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The Highway Star


Brendan Johnston
Dana McDermott
Rasmus Heide

More info
From Caramba!

Complete lyrics
Ian Gillan's letter
Order the CD Forbidden Records

Dreamcatcher was released in Japan in September. It is now scheduled for release in the U.K. on the 3rd of November. Release in other European countries may be earlier than this. The album can be ordered from RPM Records now - see a link at the Caramba! web-site for more info.

A star - from the cover art

We would like to thank Steve Campbell at Caramba! for much help with this feature. The original cover art used here was supplied and created by him, and is probably copyright.

Wormhole - from the cover art


Ian Gillan's Pan Pipe Moods

An Indian
dreamcatcher - from the cover art - Its different... different... different! Its a change of scenery, a change of meal... needless to say, I'm very pleased with the album. Its deeply personal. And it has a totally different approach to anything I've done before.

Ian Gillan's on the phone from Florida, where Deep Purple are working on the follow-up to their artistic return to form, «Purpendicular» (1996). Ian, being Ian, has managed to sneak the recording of a solo album in between the rather full packed touring and recording schedules Deep Purple have been keeping over the last years. «Dreamcatcher» was released in Japan near the end of September, and should be out in Europe in late October / early November. The vocalist known for his wailing screams now proudly describes his solo venture as «background music».

- It is background music - music to wash the dishes to, do some gardening to, make love to... This is not the kind of music that tells you to sit down and listen. That's a big problem with rock. One often tends to focus on the big "crash-bangs-booms", the explosive side of the music. I regard the texture and dynamics to be just as important, the singer says. He stresses that he wants people to know what kind of music the album is before they hear it.

Beach Humming 'It IS background music'. Text blurb
- I was walking along the beach in Portugal, way south in the country. I use to walk ten miles every day there. I kept singing as I walked - I sing everywhere - but I realised I was singing songs I hadn't heard. This was soft tunes - no one hums aggresive tunes. You can't hum «Speed King», for instance, Ian laughs. He strains that he wanted this material to work without the restraint of a traditional rock band.

- I would work from the melody, and see where it would take me. Everyone seems to think that you either have the lyrics first, and then construct the song, or the other way around - its not like that! You have bits and pieces, and you stick them together. And the company you're keeping has a lot to say for the end result. Steve Morris handles the backing tracks on this album. We've been working together for a long time now, and had good fun in the studio.

A Walk in the Forest
- Sometimes Steve Morris brought the backing tracks, and I wrote over that, other songs were written by me - «Gunga Din», «Sleepy Warm» and «Prima Donna» are among these. I would make up some tunes while I was walking, and then try them out on my guitar, rearrange them to fit the three chords I know, I'd sing them to my wife... The idea for the album was that it should be mellow, personal. There's no candidates for a Deep Purple record here, something I'm happy over, as that means there's no conflict. The main thing for me is Deep Purple, but now and then I need to take a walk in the forest, Ian explains.

'Now and then I like to take a walk in the forest.' Text blurb. Some of the people in «The Highway Star»'s editorial team who's heard the album, have reacted to the heavy use of drum machines and sequencers on the album. Didn't they consider using «live» musicians on a bigger scale?

- Well, a drum machine is an instrument, as far as I'm concerned. Steve is the best programmer for a drum machine. The whole album was an Ian Gillan / Steve Morris project. If we were to use other musicians, it wouldn't have been finished in another five years. Deep Purple has been very busy lately, and this is after all a spare time project for me. Ian says that it was either do it this way, or never do it at all.

Pan Pipe Texture Feather - from the
cover art
- One of the reasons why this album has such a strong identity, is the use of pan pipes. I love pan pipes. So we tried incorporating pan pipes in all the songs. Obviously it didn't work everywhere, but its left on most of the album. They gave a texture to the songs - the same mood throughout the album.

Three or four of the songs on the album - depending on whether you have the Japanese edition or not, as usual - were originally recorded by the Repo Depo project. This was basically the band that finished the last half of the Gillan «Toolbox» tour in 1992, and consisted of Brett Bloomfield (Starship) on bass, Lenny Haze (Y&T) on the drums, Dean Howard (T'Pau) on guitar and naturally Ian on the vocals. There's rumours that this lineup recorded some stuff before Ian was dragged back to Deep Purple near the end of 1992, so why weren't these recordings used?

- They're demos, basically. We never had the finances to finish an album, and then the Deep Purple thing happened, so things were put to a halt. Great stuff though, perhaps I'll release them on a demo album some day. Or perhaps we'll even get back together and finish the album, that would be great fun, but time is naturally the problem. I've recently gotten in touch with Lenny again, by the way. That was a great band. We recorded 5-6 tracks. For this album, we rearranged the tracks, and used the more down-key numbers. Me being me, I wanted to end the album with a bang, so there's some slightly more upbeat stuff near the end, Ian Gillan says.

It will be interesting to see how the fans react to the totally different approach Ian Gillan has chosen this time.

Sea Sail - from the cover art

Written for "The Highway Star"
by Trond J. Strøm
Article copyright © October 1997
Please ask for permission before reproducing!

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