IAN GILLAN: 'To Be A World-Class Musician Now, You Don't Even Have To Be Able To Play An Instrument'

November 20, 2014

Brazil's Wikimetal podcast recently conducted an interview with DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.

Speaking about how musical trends and advancements in technology have affected the rock scene since DEEP PURPLE's inception more than four decades ago, Gillan said: "[When] computers got invented, they replaced Jim Marshall [the founder of Marshall Amplification] as being tools of the trade for young musicians. And so they started speaking with a different voice."

He continued: "I heard last week from somebody on TV that said in order to be a world-class, top-class musician now, you don't even have to be able to play an instrument. And, of course, it's true. But they're not musicians, they're computer operators. And they press buttons and create rhythms and sounds, which are very exciting, and they've rejected what's come before. But now, I think, as I look at what's going on around me and I see all the changes every five years, every ten years — something came out of Seattle or out of Manchester… There was the OASIS period, then there was the grunge period, and all of these things that were just gradually replacing each other. And it was just a fashion trend that tragically hip people in the big cities wanted to follow this trend, and so the media hooked onto it and made it massive. And that's cool, that's great, and that's what fashion is. But it's not music, and it's not rock and roll — to me. Now it's all about people using their eyes to listen to music, not their ears."

Gillan added: "I was talking [earlier in the interview] about the strive for excellence in the recording studios, the sound quality. It was absolutely paramount [back in the old days] that the records sounded as good as possible. You listen to the production on the BEACH BOYS' 'Pet Sounds' and stuff like that, and George Martin's production on THE BEATLES [albums] and listen to the early sound recordings from Elvis [Presley]; it's impeccable — glorious, glorious sounds, whether you like the music or not. And now we're just talking shit — it's utter crap. No one cares about the sound. MP3s sound like shit. I won't even play them. I mean, it's just rubbish, garbage. It doesn't matter about the music, because all you're hearing is a fly in a jam jar, a bee in a bottle. [Laughs] It's awful. And so is telephone communication.

"I used to do interviews — I still do — interviews every day, all day. And you go from maybe doing a couple of professional interviews where you can hear the sound right to everyone else sounds like they're at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a sad thing.

"So you ask me about how things have changed. And I'm saying, well, maybe there have been improvements in some areas, but in the areas that I care about, which is quality and music, it's shit. [Laughs]"

DEEP PURPLE's next album will once again be helmed by Bob Ezrin (KISS, PINK FLOYD, PETER GABRIEL, ALICE COOPER, KANSAS),who produced the band's latest CD, "Now What?!"

"Now What?!" sold 4,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 115 on The Billboard 200 chart. The album was released in North America in April 2013 via earMUSIC, the Hamburg, Germany-based international rock label which is part of Edel Group.

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