Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Deep Purple singer comments on Rock Hall snub

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan shares his thoughts on the legendary band’s snub by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, despite being eligible for induction since 1993.

Asked if he was upset that the group hadn’t been chosen by Rock Hall voters to date – despite nominations in 2013 and 2014 – Gillan tells Rolling Stone, “Whatever you say to a question like that, you sound supercilious or dismissive or disgruntled or sour grapes. I spent all my younger life trying to avoid institutionalization as much as I could and then I realized that these sorts of things are for your family and fans. So I don't mind what happens. We're grateful for anything that comes along our way.”

Gillan says he senses confusion about the inner-workings of the induction process in regards to the band’s status.

“I've heard quotes of somebody on the [Rock Hall voting] committee saying, ‘Well, Deep Purple can't be in it, because they were a one-hit wonder’,” explains the singer. “I don't know if they were referring to ‘Hush’ or ‘Smoke On The Water’ or ‘Child In Time’ or ‘Highway Star’ or ‘Perfect Strangers,’ any of those one hit wonders that we were. I think it would be undignified for us to enter the fray and stamp our feet and say, ‘Yeah, we don't need it anyway.’ It's really an American thing. We don't really understand it, but if I treat it with respect, we'll see what happens. That's all I can say.”

Deep Purple famously split with guitarist Richie Blackmore twice: once in 1975 and again in 1993. Given the controversy surrounding which KISS members would be inducted earlier this year, Gillan was asked if the band would play with Blackmore at an induction ceremony if it were to happen.

“Well, we are the living, breathing Deep Purple,” replied the frontman. “This is the longest that any lineup has ever been together in this band. And it would be unconscionable to think about bringing Ritchie in. I don't have an issue with Ritchie, nor does anyone. I've been in touch with Ritchie recently and everything's cool, so there's no bitter, personal problem. We're too old for that and everything's in the past, but no. That would be out of the question. How insulting that would be to [current guitarist] Steve Morse, for example? So if that's the stumbling block, fair enough. Never the twain shall meet.”

“I'm saying what I'm about to say not to wind Ritchie up, if he's reading this,” Gillan continued. “He knows that we've got to talk about these things. So I say this with no rancor, and let's get the record straight: I was just as much of an asshole as Ritchie was. But Ritchie carried it on for a little longer. Had Ritchie stayed with the band, it would have been all over. It would have just ended. Without any doubt in anyone's mind – it was all over. So the day he walked out was the day we had to rebuild. We had Joe Satriani for one year, and he got us over the crisis, and then we got Steve and started to rebuild. Within a couple of years, we started playing arenas again, and it's been fantastic ever since.”

“It's good to go through those crises. It doesn't do your heart any good, but that was the spirit of the band,” he added. “So to go back to the question of ‘Would we do the show with Ritchie?’ I think that would be hugely disrespectful to what I call the living, breathing, Deep Purple. There's always been a living, breathing, Deep Purple, good or bad at any stage of our evolution, and how it is now is particularly healthy and it wouldn't be right.”

Gillan and the current version of Deep Purple have just launched a month-long series of dates across North America.

The group has been working on new music for the follow-up to 2013’s “NOW What?!” album.

See also:

VIDEO: Deep Purple – Jon Lord tribute concert DVD preview
Deep Purple to release 1975 concert package
Deep Purple: Jon Lord tribute concert package due this fall
Deep Purple singer to perform Smoke On The Water with thousands of guitarists
Search Deep Purple at hennemusic