One of rock’s longest-surviving bands hits the road again. For the last time? Maybe.
Must-see gigs from Deep Purple, Airbourne, Pumpkins United, Lionheart and Quicksand. Plus full gig listings – find out who’s playing where and when.
As the only member of Deep Purple to have played on every one of the band’s 20 studio albums, who better to set the scene for their latest tour, The Long Goodbye, than drummer Ian Paice?
Everyone in the band must be happy with the overwhelmingly positive response to the latest album, InFinite?
We are. But when you know you’ve made a good record, you can always be fairly confident that the fans will enjoy it. Working with a producer like Bob [Ezrin], as we’ve done for the last two records, it’s just a matter of capturing what we believe to be a set of good ideas.
Purple’s special guests on these dates are Europe. Joey Tempest and company are a bit of a Marmite band, and they have gained some respect in the years since their reunion. Do you like them?
Being completely honest, I don’t take much notice of bands that work with us. I don’t know the guys from Europe, though I hear they’re nice fellas. I rarely get to the venue until just before we play – I focus more on what I must do than on what’s happened before – though I’m sure it will be a nice package.
So there’s no point in asking what you think about UK retro-rockers Cats In Space, who will be the opening act at the shows?
No, but there’s a good chance I’ll see them on one of the dates. I do get there early [early on in the tour] to make sure the kit I’m using is the way I want it. Does the idea of a band that channels 10cc, ELO, Sweet and Slade sound good to you? Yeah, it does. When an outfit comes up that needs a push into the public eye, it’s always nice to turn around and say: “We gave them a little shove.”
Do you have any views on the long-term future of rock music? Does it even have one?
Of course it does. Everything you hear is still rock music, even if it’s no longer called that. Hip-hop and the new country music, it’s all based upon the same rhythms and chord sequences. What you can get away with outside of rock’n’roll is quite limited. To me it’s all rock’n’roll.
But is rock as we know it reaching the end of its shelf life?
No. What we are seeing is the end of a generation that was very important in creating a style of music. It was the son of 1950s rock’n’roll. We changed it a little to what was right for us, as did the next generation, and so on. The music may be changing, but it won’t die.
The upcoming tour is rather ambiguously called The Long Goodbye. Are you and the rest of the band now any closer to knowing how much longer that goodbye will last?
You’ll probably find that all of us have different ideas of that. To me, once we’ve been around the world and played everywhere we can, that’s the end of the long goodbye. Some other bands have played farewell tours and are still doing it twenty-five years later. We’ve never said this will be the last of everything. There’s no reason why we couldn’t make another record.
As they get older, it’s often difficult for musicians – singers especially – to perform as they used to. Ian Gillan has now reached the grand old age of seventy-two. How do you think his voice is holding up? Look, of course Ian doesn’t have the voice he had when he was twenty-one. Then again, there are now notes that are not within his range at that age. It’s okay for me, I can buy new drum sticks, but the human voice changes. The bottom line is that any one of us could keel over tomorrow and that would be that.
The idea of one final blow-out has been mooted, although Ian Gillan recently revealed that when the suggestion of Ritchie Blackmore joining in was brought up, you said: “Why would we go back to that misery again?”
Well, occasionally it was misery with Ritchie.
And he hasn’t changed his spots. For the last twenty-five or thirty years we’ve gone on stage knowing that everyone [in the band] will give one hundred per cent, every night. Nobody is carried and there are no feuds, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Concert tickets are expensive. People really shouldn’t be short-changed. DL
The tour begins in Birmingham on November 17.
Deep Purple were formed in Hertford in 1968.
The current line-up of the band has been in place since 2002.
They were inducted into the rock and roll Hall of Fame in 2016.