DEEP PURPLE's IAN PAICE On 'Fireball' Drum Intro: '50 Years Later, That's All I Can Do With Two Bass Drums'

March 10, 2024

In a new interview with Paul Cashmere of, DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice spoke about the double-kick beat that introduces the band's classic song "Fireball". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, when you've got a riff which needs a rhythmic backup, you find the only solution that really works. And for me, it was doing something that I'm not known for, I'm not very good at, which is the double bass drum thing. But I could do that. And, to be honest, 50 years later, that's all I can do with two bass drums. My brain doesn't work that way. I'm just doing a reaction video to a really great young drummer, his double-bass drum thing. And what they're doing with it, I mean, it's no problem, because I don't wanna do it, but I appreciate how hard it is, what it is they do now and how it's sort of moved on.

"Music, and drums especially, must evolve, must go somewhere else," he explained. "But I don't have to be involved with it, because it's not my thing. But 'Fireball' was — it worked out really, really well. And it gave me a lot of fun in the breaks to show off a little bit. That sort of track for me today would be totally impossible. Not because I can't do it, but the changes in recording techniques. I mean, now we're in that digital age where things have to be chopped up into pretty little patterns and the freedom to do those fills, you can't do it with metronomic time — you just can't do it. There has to be an ebb and flow, a wave inside it, and if you don't have that freedom, it's almost impossible to do those crazy fills."

Some consider Paice to be the forefather of today's rock drumming. Such hits as "Space Truckin'", "Hush", "Fireball" and "Smoke On The Water" prove that Ian was helping create a genre that would last many years to come. In fact, throughout DEEP PURPLE's long career, which has seen numerous changes among the other personnel, he is the only drummer the band has ever had. When the group dissolved in 1976, Ian joined PURPLE vocalist David Coverdale to form WHITESNAKE. After a short hiatus, DEEP PURPLE reunited in 1984 for the "Perfect Strangers" release and has not stopped performing since.

In 2020, Paice was asked during a question-and-answer session with fans if he has ever felt the need to play double-bass drums. He responded: "Well, not really. The only time I ever really did it was on 'Fireball' because it added something to the track. The way the riff rolled along, it needed that power of two kicks.

"When I was growing up, the only guy who actually used two bass drums that I knew about was the wonderful Louie Bellson," he continued. "And even he had not really what you'd call mastered it. There are some wonderful young drummers around these days who've got the two-bass-drum thing down to an incredibly fine art. But I've always preferred to have to think in patterns.

"Sometimes with the bass drums, it's not where you put the note, it's where you don't put the note, and that makes it work," he explained.

DEEP PURPLE's latest studio effort, an album of covers titled "Turning To Crime", came out in November 2021 via earMUSIC. The LP contains DEEP PURPLE's versions of great rock classics and musical jewels — including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Seger, CREAM and THE YARDBIRDS — carefully chosen by each member of the band.

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