The Ian Gillan Interview

By Shawn Perry

He played Jesus Christ in the original Jesus Christ Superstar. He sang "Smoke On The Water." He also sang with Luciano Pavarotti. Ian Gillan is one of the last great singers from the hard rockin' early 70s still going, giving it his all. He's been fronting Deep Purple for nearly 20 years without disruption. The proceeding 20 years, of which he spent almost half with Purple, were filled with career highs and lows. Gillan, never one to sit around and mope, released nearly a dozen solo records and even spent a year occupying the lead vocalist slot for Black Sabbath.

These days, however, Deep Purple takes up a huge chunk of his time. That hasn't stopped Gillan from becoming remarkably prolific away from the band. In 2006, he issued Gillan's Inn, a CD/DVD collection jam-packed with old and new songs, and a surplus of mates like Joe Satriani, Ronnie James Dio, Jeff Healey, and Jon Lord. In 2009, he went one further and released an album of all-new originals called One Eye To Morocco. In between, he squeezed in a tour and issued a live DVD. The show Gillan filmed was from the House of Blues in Anaheim, California.

That night in Anaheim, Junkman and I sat in VIP balcony seats and watched Gillan and his band play a cool and even-handed set. Junkman, who had interviewed Gillan that day on his radio show, assured me. "We'll go say 'hi' after the show." And that's what happened. We sat in his dressing room where he offered us Heinekens and comical anecdotes. Six months later, Junkman and I were in Gillan's dressing room again, this time after a Deep Purple show in Costa Mesa. The singer was just as cordial and on the mark, and gave us autographed copies of his latest book. I told him before I left we had to do an interview some time, and he agreed. It would be another couple years before the interview you're about to read came together. For me, it was worth the wait.

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