the easy ones! (L) Like "Sapporo"--it's a beer! "Do you know another girl?" (L)

IG: "Whiskey, whiskey!" (L)

Q: Your song, Woman From Tokyo, on one album, I don't know why they did this or maybe you guys corrected it, it was spelled T-O-K-A-Y-O on one album, and T-O-K-Y-O on another one.

IG: Well, that's because they took it phonetically. I'll tell you what happens, they have a translation department in Japan. You send over the lyrics in English, and then they translate it into Japanese, and then they have another department translate Japanese into English for the international department. So instead of taking your original English and putting it on the English version, they take the translation in Japanese and they then translate it back into English, and it becomes total gibberish! (Big L) I've read some of those lyrics, and I don't... "Who wrote these..?" (L) Just ridiculous! (L) So, uh, that's because they have those departments and they like to keep full employment! (L)

Q: That's wild! Well, since this is the 25th anniversary of SOTW, I've got a couple of more questions about it. Who wrote the song? Was it a group effort?

RG: I wrote it.

IG: No, I wrote it! (L)

RG: No you didn't...(L)

IG: Oh, yeah...(L)

RG: Actually, in those days we all wrote. It was a highway thing.

IG: No, actually we all wrote it, yeah.

Q: Who got credit for writing it?

RG: I did.

IG: I did. (L)

RG: No you didn't! (L)

Q: (Background--"Hit him! Hit him!") Is it hard being a in a band with two guys named Ian? Does it get confusing?

RG: There aren't two guys named Ian, are there? (L) Just one Roger, Ian, and Ian! (L) Yeah, yeah, it can be tough.

Q: Does the fact that...

RG: But we can always tell the difference because one doesn't wash dishes.

IG: And neither one of them are musicians! (L)

Q: That must be Roger speaking again!

RG: No, *this* is Roger. (L)

Q: Oh fine! That is my favorite part on SOTW, one of my favorite parts in rock and roll, in fact...

RG: When the bass line drops out? (L)

Q; No, when the bass comes in!

RG: Oh right...

Q: That is *so* great...

RG: Happy accident, really, I forgot the start, that's what it was! (L)

Q: Or not?

RG: No, everything is a happy accident.

Q: Well, that's a *great* happy accident! Every time that thing starts on the radio I sit there waiting and I say "SHUT UP!! I want to hear this part!" And all the sudden, Roger comes in and I say "YYYESSS!!!!"

RG: A lot of people notice that part and it's probably the most *simple* part you could get!

IG: It's not then! (L)

Q: Sometimes simpler is better, Roger.

RG: I'm very good at simple! (L)

Q: On your world tour, will you be going through the States?

IG: I think there's a possibility we'll be going through in the Fall, yes. So I hear, there's a rumor going around. All I've got at the moment is starting again back in Europe doing festivals. All I have is starting in Esbjerg in Denmark and finishing at Montreux in the Jazz Festival. The in-between I really don't know, until we get the itinerary. I know it's all sold out but...

RG: I know we go to Moscow...

IG: Moscow, good gig..

Q: What's tour favorite tune to play live, guys? Do you have 3-4 you really enjoy playing live to this day?

IG: I still like doing SOTW for myself. Pictures of Home from the Machine Head album. And 2-3 of the stuff from the new album, Purpendicular, I *really* get off right now.

RG: Ted the Mechanic is great live.

IG: Ted the Mechanic and Hey Cisco are two of my favorite songs.

Q: Well, great. We're going to enjoy SOTW and the rest of your stuff. I know you got a new album, you got a second to tell us about that one?

IG: Yeah, well it's our first one with Steve Morse, we're delighted with it. We recorded it down in Florida. And it was recorded under great circumstances. The vast majority of the stuff works great on stage and it's very compatible with, strangely enough, the early stuff we did in the 70s. So it's a well-balanced show. We can't wait! It's the best album we've ever made.

Q: Well great, and we can't wait to see Steve with the band and hear some classics as well. Thanks a lot Ian and thank you Roger, and whoever has to go pee you're free to go now (L)

(?): (Gargling voice) Thanks, thanks! (L)

Q: Thanks gents, we really enjoy your music!

Transcription by Mark Cantin.
HTML by Svante Pettersson