The day before Jon Lord’s show at the Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim Norway, he and singer Jørn Lande gave an interview to Norwegian Monster magazine. They sat together in the hotel bar, where dark wooded paneling and squeaky floor boards offered an ancient feel.
The full interview appears Monster magazine – here is a short summary.
Jon Lord explains how it has been a revelation to him to hear the song ‘Pictured Within’ sung by another voice -Jørn Lande – after Miller Anderson recorded and performed it so many times.
– It’s wonderful now to hear Jørn sing it, he says with the Norwegian singer beaming beside him.
And Jørn really does have a remarkable voice. It can be delicate and whispery, but he is perhaps most known for his belting heavy rock voice, which could sometimes be likened to that of David Coverdale.
Jon Lord speaks openly and without prejudice about any topic and era. The interview moves into the distant past as the interviewer asks about the early days of Deep Purple. Jon’s assessment of the Mark 1 albums is that they were five musicians in search of identity. Something they certainly got by the time they put out ‘In Rock’.
One theory says ‘In Rock’s’ harder sound was the band’s reaction to doing Jon Lord’s ‘Concerto For Group and Orchestra’ at the Royal Albert Hall, which Jon immediately dismisses.
– That’s bullshit. Most of ‘In Rock’ was already written when we did the ‘Concerto’. In fact, we even played ‘Child in Time’ at the Royal Albert Hall he points out.
When asked about the original trio of Hammond players in the 70s, he explains that it was never beyond Keith Emerson to say that if the topic was rock organ, then people had to talk to Jon Lord. If it was about technical stuff and arrangements then they could talk to Keith. And as for Rick Wakeman, he once quoted Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ as his number on favourite rock song because of its organ solo, remembers Jon.
The topic of Ritchie Blackmore comes up and Jon says he is in frequent contact with him – but not on the phone.
– Ritchie will never answer the phone. For some reason he’s one of these people who prefers faxes, Jon Lord chuckles.
– But he can be an absolute charm and I am very fond of him. Yet Jon Lord also acknowledges that Blackmore ‘is still at it’, with his moody behaviour, referring to the recent Blackmore’s Night show in Reading, which ended abruptly.
– I remember once we were in Rome in the 70s and the hall was only three quarters full. When Ritchie heard this he said, ‘Fine, we shall only play three quarters of the set then.’
Jon couldn’t understand why Ritchie wanted to punish the 75 percent that did turn up, ‘but that’s Ritchie’, he says.
– He comes on-stage and something comes on with him, Jon Lord explains, his hands illustrating someone with a bigger presence.
– I wish he’d play the Stratocaster some more and I wonder if he’ll rediscover his love for the Strat like I have for the Hammond organ. I’d love to see him in a power trio, where he could use his potential, says Jon Lord and compliments Blackmore’s Night’s arrangement of ‘Child in Time’.
He also talks about his last Deep Purple show in Ipswich, where the band left him at the front of the stage to soak up the applause from the audience, and how during his last few years in the band he’d often suggest the band took a year off.
– A year off!?, Gillan would reply as if this just was not the done thing.
The setlist debate comes up and Jon believes some of the blame for the static set of songs Deep Purple do lies with Ian Gillan. He wants to be comfortable on-stage. Not having to worry about changes to the set, Jon Lord explains.
And then there’s Steve Morse who’s got ‘quick ears’ and can memorize any bit of music he hears, Jon Lord says.
The interview will feature in a future issue of Monster magazine.