IAN GILLAN - Pullin' Pints At The Inn
by Martin Popoff
Ian Gillan, is of course well and goodly known for his helmsmanship of the greatest band that ever walked the plank - Gillan. That band's five records (depending on how you count - it's complicated) comprise one of the most rock sold catalogs of punked-up, progged-down, white-knuckled, heavy oddball metal rock 'n' roll madness you'll likely ever sidle up to, hence my (bizarre?) assertion. The guy's also got another band, Deep Purple, who are pretty bloody good, along with assorted solo works, jazz rock works, and pre-Purple silliness, a movement through music that makes up forty years of "yyyeeeaaaah!" and "roooaaauuuuaaaa-waaahhhhh!" and aaayyy-ayyyy-ayyyyeaaaahhh!" and various other words of wisdom (kidding aside, he's even a better lyricist than he is a singer, and that's saying much).
Anyway, Ian's got on his plate, a new record called Gillan's Inn (see www.immergent.com), on which he's gathered a mountain of co-conspirators to jam up and out a bunch of his history's deeper album tracks, plus the odd one you'd recognize straight off.
"It was a weird kind of evolutionary process," says the courtly yowler, holding that court at his hotel room in Toronto. "My manager in London, Phil Banfield, we were nattering about... I don't know, horse racing or whatever - he's keen about horse racing - and he said, 'You know, you've been singing now about 400 years. It's about time you made an anniversary record.' Cool, good idea. I thought he meant a compilation. So I started burning some CDs and playing them in the car, and it didn't work at all well. Early Purple stuff, Gillan stuff, Sabbath stuff, '80s Purple, later Gillan stuff - none of it worked. And all the production values were different. It sounded kind of uncomfortable. I enjoyed the songs, but listening to them as a package didn't really work for me. Plus there was nothing from my formative years, nothing from the time before I started writing, something that just showed singing influences rather than songwriting. So I just said, what about remakes? Plus, the license thing for this is going to be a nightmare, with all the different record labels, putting it together, getting permission to put my own songs on a record. That's where the remake idea came up. And I phoned a few mates. Joe Elliott was the first one, and I got an email back like straightaway that said, 'I'm your man. Count me in, mate.' Tony Iommi, Jon Lord came back really quickly, all the guys in Purple, Steve Morse; a bunch of mates, really. So that's when I sat down with Michael... you just met Michael Lee Jackson, who was the MD for the session, and Nick Blagona who was going to produce it, and we thought of the concept, got the title, Gillan's Inn. It's an imaginary pub. We tried to create the impression on the record that it's just a packed-out pub, all my mates turn up, there's a stage full of equipment, and there's a set list stuck to the deck, and everyone gets up and jams for three songs or something like that. That's the impression or atmosphere we try to create."
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