1977: Ian Gillan’s turbulent year
Why didn’t anybody take you to one side and say: “Look, Ian, this is all well and good, but we’ve got the Sex Pistols over there, The Damned over there, The Clash over there… what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Ha-ha! The thing is, you come out of a band like Deep Purple… and what direction do you take? I had my own recording studio [Kingsway Recorders], so the self-indulgence was ridiculous.
I used to go drinking with Boy George while we were making these records… actually, this was maybe a little bit later. All the punks were walking past Kingsway in their chains and whatever, and we still had long hair, you know? Maybe was a case of “retreating into musicianship”. I can’t really put a motivation behind it; it just happened.
Looking at the two albums, Clear Air… has got some merit, because it was the first one and it was unique, but Scarabus only stands on performance really. I don’t think the songs are so good. Scarabus, the title track, was excellent, that was groundbreaking, but the rest of it was just trying to eke as much out of that jazzy format as possible.
Talking about Scarabus [the song], you cherry-picked a little bit of it for Disturbing The Priest, a song you recorded when you were a member of Black Sabbath, didn’t you?
Oh, you noticed? Exactly. ‘Leg of dog and lizard’s eye/Come into the wizard’s lair…’ Perfect for Sabbath, wasn’t it?