‘It was just absolutely wonderful’: Ian Paice on how Jon Lord impacted Deep Purple’s Now What?!

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Deep Purple’s new studio project Now What?! features an overt tribute to Jon Lord in the touching, waltz-timed “Above and Beyond.” But it’s not the only moment that reminds Ian Paice of the band’s late founding keyboardist.

Paice, in the attached video interview, says a lengthy intro to the song “Uncommon Man” was actually created in part by Lord, along with Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse, during “a free-form part of the stage show” years ago.

The group had already completed tracking for “Uncommon Man,” Paice says, when producer Bob Ezrin said: “‘It needs something at the beginning. It needs something to set it up.’ He’d seen us in concert, and he said: ‘Why don’t you take that free-form idea, and put in into the context of “Uncommon Man”?'”

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Deep Purple’s Steve Morse go in-depth on ‘Now What?!,’ and what it meant to him to appear on long-time musical companion Jon Lord’s final album.]

Paice’s tenure with Deep Purple goes back to its March 1968 founding, as did Lord’s. They were also part of the short-lived mid-1970s supergroup Paice Ashton Lord, during a hiatus. Lord would eventually leave Deep Purple in 2002, and subsequently passed last year after battling cancer.

That Deep Purple was able to integrate note just a tribute to Lord, but his witty improvisational spirit into Now What?!, clearly means a lot to his former bandmate.

The results, Paice says, were “a glorious two minutes of music, and it took exactly two minutes to record. It was one take, completely live. We went in to listen to it in the control room, and it was just absolutely wonderful. Bob stuck it on the front of the song, and it’s just like it was there always.”

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