[% META title = 'Deep Purple, Interviews' %] Interview in Muzikus'98

This interview was published in Czech music magazine 'Muzikus' (June 1998). The interviewer was Ilja Kucera jr. Problem is that Gillan & Lord were speaking English (what a surprise !), then it was translated into Czech and now I am translating it back into English. That's why the things written here are probably far from what was originally said. However the meaning should remain the same. - Dan Dvoracek (transcriber)

Muzikus: Your last album got a bit unconventional name. What was the inspiration?
Gillan: Firstly I should explain what "Abandon" exactly means. I have prepared a definition of the word from my Oxford dictionary (takes a written note and reads...) Simply, it just means that you behave crazy. (Rises his head from the notes and passes them to me.) Deep Purple is now going through a great era. Four years ago Steve Morse joined the band and since that we've been like a family. We gather together in a studio, jam, things get happen. Everytime the songs are a bit different, we change the rhythm etc. We play from Monday to Friday every week. Indeed, sometimes it happens that we aren't 100% ready.... For example when somebody drinks a lot the evening before, the next day it's usualy no big deal. But we are prepared for everything.
We have all the songs written and prepared in four or five versions. So if there's the a need to we can start working on them right from the vocals.
Over all we are enjoying the work very much and I think that it must be heard in the music. It happens that the inspiration comes just from the feeling that we are together. That's probably why we have never had a lack of inspiration. For both lyrics and music.

Muzikus: It's the second time, as with your last album, you were recording in Orlando. Why?
Lord: It is a place we know wery well. The house we are recording in is an unimportant videostudio. But there is one big room which is very congenial, comfortable and has perfect acoustics. And what more, we like the surroundings. It's a very nice area, it's warm all the time. You know - central California. (Note: Well.... This is quite strange. California - it is written here. However, Orlando is in Florida, as we all know.....)
When we aren't working there are many places to go, there are restaurants, we can go out somewhere when we feel like it.
On the other hand it's not that bussy as the other places and it's much cheaper.

Muzikus: Could you decribe how you record? Do you record everything together or instrument by instrument?
Gillan: Generally we record everything together. There's only a little problem with drums in certain songs. We are used to record them in a room with ambient sound. It makes them sound fuller. But sometimes it's not possible to record this way because the sound of guitar or bass could be heard via microphones by the drums and this would make the mixing much harder. This makes the situation very complicated. We solve it this way:
The whole band plays together and we record everything but the drums. Next day Ian Paice comes to the studio alone and records only the drums to the prerecorded parts. Only these technical reasons can prevent us from recording the whole band together.

Muzikus: I would like to ask Jon Lord. Do you still use you old Hammond or did you change it for some new model during the years?
Lord: I had it till the last year. But in August we were playing in Calgary, Canada and somebody plugged the power cord in a wrong direction and the Hammond broke town totally. I've had it for 25 years. Now I am having it repaird and I hope that I will have it back for the tour.
When I didn't have it I was using many samplers and many sampled sounds of Hammond organ. But I didn't like them very much. They are always modified somehow and I like classic Hammond sound. So it is a problem.

Muzikus: So what did you use for recording your last album?
Lord: Well, I told you a secret with the Hammond.... but what can I do... Except for those samplers I used Yamaha Grand piano and only a little two very simple synthesizers. You know, I don't like synthesizers very much, I like real instruments.

Muzikus: Lets get five years back now. Could you describe how the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left the band during the world tour in 1993?
Gillan: It was like when you're blowing into a balloon, it slips out of your hands and flies all over the room. (Imitates the soud of the air leaking out of the balloon...) We realized that our balloon was about to blow soon. We were trying to prevent that but the atmosphere was very tense. On the other hand we were unified by the things we were doing and we were trying to keep the band together. But Ritchie finaly decided to leave. Deep Purple was going down rapidly and if we had let it be it would have been the end of the band.
The problem got solved when Ritchie left and we decided to move the things forward a bit. Joe Satriani finished the tour with us and he was awesome. He played with us for about a year but then we had to think about a permanent replacement.
We gathered together and made a list of candidates we would like to see in the band. Everybody brought his own list and it was quite clear who will be asked first because we all had him written on it. It was Steve.
So we called him and he only asked "Yes, sure....and tell me, what should I wear on the concerts?".
Then we rehearsed a bit, we did some concerts and since that it has been working perfectly.
Concerning Ritchie, I think that it is a closed case. I am glad that we got over all the problems and that we are like a family again. We don't talk about all the bad things anymore because even with Ritchie there was more good than bad. Only in the end of the 80's everything went wrong and we were only arguing. It was even worse than when I was leaving in '73 . Then it wasn't so serious that it wasn't even impossible to work.
Ritchie is very vivacious and he is hard to understand. But we had great times together too. For example the years 1969 - 1972. Or the great atmosphere around the Perfect Strangers album.
But it is easy to forget the problems.
Now I wish Ritchie to be happy, to be OK, to find his way and to to what he exactly wants. The end is good, everything is good.

Muzikus: Did you hear the new Ritchies accoustic project?
Gillan: Yes, I did. I think that Ritchie likes this album a lot. The record is very introvert. It is reflective. It isn't just to entertain oneself.
It is very good that Ritchie did what he wanted to. He goes his way and so do we. Ritchie is a musician and the musicians work this way.
I think that it is useless to give my opinions on the album and I think that Ritchie wouldn't want it.

Muzikus: How did you meet Joe Satriani?
Lord: We had to play concerts in Japan. Ritchie left and we didn't know what to do. Somebody suggested calling Joe Satriani. So we called him and he agreed. We sent him the scores he learnt them and we left for Japan.
Joe is a professional and what more, he is a nice person to work with and he is a great musician too.
A saw him again some time ago when we were staying in Orlando because he was playing with G3 in House of Blues. Steve knows him too because they jammed together.
We reamained friends with Joe and sometimes call each other and talk about the things we are doing.

Muzikus: And how did you choose Steve Morse?
Gillan: As I said, we all had Steve on our lists. It was very easy. We called him, he agreed immediately and we started rehearsing. Since the beginning it was clear what kind of person Steve is. He is a great person.
He is a pilot so he bought an airport so that he could live there. He takes care of the house, of the planes and he is an awesome guitarist too.
He knows quite well how music works and he is able to play the support as well as the lead guitar. And this is very rare. He can analyse so he understands thet the bass and other instruments have the right to get through.

Muzikus: How does Steve influence Deep Purple today?
Gillan: Steve is a regular member of the band. Of course he influences it because in the band it is allways a mattrer of competition. Each of us tries to work as well as possible.
We all love Steve and that's why there is a song dedicated to him on Abandon called Seventh Heaven. I didn't tell it to him unless it was finished because Steve is very shy.
He is full of ideas. When we are working on a number you can be sure Steve comes with something. This time around Steve is something like "Deep Purples engine".

Muzikus: You said that you were planning a tour. What will it be like?
Lord: We will begin on 1st June in Istanbul. We will stay in Europe for six weeks and then move to the States. From America we'll return for the second European leg which will last for six or eight weeks. We will try to get to Prague in that time. But now I am not so sure how the things will develop.
Then we'll have Christmas, then we will go to southern hemisphere and then some mmore dates in Europe. Next year's summer we have to do some festivals and then it is necessary to have some sleep, make holiday and go to a pub.

Translated and transcribed by Dan Dvoracek.
Transfer to HTML by Andreas Thul.