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Ian Gillan Ponders the Concept of Infinity, Talks Finality of Deep Purple: ‘The End Is Nigh But Not That Nigh’ [Exclusive Interview]

Deep Purple were once the biggest rock band in the world, lighting up arenas everywhere as their popularity was quickly ignited by a string of now classic albums including In Rock and Machine Head. Their story is one of rock ‘n’ roll excess and arrogance and throughout the years they’ve remained a punchy group with unyielding wit and biting sarcasm. The Purple lore and more is chronicled in singer Ian Gillan‘s autobiography, Highway Star, and when we sat down for an interview with the legend, we merged his past with the present happenings within the band.

The title of Deep Purple’s latest record is inFinite and we addressed the wordplay during our chat with Gillan. In his autobiography, the singer recalled struggling with the concept of infinity as a child. He noted the space around him, regardless of what it was, was always seemingly enclosed by something else surrounding it. Though when he looked at the sky, he marveled at its apparent limitless expanse.

“Infinity is almost impossible for an eight-year-old to grasp. It’s an inquiring age and you’re beginning to shape your thoughts and questions about life in general at that stage,” he began. Riffing further on the theme, Gillan demonstrated its something that still challenges him, noting that “philosophically, it relates to whatever you like.” The singer mentioned that “Deep Purple didn’t start in 1968,” noting it began much earlier with artists like Beethoven and Chopin all the way through Bob Dylan. “All of those things were the influences on the young Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover,” he added.

After musing about infinity, the conversation was then steered toward the finite, which is Deep Purple’s career. While they haven’t formally announced a “farewell” tour, the band’s current run is billed as “The Long Goodbye.” Gillan explains this, stating how the members of the band were all ill, so it was suggested that the band hang it up. While it felt like the proper idea, it was difficult to commit to finality. Now that everyone is feeling better, there’s no plans to call it a day just yet. “We’ll finish when we finish,” says Gillan. “[The tour’s title is] just to let everyone know the end is nigh… but not that nigh.”

Wrapping up, we talked about the new track “All I Got Is You,” which is, as Gillan calls it, “such a gorgeous put down.” He recalled the bit going back to something drummer Ian Paice used to tell people and the band returned to that sarcastic wit for a new song. “The bite is there,’ Gillan affirmed.

Watch the full interview with Ian Gillan in the video above. Grab your copy of Highway Star: The Autobiography of Deep Purple’s Lead Singer here and purchase Deep Purple’s inFinite album at Amazon or digitally through iTunes.

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