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

76 - whisky & smokes, Elvis, comedy sex events, vox Scotia, bonce orgasm & bondage ritual,
BMG & '93, just when were you born?, ballads or otherwise, soul baby, apathy awash

From: cafka in Poland

Hello Ian,

I am from Poland and I'm a very fan of what you do. I have one question that seems to be rather not connected with music.

I know that you like Macallan whisky but I would like to know also what kind of cigarettes you smoke, if any.

Thanks for answer, Chris


Hello Chris,

Thanks for your letter. Actually I have a soft spot for Polish Vodka, but yes I do like The Macallan very much. My favourite is Edradour which comes from the smallest distillery in Scotland. I don't drink single malts all the time - the peatier ones are not to my taste - and so often revert to the philistine habits of my youth.

It was forbidden to drink alcohol in many of the venues we played way back when we were paying our dues. We got some tips from the old timers (I guess I'm one of those now) about how to get round the rules. The jazzers would go onstage with an innocuous looking bottle of soda, preferably Coke, into which they would pour a healthy - but invisible - measure of scotch, or whatever their poison might have been.

No-one I ever met got caught out but, even if they had, the crime of breaking house rules or local laws would have been far less than the great offence of mixing good single malt whisky with anything other than water. So, we drank whatever we could get our hands on, and that was normally a popular blended whisky called Bells. It was a successful brand and - in my humble opinion - put others like Johnny Walker (firewater), J&B and Teachers (just water) to shame. But now I cannot distinguish the difference between Bells, The Famous Grouse, Dewars and a few others on a blind tasting - and I've done a few of them.

I smoke Dunhill International cigarettes, when I'm drinking beer or whisky in good company. That's a brand I've been with since I could first afford them; now they cost more than £5.00 a packet in the UK, but less than half that in Portugal. I had a shock last week when I was home for the first time in a year, filled up my car - with petrol not whisky - and bought a pack of cigarettes for an astonishing total of £65.00 (€96, U.S.$130) - that's England for you, quite expensive these days.

Cheers, ig

From: Timothy Summers

Hi Ian,

I remember reading somewhere that you 'ducked-out' of meeting Elvis Presley as you were afraid it might 'burst the bubble', actually seeing a musical hero in the flesh.

I wondered if you ever regretted the decision. It's certainly a point of view I can appreciate, as I declined a chance to go backstage on the 'Bananas' tour as I was afraid, given that I have followed your musical output since 1980 that a rather large bubble might indeed be burst....Friends and family questioned my wisdom and when the chance arose again on the UK leg of the 'Rapture' tour, myself and son Luke did indeed meet you and the rest of the DP lads prior to the Sheffield show. Happily you were all so accommodating and friendly that all fears were proved to be misplaced.

Do you sometimes wish you'd met Mr Presley?


Tim Summers


Hello Tim,

What a profoundly good question. The answer is yes, I do wish that I'd been less immature and self-absorbed at the time. On reflection, it wasn't so much his personality that I was worried about, but something more problematic at the time.

As I think about this now I can relate to the DP fans who found it difficult - all those years ago - to deal with the changes when Ritchie left the band. Sometimes it is hard - as when your parents get divorced for example, and a strange step-parent moves in - to take that new family member to your heart straight away.

My problem with Elvis was similar but without the third party. His style changed so radically after he left the army that I couldn't believe this 'god' was doing such wimpy stuff - undemanding movies and music for Las Vegas type audiences; many of us felt betrayed. I preferred to remember my hero the way he was - the young Elvis, rather than the 'warbling crooner' he became.

Of course he developed an entirely new following and went on to become the greatest solo star the world has ever known. Occasionally he reverted back to type and delivered some stunning performances, but generally he was missing something. His celebrity status and costumes became more significant. The Elvis imitators still make me cringe and - I think - do no service to his memory, as they miss the point entirely regarding the elements that thrilled us so much in the 50's and 60's.

Having said that, I truly regret not being man enough to go along and pay my respects, when I had the chance that every Elvis fan would have died for.

Cheers, ig

From: Stefanie Satchell

Dear Ian,

food for thought:

What on earth would make a man run down the street stark naked with a newspaper stuck in his backside on fire???


We know you're laughing.


Hello Stefanie,

I can only assume that you are referring to the Afterburn.

There is a reference to this in the Comedy Sex/Olympic Sex section of DF 23 - just after 'Seventeen Dead Burglars' to be found here in the archives of Caramba. Here's an extract…

Comedy Sex (CS). It's a concept I came up with many years ago. Here are some headings:

  • Running the hoop (also Olympic Sex because of the fitness levels required)
  • Doing it in separate rooms
  • The pink helicopter (also OS after lift off)
  • Afterburn (novices must be supervised)
  • Reasons why you can't
  • Charades
  • Rude food
  • Holding it in (also OS)
  • 68
  • Cross dressing (not in the conventional sense) Subcategory: Olympic sex (OS)
  • Wazzing for height
  • Multiple orgasms (Also Comedy Sex in the later stages)
  • Pole vaulting
  • Pentupathlon
  • Dicathlon
  • Long/High/Triple jump
  • Show jumping/Dressage (if you have the space, then also CS)…

…and so on.

For Afterburn the rules are quite simple; each competitor - when naked - rolls a large sheet of newspaper into a tube and twists each end - one to act as a wick and the other, the butt. It's important to get this right, as a badly rolled tube will fail during the race and thus disqualify the contestant; experienced afterburners pay great attention to the preliminaries.

When composed, the runner will approach the start line of a pre-arranged course - maybe around some obstacles. The course should be visible to the spectators, at all points.

First the butt-end of the tube is placed between the buttocks of the contestant and clenched firmly - various techniques are employed to ensure a good grip. Then the wick-end is lit by the starter, at which point the tube now becomes the burner. When properly ablaze the contestant takes off and proceeds as far as possible around the course, until either the flame reaches his/her bum and the pain becomes unbearable, or, the flame goes out (sometimes it's better to go a bit slower and preserve the flame), or, the contestant drops the burner, or the contestant deviates from the course. Some afterburn groups have additional local rules.

The winner is the contestant that completes the most laps, or the greatest part of a lap.

I have derived much enjoyment from this sport over the years, in disparate groups and in many countries.

Now what makes me do it? I suppose it is just for the craic.

Cheers, ig

From: Rachel in Glasgow

Dear Ian,

I have just surfaced after the Glasgow concert last night, as usual totally blown away by the band. I remember going to see DP in Glasgow when Black Night was high in the charts and from then on I have been an avid DP fan especially Ian Gillan. So much so that we booked our hols last year just to hear you in Las Vegas at the House of Blues.

My question is, when did you realise you had the VOICE and how have you managed to sustain it for all these years?

Long my you sing on.

Rachel in Glasgow.

P.S. Maybe you inherited part of your fabulous voice from your Scottish connections


Hello Rachel,

Thanks muchly for those words; I have to say, I personally feel that DP is extremely hot on this tour, so it's good to hear you enjoyed Glasgow (and Vegas too!!!).

I don't think there was ever a single moment when I realised I could be a singer, because it was always such a natural thing to do - like breathing; I was always singing as a kid. I was a boy soprano in the church choir and, although I told my mother I couldn't get my hallelujahs right, the real reason I left the choir was because I couldn't stand the vicar - he was a nasty piece of work.

When I started my first band it was mostly a foolish device to become a film star - inspired by the young Elvis. The next few years were spent learning the whole business - not just singing lead vocals, but arrangements, harmonies, composition and all the other mysterious elements of the craft I needed to grasp before I could enjoy the art and really express myself, having come to the end of my formative years and having paid my dues.

'In Rock' was the catalyst, as I really let myself go for the first time, then 'JC Superstar'. Since then it's been a journey of discovery. Another great moment was the advice I got from Roger Glover about five or six years ago. I think we all deteriorated during the traumas of the early nineties. Jon Lord, Paicey and Rog picked themselves up pretty quickly when Stevie joined the band, but I never quite recovered to previous high standards until Rog solved the problem. He said I should relax, simple as that. I was straining for every note, which gave a nasty edge to my voice and severely limited the range of expression that I'd enjoyed in earlier years. So I relaxed, and with the help of my meditation and the encouragement of dear Roger, it all came back.

There was a similar crisis in the early eighties, before I had my tonsils out. I think it was during the recovery from such awful times that I 'realised' how fortunate I am to have this natural instrument, and how lucky I am that it is still working.

And - I'm sure you're right - the Scottish connections are vital.

Cheers, ig

From: Thomas Jackson

Dear Ian,

Excellent gig on Monday night at Newcastle.

Is there any special rituals before you go onto stage?

Thomas Jackson


Hello Thomas,

Thanks for that, I was a little nervous before that Newcastle show as it was the first 'home' concert in quite a while.

You ask about rituals, well, it's a fascinating subject. Have you ever noticed how the level of conversation rises when an event is about to take place? Human nature - being what it is - brings us to a state of preparation for danger and thrills, or any experience that requires us to be at a higher level of preparedness than our usual cruise mode.

I can tell when another band on the bill is due on; the babbling from down the corridor reaches a crescendo before they troop towards the stage. It's the same with us, which is why I have a separate dressing room - or undressing room, as I describe my sanctuary.

I used to get wound up too, before a performance. This was not a good thing as the adrenalin flowed too soon and I suffered from weakness later in the show. Now, I go through a regular ritual of meditation at the venue; from the moment I arrive I keep very quiet and calm, usually doing a cryptic crossword to help my mind stay alert without getting too excited - although I do get an orgasm of the bonce after solving something really wicked.

We get a twenty minute 'warning' at which time I take a shot of whisky and half an aspirin - to pre-empt the pressure bomb shortly to explode in my head (I don't warm up, I hit the stage running). Then I put on some clothes and join the guys in the band dressing room. Paicey is always hilarious, and the others aren't far behind as the drollery intensifies right up to the moment. Then we have a huddle, shake hands and say some secret words of bondage before take off.

In fact I always get butterflies around midday on show days, it's not so much nerves as nervous excitement, and believe me, it's no less potent now than it was before my first gig in 1962, but it's over the years that the rituals have developed.

Cheers, ig

From: Ryan Clare

Hi Ian, how are you??

Obviously, the topic of which you aren't(weren't...depending on when or if you read this) happy with BMG for re-releasing the 1993 set, everyone is asking why you didn't care back in '96 when it was first released, and you agreed to do the interviews for the DVD.

We were also wondering about how the rest of the band feels, especially Steve and Don, seeing as how Sony thinks they are promoting your current tour by releasing one of the worst live albums by DP standards, and not only that, it's also with an entirely different line-up.

Do they feel like their work has been useless?? Please tell them it's not, and that all (most) of the fans love what your doing now. Thanks for all the great music, hope we see it for many years to come!!!!

BTW, any chance of seeing DP in Canada soon?? Radio stations have been talking about the idea of you having a tour in July/August to wrap up the ROTD tour. You may also be happy to know that all classic rock stations here have been playing songs from the new album. Thanks!!



Hello Ryan,

Thanks for your letter and words of support. I don't really know what happened with the BMG thing - Live at Birmingham 1993. I was unaware of the release until a journalist mentioned it during an interview 'how did I feel, etc.' Anyway, it all turned out well, I have to say that BMG acted quite honourably in the end by withdrawing the CD.

You say 'everyone' is asking why I didn't care when it was first released; well, that's not really the case - I cared a lot. In fact we were so appalled at the quality of the recording that we requested it was held back, and the CEO of the label - being a terrific bloke - agreed. It was only when he retired a bit later that the new regime released it; we were of course contracted and had no real say in the matter. When the process kicked in I/we were obliged - even without a contract it was the professional thing to do - to support it. But anyone paying any attention to my interviews would have realised I wasn't thrilled with it.

Regarding the question of how the rest of the band felt about it, I am almost certain that the incident passed without any of them being aware of the fuss. In fact - as I mentioned earlier - it would have gone entirely unnoticed by me too, had it not been mentioned by the journo. I have to say that we look to the future mostly and seldom travel the same road as Moronica. I can assure you that none of us lose any sleep over these things.

It is certainly not to wrap up the Rapture tour - currently we are booked on that one through to February 2008 - BUT YES…we are indeed coming to Canada soon!!!

London, OT (26th July), Montreal, QU (28th July), Quebec City, QU (29th July).

Cheers, ig

From: Nick Dagan Best

Greetings from a long-time fan and admirer in Montreal!

I've got a question I've wanted to know the answer for a long time:

I understand you were born on August 19, 1945 at Chiswick Maternity in Hounslow, but I would love to know what time of day, exact or approximate, you were born.

Best wishes from a fellow Leo,

Nick Dagan Best


Hello Nick,

I had to call my mother to get the answer to this.

I was born at exactly 4.00 PM on 19th August 1945.

Cheers, ig

From: Heidi

Hi Ian,

Since you are back on the road again I think you need something to do whilst this long trips from town to town. Therefore I have a question for you. Years ago I had a long discussion with my eldest son if "Child In Time" is a ballad or not. Till today we are different meanings. Now there is a Thread at the Deep Purple Hub, called "best Purple ballad" and I had to see that there are a few more people being unsure.

I think you should be able to bring light into this darkness. And if there is any recipe what's making a ballad to a ballad, please let me know - so I never have to ask a stupid question like this again. (It's a bit strange, but most of the people had no problems to see "Sometimes I feel like screaming" as ballad - for me the construction is quite similar).

Saw that you've played TRBO in Parma - and I wasn't there......that's making me sooooooo sad! All I can hope that you'll have a show about three hours around Munich soon, that is my only chance to see DP again.

A wonderful and funny time on tour for you and all Purple Guys.

Cheers, Heidi


Hello Heidi,

I always thought a ballad was a slow love song, but I suppose the definition has broadened a bit, within the context of rock music - so you could replace slow with heavy, I guess. However I still think a ballad has to be a love song.

'Child in Time' was about 'The Cold War'; definitely not a ballad.

'Screaming' was nailed to an 'I'm missing my baby back home' statement, so you might describe it as a bluesy road song with balladic undertones.

Both of them have dramatic and mood altering dynamics, so not really good for a romantic evening with a hot prospect, which is where ballads belong, I suppose.

Cheers, ig

From: Marsha Lockom

Dear Ian,

I am very interested in the concepts you wrote about in the April, 2007 Dear Friends - 45.Wanting to be able to encourage some friendly discussion of these ideas on the Deep Purple Hub website, I wrote and posted my review of your original essay. Here are a few questions I had about your ideas on the development of the human soul.

How or when does a soul create progeny if each soul has a pre-existence?

Evolution is the result of the process of natural selection, which includes these points:

More individuals are born than can survive.
Individuals face a constant struggle to survive.
Those that lose the struggle will die.
Those that survive to reproduce will pass along genetic information for their specific traits.
What resources do souls struggle for?
Does a soul cease to exist if it loses the struggle?
Are souls reborn or recycled into new mortal lives?

I would love to hear your thoughts responding to these questions.

Thanks much for the very thought-provoking Dear Friends issue!

Best regards,

Ohio, USA


Hello Marsha,

Thanks for this; I'll do my best to keep it short.

Re: Soul Survival:

Your question: How or when does a soul create progeny, if each soul has a pre-existence?

A: I don't think souls have babies in that sense, but collegiate thinking and congregational euphoria certainly give birth to a higher level of understanding, belonging and purpose. We know that and mostly take it for granted, as Richard Dawkins does when he overlooks the evidence that lives right under his nose (in his book 'The God Delusion').

Q: Evolution is the result of a process of natural selection which includes these points. More individuals are born than can survive (?), individuals face a constant struggle to survive. Losers will die (we all die, that's the easy bit) Those that survive (survive death ?) to reproduce will pass along genetic information re: specific traits.

So, what resources do souls struggle for?

A) Two things - a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. In this context - and credit to Dawkins for inventing the concept - we're talking about the memetic envelope that embraces physical life - (memes are to the soul what genes are to the body). If you could visualize the intertwined genetic strands of DNA as a single event - un-bonded perhaps, but certainly wrapped in a similar structure (the memetic envelope), the all of which we might call quadruple helices - then you might perceive the driving force behind life itself. Or at least you might be looking at another dimension of life. A dimension that will probably not mature until our physical development has reached the point of evident unsustainability (at which point we must mutate - evolve or die). I think that phase is upon us already, but it's hard to tell people not to make more people, after all we are genetically programmed and rewarded to do just that - so for now it remains in the form of an unacceptable truth. We are like the Lyre Bird imitating the sound of a chain saw, portending the destruction of its environment - and unable to do a thing about it.

So, souls struggle to survive, in the same way that bodies struggle to survive (at least) and dominate (at best). They seem to follow the same Darwinian pattern, except they are not molecular, chromosomal or atomic; in the quantum sense they are waves, not particles.

Q: Does a soul cease to exist if it loses the struggle?

A: Souls are not tangible in our current way of understanding them. And yet we know they exist, manifesting themselves as abstractions - ideas and thoughts - that have powerful influence on our behaviour patterns. And we know those ideas outlive their hosts, so it seems inevitable that collective souls will - one day - find a way to exist on their own, thus relieving us of the need to find a solution to the 'unacceptable truth'(above).

Q: Are souls reborn or recycled into new mortal lives.

A: See above.

Cheers, ig

From: wlander961

Hi Ian,

My wife and i went to Wembley on the 28th April to see you and the guys, a great night it was to, we took along my 19 year old daughter and 20 year old son, they have both been brought up with Purple playing and they loved the show, so thanx for the entertainment.

I was looking on your site and I realized that you have an interest in most things, so I wondered about your views about why England seems to be awash with apathetic people these days, why don't the kids have anything to say about how crap the government are, why are there no political bands out there anymore, no one seems to care that our civil liberties are being eroded more and more every day, any way, that's the way I see it, below is a quote about government in general, and what it does to individuals and countries, I think it sums us up in England very well these days, what do you think?.

Anyway thank f*** for you and Purple, it's the only thing that keeps me sane, be lucky,

Regards, Billy.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

1835 Alexis de Tocqueville


Hello Billy,

If ever I needed the inspiration to write a parcel of satirical songs, this is it.

Thank you and cheers, ig

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