[% META title = 'Jon Lord, Interviews' %]

Jon Lord interview on Finnish radio

Here it is at last. I am really sorry about the delay! I've had much work to do with my studies. Apart from lurking in amd-p, I haven't had too much spare time. The interview was broadcasted in two parts, and the questions and a bit of Jon's talk were dubbed in Finnish. Thus I had to re-translate them to English. The whole conversation wasn't broadcasted, the interviewer summaries some of Jon's replies and makes comments of his own. I hope that there will be no major misunderstandings.

First part, broadcasted 9.3.1996 in Radio Mafia

[an introduction, some of which I have succesfully overdubbed...]

Interviewer (Klaus Fleming):

...and the date of this interview happened to be rather significant to the keeper of the keyboard booth, Jon Lord; namely after the conversation he left to prepare for a gig in his home town, Leicester. The gig would be given at a venue called De Montford Hall, where he remembers having performed many times for decades ago. But of course we talked more about the feelings of today; would you tell about how the audience has received the renewed Purple and what kind of feelings the band had before the tour.

JL: It's been marvellous. In a way...we have two major challenges to jump if you like...we have a new album and of course we want to play some of that new album as well as play all the old tunes that everybody expects us to play. And you know when you've been around as long as Deep Purple has, you are carrying a lot of baggage with you, if you like. You know, it's a lot of songs. That's one challenge to jump and get right. And then, of course, we have Steve with us now, and we want him to be seen in the best light and to be featured properly and, you know, to make sure that he's introduced?/into going? [not sure] to the band properly. So these are two big hurdles we had to jump when we were rehearsing...

KF: So things seem to be well, although they had two high fences to jump over, like Jon Lord said. To draft the set list and to bring in the new guitarist Steve Morse in the band, considering both his and the audience's interests. And when Jon afterwards described things more in detail, he pointed out that the set list has been renewed; for example the old parade tune SOTW is played in the middle of the gig. Musically speaking, the new album Purpendicular contains such kind of material, that never before has been released under the name Deep Purple. Would you tell us, Jon, about the atmosphere of creating Purpendicular. It seems that you began to write new material with a "clean table" and then you began to solve the puzzle. [Meaning that the past was not a burden.]

JL: We'd got very much into a trap, which was that we had come to assume that the band would not exist if it did not have Ritchie Blackmore in it. And therefore because we writhed?/were ridden by? that decision somehow, we were being more and more becoming Ritchie's backing band. And Ritchie- if he didn't write it, he wouldn't play it. It was a very difficult possession. And he's a wonderful player and a very good writer- a difficult man, as you know. But- I don't want to say anything particularly bad about him, it was just that he was going one way and the rest of us were going the other and he actually did us a real favour when he decided to leave. It was a very strange decision because we were in the middle of the tour...

KF: Here in Helsinki, actually...

JL: Yes, that was the last night, but he decided two weeks before that. We had Japan to go to, we had a North American tour, we had South American tour...

KF: The members of Deep Purple had been lulled into the idea that the band would not exist without Ritchie Blackmore, but he did them a favour by leaving. Now they may write that kind of songs that they want. Ritchie used to play only his own songs. Compiling Purpendicular was not at all troublesome; when somebody got an idea, he didn't have to be afraid of telling it. So inspirations were free to flow. Steve Morse was wholeheartedly with the band. He was maybe a bit surprising choice to replace Ritchie. But actually, when Steve began to practice playing guitar, the first records in his bookshelf were by a certain band called Deep Purple. So it wasn't that big leap for him.

Recently Ritchie Blackmore gave an interview to the Mojo magazine, or in fact he was asked to characterize some of his previous fellow musicians. There was written about Jon Lord that he is a very nice guy, but Ritchie can't stop wondering why hasn't he presented any ideas in the band during the last 25 years, not a single one.

JL: I'm mentally? disappointed that he chose to make such a stupid remark. Extremely disappointed. I thought that he had more class than that. It's basically stupid. I mean, you got to go to listen to my contributions. Some are better than others, but- from a man who wouldn't listen to anybody else's idea's anyway, that's a rather strange statement. I am surprised, and I am hurt, of course!

KF: Oh, I thought that I heard that you wouldn't want to say a bad word about Ritchie- well, Jon the gentleman didn't do that! How do you express your ideas if you know that they are not accepted! A quite interesting observation is that in the most historic era of Deep Purple- 1970 to 1973, that means from In Rock to WDWTWA- the songs were credited to all members of the band. And now, in 1996 and in the album Purpendicular, the practice has been followed the first time since then. On the contrary, the songs since the reunion in 1984 were...

JL: they were mainly credited to Blackmore/Gillan/Glover. I know this is going to the reasons again, why that happened[???] I can ???? that you probably guess...we very much wanted this album to reflect every single member of the band in equal parts. And we made a decision that the writing would be credited to everybody, whether one did more and one some or less or another, it doesn't matter. The fact that you are in the room when somebody is writing something is a contribution, because you can say walk on or go somewhere else[?] or is that a right chord- even something as simple as that can change the way of song evolves. So I think it's vital that we look at it this way as a - totally five way think. And it is said on the album- written, performed and produced by Deep Purple. And it's wonderful to see that there again.

Second part, broadcasted 14.3.1996 in Radio Mafia

[background music is a slow, very heavy version of Black Night. Off some tribute? Sounds very good.]

KF:The players of chess throughout the world know Deep Blue, but the hard rock fans know Deep Purple as well, have known for almost 30 years, and there are no signs of retardation. The engine coughed for a little while, but is rolling again. Not to say better than ever, but more lively than for a long time. Does the keyboard player Jon Lord agree with this? One could at least think that he knows the story, as he was one of the founders of the band at the age of 27. And now, after 27 years, he's answering our questions.

[summaries part one of the interview]

On the new album Purpendicular the contribution of Steve Morse is strongly audible. Does the change of guitarist only mean that the conductor of the band is changed?

JL: No, not particularly. It was very much, very democratic group effort on everything. For example, Ian Paice, who has been very silent over the last two or three albums in terms of his contribution except for just almost becoming a time machine. For such a good drummer it was a waste. And now he's back with the adventures [???], he's really playing freely and with great fire again. And quite a lot of arrangement ideas were his, that was very much a democratic process! I believe that Steve is responsible for helping us to be that free. But there was actually no kind of on-balanced, er... [fades out, @#%&!!!]

KF: [summaries the above and continues:] So the role of Steve Morse was actually to encourage the band to experiment with new structures in songs. Well, that's just what I was about to say: all the other albums since the great reunion year 1984 sound like they had been made with the same concept. Not to say that the concept would have been bad, but I'd say that one has had to return to the 1970's to hear Deep Purple, that is shining with inspiration and full of innovations- and the new album seems to have the same spirit! One could talk about updating Deep Purple and continuing from that.

JL: I'm glad you feel that way, because that's the one feeling we get from the album. I mean it's not the definitive...sort of...end-of- statement [??? sounds much like that, can't understand], this ought to be bad musically, but the moment of quite re-establishing this band, which has got a lot of leeway to make up, I mean, through now follow[?] to our own. And sometimes we [sa/u-something] of Ritchies, we'd let a lot of people down, we disappointed a few people from time to time. And I think it is time to the band to re-establish itself. It's kind of hard road back. And the one thing we wanted to say without any exaggeration, we want to say that this is absolutely as innovative as we could make it, as free as we can make it. We didn't confine to being Deep Purple, but you can't suddenly become the modern jazz quartet or, ha, the Berlin filharmonic...you have the, still got [???] with Deep Purple, we thought that within...we're the band which are imposed by being Deep Purple, that we've come up with something really free. And indeed everybody in the band feels like you just stated, that this is actually very much the same feeling that we had in the early 70's, a feeling of being own to create without any real...feeling of being held down...you know like...if we feel like doing it, we'll try it. And if it works, we'll do it, if it doesn't, we try something else, rather than trying write and record and perform, do some sort of formula which has been [???] and rock, you know. This is a living, breathing, ongoing band. And I think the roots are very much in the late 60's and in the early 70's, in terms of the freedom.

KF: So Deep Purple isn't an old dinosaur, then?

JL: I don't think it is so, no. I thought it was becoming one. But I think we just slightly re-invented ourselves, and you know, I just...I feel no constrained at all based on the age of anybody in the band. All the lengthier time the band has been together. I feel we are making good quality music, which is made from the heart. And as such, I think we have us a right to be listened to long as everybody else [???].

[Ted the Mechanic]

KF: Jon tells us that their task was to update the image of Deep Purple. Of course, they wouldn't become a modern jazz quartet or Berlin filharmonics, but to create Deep Purple music with a new, fresh grip. The band was maybe becoming a dinosaur, a chink playing its old hits, but today this kind of description seems to be secondary. The ages of players or the long history of the band isn't an obstacle as long as they are doing quality music. And this is true, what would be the exact retirement age of musicians? In the early 1970's Deep Purple was at the top globally. They had no 1's in every continent, they were the main performers at many gigantic festivals. Enormous, even over one year long tours from one fan mass to another, to put it in other words: a hot word. And for sure Purple still has fans all over the world, the number of them is undoubtely smaller. But is it so that those "days of glory" aren't the measure of success for you, in the sense that you would be disappointed about not being at the top like you were then?

JL: Not particularly, that was then, this is now. So in a way, we're back. It's number 3 in Sweden, it came straight in the top 20 in Germany, it's something that the last three albums haven't done. Last two album's, I beg your pardon, TBRO and S&M.

KF: Let's make a quick analysis of what kind of audience does DP get nowadays. It's hard to believe that the present teenage girls would wallpaper their rooms with the vocalist Ian Gillan's pictures, although formerly this handsome figure looked with his languishing look from the walls of many maiden's bowers. Jon, if I remember correctly, you have two daughters, and the another is in adolescence. What do the descendants think about Dad's music?

JL: I got a fourteen-year old, who came to the show the other night in Reading here in England, and she was absolutely blown away, she thought it was wonderful. It was the first time she's seen us since she was about six years old, and she doesn't remember that. She was very, very, impressed, she loved it. But she does like Blur, she likes Oasis. That's the big question that's dividing the 14-year olds in England now, who is better, Oasis or Blur? Ha ha, not who is better, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin, that was 25 years ago!

[Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, the end of interview. And I feel like screaming now :-) There may be major misunderstandings there, have a good laugh at them and try to figure out the correct words]

Updated 3.4.1996. TK