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Lyme Regis, 9th October 1996.

Dear Friends,

Well, that's the end of the European section and all's well with Deep Purple. It was great to recognise so many familiar faces and I hope you all enjoyed the shows. The atmosphere in the band is friendly and relaxed and I think this has been reflected in the performances. Steve Morse is now truly one of the family and it feels good being challenged again. It gets pretty dangerous at times as these brilliant musicians push the limits further back, it seems, with each performance.

We've been riding in a bus and, cocooned in our own surreal world, we hurtle along endless motorways in a vehicle so heavy it is possessed by its own momentum. There is no moment of sanity, no peaceful haven that might be called travelling. There is no cruising, no comfort zone between acceleration and its equally frightening opposite. We just hurtle. We rattle too, and bump and swerve. Occasionally we let down our suspension by an inch or two, so we can negotiate a lower bridge. It is, of course, necessary to spot the 'low bridge' signs well in advance in order to cease hurtling, else we'd be hurtling 'al fresco' , which would deprive us of that sense of containment, which is so essential to the mood of modern hurtling.

There is also a greater degree of friction that is generally associated with hurtling through, say, outer space. Gravity accounts for only a portion of this as 'our' hurtle is more of a grinding, crunching, non-lubricated avalanche of granite slabs along the smooth and level tarmacadam. Hurtling along the old East German road, ger-dunk, ger-dunk, ger-dunk or down narrow avenues of plane trees requires wide-eyed commitment and white-knuckled resolve. For a mile or two at a time you can observe that nobody is breathing. Even the cows and the sheep pause in their ruminations, look at each other and with De Niro-like, slow nodding acknowledgments they mouth 'wow, that was some hurtle' before going back to their provender.

There is probably some law of science which states that anything contained within the body of a hurtle will hurtle at the same rate as the mother hurtle. Not so in our bus, oh no, with its bunks and lounges, gallery and toilet, tables and TVs, fridges and crates and musicians and a drummer and a singer, an accountant and a tour manager and pots and kettles and bottles and cans and glasses... etc. all hurtling at marginally separate rates depending upon their state of recovery from the last spastic lurch. All excepting Ronnie that is. The driver of our behemoth, calm in the eye of the hurtle. Ronnie has plenty of good stories about bands he has hurtled all over Europe. Apologising for the bits of croissant on the floor (I kept missing my face as we hurtled out of Lille) he said 'not to worry lad I've got 'oover (that's a vacuum cleaner, he's from Leeds) you lads are all right. I won't accept bookings from bands that vandalize booses (buses) and if they did I'd goo on without 'em (?)'. Now vandalism doesn't come easy to me, but as an escape mechanism it has its attractions.

Synchronised hurtling on Ronnie's bus would be a challenge of such Himalayan proportions that it must surely qualify as an Olympic event. I can see it now, proud Ronnie on the winner's rostrum (Sydney 200), Gold medal around his neck, tears in his eyes. "I coon't ah doon it wee art um, the best boonch of 'erlers it's ever bin my privilege to synchronise, thank you verree mooch' 'Go on Ronnie, give us a quick hurtle', somebody shouts (I'll do the rest in plain English, you'll have to imagine the accent). 'Don't laugh lad, it's not really a sport you know, it's art really. I've been asked to hurtle for the Tate y' know when that Hockney's finished. I wouldn't call this art myself, not really, I mean it's not in the same class as hurtling is it?'.

A paregoric elixir and whiskey chaser.

All in all it's been brilliant. Not much to update on "Dreamcatcher', I'm going to Liverpool next week to complete the mix with Steve Morris and then the business will be arranged by Caramba (the label) for a release in the Spring of 1997.

Keep an eye on my web page for other bits and pieces : http://www.gillan.com Well that's all for now.

Peace and love.
Ian Gillan

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