Ian Paice Drum Clinic, The Barn Social Club, Brook Vale Road, Witton, Birmingham 14th January, 1998
Let us clear one point up straight away, this was not a clinic. I didn't see anyone with a drum that was either unwell or in need of repair, although there did appear to be some sticky tape or was that a plaster on Ian's bass drum.
Having had my ticket for the Manchester date for some time, you can't imagine how I felt on Monday when I had to cancel at the very last minute. All was not lost, a phone call next morning and I've got a ticket for Wednesday.
A round trip of over 300 miles with Paice Ashton Lord's studio and live recordings blasting out on the car CD-player to arrive at a typical-looking, modern British social club. The other main event there on the night was line-dancing, but I must stress this was in a separate hall upstairs. In addition, Aston Villa were playing an FA Cup match just down the road. It was a game of two halves. This was a show of two halves. Anyway here are a few highlights from what should really have been billed "An Evening With Ian Paice (probably the best drummer in the world)".
Ian started out with a brief introduction of how he saw the evening going "you'll have to let us know if the drums aren't loud enough" before leading into a three minute solo. "That's sort of woken me up a bit".
"Ian Paice on the drums, yeah !"
Nerves: "Without nerves you couldn't play with any speed". Ian gives a demo "I'll show you what I mean with just single strokes on the snare drum just using nervous tension. Once you can do that ... "
Left-handed: "Being a drummer of course it took me about two weeks to fathom out I could turn it round the other way."
Hero: "Buddy Rich because he could do everything and do it without thinking about it which was so annoying."
Recording: "I don't like studio work, I never have and I doubt I ever will. Compromise is not a good thing in music but that's what recording is."
"I'm So Glad"
Starting out: I'd love to be able to say I struggled for my art but I really didn't. I started playing my first kit when I was 15 in a little local band, at 17 I got a chance to join a pro' band .... and Purple happened a couple of years later."
Whitesnake: "Was a lot of fun. I don't know if what we did will actually stand the test of time."
Gary Moore: "I had a great deal of fun."
Deep Purple: "Sometimes you find your spiritual home and Purple I suppose has always been it."
Practice: "I'm not a fanatic. There will be times when I'll go two or three months and I won't look at the drums or pick a drum stick up. It probably means I'm not as good as I could be but I still smile when I play."
Spirit: "Its not a new spirit, its an old spirit that's been given back to us .... its exactly what it was when we didn't have one guy trying to dictate all the musical policy."
Ritchie Blackmore: "If he hadn't have been there, it could never have happened, but with him in this day and age it could never continue to exist .... God bless him he did us the biggest favour in the world when he left .... He's singing folk songs with his girlfriend, who's mum is their manager. Its really professional."
"On The Road Again, Again"
Steve Morse: "Steve is the most unassuming guy in the world but he's incredibly American" (he then told the story of Steve's wedding).
Joe Satriani: "We couldn't keep Joe because he'd taken a fortune from Sony Records for an album he hadn't made and he'd spent it so he said he'd love to stay with the band but could we wait three years."
Steve Morse: "We haven't had an unhappy day on the road or in the studio since .... and he's a great player. He's a pilot as well, flies himself around everywhere .... says "I ain't got no money man" but he doesn't tell you he's got four planes."
The future for Purple: "So long as all five of us can go on without a walker (zimmer frame) we're alright."
California Jam: "For another ten years he (RB) couldn't go back into that county because there was a warrant out for his arrest" (I'm not sure this isn't legend rewriting history) "It was just another gig." (!)
"Hard Lovin' Man"
After a request we get the intro to Fireball and a half-speed version.
Have the groupies got older ? : No there's brand new ones there all the time .... trouble is I've bloody well got older."
The road: "I get paid for all the hanging around, I'll give you the music for nothing. If the playing wasn't fun I really wouldn't do it at all."
"You Fool No One"
Another request. If only the rest of Mark 3 could have turned up on stage then unannounced.
Concerto: Ian recounted his score for the first movement, "hang around for six minutes .... three big bangs, come in with first rock 'n roll tempo .... watch Malcolm for the end", then told how he played the cowbell cue for the end of his solo wrongly, Malcolm Arnold ignored it "as if to say piss off, that's not right" so Ian had to rebuild the solo or in his words "flap around" and got it right the second time.
Tour dates: "The European tour will start towards the end of May .... I'm pretty sure there's a decent sized Midlands gig in there."
Bassists: "The kinder the bass player is, the better the drummer can shine."
"And The Address"
Embarrassments: He told how in 1968 in the USA during the opening number the kit fell off the stage because the roadie hadn't anchored the bass drum.
Sticks: "Left-handed ones and right-handed ones." Ian closed the first half with a four minute solo. He'd been on stage for about fifty minutes. There was then a 45 minute break for Ian to have a drink and meet the fans to sign autographs, pose for photos and have a little chat. During our brief chat one of the things we talked about was Montreux and the Jazz Festival and Ian mentioned they'd enjoyed themselves so much in Switzerland in '96 they'd be doing it again this July.
"You Can't Do It Right"
Ian then finished with another half an hour.
Keeping time: "I had a period in the early eighties where I couldn't hold time in the studio .... I wasn't relaxed, I was physically tense and hitting too hard trying to make muscles do what technique should really do."
Jimi Hendrix: He told how Carmine Appice stole his one chance of jamming with Hendrix.
Jeff Beck: "I know Jeff quite well but we've never been in the same country when we've been working."
PAL: "It was a brave attempt at something new."
Tommy Bolin: "was just a glorious lunatic .... an amazingly funny little guy but totally out of control" (Ian followed this with the sleeping pills story from Munich).
Blackmore, Birmingham NEC 1993: "There was nothing the four of us could do to make it any better for you" (a lone voice replied; "you could have shot him" greeted by loud laughter).
Keith Moon: Tales of drunken nights in London at the Speakeasy and a visit in Los Angeles whilst mixing Stormbringer.
New album: "End of April, beginning of May .... Gillan's in Florida at the moment doing the vocals. It's sounding good, much harder and a lot more comfortable within itself and I think it's gonna be a good one."
Then Ian closes with a near ten minute solo and hands out the rest of his drum sticks to the younger aspiring drummers.
Final thoughts. It was certainly worth going. Thanks must go to Pearl, the five music shops that got involved and Doug MacBeath for posting the details on the internet otherwise I'd probably never have heard about it. If anyone thought about it and chose not to go, kick yourself as it was a very enjoyable evening.
If anything could be faulted, some videos before and after would have rounded things off and made it a more complete event rather than the solitary audio tape of Machine Head. I wouldn't have minded paying a lot more than £4. Where do you go for an evening's entertainment at that price these days ? (answers on a postcard please).
There was a broad spread of ages in the audience and in particular some very keen youngsters not averse to asking their own questions and getting on the kit in the interval.
The guy, as you would expect, was modest, funny and very entertaining and I hope he does it again sometime in the not too distant future.