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Modern Drummer Festival, New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts, Newark, NJ, USA (Ian Paice only)
May 28, 2005

Just back from spending a great day at the Modern Drummer Festival. My 17-year-old son Zac is a drummer and we have also attended this event in the past, but knowing that Ian Paice would be performing with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, we made sure to get tickets early and not be left out.
For the uninitiated, the MD festival takes place over two days and features about seven drummers/percussionists of various genres per day.
Chad Smith was introduced first as he was accepting a Reader's Poll Award from MD. Some sort of lifetime achievement thing, because, as he noted in accepting, "I didnt do much at all last year except get married and get my wife pregnant. That was fun." He then said he wanted to introduce a drummer who, along with his band, had been a major influence in his musical life. Ian then strode out to a standing ovation form the crowd of about 3.000. Both drummers sat at their kits and they played together, feeding off each other for about ten minutes, followed by about a half hour of Q&A, individual drum solos, and than another ten minutes or so together.

Highlights were many and included:
* Chad asking Ian to help make a fantasy come true and play Space Truckin' with him, which they did during the Q&A.
* Ian was asked about the opening to Fireball, so he told the story of how he wanted it to sound faster, so he borrowed and extra base drum from Keith Moon's set (The Who had been in the studio the day before, I believe), and played double bass drum. Ian then sat and played the Fireball opening.
* Ian being asked about the drum solo on Made In Japan during The Mule gave him the opportunity to speak about that one in particular and solos in general. He said that he was lucky that "whatever power there is above had them recording on that particular night, as that was one of my best solos that year." He went on to say that he does not try to plan too much of his soloing in advance, and some nights it works, and some it does not. the five minute solo he did later in their set seemed familiar, and although I cant say for sure, seemed to include snippets of that solo
* The reverence and respect that Chad showed for Ian.

After their set both Ian and Chad (as did all performers) came out to a table in the lobby to sign autographs and talk to fans. Chad took a bunch of sticks and threw them to kids waiting in line. Although we had passes for backstage after the show courtesy of bassist extordinaire Tim Lafevere, we wanted to make sure we caught Ian so we waited in line. He was very gracious and had his picture taken with my son and myself. When I told him I had been to 17 Purple shows and planning to be at two more this summer, he said something along the lines of that I was a sucker for punishment. The same dry wit he showed while on the MD stage.
I told him that, as I have stated in various Highway Star reviews, the only thing missing from recent Purple shows have been Ian Paice drum solos. Ian said it's generally based on how much time they have. The crowd today should have made it clear to him that his longtime fans are still anxious to hear him take his solo turn.
I asked about the new record and he confirmed that he did finish his parts, and that Roger and Ian were working on the lyrics.
Looking forward to hopefully hearing a new tune and more recent material in Toronto and Atlantic City next month.
Eric Eisenstein


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