Sometimes in order to pick the brains of rock legends you have to find them first. We managed to get some questions to Ian Gillan during the Australian leg of the Deep Purple world tour, which will drop into the UK for the Monsters of Rock Festival on June 3rd.

Aside from touring the world with Deep Purple, Ian Gillan has recently released a new album, featuring reworked versions of classic tracks from across his career. The new album seemed like the best place to start for this very long-distance interview.

R13: Most would simply release a best of, why create an album of new versions of old songs?

I: Ah, the simple road is not always the best. I prefer to get off the Rock 'n' Roll Highway from time to time and take the scenic route. This is just different musicians paying respect to the originals which cannot be improved upon. A compilation of these tracks would have been a mess and wouldn't cover my formative years, before I started writing. We had a ball.

R13: What is your response to those who would say the old versions are better and they'd rather stick with those?

I: Well I'd say that you/they would be missing the point.

R13: You've a very impressive list of performers on the new record, how did you go about recruiting them and working out who would contribute what?

I: I made some calls and sent some Email messages. The response was immediate and overwhelming. It was amazing to be able to work with so many old mates.

R13: Was there anybody you wanted but couldn't get?

I: Yes, Brian May was working on the new project for Queen so couldn't make it, sadly.

R13: How did you choose the tracklist from your vast back catalogue and work out who was to do what?

I: It was self-selective. Once Tony Iommi said yeah I couldn't miss the opportunity of putting him together with Paicey and Roger on 'Trashed'. Satch was a natural for 'Unchain your Brain'. Janick had to be on 'Bluesy Blue Sea'. Joe Elliott and I got locked into a pub in Dublin many years ago after a football match and sang the entire Everly Brothers catalogue for the landlord and his daughters; hence his harmony on the Dylan track 'I'll be your baby tonight'. Jon Lord and Jeff Healey were the perfect match for 'When a Blind Man Cries', and so was easy.

R13: Reading your biog it quotes Pavarotti as saying he considers you a genius, how does it feel to have that kind of praise from a performer at the top of his game but from a completely different part of music from yours?

I: Actually he said "some call him crazy and some call him a genius". I would have opted for the former, but he chose the latter. You'll have to see the full quote in the forthcoming RockDoc but the meaning behind his quote was not as bland as it sounds. In fact it's all about doing something for a charity, like when we used to play football with great players for a benefit or something. Doesn't mean we're good footballers. Just prepared to have a go, have some fun and raise some dosh.

R13: How are you looking forward to headlining Monsters of Rock?

I: Hope the rain keeps off, should be great!

R13: What can we expect from the current Deep Purple live show?

I: Same as always, a mixture of current and historical material all held together with a bit of mayhem. These guys still practice six hours a day and so can hold a musical conversation better than anything you or I could do with mere words.

R13: Which of the fan favourites do you get the biggest kick out of playing live?

I: Well I enjoy all of it. I can't say what the fan favourites are because it changes from country to country and we are about three months into a two year tour right now. Basically we have to stick to what we've always done; heads down and trust in the lord, as we say.

R13: Which countries do you most look forward to visiting on tour?

I: Every country has its own attractions, there's no answer to that question.

R13: If you could create your own music festival, where would it be and who would you want to play: past and or present?

I: It's late here in Sydney and that answer would take too long, please forgive me.

R13: What state do you think the UK metal scene is in right now?

I: No idea, I know nothing about metal.

R13: What new or current acts have most impressed you: both UK and otherwise.

I: Could give you a glib answer but I'm sorry, I've been out of the UK for so long I've lost touch.

R13: What advice would you give to a band just starting out?

I: Learn your instrument and play live as much as you can; then however things turn out music will be a good friend to you.

R13: Thanks for your time.

I: No worries, ig..

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