Deep Purple (Ian Paice)
The volume's still high on the notes of the new "Now What?!" and here's the account of our face-to-face interview with the legend, Mr. Ian Paice. He's one of those men that always give you a reason to take some notes, whatever they say. Our conversation was made ​​of anecdotes, reflections and touching moments in the memory of Jon Lord. And in the name of rock and roll. Enjoy the reading!
Article by Luca Ciuti - Publish on: 02/05/13
You've got a new record coming out, as a fan I’m very happy to hear a new chapter of the story. In the Spotify era, it’s a real hit!

We know it’s a strong record, and we knew it was a strong record when we were in the studio hearing the backing tracks. Everything is in the hands of the public. You can make the greatest record in the world at the wrong time, and you can disappear. You can make the worst record at the right time, and people remember it. All we can do as artists is to say we take it’s good and we’ll be proud of it. Most of the people heard it, they liked what it is. They like the diversity, the different moods on the record, the songs and so we see. The creation of the record is beyond our control; some records you love more than others, some records are easy to make, some records are difficult. This was very easy, and the easy ones turn to be that way because the ideas are good, the ideas make you excited to play them. The studio we had was incredible, so the way we play the music were great. Sometimes, when you don’t have the great ideas and you don’t have a great studio records can take a long time. The backing tracks were done in ten days. All the tracks were done ten days in the studio and then were finished. When it happens that measures actually deciding to keep the first take or the second, the music you decide to keep for immortality still has a fresh feeling, the musicians being excited to play something new. Sometimes the track isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect. When you play something twenty times you no longer have the perfection of creation. What you have is re-creation. It’s different. After twenty take you can have a perfect piece of music but you have no soul, no excitement. When we listen to the take number one or number two it’s better, because it has freshness, has the excitement of the musicians, has the invention, what you hear when you’re creative for the first time. On take twenty it’s lost a little bit of magic. “Machine Head” was like that, was done in three weeks. Ten days for the basic tracks and two weeks for the overdubs. Purple records are easy records.

Do you think technology is not necessary to create the Deep Purple sound?
 
I don’t know about that… technology can be a great blessing it can also be a great gamble. If use the technology you need you can get the stuff you want. We record whenever possible exactly the same way we recorded forty years ago. We try to play live in the studios trying to interact as musicians. Many records are created by people living not in the same town, not in the same country, they connect to the computer. That could be very useful sometime, I understand, but interaction between musicians is the focus for us, you have to stay in the room together, it can only happen when they’re in touch physically. We had a wonderful studio like this room now…
 
deeppurple_intervista_2013_02Like a dining room, a confidential mood…
 
Exactly! The main studio must be thirteen meters on, sixteen meters wide, the isolation in the same size of the room.  It’s the only way the organic sound can be caught. You don’t have to kill the sound recreating it electronically, you can record the sound and that’s  what makes the musicians happy. When I hit the drums, it has to sound the way I like it, and a really good studio is really helpful for that.
 
You talked about good record at the wrong time. Did it ever happen with Deep Purple?
 
Not as Deep Purple, I was in the band at the wrong time, the English version of Whitesnake, we moved out to America but they were not interested to that style music at that time. Two years later they were a fashion. It’s a great band. Especially a band like us, we have nothing to do with fashion statement or trends, you’re not quite so in danger being at the fashion cause you’re always at the fashion, if you are able! What keeps you right to your fans, they like what you do it doesn’t matter what it is, if you make rock or hip hop they don’t care, all they want from you is a good record.
 
The new record is very close to the Seventies, as far the sound is concerned…
 
There were two basic ideas. One it was that the record would be harder than “Rapture Of The Deep”, but also there would be no constraint on time that the piece of music needed. If a song needs seven minutes, it gets seven minutes, not five. Sometimes in the past we’ve been trying to write tracks that radio stations would like, but it never worked. When we write songs that need some extension, we make it in seven minutes, radio stations or not, which is exactly what we do. When a song needs an instrumental section, we just let it go. Because I think after all this time Deep Purple fans would like to hear that.  There’s stuff Deep Purple can do that nobody else can do.
 
Did Bob Ezrin help you in that sense?
 
Bob is a great producer and he’s also a great musician. When you start losing sight of what you’re trying to do, he can tell you in a musical way what is not working. He gives you a musical pressure, get the focus back on what you originally thought when you created a piece of music. Whenever you’re doing something that never exists yet, the possibilities are endless. Sometimes you’re allowed to dilute the ideas and bring back together again. This is the focus. Bob can tell you that in a musical way. He safes time, that’s important to get at earlier takes because you’re not messing around, changing things two days later. “This is the song, this is the way it goes…get it!” That’s the way it works.
 
deeppurple_intervista_2013_03What about the title, “Now What?!”, can I see it as a checkpoint?
 
Basically is what it is. Ian Gillan came with the title saying “it’s strong, it will come to mean something in the future”. He was more convinced about this title more than any other else. At the end it doesn’t matter how it’s called…it just had to be called something, so that you relate to it. That’s the album, it will have a place in your memories so you’ll have a relationship to it. It sounds very new, but it is quite strong.
 
Does it also bring back to “absent friends”… (Ian immediately understands the meaning of my question... from here on it was really hard to hold our emotions, editor's note)?
 
Yeah… when Jon died, I had been in America for about three weeks. When I left England, I doubted I would have seen him again. He hadn’t changed much physically. When we got the news that he was dying, fortunately the day when I finished my work so I could come back the next day and  help his wife. There were so many things that Jon was gonna do, and this terrible disease stopped everything. The most people with pancreatic cancer one, two months and they’re gone. Jon stayed around for ten months. It was only in the last week that it became difficult, most of the time he was at the hospital where he had drugs to take away the pain. There’s a story I want tell you… two hours before he went I was there with his wife and his daughter. He was sleepin’ in his bed, in his drugs ill, and his hands came up, and he was like he was playing the piano, or like he was composing. Wherever he was, Jon Lord inside he was feeling a musician. That was incredible.
 
And the whole record is pervaded by his own influence…
 
There were two or three moments in the record, especially the intro to “Uncommon Man” that Steve and Jon started doing years ago, when John was in the band. When we finished the track, “Uncommon Man”, it basically started with the riff, and Bob said “It needs something else, it need something to set it up”. We tried something similar during a show in Toronto in the last year with Steve and Don, and I added some drums for a dramatic effect. Steve started the basic accord, followed by the related chords created by Don and the movements were keeping with each other, something that no one expected. And that there’s two minutes of music, one take, totally live, nothing written, just these two guys with their abilities, without even talk it. Don followed him immediately, giving Jon same effect. Bob added a little click track, it turned in a very rhythmic piece. Fifteen minutes later we had this fantastic piece of music, born from the interaction between Don and Steve. Pure magic.



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