[ d e e p P u r . p l e )
Ian Paice, Interview
The Highway Star


The band
Deep Purple

Band members
Don Airey
Ian Gillan
Roger Glover
Steve Morse
Ian Paice

Ritchie Blackmore
Tommy Bolin
Glenn Hughes
Jon Lord
Joe Satriani
Nick Simper

The family
Bernie Marsden

"You've got to keep on doing it"

Photo by Bernadeta Losy

Ian Paice interview - Stockholm, September 30, 2005

By Benny Holmstrom

Ian Paice was in Stockholm for a drum clinic, as well as fielding interviews for Deep Purple's upcoming album, "Rapture Of The Deep". The Highway Star met up with Ian to talk about the new album and a few other things as well.

THS: What are your thoughts and feelings on the new album?

IP: Obviously I think it’s very good. I think that four, five of the tracks have the possibility to become classic Deep Purple songs -- because we don't decide that, the audience do -- but there is some very, very good stuff there. The album was very easy to make and very quick; and when the recording is easy and fast, it usually means that the songs are correct, that you are not trying to create, trying to find something which is not in the song.

The whole thing -- writing, arranging, and recording the base tracks – was three weeks, which is very quick. And in the same way that "In Rock" was very quick, "Machine Head" was very quick. Those sorts of records tend to have immediacy and a feeling that communicates to people who listen to them. Whereas with some of the records which take a long time, you may end up with perfect tracks, but you've lost a little bit of the soul and the heart which you had when you first started to record it.

Because every one of these things has either take one, two or three, and that’s when you still have the excitement to play something new. Once you have played it fifteen, twenty, twenty-five times, to get it perfect, you may end with five minutes of really perfect boring nonsense, as opposed to that first take that was five minutes of pure magic, but maybe not perfect. So everything that we kept was when we were still physically excited about playing something new, and when the actual take wasn't perfect, it was good enough that you could fix a little bit so it became perfect, instead of going over and over to fix something which isn't there.

And so, to me, the record is very immediate, and as I said four or five tracks -- you almost know straight away, as soon as you've heard it once, you sort of know what it is, it’s inside your head. But making a record nowadays is, you know, you’re in the lap of the gods, whether it is accepted or not accepted by people, because music is not the driving force it used to be for the public. They have many other things that they do, whereas thirty years ago, for young people music was everything. You know, waiting for the next record, you waited for the next big band to come to town. Now people travel, have internet -- they spend more money on bloody ring tones than they do on records. So it’s different, but all you can do is try to make the best record you can and hope you connect with enough people. That the album generates enough interest and income for things to be able to continue. There are some records you hope is gonna be ok. This one I know is ok.

THS: Yeah, I know, as with “In Rock” -- you didn't know what would come after that either.

IP: No, that’s beyond our control. What we do know is that if we capture the energy of the band when it’s just creating something new, that’s ninety percent of the job; the rest of it simply falls into place.

THS: You said there are a few tracks you think are good. Any in particular you want to mention?

IP: Well, I think “Rapture Of The Deep” will become a very similar track to “Perfect Strangers”. I think it has that sort of appeal. “Wrong Man” is just a great rock 'n’ roll track. They're the only two we have tried on stage so far, but I get the feeling that three or four more will happen that way. But I think we have to play them live outside the studio to see which ones it is going to be, because they need to translate into live songs, they need to be songs we can play live. They don't leave the studio, sometimes; that’s were they live, in the studio. Until we get into the rehearsal room and practice another three or four of them, you never know. 

There is another one, “Money Talks”, that I think can be a really great live track. And one of the obscure ones, one of the strange ones could turn into something wonderful. You never know, “Before Time Began” might turn into something wonderful on stage. But, those two or three, I think they have the spark inside them, which connect immediately to people.

THS: Were there any tracks during the recording which didn't make it to the album?

IP: No, there were a couple of ideas that just got lost. But then again, “Wrong Man” got lost. The idea for that came out of the “Bananas” sessions, right at the very, very end. We had finished recording, we were just jamming and I captured it on tape, brought it back to the studio and said, “This is too good for us to throw away”. And there are a couple of other things which we started jamming on earlier in the day before we got into the process of recording what we
had done the day before. So some tunes got forgotten, but they are still there, so whenever we go back into the studio again, I'll bring them back in.

We have one wonderful thing Steve [Morse] does, which is very fast, very rhythmic and has the same appeal to me as the riff from “Wrong Man”. I'll bring that in next time and we'll get a little bit of extra help from “Rapture” on whatever the next record is, we get something to start with anyway. There are so many ideas, we could have gone on for another three weeks and done a whole new album. We could have done two albums, but we made one album, that’s enough. But the ideas were flowing in, I must say… the ideas were just coming out, coming out and they were great ideas.

There are 12 tracks on the masters, but it’s only 10 coming out on the CD; the other two will come out in different shape and form. There is always a spare track for Japan -- they always get an extra track, because their records are so expensive. If they don't get an extra track, they can't sell anything, everything is bought in the import market. I think whatever the other track is, it will come out whenever the next pressing comes out, it will be out as a bonus.

THS: Yes, I have already heard the whole…

IP: The twelve, yeah?

THS: Not the twelve, the eleven;
I heard “MTV” and the rest of the ten tracks.

IP: Ok, right, in that case it’s the other tracks.

THS: But I haven't have heard “Things I Never Said” yet.

IP: “Things I Never Said”, well, that’s a nice track too.

THS: Yeah, ok.

IP: Yeah, there is not one bad track there, but you get caught in a situation were you have to hold one back for the Japanese.
It's not the track I would have left off. We couldn't make our mind up which track had to go off, so in the end, we just left it to the record company. We all had different ideas, so you know in the end four of us, maybe all of us, won't be happy. Who knows? <laughs>

THS: It's like where a friend of mine thought “MTV” was the best song, but I thought that would probably be the song I'd have left out. 

IP: “Girls Like That” was that song for me. I thought that’s ok, but I would have left “Girls Like That” off, but Don [Airey] thinks “Girls Like That” is great; so there we go, we just gave up in the end. One day all the music will come out, so it doesn't matter.

THS: How was it to work with Michael Bradford again?

IP: Easier this time than the last time, and the last time was easy.

THS: Because then
he was the new guy?

IP: Yeah, Michael’s musical input was a lot less on this record. We didn't need any of his ideas for songs, because we were just coming up with so much, plus I think Michael's been very, very busy anyway, so I don't think he was in a position to stop on any ideas that we may have liked. But as I said, that wasn't necessary anyway. Michael’s contribution on this record was one of, again, getting the work ethic correct, so that we would work efficiently -- not crazy, but every day was a productive day. There wasn't a bad day, where you went home or didn't achieve anything, they were always great days.

Occasionally he would stick his head around the corner from the control room and say “you don't need to do that bit twice, just do it once”. Because you’re inside, you don't see the big picture. Those in the control room, though -- he would go, “no, don't, don't need to”. He would just be adding little ideas about the arrangement of things, “you don't need to do that” or “that shouldn't stop there, you should add just little time there” and that was basically his musical input on that level. But of course it’s the sound he achieves that you've got him there for, you know, and it’s a good sounding record.

THS: And the choice of studio; you also worked in his studio this time.

IP: Yeah, the studio is by his house. That’s the only negative. I mean because it’s in his house. His family don't think he is away working, they always phoning him up and doing things like that. I have never worked in a studio that small with Purple, it’s probably the size of this room here <indicating the lobby where the interview is being done>. Maybe a fraction bigger, but not much. When we were recording the tracks, basically the drums had the whole studio and all the other instruments were in isolation booths, so that wasn't a big room. It’s a good sounding room. It’s a very hard sounding room, so it captures the drums in a very natural way, it’s quite easy. I didn't have to mess around with the drums at all, just hit them properly and sound came out.

THS: What can people expect when you’re out on tour?

IP: It’s always like walking a tightrope between playing the songs that you know people really want to hear and getting enough new songs in, to let people know you actually are trying to show them a new piece of work. And short of making the set get longer and longer and longer, you have a very difficult job to do. Already certain songs from “Purpendicular” have suffered, because there's not enough time to keep them in. So I would assume that two or three songs from “Bananas” will suffer. That doesn't mean to say that they never get played again, but you know, the idea of this next tour is to sell “Rapture”.

The problem is that most bills are not two act bills, the
y are sometimes three and four act bills. And if you add a third act, that’s less time to go around. If it’s three acts in the bill, you find the headliner can't do two hours. There are times when the police say pull the plug and you can't play anymore. And you can't start the concert at four in the afternoon, because everyone is still at work. So you get stuck between, how do we get in as much as we can of the classics the people would be very sad if they didn't hear, and the new material that you think is important to show them. It’s a really difficult tightrope, already the show runs an hour and forty, an hour and fifty minutes -- and that’s with us being careful. If we would add, say, three or four new songs, we would be looking at two and a half hours and we can do it, but there isn't enough time in the evening to do it and that’s the problem. So it will be a mixture of old and very new and a couple of medium ones in the middle. But until it happens, I don't know anymore than you do. We’re both in the clouds here.

Photo by Bernadeta Losy

THS: How was the “Live 8” experience, I see it on the shirt there <that IP is wearing>?

IP: It was very, very good, but it was very good because we got a lot of help. We found a company, God bless, but I can't remember their name now. They agreed to supply us with a private jet for basically the cost of the fuel to get us from Minneapolis to Toronto and back from Toronto to Chicago, to do the night show. Otherwise, we would have been getting up at five in the morning to get a commercial jet to Toronto, then another commercial jet down to Chicago and racing straight on stage. It would have been almost impossible to do. But they supplied this great little jet for us and it was an hour one way and an hour the other way. So it was easy, we got up at a sensible time, got to the gig in Toronto about an hour before, played a very good three songs, went down very well and then I literally drank another hour flight back to Chicago.

These people made a very, very difficult day very easy. They were great and I'm sure somewhere, if you look right, you will find the name of the company
or if you ask Ian [Gillan], he knows what it was. They were brilliant, fantastic people. The show was great as well, because we weren't on the biggest one, but probably one of the friendliest ones. I mean, such great artists. Roger [Glover] and I, we were like a couple of kids, we got to meet Gordon Lightfoot, who was one of our great heroes when we used to live together in London in the early seventies. We used to put Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian folk-musician, on [our stereo]; there he was, this much older guy now. But the voice, you totally felt, "oh that's him, that's him". We felt like when kids come up and meet us, you got "oooh, it's fabulous. We had a wonderful time.

THS: Have you gotten used to looking over and seeing Don on stage?

IP: Yes, now I have. It was strange for a little while, looking across and not seeing Jon [Lord]. But at the end of the day, it’s what’s happening musically that’s important. And as Jon was slowly falling out of love with the road and taking himself and his mind to another place, it was important that when he did leave, we had somebody coming in who was full of the fire playing with us. Don’s been there every night, he really does a great job. And no, he is not Jon Lord, but he doesn't want to be Jon Lord, he wants to be Don Airey. Both those guys are irreplaceable in their own rights, so you don't try to replace them, you find other great players who have their own distinctive personality, which is what we did with Steve
[Morse] and what with have done with Don. And now, I sort of expect to see Don in there. But every now and again, it still doesn't surprise me when Jon turns up and I see two of them there, it's fine too.

THS: It took two years between “Bananas” and “Rapture Of The Deep”, so can we expect something in 2007?

IP: I would think so, I don't think we’re going allow time to dissipate, the way it did between "Purpendicular" and "Abandon."

THS: You mean “Abandon” and “Bananas".

IP: Yeah, it will be much more of a sequence of events, you know. Sensible tour, little holiday, new cd, sensible… Otherwise, you know, it gets out of kilter, it’s too long between records and you sort of forget how to do it. You've got to keep on doing it.

© The Highway Star 2005


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