Deep-Purple-boss Ian Gillan and his "80 piece band"

Four legendary frontmen and a full grown orchestra. So the "Rock Meets Classic" tour presents itself, which guests at Wiener Stadthalle on 7. January 2011. Die "Krone" had a chat in advance with Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan about this symphonic extravaganza.

Rock ‚n' Roll keeps young, this has also Deep-Purple-legend Ian Gillan noticed. "You snooze, you loose", he laughs at the "Krone"-interview. "If I don't do anything for three weeks, my voice fails. That's why I take fright, when I have no gigs for a month.

So it was convenient for him, that rock-colleagues like Lou Gramm, original singer with Foreigner, who appears live only very rarely any more, Dan McCafferty from Nazareth and Les Holroyd from Barclay James Harvest discovered their classical sides and mounted the "Rock Meets Classic"-tour together with him - good old rock songs, coupled with the sonic bed of an orchestra, in this particular case the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague.

"I admit, the idea for this tour is not mine. I got invited. But I was already worried, because my schedule for January was empty", says Gillan.

"Scores? Only the musicians, fortunately not me"
Standing in front of a big orchestra is nothing new for 65 years old Deep Purple frontman, though. "With Deep Purple I have been working with orchestras numerous times. Of course you have to adjust yourself, those guys just can't play the last verse twice when you give them a shout. It's also a difference if you play with four people in a band or with 80." And, very atypical for rock, the fiddling colleagues have scores laying in front of them. Gillan as well? "Only the musicians, me not, fortunately."

Scores or not, a gap between himself and the "band" Gillan can't recognise, difference in genre notwithstanding. "You tend to forget that we all - rock or classical music - are musicians. The guys in the orchestra sit by day in a studio wearing jeans and t-shirt and play with pop- or rock music, just like we do. Only in the evening they change clothes, perform wearing a tailcoat and give a concert with Bach and Beethoven in front of tarted up people.

"Yes, I'm 65. So what?"
Ian Gillan could easily rest on his laurels after his career with Deep Purple. But who leaves the stage, can't enter it again, believes Gillan: "Yes, I'm 65. So what? Still, I'd never take a break. Once you haven't done anything for five or ten years, you never, ever gain your old shape again." The superstar he takes off as soon as he shuts his apartment door behind him - then Gillan becomes an ordinary "betty". Laundry washing, ironing and cooking are matters fort he boss. "That's what my mum has taught me."

By Franziska Trost and Christoph Andert Original published article HERE