Dear Friends

DF 73 - Ukraine invasion & Deep Purple (March 2022)

06 March 2022

Dear Friends,

Straight to the point because this is serious.

As a group, Deep Purple has always been apolitical. Not intentionally, but through experience as we toured more extensively over the years and embraced a multitude of cultures, we became, I think, somewhat humbled by their variety of educating beauty and respectful to most of them; I can't say all.

And the other reason we don't take sides is down to the disparate nature of individual members' socio-political thinking; about which I must say that a soft-edged balance has been achieved in the dressing room. In other words, there is generally no definitive or official band opinion on anything.

But this invasion of Ukraine is different and we are all saying the same thing and it's political.

(Perhaps that will clear up the confusion that may have been caused from reading today's Sunday Times' fine article, because its headline suggests - 'Deep Purple vow never to perform in Russia again.'. Sorry, but the opposite is true, maybe not a vow, but a dream for sure.)

Those of us who are lucky enough to live for now safely in Democratic nations, can see most things happening on our personal screens, which are seemingly at a safe distance from the rain of explosions and the bowel-churning fear of mutilation or death, especially to those who might be too weak to fight or run. We can still speak freely, give opinions on this and that, discuss and point fingers at the long-running troubles between post-USSR and The West, each fighting in their own purely Darwinian way for influence in geo-politically important ex-Warsaw Pact countries and wider targets too. As well as vaguely-remembered atrocities in Chechnya and Syria we can also ruminate on our own behaviour. When I say, 'our behaviour', it is because as democrats we bear collective responsibility for the actions of our leaders who do things in our name, we can vote them in or out and public opinion still counts for something, whereas our enemy in Putin's War (and yes, it has started) is the President, not the people of Russia. Not unusually with despots, he permits no voice to be raised in opposition. Politicians, journalists and even frowners are jailed or murdered, and last night one thousand Russians were arrested for showing dissent, which is now illegal by statute.

Here we are then... We now face an existential threat because he who must be obeyed, the enemy, is a belligerent psychopath (look it up; it's not the same as mad) with Napoleonic tendencies, who is on a long-planned mission, confident that a soft-touch and previously shambolic West will not (or would not until maybe tomorrow) respond to the almost forgotten M.A.D. nuclear threat, under which we lived in morbid fear for so long during the Cold War. And so, because of our cancelled early-June shows in Kyiv and Moscow, we had to send a message to our fans. I particularly like Don's nicely written and darkly ironic piece. But it is more than that now as the bloody and merciless invasion of Ukraine evidently becomes more horrific, by the day at first, and now by the hour.

Regarding the international response, I understand the fear of escalation, of sensitivities, as well as the careful strategy of military thinkers and their political mistresses, and all the frustration that is caused to those of us who don't wash. But we can all sense that Western Alliance loins are being girded with the application of huge sanctions and tactical preparations for what may soon come. So, what little can we do, us ordinary and diverse, peace-loving people with nothing more in common than a love of music and good vibes?

The aphorism's source is pedantically disputed, but I really don't care whether Edmund Burke said it or not because his words remain powerful 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

As well as giving our hearts to Ukrainians, what we can do, before terror supplants fear, is SHOUT support from the rooftops to those like us in Russia, our friends, who need to know that a massive and potentially successful public show of disgust and revulsion would be fully supported by those of us who want to do anything other than NOTHING. And look forward to the day when we can once again enjoy congregational euphoria as we share some energetic concerts before too long, and I really hope it is soon because I'm knocking on a bit... And SHOUT again with our knowledge and forgiveness that these barbaric atrocities are not being committed in your proud Russian name, but by your messianic, farcically elected and dangerous leader Putin, in his personal and expansive game of Risk.

And what now?!

We can all help; we can all have a say in some small way. Being together in thought with a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.

Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2022

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