Tue, Mar 31, 09

Bob Ruggiero – Classic Rock Corner
The Houston Press

Though best known as the talented tonsils behind British hard-rock legends Deep Purple, Ian Gillan has also found the chance to log in some serious studio and road time both fronting his own bands and as a solo artist.

Gillan’s new CD, One Eye to Morocco (Eagle Records) finds the belter singing not at the pace of a Speed King, but with a much more laid-back groove on a dozen tracks that mix rock, blues, reggae, soul and the Middle Eastern flavor hinted at by the title track.

Rocks Off spoke with Gillan in England about the CD, the women of Texas and what goes through his mind every time he hears those damn opening chords to “Smoke on the Water”…

Rocks Off: I understand the title has a great backstory.

Ian Gillan: I keep a notebook with me all the time, as I learned in school if you don’t write things down you’ll forget them! I was on holiday with my friend Tommy. I was going to stay in the mountains with him for a week and roll around in the snow and drink some vodka by the Czech border. He met me in Cracow, Poland, and we did some sightseeing then went to a café.

As Tommy was getting in the great details of how Oskar Schindler had some activities at the same café during the second World War, this woman walked by. She was a vision… a beautiful apparition. And I followed her with my eye until she went out of sight. Tommy gave me a wag of his finger and said “Ah, Ian, you’ve got one eye to Morocco.”

I found out later that the full saying is you have “one eye to the Caucasus and one eye to Morocco.” What it means is, in literal terms, you’re cross-eyed looking in two directions. Today, it would mean if you’re sitting at your desk working your nuts off and start thinking about your weekend or a football game. It’s being distracted by the lure of the exotic.

Read the complete interview.