1977: Ian Gillan’s turbulent year
How influential was your keyboard player, Colin Towns?
Colin is one of the finest musicians I’ve ever worked with. In fact, he was the reason for the Ian Gillan Band breaking up, because they [the other members] just didn’t respect him. They kind of bullied him, really.
Colin’s a quiet guy, very talented. We did a song later on, on the Mr Universe album , called Fighting Man, which Colin wrote. When he originally presented it to the Ian Gillan Band, they just laughed at him. It’s happened to me, so I understood what he was going through.
When I heard him play it and I said: “We’re going to do this.” But the rest of the guys refused. So I said, “Well, that’s it.” That’s when I left my own band, taking Colin with me.
But yes, Colin was hugely influential. If you listen to something like Five Moons [from Clear Air…], he’s all over it.