DEEP PURPLE Singer: 'I'm Having More Fun Than A Butcher's Dog On This Tour'

Jon Matsumoto of The Mercury News recently spoke to DEEP PURPLE frontman Ian Gillan about his current tour in support of his solo album, "Gillan's Inn", which celebrates his 40-year career in rock. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On touring solo:

"I'm having more fun than a butcher's dog on this tour. Stepping out of the PURPLE tour for a couple of months and playing these little places, where the people are right in your face, is fantastic. I'm having a great time. I've got a great band with me."

On his new version of the DEEP PURPLE anthem "Smoke on the Water", featuring a vocal choir and an electric violin:

"Johnny [violinist Johnny Rzeznik] was working in a pub near a recording studio in England. We went there for a bite to eat, and he was playing behind this pillar, so I couldn't see him. I thought, 'There's a great guitar player.' Somebody said, 'It's not a guitar; it's a violin!' I couldn't believe it. So we had a couple of beers with Johnny, and he ended up jamming with us. Since that day, his career has kind of taken off. He's touring around England and having a great time."

On DEEP PURPLE's new level of popularity:

"The late '80s-early '90s were a very bad time for us. Everyone was playing badly. The audiences were diminishing. Suddenly, Ritchie [Blackmore] left the band, and the clouds disappeared. Joe Satriani toured with us for a year. Then Steve Morse joined us. (Keyboardist) Don Airey took over for Jon Lord, who retired. This has been the best period for the band since '69-'70. The places are packed, and we've gotten incredibly young audiences around the world."

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