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One Eye on KNAC.com

Ian Gillan, One Eye To Morocco promo photo

Another interview with Ian Gillan, this time at KNAC.com (Big Ian is certainly getting his money’s worth from the PR agents). Amid the familiar by now story behind One Eye To Morocco, he made some interesting remarks, particularly about his songwriting process:

I never write the lyrics first, but I do make a lot of notes every day. I’ve got hundreds of books. I use the composition books, like the ones the American schools use. I’ve got hundreds of them. If I see anything over the course of the day that either makes me start growling or makes me roll on the floor laughing or touches me emotionally, then it gets written down. Names, places, times, clothes, weather — all those little bits of color that take you right back to the moment when you want to use it in a song or in an essay or something like that. So those ideas are kept and logged for later use. But normally speaking, if I’m writing with Steve Morris, for example, he comes up with some backing track demo-type things and then I write the tunes and put the words on top. I do what I do — the singing bit and all the connected parts. But generally it’s the tune that comes first. You can hear the beginning of the words when I do what I call “my gibberish,” which is when I sing and I first hear the ideas and the music with a guitar or a more developed piece. I just start singing the most natural thing, without having to worry about the words. But more important at that stage than the meaning of the words is the sound of the words. So I’m pretty careful with the vowel sounds and the percussive value of the consonants. When you’re hitting the high note, you don’t want an “ooo” sound, you want a more open vowel sound because singers don’t like that. So it’s the working on the craft of it, really. Then once you’ve got that in shape, you can think more about the words. But very often, a phrase or a sentence or a word will come spontaneously whilst I’m doing this gibberish, and very often that will lead to the development of the rest of the lyrics.

Read the rest of the interview at KNAC.com.

Thanks to BraveWords for the info.

34 Comments to “One Eye on KNAC.com”:

  1. 1
    George says:

    I already read this Interview, and must say, this is probably one of the most interesting one I’ve read from Ian… and mostly for the interviewer’s sake. Here Ian isn’t asked to tell the story behind Smoke for the several millions time… instead he’s asked about songwritting, new albuml, spiritual influence and so many interesting things…

    btw, Gillan gets unbelievable mass-media support for Morocco, can anyone answer WHY?
    One Eye To Morocco became probably the most “talked-about” and “media-supported” album by Purple family members’ works, for the last decades…

  2. 2
    T says:

    I used to write the entire lyric and keep a collection in a folder, but it’s a backwards way of doing things since one can never be sure how a song will go as far as beats per line of text and so on.

    Now, I just collect interesting song titles which can come from anywhere. I have hundreds of them which can be adapted to fit a musical idea. A title is a good place to start since it defines what kind of mood a song is going to be and can serve as the germ of an idea.

  3. 3
    DeepOz says:

    Morocco evokes many things magical and mystical. I visited Morocco last year for the first time. Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, the Atlas Mountains, camels, rocking the casbah. The promo picture of the camel sillouette really stuck a chord. I think it is as much related to this as Ian’s legendary status as “the voice of Deep Purple”.

  4. 4
    Victor says:

    Considering I’ve played this record over a hundred times already – I’m gonna say because it’s “brilliant”!!!

  5. 5
    Roberto says:

    ..because he make self-promotion…that’s simple…

  6. 6
    Sami says:

    Never mind the interview, how about the picture…he looks like my old man, only twenty kilos lighter 🙂

    About time his album gets the media coverage it so rightly deserves: it’s his best solo work since Toolbox(Gillan’s Inn not counting), and been listening to it whenever I can/have the time!

  7. 7
    Chrissy says:


  8. 8
    HZ says:

    @1 It’s truly good album, and fit perfectly Ian’s voice today.

  9. 9
    Kimmen says:

    Always great to hear musicians talk about – their music! How it is created, how they reason about getting things accurate and percussive, how routine meets creativity, what is planned and what just happens etc.

  10. 10
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    Gotta hand it to him. He truly hit this one on the nail head with this record….and he is doing it up right with proper promo. Hopefully Purple management will follow the ‘Leader’ and do their next Album up Right, promo-wise…..
    The Music is always there, the promo is where the lack is….

    Cudos Mr. Gillan….now, be the total Front Man for Purple and tell those Managers how to do it up right….


  11. 11
    GerInAssenNetherlandsMale51yearsyoung says:

    # 10 Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero :


  12. 12
    Nikos says:

    Purple have never been media darlings like Zepp and ACDC. I’m not sure if any amount of promotion by Purple’s management would ever change the media’s perception of them as “rock dinosaurs”, and therein lies the problem.

    I’m totally astounded how ACDC’s latest album received so much positive press. They just crank out the same stuff album after album. I’m sure ACDC fans might argue to the contrary though. I guess “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” obviously works for them. But here is a band, essentially from the same vintage as Purple but these bozos are revered as being current and hip – *shrugs shoulders*

    Take Zepp’s concert in he UK a year or so ago. All these celebrities rocking up to the show and it was all over the news, all this for what amounted to nothing more than a best of concert. I know it was pretty cool to see them on stage again but there was never any mention of them being a “dinosaur band” from a bygone era. No, it was like here is a once in a lifetime chance to see the best rock band of all time. Give me a break!!!

  13. 13
    Phil says:

    #12 Totally agree with you Nikos. It’s the same here in New Zealand. It’s like here you go DP fans here’s your fix for the day with one song while ACDC seem to be played at the top of every hour. That last album from ACDC was pretty average but both classic and progressive rock stations fell over themselves promoting it. And with ACDC touring here January / February the hype has started already. Lets hope DP can squeeze one more tour in down under. That will do me fine.
    PS Happy Birthday 9th June Jon Lord

  14. 14
    DAWG says:


  15. 15
    Jeffs says:

    I must say I think “One Eye” is far better than “Rapture” More thought and invention has gone into the song structures. I’m very dissapointed with most of the stuff since Purpendicular. I revisited Battle Rages On the other day. At the time I thought it was really substandard with a couple of stand out tracks. Next to ROTD it is superior by far. Perhaps Purple should let Steve Morris write the next album. Us Purple fans have waited long enough for some decent material.

  16. 16
    Phil says:

    Each line up has it’s good & bad albums – After Rock, Fireball & Machine Head, Who Do We Think We are came up short; After Burn, Stormbringer didn’t do it for me. It was too funky but that’s just my taste in music. After Perfect Strangers (brilliant), House of Blue Light was crap. After The Battle Rages On comes Slaves & Masters -don’t even go there. Abandon was not up to Perpendicular’s quality while of the last two Rapture is far superior to Bananas ( my opinion only). As far as the next album is concerned, they could start off on the right note (sorry about that) by ditching Bradford & employing a new producer.
    But what makes Purple No. 1 is that all their albums are great it’s just some are greater than the others – Slaves & Masters excluded.

  17. 17
    Roberto says:

    ‘the battler rages on’ is a masterpiece, not a bad song in that album. Purpendicular is just as great but totally different, but than he can stop here…
    ROTD is very disappointed despite its title track…and Gillan solo album is more interesting…
    Hope Deep purple will return in studio with Ritchie…

  18. 18
    Gary says:

    Hey Dawg ! I think some of that may be Gillan’s sense of humo(u)r 🙂

  19. 19
    TruthHurts says:

    I agree, Steve Morris, not Morse or even Blackmore is the right musical guy for Ian’s ideas…he gets what Gillan is all about – just listen to the new album – it has the most coherent, consistent songs that IG has done since HOBL days (which has EXCELLENT songs like Bad Attitude and The Spanish Archer). It’s not in a hard rock style but there is clarity and expression and guts and humour here, not meandering and struggling.

  20. 20
    Jeffs says:

    Don’t understand why people don’t get WDWTWA…I know the band was seriously damaged on a personal level at that time, but they were writing great songs, possibly some of there very best! We have Woman from Tokyo, Mary Long, Rat Bat Blue, Smooth Dancer etc. All great songs and you could here the progression beautifully in these tracks. The downside is of course the lack of guitar solos. but his riffing is fantastic and the rest of the band are on fire…(Gillan and Lord in particular!)WDWTWA is also probably the best produced MkII Album!

  21. 21
    GerAssenNetherlandsAge51 says:

    What’s the matter ?
    DP has done 3 shows in Germany in June 2009.
    I’ve searched the internet and guess what ?
    I can’t find anything, no news, no reviews or photos ….
    What’s going on ? Has DP disappeared from our planet ?


    Hope not ! Cheers to all.

  22. 22
    Roberto says:

    yes! they have done too many concerts…they should do no more than 50 gig per year and press would be interested, and stadium would be full, and gillan voice would be still great…they should have done this from ‘perfect strangers tour’ on…
    too mnay shows…bad track list…so so albums…

  23. 23
    stoffer says:

    Why then are you a fan, roberto??

  24. 24
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Why are we fans?
    Good question.

    Maybe a good one for a new thread?

  25. 25
    Jeffs says:

    Simple answer, because of the period 1969 – 1975, unsurpassed era surely??

  26. 26
    stoffer says:

    Why a fan?? Well first of all no other band or its music excites me the way DP does, the radio goes louder when they come on, I feel pride when DP gets a compliment (like Metallica did at the RNR HOF). Somehow I’ve attached myself to this band, any MK, any song, all of my friends know this and still ask “still listening to Deep Purple”? and laugh when I say “hell yeah”. It doesn’t phase me at all because I know I am a fan and always will be! They can do ALMOST no wrong in my opinion. To Jeff 1969-1975 unsupassed era?? yes for sure , but I consider the current DP to be strong and viable worthy of much overdue praise. Cheers

  27. 27
    Jeffs says:


    Good answer Stoffer, I love the Morse, Airey version too (Live mainly and some songs…:-) but the legacy is 69-75, without this and the huge commercial success achieved by this era we would have no Purple.

  28. 28
    Crimson Ghost says:

    …so what. It’s behind them, therefor it’s behind us and you really have no point Jeff. Thats what growth and moving on are all about, but certain fans feel the need to drive the past because they can’t except change, whether good or bad.

    What you’re saying doesn’t make a bit of difference whatsoever, it’s an opinion that there is a significance to what you’re saying, but it’s just that, an opinion. Thanks.

  29. 29
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I like GOOD change

    The last 15 year has really been adding to my depressive tendencies

    Whats good is good

    The past was BETTER and it still makes me wanna jump out my chair of sheer joy
    Watching the now DP always gets on my nerves, except for when he s sort of quiet, then its almost possible to enjoy……

    Although I m not very pleased Jon left I CAN stand Don a lot better

    So thats proves your point wrong

    HIS adding to the band is a change I can live with

    Ofcourse its something else

    When its not dramatic or exiting it should be left out


  30. 30
    Jeffs says:

    The point of “my opinion” Crimson Ghost is that without the legacy there would be no Purple today. I have not moved on as in my opinion the band that emerged in 69-70 was possibly the best rock band that this country has ever produced. I’m not alone, the current Purple also has not moved on, evolved, progressed…It is simply different. One thing for sure is that it is not better in any real or organic sense.

  31. 31
    BlackSparrow says:

    excellent point Jeffs the deep purple of 69 to 74 was probably the greatest band from any country, planet, or solar system that we will have ever known

  32. 32
    Crimson Ghost says:


    It just works however you like, or not.
    My overall point is that it tends to annoy to have to read the same one liners concerning this stuff. It tends to bore unless it’s well constructive to the point where it actually might cause a change in the situation, but it’s pretty evident that isn’t going to be the case.

    Go ahead and give that short list of those doing any better after this long in the game…. you sound as if you know there is better out there, follow them while you’re at it, bottom line, love it or leave it if you can’t deal with it, because it’s simply not going to change for a band this far beyond their prime.

    They invented the wheel with DP InRock, so why keep trying to believe they can re-invent that wheel every time out… can’t they just have fun for the rest of the duration? If not for fun they would have never surfaced, then things became like work and the fun factor became so reduced that I’m happy they cut that cord and got back to the idea of what being in a band is first and foremost about, regardless of the whining it’s produced in those who expect the world of them… they’re only human.

    On or off the bandwagon, it’s up to you, but there are fans who can care less about the small stuff.


    Whats ‘good’ to you, might be crap to others, okay?

  33. 33
    Jeffs says:

    The point of the discussion was (I thought)why we loved the band?? The set list consists of mainly the 69-73 era for a reason…They sell out the shows because of this reason.

    I have already stated that I still like the latest version of DP, I just wish they could write something stunning again thats all…If they don’t have the ability to do this with the current line-up go and find someone to write something for them! They don’t need to re-invent the wheel, just compose a song or 2 that can compete with what they did before! IG has shown that he still has this in him with OETM, unfortunately he doesn’t have the suppoprt of a secondary songwriter to produce something great…less is more for the next offering please. I never came across a truly succesful band that composed for complexities sake. This is a common mistake that young writers make, not musicians with the experience, ability and training of Steve and Don. It’s there job to give Ian & Roger the musical foundations on which they can once again build those great melodies…

    I know they are enjoying what they are doing, but the fans need something brilliant to look forward to in the shows without having constantly pillage the back catalogue.

    @32 Good and Crap are not the only analogies you know. We as Purple fans know what this band do well and it’s not JUST improvise.

  34. 34
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 32

    The other way around as well…..



    Whats YOUR point?

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