Jon Lord interview – November 2010

Jon Lord was interviewed about one of the Concerto shows in 2010, but also strayed into Deep Purple land. Here’s what he had to say on some of the band.

On Ritchie Blackmore (“He’s a lot nicer than his reputation. He’s a pretty good guy… Sitting in front of a log fire with a glass of wine there’s no better companion”) and singers:

“Ritchie always has the belief in his mind that the right singer is lurking behind the bend. And then he gets round the bend and finds the next singer and it’s not quite like he thought he would be… Ritchie’s always had problems with Ian because he (Ritchie) is a guitarist and these guys think guitarists rule the world. And god bless them they do. The guitar is the archetype rock instrument. Without the electric guitar we wouldn’t have rock music. I really don’t think the perfect singer for Ritchie exists.

On Deep Purple‘s place in the rock pantheon

“The thing about Purple is that we never received that critical mass of acclaim that for instance Led Zeppelin did. Why? That’s a good question. I have an opinion that we were perhaps less consciously concerned with the blues than Zeppelin although there was an element of the blues in our music, that was how I learned to play the Hammond with the blues.. I think also the incredible success of Smoke on the Water harmed us somewhat with the critical elite… Yeah, well there’s a reason why the song was so popular. It’s a damn good rock song with a killer riff.”

On Ian Gillan

. “Astonishing voice, but mad as a box of wasps. Inside this tough rock band we had a very lyrical tenor who was capable of great lyricism. I think he is in chains now to some extent because he’s an older man trying to sing the way he used to: I think Ian is almost ashamed that he can’t do it anymore.”

On putting a Hammond through a stack of Marshalls:

“I had a job on my hands to compete with this beast that was Blackmore. The great thing about Ritchie was that although he is a trained musician, he refused to be restricted by the harmonic considerations of where he might go. So sometimes his solos are way out there. I think that Hendrix was like a light coming on for Ritchie when he first heard him. That must have been an amazing moment for him. Saying oh, wow, of course you can do that. He kept getting louder and louder and stronger and stronger.  He’s also lazy guitarist. He loves strict rhythm like on Highway Star, but would sometimes stop and go BLAM and let the feedback do the work for him. So the rhythm would go and I had to do that. Imagine rhythm keyboard instead of rhythm guitar. Then of course the sound I was getting was not competing with Ritchie. So I said to our roadie can we tap out of the amp in the Hammond and go into the Marshalls instead of the Leslie – and several electric shocks later we had it. We were making In Rock at the time.”

On Deep Purple’s finest moment?

 “I would without hubris be able to say that Made In Japan is the best live album ever made. . . It’s a band on fire, isn’t it? You know what I mean? We were captured on a couple of nights when we were genuinely about as on fire as you can get. Inspired but . . . yeah, I would happy to be remembered for putting a Hammond into a rock band.”

Thanks to Nigel Young. You can read the full interview, done to publicise the Concerto show in Poland in 2010, at:

9 Responses to “Jon Lord interview – November 2010”

  1. Grecam Says:

    Tried the link, but it’s not up any more.

    Yes, the man with the Hammond will be sadly missed. A truly unique musician. Recently purchased the triple “Live in Japan” CD, they were certainly a powerful live band in their prime, power with subtleness, also great improvisors. The way they played off each other and anticipated what the other musicians were about to do, almost like a sixth sense, was without peer. Many bands fall short of their studio recordings when playing live, but not Deep Purple. Roger Glover has previously stated because they played on the edge, a live show could either be brilliant or a shambles. The Made in Japan CD is certainly one of those brilliant shows.

  2. Tony B Says:

    Jon’s comments above really seem to hit the spot for me on the people and subjects mentioned. I have the crazy theory that Zeppelin were envious of the sound and performance of MIJ.
    I think Ritchie B gave a very generous and kind tribute to Jon on the BBC, so maybe Chris Charlesworth in the DP biog was right to say maybe the man in the stovepipe hat has some soft centre (can’t remember his exact comments).
    I also wish, like Bo and Simon, that Jon was still here with us.

  3. Dave Binnie Says:

    Sadly, a dream without end… The man was simply an amazing guy and incredible musician. A piece of me died when he did. I hope he and Hendrix are lashing some belters in the great new world.

  4. Lee Worrall Says:

    Yes, Jon, Made in Japan is the best live album ever made and is very precious. It was what turned me on to rock music. You live on in all our hearts and ears.

  5. Apostolos Darlas composer/pianist Says:

    He will not be remembered only for putting a Hammond into a rock band. I think Jon Lord will be remembered as the most inspiring and amazing composer and organist in the 20th century. Jon is still in us all.

  6. Yvonne Says:

    This is the full link:

  7. overthehill Says:

    Finally someone states the truth about Ian Gillan. He shouldn’t be “ashamed” that he is older, but it is true that he is not as he was. Although, when he stays in his comfort zone such as he did on those recent songs with Iommi he is still really good. Gillan has spent the last 20 years bashing Blackmore and it’s nice to see someone say something good. I met Blackmore twice and was stunned at how polite and kind he was.

  8. Bo Says:

    As always with Jon Lord it makes sense what he says, and I, who have worked with Purple, Rainbow, Gillan and Whitesnake, for sure can see how “spot on” Jon is here. I still can’t understand or accept, that he is not here anymore. It has to be a very bad dream. Wake me up please.

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