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New Gillan interview

Gillan on air guitar

A brand new interview with Ian Gillan has been posted online at The Musician’s Voice. The interview is about 12 minutes long and you can listen to it here (MP3, 6.9MB).

Thanks to Daniel Bengtsson for the info.

12 Comments to “New Gillan interview”:

  1. 1
    Reinder says:

    First lie of the interview is uttered less than 30 seconds in: “We’ve always just made records to brighten up the stage show”. I won’t hold it against him, obviously, but it’s a good idea not to take those interviews too seriously.

  2. 2
    T says:

    The assertion that making a record is “just” to “brighten up the stage show” is of course a hyperbole–not an outright, conscious lie; however, in the context of Deep Purple, it is not too far from the truth.

    Purple has not sold large amounts of records since “Perfect Strangers” and these days, the band holds a sort of cult status–which is good, because we fans are of the genre that generally do not believe it is about money–it’s about the music.

    The band has had trouble maintaining a label that suits their needs now that the numbers are not what they used to be. In addition, making an album, especially these days, is a pretty expensive prospect. When you consider that the commercial success of this investment is probably not going to be there, you need an ulterior motive to make this effort. One is to progress the stage show and to keep the fans interested.

    Gillan did say they do it for the fans who expect it but they know in advance they will not get any airplay. I’ve yet to hear anything past 1984 on the radio. As he said, you’ll hear “Highway Star” or “Smoke on the Water,” but that’s about it. These songs are 35 years old!

    In a fair and perfect world, “Money Talks,” “Girls Like That,” “Wrong Man” and “Rapture of the Deep” should be all over AOR radio–and if these guys were 22 years old, they would be. Purple has been relegated to “classic rock” status even though these songs are new. Does that mean that DP albums are instantly classic and that’s why they get no airplay?

    As for the interview itself, Gillan did most of the talking so I thought it was worth listening to. He does mention Gillan’s Inn, and in a previous interview, he said it was not an attempt to “improve” any of the songs.

    I take exception to that in that “Unchain Your Brain,” “Bluesy Blue Sea,” “Men of War,” “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” “Demon’s Eye” and “Loving On Borrowed Time” are arguably superior to the originals and are definitely better produced and more powerfully recorded.

    “When a Blindman Cries,” “Speed King,” and ironically “Smoke on the Water” were not nearly as successful–but interesting. “Smoke” hasn’t sounded right since a certain bajo player did it back in the day… But that’s another debate.

  3. 3
    Dung Beetle says:

    Well put. Would be nice if Classic Rock Radio made room for new, or even “not ancient” work by Classic Rock artists. It’s rare to hear a station of that format play, for example, a Rush tune post “Moving Pictures”, a Black Sabbath tune recorded after 1974, anything Queen did after “The Game”, the list goes on and on.

    But then who am I to talk? 50% of the Classic Rock format in Dallas bit the dust a few short months back. Sattelite radio is lookin’ better every day.

  4. 4
    Sam Knight says:

    I came across a Gillan interview the other day in a magazine which was published in the run up to the (briefly) revived Monsters of Rock festival in the UK last summer, and Gillan said something to the effect that Rapture of the Deep was their biggest seller since Perfect Strangers and sales in the same league as Machine Head weren’t attained only because of the state of the music industry. Hyperbole perhaps but DP don’t help their cause by not playing enough recent material. They don’t promote new records and perpetuate ‘classick rock radio syndrome’ by continuing in this vein. The London show I saw recently was performed brilliantly and wonderfully entertaining but the London Astoria show in January 2006 featured 7 Rapture songs and was decidedly more edgy. It is the band who have to do away with the greatest hits ‘comfort blanket’ to give weight to Gillan’s rhetoric.

  5. 5
    T says:

    That DP doesn’t play their recent material to promote their new albums is a very valid point, Sam. Seven “Rapture” songs you say? Wow… That would never happen here.

    In America, much of that can be blamed on the audience, many of whom are in their fifties and sixties–and beyond!–who *want* to hear the “classics” and have never heard anything new. We die-hard fans want to hear the new material. American audiences generally don’t.

    The setlist has been much discussed on this website and it appears the band does the best they can regarding the “balance” between new and old. You can’t please everyone. The setlist I picked in the feature on this site had relatively few “classics” and a lot of “oddballs.” It wouldn’t go over with our audience.

    I can’t see “Rapture” selling like “Perfect Strangers”. Does anyone have sales figures? Chart placement is one thing, hard numbers another. It was my understanding that “Perfect Strangers” was a multi-platinum seller. If the same could be said for “Rapture,” it sure got ignored in the media.

    By casual, unscientific observation, it seemed that both “Rapture” and “Bananas” were released in a vacuum (in the U.S.), which I attribute to the long interval between “Abandon” and “Bananas.”

    As for “Made in Japan” or “Machine Head” numbers, Gillan is absolutely correct. The market today in America is mainly hip-hop, rap, and these girl singers. The alternative is country music. I wouldn’t say rock is dead…but it’s not mainstream anymore–or, at least, that’s how it is portrayed via the media.

  6. 6
    69 says:

    House Of Blue Light topped the charts in germany in early 1987. I thought it was pretty successful in other countries too.

  7. 7
    T says:

    Chart position doesn’t necessarily translate into sales–which is the point.

    Often, a group’s popularity is determined by the media. A rotten group that happens to be trendy might get a huge amount of airplay on the radio–without selling a lot of records.

    My point is that Gillan is being accurate when he says the main reason for DP continuing to record is to have something new to play–except in some markets like the US, in which the majority of fans want to hear the old stuff.

    American radio ignored the Deep Purple reunion (although the track “Perfect Strangers” got good coverage on the original MTV) and the records only sold relatively well for *their* market–that is, “Classic Rock.”

    The hair band version of Whitesnake was far more successful than Purple in America. I still hear “Here I Go Again,” “Is This Love,” and occasionally “Still of the Night” from time to time–but only hear the “classics” from DP–never anything from the reunion except “Perfect Strangers”–and that only very rarely.

    “House of Blue Light” was #32 in the American rock album charts (probably not popular music overall). “Perfect Strangers” was #17, and “Nobody’s Perfect” #105. “The Battles Rages On” was *#192* (!!). “Slaves and Masters” managed #87.

    Here is my point: The Morse-era albums were released in a complete void in the United States. “Purpendicular,” “Abandon,” “Bananas,” and “Rapture of the Deep” didn’t chart!!! That is the state of music in America. [Figures are from rockdetector.com].

    As far as the USA is concerned, Deep Purple needn’t bother record anything at all. Gillan’s point is well taken: They’re not recording for the money.

    I don’t blame them for not touring the US as a positive turnout is sometimes difficult. Some will say they don’t try hard enough in America. Then again, they will visit places where they are popular (Germany, France, etc.).

  8. 8
    Bo says:

    Been a Purple fan since 1971 I think the reason why they dont seel like before is that the level is not as high as before. That kind of hard-rock still sell well all over the world – not like before, but still well. Just look at Black Sabbath or Ozzy solo.
    So I think the combination of “lost magic” (lost RB and JL) and to few real first class songs is the reason. Then maybe add lack of “We can still do it” hunger might be the reason.
    I’m not 100% sure that this is correct, but I feel it might be. And I would love to se Deep Purple back as one of the world best selling bands. I’m sure they can but it will be hard work and more songs like “House of Pain”

  9. 9
    T says:

    I find that songs such as “Ted the Mechanic,” “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming,” “Seventh Heaven,” “Almost Human,” “’69,” “Bananas,” “Sun Goes Down,” “The Well-Dressed Guitar,” “Wrong Man,” “Rapture of the Deep,” etc., etc., etc. to be as exciting as anything Purple did in the 70’s. They still have “it.” It’s just a different kind of “it.”

    What they don’t have is the same climate. The music culture is just not the same. Rock used to be the mainstream. It’s not that way anymore.

    Purple’s fans grew up and had kids and DP is having trouble attracting new, younger fans who are into all the “rap crap” (as Ian Paice put it). They will never be a best-selling band again. They’ll have to settle with just “best” band. !

    That’s not to say that they didn’t take a “hit” with the loss of Blackmore and Lord. Bo above is right about that. Many of the hardcore fans still can’t get over Blackmore leaving!

    My suggestion would be to unplug all the synthesizers, run the Hammond through a guitar amp to get “the beast” back, and have Steve turn off all the pedals and just play through a huge Marshall stack. I don’t think it’s a step backwards to get the old sound back. It’s what they did best. They’ve proven they can do the “modern” sound.

    I’d like another “In Rock.” But I’m content with a “Rapture of the Deep.”

  10. 10
    cranberry says:

    A DP concert containing mostly recent material would not sell tickets. Like it or not!! I dont think this has anything to do with the quality of recent material, its down to one thing, and one thing only…….nostalgia.

    35 years ago DP were probably the biggest band on the planet. Today they exist it that shadow. Sure material from Perfect Strangers onwards helps keep the fans and the band interested, but it pales into insignificance when compared to the glory days.

    Nostalgia sells tickets, fills seats, and ultimately makes money.

    As long as people want to hear the classic SOTW, Highway Star, then DP will continue to exist, make money, and finance their pensions.

  11. 11
    T says:

    Cranberry: You are right. That is pretty much the bottom line here in the U.S.

  12. 12
    mamak kusuma says:

    one important thing is there is tight relationship between our age and the time of the album DP released, no wonder, many people liked and enjoyed DP songs when they’re still teenager …. by the time they grew up, got married, had kids…gradually they didn’t pay attention much to DP newer albums. Basically, these people are not kind of people who like music, they’re just influenced by their young age…they liked music which was popular or mainstream in that time.

    We, the die hard DP fans, pure music lovers,are always looking forward to having new DP album.

    Warm regards to all DP fans

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