100% Rock Magazine recently conducted an interview with Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord:
“Jon was a great character; wonderful. I mean… you know, he’s not been in the band for nearly 10 years but we were still in very close contact. And Jon was kind of like… we all looked up to him. He was there when Roger [Glover, bass] and I joined the band ’69 and he had a lot of… he was a fun guy; very bright, great sense of humor but he had gravitas as well.
“When we got the news [that he died], we were in Nashville in session [recording the ne walbum] there and we kind of expected it but it was still a terrible blow. And so it all went quiet for a while, needless to say, and then we started recalling the good times — as you do. His spirit is very much in the record; in the music. In fact I remember writing a line at the time: ‘Souls having touched are forever entwined.’ And that got into one of the songs and so he’s there in the music.
“I don’t think he’ll ever be away from it, really, because he created the foundation of Purple. I mean… there was so many influences coming in but his… a bit of rock and roll, soul, blues, folk music and all that sort of thing, but his input of orchestral composition and jazz were profound, to say the least. We still have that [big Hammond sound] with Don [Airey] and so that lives on. It was unique at the time because it wasn’t just that Leslie cabinet with a Hammond, but he also combined it with a Marshall amp as well which had never been done before. And so he had the power as well as the subtlety; a wonderful, wonderful sound.”
On the upcoming Deep Purple studio album:
“It’s being mixed as we speak. We’ve finished recording. It’s a new tone, it’s a new direction, it’s fresh stuff. I think it was all written and recorded in Nashville, and the reason we went there — not to make a country record, but because Bob Ezrin, our producer, lives in Nashville and so it made a lot of sense because he had all the studio facilities and back up and everything else. So it made it really easy. It was a great environment to record in, and yeah, there’s a bit of diversity on the record. There’s some sort of… Defining music is just so hard; it’s just really… it’s hard to define. If you think of a solo artist, you normally know them by their name; you don’t normally describe their kind of music, you just say, ‘It’s so and so or it’s so and so.’ But with bands, everyone feels an obligation to categorize then. I think when you’ve been around the block as many years as Purple has and a lot of other bands, you just listen to see what comes out. It’s not the same at all. So it’s kind of hard for me to describe it. I can’t compare it with any other album either, as far as I know. It will obviously find a niche somewhere when it comes out in April, so I’m looking forward to hearing it. [laughs]