Inside Deep Purple’s unique collaborative relationship with Ian Gillan: ‘We have a weird dynamic, but it works’

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With Deep Purple already working on a follow up to 2013’s well-received Now What?!, Steve Morse has been reimmersing himself in their creative process. And, even after more than two decades with Deep Purple, Morse is still a bit mystified by how Ian Gillan works.

“Ian Gillan will kind of give a thumbs up or thumbs down based on gut instinct,” Morse tells Vintage Rock. Then he’ll just disappear and start working on lyrics. Then he’ll pop back in, get refreshed about the tune, and then walk away and write more lyrics.”

Meanwhile, there’s a delicate balance going on, as Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Don Airey and Morse work out the rest of what will one day become a new Deep Purple song. Paice might start a beat, and then Morse or Airey will jump in. Glover and Paice serve as referees, Morse says. Then, Ian Gillan will once again rejoin the process.

“He’s kind of like an apparition: He’s there and he’s gone; he’s there and he’s gone,” Morse says. “So yeah, we have a weird dynamic, but it works. And the bottom line is, everybody really appreciates that everybody’s involved. And it makes it something unique that we couldn’t do unless everyone was involved.”

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