[hand] [face]
The Original Deep Purple Web Pages
The Highway Star

Orchestras, black mini skirt, and Buddy Holly

Ian Gillan rockfm interview 2022-11-13

Not every Gillan’s interview in Spain turned out into a thinly veiled exchange of insults, as this example from Rock FM can attest. It also curiously shows that Big Ian seems to have a working understanding of spoken Spanish, albeit prefers to answer in his native tongue.

You can see the interview at rockfm.fm. It is well worth 25 minutes of your time.

Thanks to Alejandro for the info.

29 Comments to “Orchestras, black mini skirt, and Buddy Holly”:

  1. 1
    Adel Faragalla says:

    I really love this interview and I love the fact that Ian had an indirect dig at Ritchie by doubting if he still practicing playing the guitar and good enough for improvisation 🎸😂
    The only worrying sign is that Ian never mentioned that the average age of DP audience is 18.
    I hope it’s not old age 😃
    BTW someone mentioned on this site that Ian Looks old and should retire, I hope you changed your mind now as they are not slowing down for another 3 years or more.
    Peace ✌️

  2. 2
    Peter J says:

    Big Ian being himself : very funny and clever.

    And yes he looks fantastic, especially if you consider his way of life during 50 years.

  3. 3
    Marcus says:

    Why can’t all journalists be like this?

    Does Ian have a house in Spain? I had a feeling he had one as a retreat from the English winter. Which would explain the fluency – even if he did not want to risk answering in Spanish. It is one thing to order a beer and another to do an interview.

  4. 4
    Gregster says:

    Yes, real musicians where possible, will always keep-on playing, that’s for-sure.

    We’ll soon see on RB’s web-site ( or via Uwe ) whether Ian was actually having a dig at RB lol, but it appears that RB has either a beer or guitar ( or both ) in his hands at any-one-time…I’m betting that even the Marshall & Stratocaster get some play-time too, once the house is free.

    Hinting at another 3-years of work may also mean a new record too, awesome ! Let’s all hope that health & well-being continue ! *And let’s all hope that Steve & family have continued health & well-being !

    Peace !

  5. 5
    Scott Price says:

    The rest of the Spanish Tour has been Postponed 🙁

  6. 6
    John M says:

    I suspect the questions being asked in English were edited out, making it look like Ian was answering the Spanish part.

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I believe Ian had in-ear simultaneous translation, not that it matters, good interview.

    But my, he still is unforgiving vis-à-vis Ritchie! You would hope that Ian would be able to speak about the pink (or purple) elephant in the room with a lighter touch than he does. It’s been almost 30 years now since Blackmore left the band, get over it, whatever unpleasantries he has committed are dwarfed after three decades by the body of work he left DP behind for the band to continue with even after his departure. I don’t buy into Ian’s credo at all that a one-off reunion with Ritchie or a couple of gigs would be showing disrespect to the current members of the band. And if truth be told, these days Ritchie could even very well use a second guitarist by his side playing Purple material. He could concentrate on solos, that is what we want to hear from him in any case.

    That said, Ritchie might have lost speed, dexterity and a general rock’n’roll edge, but his improvisational gift is not diminished (last I heard at gigs which, yes, was a couple of years ago) if the mood strikes him (and the BN songs give him enough room for it). And that is not something you can really rehearse.

  8. 8
    Rock Voorne says:

    ” I love the fact that Ian had an indirect dig at Ritchie by doubting if he still practicing playing the guitar and good enough for improvisation 🎸😂”

    Not sure if you re trying to make a pun intended remark towards TMIB or laughing because Gillan is the last person to accuse someone not taking healthy measures to keep in shape.

  9. 9
    Ivica says:

    Ian Gillan lives in England, has a house in Algarve, Portugal where he spends a lot of time. The difference between the Spanish and Portuguese languages ​​is huge.
    Viva Ian Gillan

  10. 10
    Adel Faragalla says:

    My remarks is light hearted with no intention to belittle or make short of TMIB
    The shinning fact that Gillan said the only reason for a reunion is purely for the money so he obviously saying to the promoters you either show us the money or shut up.
    I don’t think a RB firing at half the speed is not good enough.
    Peace ✌️

  11. 11
    Rock Voorne says:

    Adel, I think we can agree on that.
    At the same time………

    Btw, just read VIP tickets for Stuttgart 23 go for around 225 E



  12. 12
    Tommy H. says:

    @ Uwe, #7:

    Maybe the simple reason why Ian avoids any collaboration with Ritchie is that at a certain point in life it’s no longer necessary to put oneself into an uncomfortable situation for whatever reason. Ian and Ritchie had shared the stage long enough, even during their best years. What else could one ask for?! The advise to move on could be directed to us as well.

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Ritchie would probably be on his best behavior for a reunion one-off event or even short period of that I’m sure. It’s all the red tape and small type of getting him there that is the problem/pain in the ass.

    For the record, I don’t wake up at night wishing for a reunion gig with Ritchie, it would only be a nostalgia fest and let’s face it the Rainbow reunion was nothing to write home about. But I do notice the negative undercurrent whenever Ian has to react to the subject, there is no “whatever happens happens” or “never say never” there, but only (still) hurt defensiveness. Personally, I don’t believe in holding grudges forever.

    But if I had to choose between a Ritchie reunion gig and a new album with Simon at the guitar helm, I’d pick the latter, just out of curiosity how it will sound. Judging from the many positive media reviews of this last tour, he passed his trial by fire with flying colors (no pun intended).

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    The same old story, media sensationalists craving a junkie fix for ANY story no matter what & they will hype it again & again & again etc. Best to ignore certain subjects, however as a spokesperson on a promotional visit for impending concerts that is probably easier said than done. Then again some people still talk about certain things for whatever reason, some don’t & they walk out of the interview. That will look even worse for any promotional image. Horses for courses again. No matter which way we turn, it will always be there. That Man in Black & the spell he cast all those years ago. Better get out the Ouija board again. Oh & don’t forget the hat. Cheers.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    Found this Ian Gillan article today on certain artists using backing tracks etc. Maybe this was in that interview I didn’t listen to or bother to translate, I don’t know. Cheers.


  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    It is a good interview, nice that it worked ok here at blabbermouth on the English language answers from Gillan. The original RockFM link didn’t work at all for me & I couldn’t find it anywhere else at that time & gave up on it. Cheers.

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’ve heard backing tracks at Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Eagles (Don Henley’s quest for perfection won’t let a live performance get in the way!), Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe (Nikki Sixx’ bass sound with those added sequenced sublow tracks is not from this galaxy and has to be heard to be believed) and even Judas Priest gigs (Halford’s ultra-high screams are note perfect these days, always, and they always sound the same too, no matter which song) – it’s much more prevalent then we all perhaps like to believe, coming from a generation where, well, most everything was live (Nazareth, Queen and 10cc already used tapes in the 70ies at live gigs to name just three I know of). It’s not just dance acts who do it.

    A trait of DP’s music ever since Mk II days has been that they don’t really go overboard in the studio and do anything they can’t replicate live on stage. That is why you recognize the band of Machine Head on Made in Japan after a few seconds. They are almost like Status Quo in that regard. Purple also never had the issue of many bands of sounding too thin on stage – to a lot of discerning music lovers DP is rather the opposite: the music is not sparse and they find the incessant sonic onslaught of a lead guitar and a ‘lead’-organ, often playing in unison, together with busy drumming – in short: the Purple wall of sound we all love – overwhelming and samey after a while.

    That said, DP are not without sins – Little Ian’s drum sounds were triggered on some of the 80ies tours, it was en vogue at the time. And before Child in Time was retired for good from the set, I believed I sometimes heard an Ian Gillan singing some of those high parts who wasn’t the one standing on stage, Jon was helping it seemed (it really didn’t bother me too much). But the vast majority of the live set was always undoctored and Purple could/can afford that because – as Big Ian always rightfully says – they are essentially an instrumental band with vocals popping up here and there. Most live doctoring is done to make vocals sound perfect and mighty, but the Purple sound doesn’t rely on backing vocals cascades.

    Audience expectation isn’t innocent either. So many concert goers these days praise bands when they sound live “just like on the record!”. And are baffled if someone like, say, Bob Dylan goes out of his way to sound nothing like on his (old) records.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Sadly the backing track thing & autotune is a reflection of how this world is going, cheap & false etc. Predictable unfortunately. I remember being disappointed back in the 1980’s when Rush started using triggers & samples etc on the live video of concerts we were watching. Before 1982 the only thing they used like other bands before the mid 80’s were the early Taurus pedals for extra bass & keyboard notes. Many bands did & that didn’t annoy me at all. Either does the sound effect thing like Floyd use for the clocks etc on Dark Side musical pieces. Even Queen back then with the vocal Bohemian thing, it was obviously what they had to do & they were not even on stage when that was occurring if I remember correctly. It is the false ‘musical’ pre recorded shite that is wrong, autotune rubbish & trying to make a band sound bigger or busier or truer as you said to the original studio sound, than what they really are. Especially vocals from ageing singers, Halford indeed. Kiss yes sir! Get another musician or two on stage or off stage if need be, not a annoying computer. DP were indeed like so many bands back in the day much truer to the recorded sound in that aspect. Well everyone was in many aspects, call me old fashioned. Cheers

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I forgot ZZ Top – backing tracks all over to replicate all those Eliminator overdubs on their biggest hits. Seeing only one Billy Gibbons on stage, but hearing him play at least three different guitar parts at the same time plus Frank Beard’s extra drum parts is a strange experience.

  20. 20
    ilm19 says:


    That’s an interesting thing. Backing tracks can be a good thing, e.g. Devin Townsend uses them a lot, probably to make his songs (with a lot of effects and layers) sound similar to original. And that’s a very good experience, when he’s at solo gigs with voice and guitar only, but he still has that sound effects that define the song. On the other hand, he plays some acoustic sets without any overdubs. Rob Halford certainly uses some extra effects on his voice and a lot of echo, which make his screams clearer, louder and give it more power. I think he really hits the notes, but these days probably it sounds less powerful, so the effects makes it better. And that’s OK.

    So, I’d say it depends on purposes.

    I’m totally fine with adding some extra bits to make live sound well. I’m also fine with playing some samples in the background at one-man performances, as well as full bands playing e.g. orchestrations without an orchestra or faking it on keyboards. There’s a lot of circumstances when getting all original musicians is impossible, so why not to play their parts from “tape” (funny that we still call it “tape” in the 21st century :D).

    Let’s not forget about bands like Ayreon, where originally almost all parts are played by one person. So, if Arjen Lucassen plays live with his own backtracks, who’s real and who’s fakin’? 😀 I think it might be a good topic for philosophic thesis… 😀

    But back to the topic, I’d say that cheating is only thing that is not fine. I don’t mind effects, samples, loops and backing tracks as far as it just complements the song in an obvious way. But fake vocals and fake playing are just foolish… It’s better to addapt songs to actual abilities and aging like e.g. Robert Plant, who sings Zeppelin’s classics in different way with a little bit country filling, which allows him to sing much (s)lower.

  21. 21
    Christoph says:

    Live concerts can differ a lot. My experience from the 80ies / early 90ies:
    Pink Floyd, Dortmund & Köln: bombastic show, superb sound (surround sound!) and David Gilmour playing his famous guitar solos. Fantastic, but sterile. Definitely a few parts from the tape, but David’s solos live
    Scorpions, Monster of Rock Mannheim: quite a good show, however, I would not bet on that they played one note differently from their World-Wide-Live-album which they had released about one year before. I still cannot believe that they played playback, but even guitar solos sounded identical to those on the album. Suspicious…
    Deep Purple, Köln and Highdelberg = 2 concerts within 3 days in Feb 1987: I attended two completely different concerts, one having RB creatively exploding and one where he seemed to be annoyed and uninspired with Jon trying to step in and delivering for what the audience had paid for. I always liked Purple for being creative and unpredictable.
    Today, things have slightly changed – I like Don’s Intro to Lazy, but to me all my DVDs & YouTube clips of this Intro sound identical, whether we all (incl. Orchestra) come down to Montreux, whether the sun is rising in Tokyo or setting in Wacken or even now with Simon replacing Steve. However, with Deep Purple I still see live performance as it should be – band members reacting to each other instead of playing exactly from a sheet of music. Looking forward to see a few old men with the new kid on the block in 2023!

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    I cannot believe that about ZZ Top. I am not a fan generally speaking but do respect their older material & Gibbons is a fine ‘old school’ guitarist. However the 1980’s did ruin so many in the technological & MTV sense. Has anyone been spared the wrath of the 80’s. Perhaps I should re word that, has anyone worth their salt been spared from the 80’s. Cheers.

  23. 23
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Yup, Billy Gibbons is so insanely good he cannot only play at least three rhythm parts live at the same time without breaking a sweat, but also raise his strumming hand at 01:21 and the riff magically plays on (and no, he’s not doing hammer-ons with his fretting hand)!


    And look at the guy playing the sequencer here. You’ll have to look closely though, he’s very inconspicuous.


  24. 24
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Oh, please guys, don’t be silly. Of course a band like ZZ Top will use backing tracks for those 80’s songs to make them sound as they are supposed to. But the remaining 85% of the set is without backing tracks.

  25. 25
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Uhum, I’ve never heard backing tracks at a Quo concert – and they do songs from all their eras, 80ies included.

    ZZ Top just want to continue to project their trio image live without using additional musicians on stage just like Ozzy doesn’t want a keyboarder on stage with him(Don Airey was the exception). That is fine, but Cream they are not as regards recreating their studio sound live on stage. I find the use of backing tracks on one hand, and ZZ Top’s carefully groomed earthy image slightly grating. And they sure aren’t upfront about it. A band like Muse on the other hand is at least transparent about their heavy use of technology live.

    Not that 90% of the audience would notice or care one way or another.

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    Yes indeed as stated previously, get some extra musicians on stage or off stage. I am surprised Gibbons did that. The wrath of the 80’s strikes again! I remember calling Rush out back then & getting a few death stares from a few rabid fans. I am not putting the band down or the musicians, it just cheapens the experience of the genuine live performance in many ways, turns it into a ‘side show’ for want of a better description. What is wrong with sounding like a genuine 3 piece?
    Hendrix, Cream & many others didn’t have a problem with it. I also said back in the mid to late 1980’s that Rush should have brought in another musician, a keyboard player. That raised the death stares again from a few fans. That ‘holy’ trio thing has to stay a trio, fair enough but don’t cheat. And it is cheating big time. Even Sabbath had to get a keyboard player off stage who could play a few riffs on the guitar to fill it out a little. Not a machine though. Although we are heading to the Android way. Someone help us please, we are doomed, doomed I say! Cheers.

  27. 27
    Svante Axbacke says:

    As always, it’s funny how opinions and perceptions differ. I love 80’s Rush and I always found it impressive that Geddy pulled off playing keyboards one minute and bass the next and Peart triggering loops. I would dare to say there was very little backing tracks running throughout songs but instead loops triggered at the right time. More of a playing approach to extra sonic enhancements. And once they came to the solo part of the song, they always dropped the backing stuff and went into pure power trio mode.

    As a young rock fan I was also very impressed by Jonathan Mover, drummer with Joe Satriani, when he triggered and played along to the rhythm guitar part in the song “Flying in a blue dream”. This was early in Satriani’s career and I noticed that once he got some better income, he hired a real rhythm guitarist. 🙂


  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    Yes the mid to late 80’s Rush has many great songs, superb playing as always & Peart’s lyrics are as ever, wonderful. Some of my favourite Rush in many ways. However that keyboard dominate technology does leave it a little dated. Alex Lifeson had issues at the time with Geddy (the only time of any possible musical differences becoming an issue in the band) from what I have read. Too many keyboards, patches & other things being triggered, but I never noticed anything else. It was becoming less organic, for want of a better description but many artists did at that time & thankfully not for long. Anyway it is the quality of the songs that matter the most & they delivered in spades as usual & the Presto album was a return to the harder rock trio sounding band.
    I have Jonathan Mover drumming on that GTR album with Steve Howe & Steve Hackett. A good drummer indeed. I didn’t realise he ended up in Satriani’s band. Cheers.

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I never thought Rush were faking anything (they triggered a lot as Svante has pointed out, but didn’t use full-fledged backing tracks), they were multitasking! Wishing to create an orchestral landscape with just three people. My only gripe was that it forced their improvisational talents into a corset, but then Rush were always perhaps too perfectionist to really exploit the improvisational freedoms of a trio. I saw them twice: On the Permanent Waves Tour in 1980 where their perfectionism was beginning to stifle their music live and at a late stage of their career (2011) when they were much more relaxed and carefree, also not so darn “we’re artists excelling at our craft”-solemn-faced; needless to say I much preferred the later gig (the 80ies gig almost had me walking out as they painstakingly tried to make everything sound just like on the reccord, I thought Girlshool as the openers more exciting and raunchy rock’n’roll, Kelly Johnson also had better hair than Alex Lifeson!).

    Early Police were a brilliant trio as well, an unconventional one as they were not steeped in blues rock. But they/Sting eventually fell into the trap of trying to recreate their/his later music which wasn’t really written for a trio. Sting once said that he grew tired of the trio format because it became “like landscape painting with only three colors”.

Add a comment:

Preview no longer available -- once you press Post, that's it. All comments are subject to moderation policy.

||||Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing
© 1993-2024 The Highway Star and contributors
Posts, Calendar and Comments RSS feeds for The Highway Star