Questions - you got 'em; answers - we got 'em

62 - riff parade, illegal bananas, JCS, naked singers ( ha ha extra), cute sheep


hello Ian,

hope you are well, and many thanks for bananas, another great record (SUN GOES DOWN IS BLINDING!). my question concerns covers- whats your favorite song that you have covered (TRYING TO GET TO YOU?) what song would you like to cover with deep purple? and finally why have purple put a medley before smoke? its o.k. but I would rather hear one of your tunes ,mitzi dupree perhaps? best of luck with the tour and thanks for all the grat music

al taylor cornwall

Hello Al,

Thanks for your letter and questions. It's hard to pick a favourite as I don't really think that way, but certainly 'Trying to get to you' would be up there along with 'New Orleans', 'Trouble', 'I Can't Believe You Wanna Leave', 'Lonely Avenue', 'Blue Monday' and 'Anyway You Want Me...'

Regarding the 'medley', as you put it, before 'Smoke' might appear that way but to my mind it's not really a 'medley' because of its random nature.

We call it the 'Parade of Riffs' and it all started when Steve had the idea to play a few great guitar riffs, at random, as a teaser to 'Smoke'. It has developed into a challenging three piece jam as Ian P. and Roger see how quickly they can pick up on what Steve throws at them. Although some riffs may be repeated the whole thing is different in length and structure every night. I think the principle behind it was Steve showing respect for the Dan-Dan song by putting it into the context of other memorable banjo moments.

Who can say how long it will remain as part of the show? I think the answer to that is probably for as long as it remains interesting and challenging to the musicians; that's the usual criterion.

Cheers, ig




Hi again Ian!

Hope you all have had a great time in South America.

I saw this fantastic documentary Bowling For Columbine by Michael Moore and realized that we could have use for someone like him here in Europe to reveal the WMBs. Have a look at his website: This guy have guts.

Looking forward to your gig in Malmoe in November. When I mentioned for my wife that our son and I was going she said she wanted to go too!  Hardrock hasn't exactly been her cup of tea before, but listening to all these CDs and seeing all these DVDs with you guys has had some impact on her obviously. The other day, on the way to our company, she even sung along to Pictures of Home! Tonight we looked at the documentary on Machine Head. And now she wants to see you live that's great!

By the way, if you see someone with illegal bananas in the crowd, it's probably me. I do not know how yet, but I'll come up with something...

Take care,


Kaj Åkesson

Hello Kaj,

Thanks for your letter and comments. I agree with you that Michael Moore has guts...endomorphic even.

His book 'Stupid White Men' is a good read; bearing in mind that there are two sides to every story. Having said that...his side is seldom heard out loud in a society where criticism is often mistakenly viewed as treachery.

I realise you don't have a conventional question, but you have given me the opportunity put up some illegal bananas here.

This delicious bunch was Brasilian by the way, see you on 28th November.

Cheers, ig


Hi Ian,

First I would like to say I love Bananas (the title, the song and the album), it flat out rocks and swings! Purpendicular and Abandon were both awesome and I'm happy you managed to keep the standard skyhigh. Credit to Don for maintaining a powerful presence on the Hammond organ. I'd like to ask you about the lyrics to 'The Mule'. Am I right that it is based on one of my favourite novels, Foundation by Isaac Asimov? Was it written by you, and if yes did you read the book?

Besides DP, your work on the original version of JCS also means a lot to me. Gethsemane can still bring me to tears with every listen. Were your parts entirely written when you were asked to sing them, or were they written specifically with you in mind? How much were you expected (or allowed) to put your stamp on the songs? By the way, do you keep in contact with John Gustafson? What is he up to these days? Great bass player and singer (remember his version of 'Simon' on JCS?).

Thank you for your answers and for the music. See you in Budapest on 18th Nov. (I'll be on the lookout for a harmonica so please aim carefully).

Nothing but the best,

Hello Tamas,

Thanks for your letter, comments and questions. Yes, Don is doing a great job. I had a letter from someone who took his Dad along to a DP show, and his father remarked on the way home that he'd...'never heard Jon Lord playing so well'.

Yes, The Mule was inspired by Asimov. It's been a while but I'm sure you've made the right connection...Asimov was required reading in the 60's.

Regarding JC Superstar, the lyrics and tunes were already written, in fact the backing tracks had already been recorded (The Grease Band) by the time I got to the studio. However at an earlier meeting around the piano with Andrew and Tim, I was encouraged to interpret the written parts in my own way.

My only problem was Jesus Christ. Having been brought up as a Christian but (by then) being a confirmed Heathen, I was puzzling over the ethics. Tim solved the problem by telling me how to view Christ.....not as a religous icon but as an historical worked very well.

I haven't been in touch with John Gustafson for a long time, but we have mutual friends and I hear he is busy songwriting these days. You are quite right, he is huge talent and was a great inspiration to me when I was in Episode Six and he was with the Merseybeats.

Looking forward to Budapest,

Cheers, ig


Hello Ian!!!

How you doing after a lot of fantastic concerts in Brazil, congratulations, you did a wonderful job! Actually it was a fantastic experience forall brazilianDeep Purplefans, see You and the whole band in TV shows here. It`s Great! But my question isreally strange,onceI readinsome oldmagazine that you recordthe70`s Purple records almost naked and Perfect Strangers totally naked,is it real or justbull?

Thanks Ian, and good luck in Bananas world tour 2003/2004

cheers lp(haha!)

Hello Ip (haha!),

That's an unusual name. Thank you for your letter. We had a fine time in Brasil and I'm looking forward to our next trip there. Thanks to all the fans who turned up and made every show party time. Thanks also to our promoters, record company and friends; it means so much to us to get that kind of support and I'm sure it's reflected in the music.

I am frequently asked how do we do 'it'? That is to say, how do we maintain the fire when touring so much? Well, a lot of it is to do with the fans who give so much; it's a wonderful thing, being in this band.

Regarding your question about nakedness (Naked Thunder...), I think it was one of the other guys who revealed my secret in an interview. It's no big deal really, but I do feel good with my kit off. Of course it depends on the circumstances; I'm not an exhibitionist and ig unclad is not a pretty sight, in my humble opinion, but I suppose I am a nudist at heart and yes the story is true.

Cheers, ig


Hi Ian,

This is about the Faroes (not the Pharaos). Maybe you remember the Faroe Isles - you played there about ten years ago. For the rest of you, the Faroes are a remote group of islands in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland with a population of 48.000 humans and 75.000 sheep.

I just came back yesterday from a 10-day tour of the Islands. I sing in a Danish Deep Purple cover band called Smoke on the Water. This was our debut and get this; The Faroese really like their Deep Purple. A DJ on the national radio played two different tracks off Bananas for the whole week we were there - imagine someone at BBC getting away with that. And our concerts were great successes with even very young people getting off Deep Purple music.

So what Ill ask you, Ian:

How do you feel about cover bands (good, I hope)?

Im trying not to grovel too much here, but as a student of your voice, I would say youre singing better now than, say, 20 years ago. What have you done?

Have you ever regretted doing the high screams in "Child in Time"? I silently curse you every night, coz its the song everyone wants to hear and it shreds my voice when I have to sing it - we play it in the original key. Even when you were a young man, it must have taken its toll on your voice to sing it every night?

Thats it. Looking forward to seeing you in November in Copenhagen.

Hans Arne Niclasen

Hello Hans,

Thanks for your interesting letter. Yes, I remember the Faroe Islands very well. I was there with my last band (Repo Depo) before rejoining DP for The Battle Rages On. What an incredible place. There was a strike on when we got there and we had to hire a fishing boat to get to the gig from the airport. It was raining cats and dogs and puffins and sheep. All of our equipment was on an open deck and Lenny Haze was battling with an old lady for the one available space in the cabin.

After the gig we stayed up most of the night and had a great time with the locals, I think we may have got a bit tipsy. When I woke up there was a sheep in my room; I think her name was Maargaret or possibly Baarbara, anyway she had nice eyes.

I feel fine about cover bands; I started off doing covers myself in my early years. The only difference was we covered all kinds of stuff instead of just one artist, but times have changed and there is sure enough plenty of diverse DP material to choose from. No, I never regretted the screams in 'Child...' but you're right, it used to kill me when we had more than a couple of shows back to back. I'd keep at it but it took it's toll on the other songs in the program after a while and so I haven't sung it for a long time and consequently my voice is working consistently these days.

Good luck with the band, see you in Copenhagen.

Cheers, ig

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