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Jedno oko na Maroko

Ian Gillan, One Eye To Morocco promo photo

In the latest issue of the Polish Teraz Rock magazine (March 2009) there is a very interesting three page interview. Ian Gillan and Wieslaw Weiss are talking about One Eye To Morocco and some other things. Plus a few fine photos.

Thanks to Joasia Ostrowiecka for the info.

7 Comments to “Jedno oko na Maroko”:

  1. 1
    marcinn says:

    Here’s the full interview in English:

    I have the impression that the process of recording your new album was very swift.

    Yes it was. Last year Roger’s mum was terribly ill and she sadly died. We had to cancel some Deep Purple gigs. So I called my friends who would help me with recording the new album and I told them: Let’s do it right now. We met to listen to the material I gathered, and I had thirty eight cuts. We chose fifteen – twelve basic tracks and three bonuses. We went to rehearse to Buffalo, NY. But just within three days guys learned the new material to such an extent they were able to play it easily. We decided we were ready. We crossed Peace Bridge and along the Niagara river we headed Toronto and within three days the album was recorded. It all turned out that simple. Nick Blagona was very helpful. Awesome chap. The master. The recording sessions went like clockwork. But to record this album I had to have the sack full of music. And writing those thirty eight songs took some time. Two, possibly three years.

    You have just mentioned ‘a very helpful Nick Blagona’…

    You know, you need to have a producer, whom you unconditionally trust. When I finished my all solo parts I said to Nick: OK. I’m off for now. The rest is up to you. I went back to England and leave him the recorded material. His task was to process the tracks, adding all the elements which give the music this special feel: a bit of resonance, glockenspiels, all the additional sounds as the brass section. After hearing the final version I just shouted out: It’s great. That’s what I was thinking about. Great job mate!

    I know that the material for the album was written with your old friend Steve Morris…

    Who actually doesn’t appear on the album. However, he was the co-writer of several songs. I often work with Steve. We get on very well and the creative process with him is so easy. When my head is bursting with ideas I usually call Steve, he comes over to my home studio, we fool around a bit, and while fooling around we write melodies and rough sketches for songs. These are not the complete songs, yet ideas that inspire me later on. These are quality ideas since they are not yet worked out, they are very natural. I really value our common work which lasts to this day. One Eye To Morocco has already been in the stores, but some time ago we got around again and write five or six songs, because it is simply good to have some ideas for the future purposes in advance. Steve is a great guy. Real professional. You know, he is music teacher. When he doesn’t teach, he sits down in the studio. He has big ears. And he perfectly knows the form. All most composers do is write a melody, Steve on the contrary. He embraces the whole. My favourite cut on the album is Girl Goes To Show. At the start I only had the bass line which was permeated with some vague Caribbean spirit, reggae spirit. What can you do with such a thing? I brought it to Steve and he created the rest. A complete song was born out of his work. The song I could present to the guys during the recording sessions.

    Why didn’t Steve take part in the recording sessions?

    Well, long time ago we discovered that it feels good when our common ideas are interpreted by other musicians. If for instance I asked Steve Morse, Roger Glover or Ian Paice to the recording sessions, they wouldn’t definitely stick to the basic material and they would play in Deep Purple fashion. The musicians that support me when I go solo are usually taking a different musical path… You know, Steve Morris loves playing the guitar, he adores long, spectacular solos. And he’s great at what he does. He truly is a rock axe-man. However, I did not want long, spectacular solos on the album. I just wanted to make it as simple as possible. And I wanted the beat. But I also cared about the spice of the arrangements which would be played in an understated manner. And I really didn’t want any guitar solos. Had Steve been in the studio with me, the album would be full of guitar solos. I wanted to have his ideas interpreted independently, and differently. That was my plan. To use Steve’s material but keep him stay in England (Ian laughs).

    I know that your cooperation with Steve has started somewhere in 1980’s, when you formed Garth Rockett and The Moonshiners and you toured some small English clubs.

    That’s not very far from truth. We met thanks to Phil Easton from Liverpool – the chief of Radio City. I asked him whether he knows some musicians since I wanted to do this small club tour. And he got very excited: There is a chap. They call him Monxy. We met in a pub, we talked a bit and it turned out he is a very gifted musician so I took him with me to tour the clubs. Then we parted. After several weeks I woke up in a renovated house. I ate my porridge, stared at the TV, went through my mail. But in this pile of rubbish you tend to have in your mail box, along with my wife’s stuff, there was a brown envelope which appeared that day as well. And of course it landed in the bin. After breakfast I did some work in the studio, played some pool, and wandered a bit round the house. Suddenly I heard some amazing tunes. I started to hum. And I asked Squeefy, my assistant: What’s this? And he replied: I found it in the envelope you kindly throw out. It turned out I throw out a tape which Steve sent to me. Five cuts were on it. Four of them made it to Naked Thunder record. Can you believe I wanted the tape to finish in a trash bin? I will never repeat the same mistake again.

    The core of your band consists of Michael Lee Jackson (guitar), Rodney Appleby (bass), and Howard Wilson (drums). Could you shed some light on those musicians?

    All of them live in Buffalo, New York. I spend there a lot of time. I have many friends there and really adore the city. It reminds of the Wild West towns and is situated near Niagara falls, close to the U.S.-Canadian border – you can take a break and jump out to Canada to have an evening drink, and in Canada they have way better strip clubs than in States. But returning to my cooperators… Michael was the chief musician on Gillan’s Inn. And of course he was the banjo player. Rodney was the bass player on the tour. When he returned from the tour, he was shot and got nearly killed. He heard a knock on the door so he opened. His neighbour came over and said: Can I come in? Rodney said: Sure you can mate. And this guy started: You’ve stolen my dogs! Rodney: I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. But this guy already took out a gun and fired. The bullet brushed Rodney’s head. The guy went bananas, he pressed the gun into Rodney’s mouth and fired once more. Fortunately, the bullet missed all the essential organs and stuck in Rodney’s neck. Rodney, a former Marine, threw the guy to the ground, overpowered him and disarmed. During the last session Rodney was still having this bullet in his neck, you could feel it under the skin. Terrific chap. And Howard Wilson is a session drummer. All the guys are fabulous and skilled musicians. I also invited Joe Mennonna to the sessions, who accompanied us during the making of Accidentally On Purpose. It was Joe who laid down the part of tenor saxophone in Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave. On the back over of One Eye to Morocco there are also two additional names. But I haven’t got a clue who the people are. Nick Blagona invited them to the studio just when I took off. He just had this idea for additional sounds and he used it.

    Michael Lee, the drummer on Gillan’s Inn, died last November. What caused his death?

    I don’t know any details. Michael had a problem with… He was an endearing man. I met him during our tour with Thin Lizzy. We loved to watch him play, he used to do it in an energetic, spectacular way. Unfortunately, he had the problem with heavy drinking. It was very serious. He was absent whole weeks, his career started falling apart. He had less and less work proposals and got very depressed. I do not know what exactly caused his death. I only know that by the end of his life, he just wasn’t sober at all… But I have only good memories of working with him.

    Let’s get back to One Eye To Morocco. It seems that several tracks are the return to rhythm and blues…

    Possibly. But while we write we don’t think about categorizing. We don’t think if the tunes we come up with are rhythm and blues, ballads, rockabilly, or whatever. Such words never appear during our conversations. It only pushes me to think about it when the album hits the market, and the people start to analyse it. Only then may I admit: Okay, you might be right. But generally I do not categorize music. However, it is beyond doubt that when the artist is in the period of his musical development he tends to absorb many different things. That’s the way it used to be in my case. When I was a kid, there were many different genres at my disposal. I absorbed them, copied them. And they are still in me, forever.

    Could you tell us something more about your fascinations when you were entering the world of music?

    I’ve enjoyed a very interesting journey. My grandpa was an opera singer and my uncle was a jazz pianist. I was a boy soprano in a church choir. Some time had passed until I discovered Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Dusty Springfield or Everly Brothers. But there was no turning back. When I got to know Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles I started to be interested in jazz. Next step was studying blues. I listened Sonny Boy Williamson, Lazy Lester, Little Walter. Thanks to Lonnie Donnegan who remind me of the work songs which were sung on the cotton plantations by the black slaves. I discovered the Delta blues. And I tracked his migration by Missisipi river up North just to appear in Kansas, and Chicago where he was much more commercialized, but at that time neither me nor anyone in England realized that. The albums with blues from Chicago were reaching us and we absorbed everything with the expression of amazement on our faces. We used to learn all the simple cuts and we played them on! Another great artist of that time was James Brown. Then I was fascinated by psychedelic, the vocal harmonies of psychedelic bands. It was a stunning period of my life. The period of musical studies and discoveries, but at the same time I had enormous fun. Of course this period lasted when I joined Deep Purple. Thanks to Jon Lord I discovered classical music and Hammond organ frenzies of Jimmy Smith. Ian Paice guided me through swing and big band jazz of Buddy Rich. Roger Glover showed me the richness of folk music. And Ritchie Blackmore dazzled me by the amazing technique of guitar playing and mad behaviour on stage. All the elements you absorb when your musical personality is in the making. But finally you find your own voice, and after all the years it is very difficult to say where from comes the inspiration in your music. All the aforementioned elements are natural. And your art is a mixture of different things which are vaguer and vaguer. You are no longer able to discern them.

    You have not mentioned The Beatles among your musical fascinations. However, One Eye To Morocco has some Beatle inspiration…

    Oh yes, there is the Beatle cello phrase there. Just this one phrase. (Ian laughs) I’d say it is influenced by George Martin rather than The Beatles. Besides, you know, in Moroccan, Armenian, Arabic, or Indian music such things were far earlier than The Beatles (Ian laughs again) But of course I know what you’re referring to. However, you should know that One Eye To Morocco is a Polish song rather than Moroccan…

    The title was suggested by Tommy Djubinski…

    Exactly (a big grin from Ian)

    I thought that One Eye To Morocco refers to a crossed-eyed person…

    Obviously, but it also can mean many different things. It’s a question of interpretation.

    What does it mean in your song?

    A wandering eye. Tommy invited me to a café in Cracow and he was discussing Oscar Schindler when I saw this beautiful woman. I couldn’t resist the temptation of looking at her. Then Tommy said: One eye to Morocco, the other to the Caucasus. (Ian laughs) So I thought to myself: What a descriptive saying. And while working I recalled this saying and thought about is as a metaphor to my situation. The Caucasus is in my case the road I’m currently heading, Deep Purple, my family, my musical family. Morocco is my brief flirtation, my adventure. Something totally different.

    In Better Days you comment on growing older. Do you often think about the passing of time?

    Actually it was Michael Lee Jackson who wrote this song. But you know, when you age you tend to think about the passing of time. And of course there are many ways to cope with that. I remember talking the other day about it to Roger Glover. We came to conclusion that we no longer can write about fast cars and easy women. Our topics at the moment are… Are we still alive? Are we moved by such things as war, someone’s anger, unjustified richness? Do we still have this fervent passion? Of course we do. But it doesn’t mean we don’t care about music we write. It has to have vitality, it can’t loose it. And aging process is wonderful. Life is a journey. The further you get, the higher you climb you tend to see more, your horizon is wider. Being old doesn’t need to be a negative thing. It also has particular benefits. Of course you don’t have as much strength as when you were young, you have to put some things aside. But your knowledge about life is tremendous. It goes without saying.

    Last year Deep Purple played a one-off with Jon Lord. Do you have some fond memories about this particular evening?

    I can’t remember when it was.

    It was in September during the Sunflower Jam.

    Oh yes, I recollect now. To be honest I felt like a piece of shot that day. I had fever, I sang with a huge effort. After the event I just drove off home. But of course I do love Jon. And I’m always pleased when I meet him. He’s the founding father of Deep Purple.

    And when can we expect the next studio album from Deep Purple?

    I hope we will be in the studio this year. We were discussing it just before Christmas. But you know, this is Deep Purple. This band never allowed anybody to be rushed. (Ian laughs) And we’ll enter the studio when we’re ready. We just have to be in the right mood so the album sounded natural, and so the session wouldn’t be a torture for us. This condition has to be agreed on. However, I’m sure the right moment is approaching us.


    I did the translation for deeppurplehub, I thought I may share it with you guys here. Enjoy!

  2. 2
    George says:


    Great job! and huge thanks to you.

    The interview itself is the most interesting one, as usual.. I must say it’s the greatest pleasure for me to read GIllan’s interviews, it has made a great influence on me, on my thoughts, opinions and on my reflection towars music. Ian’s interviews are the most wise and the funniest one’s as well…
    Ian can’t remember himself playing with Lord last year? omg… let’s drink little less, man 😀
    and yeah, I bet DP will take Nick Blagona for the next studio album, Gillan was always the major influence on the band… so if he wants Nick as a producer, he’ll get it…

  3. 3
    marcinn says:

    My pleasure George 😉

  4. 4
    The Aviator says:

    Many Thanks, Marcinn!!!!!
    Great job!!!! Many Thanks again!!!
    You are the man!!!

  5. 5
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Yes, all of the translations have brought the promo capmaign to a much wider audience.

    Thanks Marcinn!

  6. 6
    marcinn says:

    I’m glad I could be of help 🙂

  7. 7
    Joanna says:

    Thanks, Marcinn, for your help, it’s very nice of you.

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