Deep Purple have sold more than 100 million albums, with arenas sold out over decades all over the world. Legendary musicians of hard rock, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey continue to inspire fans worldwide with their vast repertoire.
Their hugely successful latest album “Whoosh!” came out last year and is considered to be one of the most versatile albums in the history of Deep Purple.
They have most recently announced “Turning to Crime”, which comes out on the 26 November, it is an album of versions with tracks by artists such as Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Seger.
They are kicking 2022 off with a heavily anticipated tour of their 21st studio album and they are more than ready to get back on the road and celebrate their music with fans. It was fantastic to speak with Deep Purple’s, Ian Gillan about what our readers can expect from the Lisbon concert next year and much more!
The Portugal News: How is the band feeling about performing in Lisbon next year?
Ian Gillan: “We have performed in Portugal quite a lot over the centuries, but I think the last time was 2017, I believe. I don’t know what the band feels like yet because we haven’t been together properly in two years, so all of this is going to be very exciting; It is going to be exploding with energy, I know that for sure!”
TPN: What can our readers expect from the Lisbon concert and the set list?
IG: “It is hard to say, but what I can say is this, we put out our album “Whoosh!” last year and we haven’t performed any of the songs live on stage and I expect there will be a couple of songs from there and the new album “Turning to Crime” will almost inevitably be in the show so we will squeeze them in somehow. Obviously tracks from the new album and the not so new albums. There is quite an accumulation of songs already from 1969 and it is very difficult to decide on the repertoire for the concerts but you have to constantly keep the shows fresh and you keep a balance as you don’t want to shove all the new songs down people’s throats, they want to hear the old songs as well as the improvisation. I mean 25 percent of our show is jamming and that is what our fans know us for. So, a mixture of old and new. It is all fun and sometimes we don’t know what the set list is until just before a show or we spontaneously decide on stage.”
TPN: What was the inspiration behind “Turning to Crime” and producing the upcoming album?
IG: “We normally sit and write and music just comes to us and when we have got enough, we make an album and that is pretty much how it has always worked. The problem is with the quarantine and the lockdowns, it is very difficult to get the band physically together. Steve our banjo player lives in America, Roger our bass player lives in Switzerland and the other guys live in England so it was a major military operation to have rehearsals and we need to be together to write and not necessarily to perform as we have discovered now, as everyone else has, you can do it digitally and remotely. It was our producer’s idea to do “Turning to Crime” and we have always done covers, the first three big hits for Deep Purple were in 1968/1969 which were Hush, Kentucky woman, River Deep, they were huge hits in America and we have performed them on stage but never produced an album of covers. The selection was a really important part of that process, we put up a long list with our producer, Bob Ezra, and talked about it and made a shortlist and ran through ideas and then we started working on them.” Humorously adding that “not one single one of my suggestions was used on the album but that is fine because the songs that have been chosen are fantastic! The hardest part was not actually making the album but it was deciding to do it and deciding what the repertoire was going to be.”
TPN: Is there is a particular track on “Turning to Crime” that stands out or one you are excited to perform live?
IG: “Actually, there are 3 or 4 or 5… “7 and 7 is” has already been released and is the opening track and it is a song I love and used to perform in 60s in a band called Episode Six. I also love a track called “Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu” it just such fun and I am excited to sing that live. Another track is an Old Ray Charles track with a Quincey Jones arrangement, Don has turned it into a magical piece of blues jazz and it is so much fun which is called “Let The Good Times Roll” and those three tracks are ones I would select to perform on stage.”
TPN: I would like to take you back to the first show you ever played; how did it feel performing live for the first time?
“The first show I ever played was at a Church Youth Club in West London and we asked if we could use the back room where they stored the table tennis table and chairs, so we could practise and the Youth Club leader said but “you have to pay” and I said “We’ve got no money” and he said “you don’t have to pay in money, pay with a performance so if you practise here during the week, you will have to perform on Saturday night.” So, I think if it had just been practising, we may never have started but the fact that we have been forced to go on stage pushed us. Going on stage was just terrifying and exciting at the same time. The equipment was hilarious, the PA was actually my Dads tape recorder and he bought me a set of drums which were The Salvation Army base drums and that rolled across the stage as the noise started and I had a primitive drum kit, it was just hilarious but it got me started and as you did not really notice the increase in crowds. I joined another band and we had some success but then the crowds started coming in, we were still in clubs then that were getting packed out and the excitement started to build and then we bought a band and we started to travel a bit and gradually we started to do ballrooms, universities and theatres.
I did my first professional tour with Dusty Springfield in 1965 which was just amazing, it was so exciting and it just built up from there really. I learnt a lot from the older musicians and the people I worked with in the area, music was really happening at that time and becoming international too so I was very lucky and I had a fantastic manager in the early days, who looked after us for five years called Gloria Bristow, she taught me a lot and about professionalism and I learnt a lot from Dusty as well.”