Live Pre­views

One of rock’s long­est-sur­viv­ing bands hits the road again. For the last time? Maybe.

Classic Rock - - Contents -

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.

deep­est pur­ple 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.

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