A very interesting interview with Jon Lord conducted back in 1999 comes from Australia. A lot of topics were touched that day, from the then new album Abandon, to the famous “Jon Lord sound”, to computers, and to the still budding Internet.
C: If you were the same age you were when you started right now, confronted with all this stuff at that age, what do you think you would be doing with your music now.
J.L.: Interesting question. If I were a young keyboard player now I would be I think confused by the amount of things available to me. I am really thankful that when I started the only two options were the piano and the organ. But music is… the music business by definition is kind of incestuous. It grows, it feeds on itself. It comes out of what’s around you. And what takes it forward each time is a band that has the courage to take what they hear and then to reinvent themselves based on what they’ve heard.
C: Which is what you did back then, so I guess you would do the same sort of thing now.
J.L: I’d like to think I’d have the courage to do the same thing now.
C: You think it would be harder now?
J.L.: I think it would, because as a cynic said, “it’s all been done”. The trick now – if it is down to being a trick, which is sad – is to make it sound like it’s not been done before, and that really is hard. I think we had the best of it, I don’t mean we Deep Purple, I mean we my generation. We had a clean canvas on which to paint – pretty clean anyway, a few smudges here and there – and the ability to be able to say “can we do this?.. yes we can.” that was wonderful. And don’t forget we also came out of the 60′s where we had record companies that would give you a five year contract, I mean that would be like gold now. What you get now is a one album contract with an option. And that’s a big deal to get the option. But record companies had the courage then to allow you to grow.
With the benefit of a hindsight, it is interesting to see how Jon both laments the decline of the live music scene in the 90s and warns against discarding record companies in the wake of the Internet revolution. As it turned out, demise of the recording industry led to a boom in live music we experience now.
The latter has an interesting passage where Jon talks about his future not necessarily being in rock music (remember, this was good 3 years before his retirement from the band):
[...] and then being in a band that got famous, I was allowed to indulge myself two or three times over the years, so when it gets to this time of my life when I realise, I have realised for some time, that I cant be a rock and roll musician forever, I just can’t. There’s a physical limitation that’s going to start happening eventually. Touch wood it does… I’m a fit healthy middle age man but at some point there’s going to be a physical limitation but there may even be a mental thing where I say I just don’t want to do this anymore. Again touch wood that hasn’t arrived yet. But there’s a whole side of me that needs to be expressed which I cant express in Deep Purple — thus this solo album [...]
Also, on the Australian note, ABC’s Radio National has an excellent tribute to Jon aired on July 16, which includes Jon’s interview from 2001.
Thanks to Yvonne Osthausen for the info.