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“He’s not poking me!”

Ross Halfin reminisces in his blog:

Jerry Bloom the editor of www.moreblackthanpurple.co.uk and www.bloomsbagels.com (more Purple than Black Bagels) has written a very good letter making some valid points on Deep Purple and how the story could have been, well, better. It wasn’t that bad a story, it was just a bit matter of fact. At Wembley in the late 80’s or early 90’s (I don’t remember the date) I was watching Deep Purple with Peter Makowski from behind Ritchie’s amps. He was not happy with the show and kept making W signs with his hands at Ian Gillan. This meant that he might as well have been playing to a brick wall. As they finished the show Ritchie said ‘Lets do one encore and go.’ Ian, who had been drinking thoughout the show, poked Blackmore in the chest and said, ‘You’re not embarassing me in front of my family, we’re doing three encores.’ Blackmore looked at him straight-faced and said, ‘You’re absolutely right,’ then walked on and started the riff to Smoke On The Water. As the band joined in Ritchie walked back behind his amp, took off his guitar handed it to his guitar tech, Cookie, looked at Peter and I and said ‘Come on, we’re going.’. We followed him off the stage into his car and went to the bar at the Sheraton Hotel in Kensington. Not very funny in hindsight but at the time we were pissing ourselves laughing. An indignant Ritchie said while drinking a scotch and coke ‘He’s not poking me!’

Thanks to Daniel Bengtsson for the info.

52 Comments to ““He’s not poking me!””:

  1. 1
    AndreA says:

    what does it mean poking? to poke?


  2. 2
    69 says:

    That means he pushed his index finger against his chest, like when you want to keep someone attentive or you want to underline what you said with a rather unpleasant gesture.

  3. 3
    Thunderhawk says:

    Poking meens somthing like pushing your finger in someone’s chest or stomach, it is used as a joke but can be quite enoying.

    I can understand that Ritchie had enough of Ian’s drunk behavior, but to let the rest of the DP members standing there on the stage before al those fans wondering what the hell happend, and why Ritchie left the stage.
    That’s a realy sad action, to let your other band members down like that.
    It’s not there fault that Ian’s drunk, that’s one thing that pisses me of with blackmore always only thinking about himself.

  4. 4
    69 says:

    Ian´s reasoning(even though he was drunk) seems a bit strange though. Why he didn´t say:”These guys paid good money to see us, we give ´em three encores” but instead said something about embarrasing him in front of his family, doesn´t seem to make much sense.

    However, what does that “W” sign actually mean then, and how do you do a gesture like that which obviously requires both hands to be made, when you´re actually supposed to be playing guitar?

  5. 5
    marcinn says:

    Ian probably knew there was no possibilty of doing three encores, they never did three during THOBL or NP tour (as far as I’m familar with), which I think we’re discussing here… What possibly could they play? I know someone will say ‘many things’, but being realistic enaough I think it wasn’t possible to play three encores that night. Of course this one is just another attempt to make a flame war between I&R fans, I adore THOBL tour, some shows were really exquisite.

  6. 6
    Patrick says:

    i agree … i always liked nobodys perfect!!!

  7. 7
    Phil says:

    I recall the Perfect Strangers tour with a concert at Western Springs, Auckland in ’84. Last encore played was SOTW and guess who didn’t come out on stage to play so it’s not the first time. Didn’t see any “jerk off” motions with his hands though

  8. 8
    stoffer says:

    Long, Long, time ago, just forget this kind of stuff and MOVE ON!!

  9. 9
    stefan says:

    That´s Mr.”Primadonna” Blackmore for you….extremely childish display but not surprising!!

  10. 10
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Sure they did three encores in 87, Black Night, WFT, SOTW.

    But Ross is up to his same old bitter bullshit.
    He cites the drama… let it ensue… but is this really the place for this same old trash? It’s full of the same old argument ingredients.

  11. 11
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Btw… I think they’re both “Primadonna’s” but one of them plays the innocent, the other not afraid to speak, wrong or right.
    You do the math… equal weighted ego’s?

    (silence is mocking?)

  12. 12
    AndreA says:

    Jon,Ian P. and Roger..how many patience they have had along all these years…since long time..that’s all.

  13. 13
    Bo says:

    Both have BIG BIG egos, and at that time they both made some stupid mistakes to the band, to the fans and to each other. I hope that they one day can laugh about it and then gve us the magic back – a magic I sometimes find difficult to spot this days.
    Why not next year 😉

  14. 14
    Rascal says:

    Has this been covered time and time again………??

  15. 15
    Thorsun says:

    #5 Marcin,

    three encores were quite usual in September 1988. They closed the main show with “Knocking At Your Backdoor” (with “Space Truckin'” closing figure) and later on went to the set of four encore songs: “Woman From Tokyo”, “Speed King (with “Burn” riff), “Hush” and “Smoke…” Some ‘European ’88 gigs are true killers. In 1993 occasonally there were three encores – in Germany theyt started adding “Hush” and then “Speed King” and “Smoke”. The biggest diversity was in 1987 (“WTF”, “BN”, “Smoke”, “Hush” at times)… The author of the story would need to give at least a year to verify this! Still it’s usual that they tend to remember that the bell was ringing but they never know in which church actually.

    This story could happen in London Brixton 1993, on the first night! This was the time where Ritche had these immense trouble with equipment so he cut the show short to the maximum.

  16. 16
    George says:

    hmm… It isn’t surprise for me that Ritchie didn’t want to do encore…

    BUT a few days ago I watched video on YouTube, from THOBL Tour, from Paris Bercy, when after the main set ONLY Ritchie came to stage to do encore, he played Smoke riff, but he wasn’t joint by the band, so ritchie waved hands to the audience and said bye to them…

    I still don’t know why other members decided not to play encore In Paris Bercy, in 1987…

    here’ the video:

  17. 17
    George says:

    Sorry, I forgot to post the link of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXrRuOmk8KY


  18. 18
    John Bartone says:

    Long Live the Morse Era!!!!!

  19. 19
    Peter Elliott says:

    Blackmore was absolutely right.

    Gillan was being a selfish idiot by drinking throughout the show. Drunken performers rarely make for an endearing sight or sound. By getting intoxicated, Gillan was showing total disrespect for the band. Gillans’ autobiog clearly reveals he had a drink problem during this era.

    When I had my own band I made it a ruling that no member was allowed onstage intoxicated in any way. For one, it would affect the overall performance and that would all reflect on me as singer and leader. I fired one member after a dire gig… he was a guitarist and he had taken some illegal substance unknown to me and the gig was a nightmare as he screwed everything up. Made us look like total prats. After the show we had a post mortem and when I realised what the guitarist had done, I fired him there and then.

    How would it look if the biggest TV chat show hosts went on air tipsy or drunk? Or you go to a theatrical show and one of the actors is drunk? It all rubs off and affects everybody else’s performance as they have to try and hide the fact as best as possible that one member is not fully on form.

    Blackmore can be a moody sod at the best of times but on this occasion he was absolutely right to refuse the encore. Gillan had been unprofessional and showed him and the rest of the band up.

  20. 20
    69 says:

    About that video:

    It wasn´t obviously the entire band that opted against the encore, as Paicey was also on stage. But in all honesty Blackmore doesn´t seem to be as upset about it as you think he would. Whoever advised the sound be switched off, he didn´t seem to hold a grudge against anyone.

    But why suggest they played a song they never acutally did(Strangeways)?

  21. 21
    Rascal says:

    Maybe Gillan had to drink to be able to perform next to the ‘arrogant’, ‘self-centred’ Shit.

    Or maybe the rest of the band had enough of Blackmore leaving them on stage……..time to get their own back!

    Who cares…….Blackmores gone…….long live Deep Purple!!

  22. 22
    hans says:

    – It is so totally unimportant. Both Blackmore and Gilan are unimportant persons.

    Don´t waste your time on them.

  23. 23
    SEVEN-47 says:

    Couldn’t agree more Rascal & John Bartone!

  24. 24
    nsoveiko says:

    we had that clip posted before: http://www.thehighwaystar.com/thsblog/2007/06/28/old-grey-whistle-test-1987/

  25. 25
    Daniel Miller says:

    I was at the Wembley gig when the band played Smoke without Ritchie. I didn’t notice at first, which is a testament to how well Jon covered the guitar parts, but I quickly spotted that someone was missing. The guys did the best they could and apologised as they left the stage. It was the first time I’d seen them since their triumphant return at Knebworth and it broke my heart to see the band I loved in such disarray. I’m not taking sides but I’m glad those days of turmoil are now history and I look forward to seeing my heroes once again at Hammersmith Odeon in November.

  26. 26
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Peter Elliot,

    You obviously don’t know much about the order of things before and after, and sometimes during DP gigs in 85 to 93.
    Blackmore drank before the shows, always going on stage good and primed. Gillan on the other hand would do his heavy drinking afterward.

    So he had a beer handy througout that show, big deal, Blackmore had a half a fifth of scotch prior to it. Which one is going to really hurt?
    Beer is like water compared to whiskey.

    Don’t be so gullible, where was it Ritchie and Ross headed off to… the pub?

  27. 27
    ormandy says:

    I also adored THOBL tour, both Bay Area shows were exquisite.

  28. 28
    George says:

    Peter Elliott,

    hahahahaaa, D’you guess what you said?
    What is the comparison betwen TV shows and journalists with straight suits, Theater Actors with the text they know by heart…. O My God….
    ROCK MUSIC man, this is NOT TV, this is NOT theater performance, this is NOT parliaments session to wear straight jackets… THIS IS ROCN’N’ROOOOOOOOOOLL………
    This is Deep Purple – rock group, inspired by natural emotions, natural feelings, SPIRIT OF FREEDOM you know…

    This is NOT Led Zeppelin who did what their fans wanted them to do.
    Deep Purple is a free band of free musicians….

    I agree you that every musician must do their best on stage to give a pleasure to the audience… and so did Gillan… sometimes maybe he was overdrunk but it is his business, and as a SINGER he always did/does his best.

    on Come Hell Or High Water DVD Gillan is so drunk that sometimes he hardly manages not to fall, but what??? his voice was a bit spoiled during TBRO Tour, but he always did amazing job…

    NO ONE CAN TEACH IAN GILLAN HOW TO MAKE AUDIENCE HAPPYBY THE PERFORMANCE!!! no matter drunk or not, he always manages to keep every human (in the 30 000 and more audience)smiling, jumping and being happy by the music…

    Ian Gillan is a typical and iconic band LEADER, he can always lead the band and the whole audience during the show, is he drunk or not… charisma man, charismaaaaaa…

    So, Peter Elliott, please, if you want to see academic singers in straight jackets, then Rock isn’t your cup of tea, I think you’d better to go to Opera houses more often…

    But we love Rock’N’Roll, we love drive, energy, crazyness… so let us see Ian Gillan overdrunk on stage once more 😉

  29. 29
    micke says:

    Typical Blackmore behavior… he is a child in a grown man. “I’m pissed at IG so everyone else have to suffer too…..”

  30. 30
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    These episodes were few and far between but once is too many. Blaming it on the Booze is like the parent that thinks their child can do no wrong. No matter what or who was the culprit, it is a terribly irresponsible and unprofessional act to leave the stage without your band mates. You can quibble about your personal complaint after the show. It’s a job you were hired to do, and thousands paid big money and some drove long distances to witness this band. I find that type of act inexcusable.

    In a related story of my own….

    My band ‘LOzT CAUz’ was playing a gig at a fairly large Pub one night. We were scheduled to play from 10pm till 2am. We would break up the night into 4 sets of 10 songs. We were running a little behind schedule and when 2 o’clock struck and we finished the 8th song on the list, our Bass player unplugged his equipment and was done. I looked over at the guitarist and he looked at me and both of us were pissed. The crowd was really having a good time and very into our music. We had a huge argument with the Bass player over the fact that we wanted to finish the set. He was ‘Clock Watcher’ and had no interest in going past his paid time. The patrons were chanting for more. I sat on the drums and began playing a beat and motioned to the Bass player that if he didn’t turn on his shit, he was going to go home with a drum stick up his ass. The guitar player began to join in and we started jamming with the beginning of the tune we supposed to play….’Warpigs’. Eventually the Bass player turned on his amp and joined in. We had a great finish and after that gig, we had a meeting and settled the issue of leaving the stage without the rest of the band. It’s a Friggin’ NO NO!!!!


  31. 31
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    We were always drinking while playing…..THAT’S ROCK&ROLL. It’s whether you can handle it or not. I drank the least due to playing drums and being the singer. Too much to coordinate and it wouldn’t take much booze to cause me to loose my timing. I found that out very quickly. Out of the 3 of us, there were various levels of tolerance. We each knew how to gauge our intake vs performance. But in never was the reason for anything that went array. I don’t think……..LOL


  32. 32
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    Just like Drinking and Typing……..

    Which is why I misspell so many words….

    I’ll drink to that…


  33. 33
    Crimson Ghost says:

    You got to admit the essence of the whole thing is how funny “he’s not poking me” is… classic Blackmore! Well recalled by Halfin if you ask me. Although I don’t care for him much at all… anyone remember Fin Costello? Now there’s a stand up guy, you don’t here him digging up dirt these days, hilarious dirt or not.(tee hee) Really, ” ” quite funny indeed.

  34. 34
    andre sihotang says:

    That was then…
    Someone had gone
    F**k it off!!

    This is now : Deep Purple Mk. 8
    Ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Don Airey, Roger Glover, Ian Paice
    For the fans and the audience
    Long live….


  35. 35
    Jahor says:

    Blackers may have been wrong on this and many occasions but it is Gillan who normally looks more stupid of the two. Blackers starts raising hell and teasing him and Gillan stupidly gets involved while he shouldn’t pay any attention. Blackers is more introverted and self-sufficient, while Gillan’s behavior is more influenced by what other around him are doing.

  36. 36
    Crimson Ghost says:

    So what… who cares about such a thing, if it’s even true that is. If that’s some kind of argument in favor of one childish act versus the other, and you think you have a winner… the joke is at your expense.

    Right – wrong, who are we you to say?

    How does “stupid” look, is it recognizable in the snow?

    (man that’s shallow)

  37. 37
    Rascal says:

    Blackmore is a moody, arrogant, ignorant, ‘ass’, its been well documented……..

  38. 38
    Patrick says:

    gillan will tell you its his fault just as much as blackmores

  39. 39
    Jahor says:

    Crimson Ghost, what I’m saying is that had Gillan not poked Blackmore, they would probably have had one encore and everybody would have looked and felt better. Instead Blackmore went laughing all the way to the bar with his friends and Gillan was left upset and angry. Sometimes you have to use your pbrain and exercise restraint dealing with arrogant people. Gillan didn’t and paid the price.

  40. 40
    Alan Northwood says:

    Both Ritchie and Ian Gillan had their tantrums and that was part of the chenistry that created such an amazing band.

    One thing to remember. Deep Purple without Ritchie are simply not as good as they were when he was with them. Still enjoyable though and I will be at the NEC in November

    Long live Rock ‘n’ Roll

  41. 41
    Crimson Ghost says:

    @ 39

    Okay, if that’s really what you meant… but the fact of the matter is that Ian was sticking up for everyone involved. Jon Lord’s recall of this show was that they were “all” seriously pissed off at Ritchie that whole day because he was mocking their enthusiasm for the entire set of Wembley shows, because he wasn’t happy with the MTV coverage on one of the nights, and the fact that he was not their focus “we were being covered, Deep Purple, all of us, not just Ritchie Blackmore.” Jon’s words there, he also said Ritchie tried to redirect one cameraman down an exit corridor.(funny, but talk about a bully)

    Ritchie might act big for his britches, but he’s quite lucky Ian never popped him one over the years, and he knows it. So a little poke to tell him to shape up isn’t exactly out of line… it’s much more out of line to shit on your audience because they don’t respond like kneeling worshipers, when it just might be your own fault because you’re not into even being there at the time.(really, where was his head, in some German castle 10 years in the future?)

    I see more mention of Ian’s drinking… as if Ritchie doesn’t drink, plenty! Give me a break, they both hit it too often if you ask me.


    “One thing to remember…” that’s your opinion.
    Some don’t care, some do… and some disagree, probably the ones who don’t care and know that age is not reversible… regardless of Ritchie, he is old too. I don’t think in 1985 they were as good as they once were with him, so what are you trying to say? Comparing him to himself is the same outcome as comparing him to someone else… neither of them seem to improve anymore… comparing them is the problem.

  42. 42
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:


    I have to disagree on your statements that Gillan caused Ritchie to do what he did. We are all responsible for our own actions. Gillan was addressing Ritchie’s desire not to do the encore. Ritchie got his way. But not at Gillan’s expense. The Fans who paid for a proper show are who lost out here. Also, as I stated above, when one decides to derail the rest of the band in a gig, someone has to step up and call him on the carpet as I had to do with our Bass Player. My situation happened early on in our gigging days, and once I stepped in and took my stand, it never happened again. It’s an intolerable act. Just as with Axel Rose walking off stage as he did repeatedly. He needed his Arse Whipped instead of pandering to him. It’s a lucrative business and those few whom make it to top as these musicians have, do so by the dollars and following of their fans. The Show Must Go On. Nobody is above that. Especially those who are lucky enough to get that record deal and tour the world on the income of those who rush to see them. Had Gillan backed up his ‘Finger Poking’ with a plausible threat to shove his harmonica up Ritchie’s Ass if he left the stage, I think there would have been an encore. Ian towers over ‘Little Richard’ and should have forced the issue. Then they could have all left after a Proper show and gone to the Pub for Lager. That’s what we did. As soon as we finished our last set, before breaking down our equipment (we didn’t have the luxury of Roadies), we walked over to the bar and pounded down some Dark Ale and discussed the issue and put it behind us, right then and there. We played together for 6 more years without another occurrence like that.

    Alan Northwood:

    Again, a repeated statement that is unwarranted regarding which line-up is as good as the other…..IT’S PERSONAL TASTE. Rating which is best? There is no such way to judged that. Been a fan for 40 years and have been equally moved by them all. Do I prefer some tunes over others? Sure. Even within the same MK. But None have been any better than the other. It depends on YOUR personal taste and that’s it.



  43. 43
    AndreA says:

    One thing is sure

    Jon Lord made THE HOOCHIE COOCHIE MEN and Gillan featured on it.

    Gillan made Gillan’s Inn and Jon Lord (also Glover and Paice) featured on it.

    Ritchie Blackmore reamins always lonely….


  44. 44
    AndreA says:


  45. 45
    Roberto says:

    I should have holiday to read what you write…

  46. 46
    Crimson Ghost says:


    Also, on Gillan’s Inn were Satriani, Airey and Morse.

    SOTW featured a studio version by the mk7 w/Lord line up revisited, along with JR, someone who obviously was guesting for sales purposes… how he and Gillan ever hooked, must have been an outside suggestion.

    We all know Blackmore was their in spirit, as homage was paid to his writing, by those who played his guitar parts. Better than nothing, as it’s the last type of thing Ritchie would ever be involved in, physically.

  47. 47
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    Take the Holiday ad read it all. You’ll see that I don’t repeat the same little sentences you do over ad over again. You know your simple standards…..’Gillan can’t scream’, ‘what is the best …..’, ‘JLT sings better than Coverdale’, etc. I go out of my way to express my points for as much clarity as I can. You should try it sometime. But it’s not your style.

    I’m just waiting for you to ask…”What’s Your Favorite Color?”


  48. 48
    AndreA says:

    Crimson Ghost

    Yes,sure I know, I wrote about MK2 members..

    in my last past days I played Gillan’s Inn louder than ever in my car..

    I’d like to think that sometime on tour DP plays pieces
    each one from his solo discography (one piece by Gillan’s,one from Morse’s,one from Glover’s,one from Paice’s and Aire’s).

    Am I nonsense?



  49. 49
    Roberto says:

    Jlt better than Coverdale? are you mad???

    what is your favourite color???

  50. 50
    Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero says:

    It’s all pink on the inside…….
    But then, you probably have no clue.


  51. 51
    Crimson Ghost says:


    No, this is not nonsense and might even work these days, but I think they hold on and stay true to what they think is right, and when they got back together they did not think this was a good idea. Now the solo stuff is so old I doubt it would present much, especially world wide, although a good part of European crowds would know the songs, but the rest of the world never even heard them.

    Gillan’s Inn should not be listened to in stereo, I believe it was intended to sound bad in order to pump the 5.1 version, which is 100 times better sounding.

  52. 52
    AndreA says:

    yes Crimson Ghost

    at home I have a 5.1 version….


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