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

92 non-sequiturial overtones spotted and all, Javelins and a point well made, from an old abandoned mine, No-one came..., Twin Exhausted

From: Dorian

Dear Ian and all,

First, thank you for this amazing Christmas gift ("Time for bedlam"). Song fits into the deepest and album artwork is supercool, I am enjoying it more since I read it was somewhere in Quebec (I live in Montreal :)

Now, the reason I am writing you is about the "Infinity" part :) please, please forward to Ian these lines.

It has been maybe 5-6 years now that I have had this obsession. What if Deep Purple continues to make music...forever? Let me explain. Deep Purple has survived so many line-ups and it has aged nicely like a Bordeaux. In an abstract way, it seems like the band spirit itself lives somewhat independently from its members (not true, why I paid attention to add abstract).

The addition of the younger members Steve and Don ("younger") has done nothing but good. What if Ian, Roger and Ian start slowly selecting their future younger successors that meet the spirit of the band and roll over to them gradually while retiring (please do not do this for another 10 years ^^). This would ensure a gradual rollover to new members and the continuity of the band to "Infinity". I think this would be a one of a kind experiment in musical history, but one of those that the power of the Deep Purple name can carry on.

Please let me know what you think of this crazy idea even if it is just few lines. I would really appreciate it if Ian himself could reply with his humourous touch even if he is shutting this down mercilessly.

Thank you for your consideration,

Best,
Dorian

 

Dear Dorian,

There may be some non sequiturial overtones in the following answer; I do feel the need to ensure that digression, and irrelevance where possible, is alive and kicking within these august pages; even though we are now well into the autumn.

Much as you would like to know the location of 'Infinite' artwork, and much as I would love to tell you about the arduous and record-breaking journey that resulted in the public display of these images, which were taken during the first and last polar/longitudinal circumnavigation of the Earth by The Good Ship (TGS) Venus...I can't.

The expedition was led by the Admirable Admiral himself, Lord of the Glacier, Don Airey, (who's name must not be mentioned). Unfortunately, all I can confirm is that it was neither Quebec nor Montreal. I must keep the rest of this amazing story up my threadbare jumper.

Generally speaking, I don't like to reveal the inner workings of DP; it spoils the magic, destroys illusions, ruins the gossip, and generally turns gold into lead.

Since turning pro in 1965, and learning my stage-craft under the tutelage of Gloria Bristow and Jeff Lenner, I've thought that the best way to do the job was to make the impossible look easy, and keep the woes and machinations backstage. Not always possible in earlier years, but we live and learn don't we.

Attractive as it sounds to genuine, and highly respected, fans like yourself, as well as You Tube users, mp3 listeners, set-list analysts and the vast army of Lo-Fi aficionados; transmogrification, based upon the Principle of Descending Values, is not a profitable enterprise.

This, from DF-37, back in April 2005...
...As I was travelling through Russia last autumn I saw an immediate way to help bring that country's economy in from the cold. Just check out the price of mistletoe these days, it became quite a rare commodity not long ago - almost endangered I've heard. Well the Russian and Ukrainian trees are groaning with the stuff, and all easy pickings along the roadside. Hundreds of tons of mistletoe; must be worth billions.

A similar theory fell flat on its face some years ago when I tried to exploit the over-abundance of oxygen plant in my pond. I took a Volvo full of it to the local pet shop where they were charging a pound for a single strand. I told them I'd discount the load at fifty per cent if they took the lot for 25 grand. They gave me a short lecture on the effects of supply upon demand - then told me to bugger off...
You see, I know something about this process.

Alan Stone, the ancient Greek philosopher and chemist, achieved a remarkable transmutation (of, gold into base metal) back in the late 1960s, after returning to his Osterley garret from a Deep Purple gig somewhere in Norfolk. There, with the aid of stimulants and tranquilisers, he deciphered and analysed his bootleg record of the show. Each previous attempt had resulted in smudged failure due to the use of papyrus and ink whilst quite forgetting, because he was full of it, the foreseeable spillage of beer.

However, on this occasion Al used tablets of stone and a masonic chisel (from which we all may learn, especially with one trouser leg rolled up; but don't, whatever you do, upon pain of cancelled contracts, tell the uninitiated).

As dawn broke, five days later, (this would have been years before Archimedes), he threw up his hands, stretched his legs, cracked his knuckles, rolled his shoulders and yelled 'Eureka', I have found it!

'WHAT?!' Cried the neighbours, who lived in awe of Stone, his scholarly emanations and the tablet of Blue Lias; upon which the elements of the group had been recorded (without permission) live, in Diss.

'I have discovered the constituent parts of Deep Purple' he intoned, with not a little banjorial bombast.

And, just like the management of the day, he was indeed able to separate the main ingredients. But after fifty years of futile experimentation, Al has been unable to put them back together in any recognisable form. Thus, demonstrating once again that (in the case of DP) the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; simultaneously providing a showcase for The Law of Diminishing Returns. But, to give him credit, although not the first, he successfully transformed Gold into Lead; which is not bad for a stoned philosopher.

Alan is still a dribbling idiot and rambles on about 'the good old days' when records were indestructible and carved in stone.

What the Alchemist overlooked however, was fairy dust, evolution and the metaphysics of human chemistry.

Poor old Al Stone.

Now, to the second part of your question.

I toyed with this concept some years ago, but it only works as an abstraction.

The whole thing would go off the rails the moment you had incoming members who didn't subscribe to the ethos of the group (promises, promises); and I'm not sure the changing environment would be at all conducive to our organic style. For example, we use technological innovations as tools, whereas most contemporary musicians and recordings are dominated by digital process.

I am told, by those who know about these things, that a lot of so-called 'live' rock bands are, in fact, miming. The deception quotient is much higher in the world of 'pop'; where it doesn't really matter because, in that genre, music is heard with eyes not ears.

This is not a hit on progress (sic), just a recognition of the way things are headed, and an understanding that our way of making music would not survive the transition. Those historical and multifarious influences (of the original members), would become similar to a homeopathic dilution; which is a bit like god: It only works if you believe...and who would?!

Very good question though,

Cheers, ig

Martin Lackner

Hi,

please, just let me know when you and the Javelins play live somewhere in Europe...

Many thanks & Best regards

Martin

 

Dear Martin,

I will, I promise I will...but first we have to deal with the meaning of your question.

When you say 'play live' to anyone these days, it means perform a show that's anything in length from 45 to 120 minutes. That's what is expected, whether the artiste is playing a club, a concert (support or headline), or a festival; just three examples to make the point.

Back in 1965, when I turned professional, a couple of years after finishing with The Javelins ('62/'63), I joined a Harmony 'group' called Episode Six. We called ourselves 'groups' in those days. If you wanted to be a 'band' you had to have a brass section. I still refer to Deep Purple as a 'group'. (I'm with ig on this - ed)

The first proper tour I did was that year; we supported the truly wonderful Dusty Springfield. It was a marvellous experience; I learned so much and enjoyed every moment. We did four minutes to open the first half of the show, and seven minutes to open the second half.

So, if it ever comes to pass, that The Javelins do perform live again, then you must - realistically - expect no more than two or three songs in a cameo slot on someone else's show.

To be honest Martin, I think it's unlikely, but you never know; someone may make an offer that we can't refuse. Until that moment, we remain forever grateful to Max Vaccaro and his team at e-a-r Music (Edel Records) in Hamburg, for the chance for a get-together and a week of joy recording songs from our old set lists.

Cheers, ig

From: Ashley Cobb

Dear Ian,

Firstly I hope you're keeping well? Also I hope that Ian Paice is recovering well, big scare for all of us fans.

You may or may not remember me as I have had the honour of meeting you back stage a number of times in recent years. Have followed you guys and your solo projects for too many years to mention, but you all just keep getting better and better and have always loved the music.

I have a very eclectic mix of musical tastes, but rock is my first love and i especially love some of the new bands coming through, very encouraging. Which brings me to reason for my email.

I have had a notification from a member of one of these bands, a Mr Simon McBride, that he is touring with you and the Don Airey band. This guy is awesome and I have been lucky enough to see him locally to where I live (Gloucester) on several occasions .

The sad thing is I see you are only travelling to Russia etc.

That would be one line up I would truly love to see...

Would there be any chance of you doing some dates in the UK with Simon. Hope so as that would be very well received here as all of you have a great following… so, pretty please can you do some gigs here.

Hope the album is coming along okay, can't wait to hear it.

Look forward to seeing you all soon, hopefully I can get backstage to say Hi.

Many Thanks
Ashley Cobb

 

Dear Ashley,

Thanks for your letter and yes, we are all keeping well; it's very kind of you to ask.

I discovered your question in an old abandoned mine, where it had been filed for safe keeping, along with some platform shoes and an 8-track machine, about which another enquiry arrived just a few days ago; so, there you go, or et voila! as they say in Honfleur.

Mr Simon McBride is indeed a very fine player and, along with the Don Airey Band, did a magnificent job on that Eastern European tour. Not only that, but he's a cool guy and his parents are lovely too. I do hope we get the opportunity to work together again...You never know.

Cheers, ig

From: Joseph Cesare

Hi Ian,

For years I've loved the lyrics "Someone said 'What's he gonna turn out like', someone else said 'Never Mind.' " Who were those two people?

Thanks,
Joe

 

Hey Joe,

That's a good question. The lyrics to that song 'No-one Came' were written as we were reaching our first peak of success with DP. It wasn't exactly a fixed milestone, more of a moment when Roger Glover and I (we wrote all the tunes and words) thought 'Wow' when is this bubble going to burst? We had no idea what the future held and just assumed, I suppose, that it would all fade away one day and we'd be left playing nostalgia gigs in pubs and stuff like that. At least, that's how we prepared ourselves, psychologically, for such an outcome, whilst writing this song.

Hence the 'Someone said this…' and someone said that….' They weren't real people, just imaginary music fans from way in the future, talking idly about a couple of once-famous musicians.

We have always thought of ourselves as lucky and grateful to have fallen in with Deep Purple and be a part of such incredible human chemistry, which has given us a lifetime of musical fulfilment.

Many of our lyrics are sketches/impressions of thoughts, which offer an endless source of material, the rest of them are narratives, musical anecdotes of situations and events that have littered the road upon which we have travelled; and that well is even deeper.

Cheers, ig

From: James Cashman

Ian,

so many people study your music and wish to be inspired. Your name is celebrated in the inclusion of so many memorable hits. A bit back you partook in a song called "Twin Exhausted". I always recommend this song to artists who wish to upgrade their knowledge of songwriting and performing as this song demonstrates brotherhood at such a high level, that all on board represent a level of genius.

Any light to shed on how this wonderful track came about?

James Cashman

 

Dear James,

Many thanks for your question and those kind words.

Twin Exhausted was on the 1977 album Scarabus.

The credits show it being written, the same as every song on the album, by all the members: Ian Gillan, John Gustafson (bass), Ray Fenwick (guitar), Colin Towns (keys and flute) and Mark Nauseef (drums).

In fact, as with Deep Purple, it is impossible to evaluate the individual contributions made to music that is generally conceived in the practice room. Who did what on this or that, is really not important in the scheme of things, and, within the band, who cares anyway?

There are exceptions, and this is one of them. Twin Exhausted (lyrics and top line) was written by John Gustafson.

Johnny Gus, as I first knew him, was a supreme talent

Johnny Gustafson – Take Me For A Little While

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