Ian Gillan Band 1990 with Ted McKenna


How I joined: Tommy Eyre called me and said he had just finished recording the Naked Thunder album with Ian Gillan, and would I be interested? I came down to the album launch and met Ian and the band. Johnny Gustafson had done bass on the album, but for the tour it was decided to go for someone different. I suggested Chris Glen. We got together at Nomis Studios in London, and after playing a few tunes – including Smoke on the Water – we headed for the  local and cemented the relationship… or was it plastered? What followed was one of the most enjoyable tours I’ve ever done. Especially  the very memorable tour of Russia. Ian really was top man – a great man to work with. We had a lot of fun.

What we achieved: There was a show we did for television which really captured the band, but I’ve never managed to get a proper copy. There are all too few clips on YouTube. The experience of travelling all over Russia is what sticks in my mind. Unfortunately we didn’t get to record together.

What I remember: One experience in Russia, I’m forced to remember as it’s in Ian’s book, was as follows. We had been doing a bit of serious drinking on days off and we stopped on the way to, I think, Ordzhonikidze. I’d been drinking a mixture of lemon vodka and white wine, for no other reason than there were crates of it on the bus. Definitely not what I’d drink normally – but when in Russia… We stopped for Ian to do an interview at a radio station. I was absolutely starving so I helped myself to some cherries from one of the huge bowls laid out for us. Everywhere we went in Russia there seemed to be an abundance of fruit but always, always cherries. Back on the bus Ian and I sat together near the back and Bron, Ian’s wife, was standing about five or six rows ahead on the same side, facing toward us. Suddenly, with no prior warning I projectile vomited, horizontally, down the bus. Think of the cherry scene in The Witches of Eastwick, but without the stones. Nothing even remotely similar to that has ever happened to be before or since. I felt completely fine and had no ill effects apart from being too astonished to even be embarrassed. I hope I apologised to Bron and anyone else it might have affected. I think it must have been some sort of rare, chemically unbalanced malfunction of my digestive system. Anyway, sorry Bron!

What you should hear: Gut Reaction and Black Night (sorry about the crazy drum fills*)

*Reply to the YouTube comment criticising my drumming: Sorry pal, Ian told me not to play it like the record and “Go Crazy!” In retrospect, I should have stayed with the triplet feel fills and left out the accented 16ths….bit too jazzy! I know all of Paice’s original fills but only did the last one which, strangely enough, is straight 16th notes. Point taken though! Yes, and it’s all a bit muddy but I think that’s perhaps because there are four guitarists on stage?