Gillan’s secret is ‘never give up’
Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan believes his voice remains in great condition because, unlike some of his contemporaries, he never took a break from singing.
And now his band have been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has a different viewpoint about the honour.
Gillan tells Gulf News: “I keep myself fairly fit. My mates who were singers, they quit to enjoy their success or raise families, and didn’t continue. Then they tried to come back years later, but it was very difficult.
“Vocal cords, unlike guitar strings, are unforgiving. You can’t change them. I’ve been singing all my life and therefore I’m pretty match-fit. Most things are within my scope. I sing pretty naturally – it’s not a strain, never has been.”
Purple are among the bands shortlisted for induction into the Hall of Fame next year. Gillan says he’s a lot more humble about such things than he used to be.
“Without being asked I was nominated for an MBE a little while ago,” he explains. “I was a bit fed up with these sorts of things – then I rationalised the situation.
“When I was a kid the last thing I wanted was to be institutionalised, and I sort of fought against the system all my life. However, when I had a chance to think about the nomination, I realised it’s for family and friends, and not for me alone.
“I saw people getting excited about it around me. It’s for the people who have supported us through the years, particularly through the bad times. So I look at it in a different way now.”
Asked about the secret of Purple’s longevity he says: “Possibly it’s the way we set ourselves up in the beginning. We had no ambition except to make the band as good as possible. So there’s a basic simplicity to the ethos of the band which has survived and I don’t think it’s changed in any way.”
For Gillan, who recently completed work on a new Purple studio album, the band’s songwriting is a case of ‘the more things change the more they stay the same.’
He says: “The construction of a song doesn’t change, it’s just the way that the food is cooked. It’s also the improvisation. A friend of mine came to two shows in Germany on the last tour and he said to me, ‘You did the same set as you did last night’.
“But I said to him, ‘Last night was one hour and 40 minutes, tonight was two hours and 16 minutes’. So how do you account for that? It’s the improvisation.
“All of that provides the excitement – I think probably the menu hasn’t changed much.”