Established as a top keyboard player in Deep Purple and Whitesnake, our interview analyses the music of his new LP ‘Before I Forget’.
Jon Lord is widely regarded by rock fans as one of the world's leading keyboard players. Founder member of Deep Purple, and currently with Whitesnake, Jon discusses his recently released fourth solo album 'Before I Forget'.
My initial impression of your new album was that it has terrific depth of melody and harmony and this must have come really from your wide background of classical and rock music.
Jon Yes, I think so, I think I have always been the most schizophrenic of English musicians! I don't accept barriers you see, and I get into an awful lot of trouble for that. I started piano lessons at the age of seven then I went into composition and I taught myself orchestration by buying the big books such as Forsyth on Orchestration and Walter Piston and so on. And then I got the chance in 1969 to do that concerto for group and orchestra (a rather cumbersome title) with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. So I was able to write a full length score for a full sized orchestra and hear it played — which is a dream for every composer and that first moment of hearing is always a stunning moment. It was performed at the Albert Hall.
There were two sides to doing it — you hear something that was in your head actually working live, and you hear others that don't work and you have to change those around. I had a great deal of help from the RPO on that. For example, the head of the cello section told me that the part he had received was impossible to play at the tempo I wanted so he rewrote it for me to make it work. I wrote the full score out and orchestrated it myself — the point I was trying to make was that I had gone quite deep into harmony and chordal progressions over the years. Plus, having been in rock bands for a long time I have also got the simplistic approach it gives you. These two areas of experience must contribute to the way I write as I do.
Have you taken the trouble of analysing, say, your favourite pieces of classical music because you could obviously benefit from this strong interest?
Jon Yes, I often get ideas for rock songs from David Coverdale's compositions in Whitesnake from having heard something by Tchaikovsky, Grieg, or whatever.
Your themes are often so good that I feel I have heard them before.
Jon That could be a worrying thing but I breeze through that because hopefully that means they are good, and I just hope that they are not borrowed. There is, for example, a song called 'Say It's Alright' by Vicki Brown, which is actually a chord sequence that I borrowed from Mr Grieg. It is the way he puts two or three chords together which I liked, so I gently borrowed it.
On the album 'Where Are You' it seems to have a Debussy type ending.
Jon Well, again, he is a composer that I used to play quite a bit when I was a kid. Of course, you can listen to Chick Corea and hear Debussy and Ravel floating around — all those French impressionist ideas have had a lot of influence in modern jazz.
Brubeck was obviously an influence, because I just used to love the way he played a solo. He just used to knock me out. He suffered from a loss of belief in people and the music seemed to come so easy to him, but people often did not respect his fertile imagination. In my early days I had a band with a line up of piano, bass, drums, vibes, alto sax and clarinet so we were able to do some quite weird things. The alto sax player was Jack Shepherd who later turned to acting. For me he was one of the best alto players and he introduced me to Charlie Mingus and that school.
My interest in the jazz idiom led me to find Jimmy Smith. Well, he found me! I heard 'A Walk on the Wild Side' and I really wasn't too sure what the instrument was. I'd played church organ but I'd never heard that lovely percussive effect of the jazz organ and thought, what the hell is that, it's wonderful! Not so long after I joined an R&B band who insisted on having an organist instead of a pianist, (this was in the mid Sixties), so I fell into Hammond playing. But I was still playing church organ at the time.
Haven't you used a Hammond on your new album?
Jon Yes, it's a split Hammond that's been heavily modified. I've had it since 1968, although it's about 25-30 years old and it is one of the original C3 models.
One thing they say about organ playing and organ technique is that unlike the piano, you have to make your own expression. It doesn't matter how hard you hit the keys obviously, so you have to use a swell pedal, but I find that from a Hammond you do get something back. I have developed my own right foot swell technique, but nevertheless I do find I get a bounce back from the Hammond keyboard — almost like a piano although different in its way. And the fingering is different too.
So all the time you were developing your organ and piano techniques side by side?
Jon Yes, they are quite different to keep going together, but piano is absolutely necessary to keep the strength in your fingers, and playing can get very lazy on the organ. I really think any keyboard player can benefit by developing his or her own piano technique and style along with other instruments.
When you play the organ, if you want to play legato you must attack the next note before you leave the previous one behind. You can't use a sustain pedal like you can on a piano, obviously. So the differences in technique I really found interesting. Now I don't think about them — they are built into my technique. But I must admit when I first started playing the organ I tried to play it like a piano and it sounded awful.
So how do you go about actually putting together all these ideas? I believe you have been collecting the material for this album for some time?
Jon Yes, they have existed in a sort of shorthand form for quite a while and that is the way I work. I don't use the tape recorder when I'm writing — I use music paper. I find it less constricting in a way, because if I put an idea down on tape I find I tend to leave it in that form. Whereas, if I get a good chord sequence for something and notate it, then the next time I come to play it I've perhaps forgotten how was originally so I have to read it again and this often gives me further ideas. It's a personal thing. I know a lot of musicians who wouldn't be without a tape recorder, but I try not to do it that way.
When I'm not on the road, I've got a room at home that I put all my gear in and it gets plugged up, and I can mess around in there to my heart's content. I've got the early TEAC 4 track Portastudio and I do a bit of overdubbing with this, but I find I get an awful amount of hiss. That's the only thing I have against it, especially if you continue to overdub and ping-pong tracks.
Once I've got some ideas I tend to hum the themes over quite a long period. Then I'll sit at the piano with an eight bar thing that I've worked out and improvise on it. I just keep going, and this is my hit-and-miss way of composing.
The improvising has come of course from my past jazz playing, and I've always felt that the improvisational aspect of rock music has been understated. Okay, you have structured song, but then especially for live performing, the way it's played is often different because of the improvisational nature of the music. I still like to try and play organ solos that could almost be considered as tunes if I can. That's my approach to solos.
You prefer that to the more free style of 'meandering' jazz?
Jon I do of course meander with the best of them!
There is quite a variety of moods in your album and I believe you get inspiration, as we all do, from various sources — noticeable in pieces like 'Chance on a Feeling', 'Hollywood Rock and Roll' and 'Where are You'.
Jon That's why I call the album 'Before I Forget', because it is a bunch of personalised musical memories. They are all based on little things that happen. 'Hollywood Rock and Roll' is my reasonably friendly comment on the first time I ever came up against American A&R men. You know — you bring them an album on which you've slaved over and loved for months and honed to perfection (you think), and the first thing they say is "Is there a single on it?"! However, to get the effect I wanted I got Tony Ashton to sing. He's not a 'technically qualified' singer, but he is good and his style has a sort of throwaway humour. I purposefully did not fade out the track so that at the end you can hear us really enjoying it and all laughing.
Yes, I liked the vocal glissandos from the girls and then the laughter doodling away — it created the right atmosphere.
Jon The brass sounds on it came from a Moog Opus which I think is a strange instrument — it's not quite sure what it wants to be, whereas I find the Polymoog even though it is now slightly outdated, has some tremendous sounds and I still love the strings on it.
I also got a feeling of the Pointer Sisters in the singing — that sort of style.
Jon That's Vicki Brown and her daughter.
Not only have you changed the dynamics frequently, but the tempo also changes subtly and not abruptly from one mood to another as Rick Wakeman might do, but more rubato fashion.
Jon I have always been very aware of dynamics. This is something that Richie Blackmore and I used to discuss endlessly in the early days of Deep Purple, but unless you saw them live you probably wouldn't realise it. Although we had the reputation of being extremely loud we did use dynamics more than any other heavy metal band at the time. Richie and I also used to indulge in almost modern jazz type exchanges. It was done in a kind of reflective way that commented on the song. Then we would get into a little needle-match element as well. You know, Richie would do something in demi-semiquavers and I would say "Okay mate, anything you can do!" and there was a kind of contest element in it.
The control of tempo changes is really only a question of playing with another musician involved in a face to face situation — what we call the 'horses eyes and a slight nod of the head'!
The one odd piece of the album seems to be 'Bach Onto This' which you've released as a single. What surprised me is that since this piece has been a popular source of interpretation (coming from Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor), I wondered why on earth you had suddenly picked up on this one?
Jon If you take the context of the album as I said earlier, as being memories and things that I have always wanted to get down, I have always wanted to do the Fugue. I have always played a bit of the Toccata on stage and I thought it would be nice to start with the famous opening on synthesiser rather than the organ. I've used the Polymoog organ preset, then routed it through the VCF and changed it round slightly. The piece also uses bass, drums and guitar. Bernie Marsden played the guitar, and I had enormous fun working it out along with the bass player, Neil Murray, and the drummer, Simon Philips.
There is one particular passage on the drums where he is actually following the rhythm of the melody.
Jon Exactly, that was the intention. I also did not set out to do the complete Fugue.
There was one moment when I thought it almost verged on a March of the Mods style, and that is when I began to feel things were not quite as they should be.
Jon You see, we did it all in one go and it was really hard work — nevertheless, it could be a showstopper I think. I have overdubbed synthesisers and certain voices on the record but I can play all the Fugue on the organ. So I'll play it live without backing tracks — just with organ, bass and drums and (laughter) hope for the best that we would all finish together! We cut out the middle section that required lots of manual changes or tone changes. I also ignored Bach's written Cadenza towards the end. The improvisation I do only loosely refers to it. I simply try to impose a modern interpretation to the music at that point.
This piece certainly shows your playing skills and in the past your technique has been highly respected in the polls with your name being ranked highly with Wakeman, Emerson and so on. In many ways it brought back to me the virtuoso skills of the rock era in its earlier days which was refreshing to hear now.
Jon Nice to hear that. It is always something I have wanted to do and that should be a good enough reason. I have certainly used that type of thing on stage before. I also need a showpiece as well; a seven or eight minute 'tour de force', so that at the end everybody goes "phew!"
What is the line-up for the album?
Jon Basically, my keyboards are organ and piano, obviously. The piano is the studio's acoustic Steinway which has a nice bright tone. Sometimes they can be a little muffled. One of my favourite brands is the Yamaha — not the electric — which is a bright pleasant piano to play. At home I've got a Challen, baby grand, which I've had for some years now. I've just bought an Erard from a friend of mine which was made in 1870. The instrument in the publicity pictures is the Challen which I bought from Shirley Bassey and she had it painted to go with her dining room! It's not particularly good but it makes me work my fingers hard. I think that if I were going to splash out I would buy either a Bechstein or a Bosendorf. I get a huge range of expression from these instruments. I have got a Yamaha Electric Grand for stage use and this was a godsend for me. Previously, we had to use hired grand pianos and install Countryman or Helpinstall pickups and that used to take hours, and they were never right in the end.
I've never used a piano with Deep Purple, only organ, but I find it very useful in Whitesnake music. In recent years I have tried to use the keyboards as a kind of 'halo' around the sound rather than being a pinpointed part of the music. So the voice in the centre, the drums behind and the guitar at the side have the keyboards surrounding them. Whitesnake has been very helpful for me to establish that kind of playing.
Isn't your open chord style part of this?
Jon Yes, I call it rhythm keyboards, like rhythm guitar, and I find that if I do less soloing in a concert I have much more to say on the few that I do. In the Deep Purple days it was very easy for me to start playing my own cliches, but now with Whitesnake I come to a solo completely fresh.
I don't quite know where my piano style came from but it must have been in my earlier years before I moved onto the organ and only recently have I come back to the piano as a stage instrument.
Do you use a Hammond with a standard Leslie rotating speaker system?
Jon I've got four Leslie cabinets! We took the amplifiers out of the Leslie's and used Crown DC300's to drive them instead and we've got Gauss bass speakers at the bottom and JBL horns at the top. I don't really know a lot about the technical side — I've a little man who works for me and does it all. They are not synchronised together and that is why we've got this lovely effect of a true choral sound all slightly detuned spacially. When we record we only use two and I have them facing each other with the mics in between. We used to do the same thing with a Fender Rhodes to give it a stereo effect.
I've recently invented a word for this effect — I call it Panolo as opposed to Tremolo, because it is actually a panning of the sound.
Jon What a great idea. I must use that!
One other unusual feature on the C3 is that I built into it an RMI electric piano. It is a straight electric piano with a harpsichord sound as well, and we found that the contacts to make it work were exactly the same as those on the Hammond. So we took the circuitry inside the RMI, put it in a box in the bottom half of the Hammond and linked it up to the contacts on the keyboard. Now the top manual of the Hammond can have electric piano RMI with it if I wish, and this gives me extra bite on some pieces.
I often think people forget about the simple ways they can add to their playing, by using things like extra contacts on existing keyboards rather than wait for the day they can afford a computer to link it up for them.
Jon Yes, that's true. The RMI has two piano sounds, harpsichord and a lute sound which is very much like a muted Fender Rhodes effect. It has attack on it which gives you a 'tock' at the beginning of every note, and also an organ switch which will give you a quick or a long decay. Using the short decay I get a nice effect that leaves the organ sound on sustained notes.
On top of the organ is a Hohner Piano Duo, which you don't see very often now. It is a Clavinet and a Pianet in one. The clavinet as most people know uses real strings and special hammers, and the pianet operates from vibrating reeds. Neither sold too well so they put them together and the package still didn't sell too well as far as I know! I love the sound of the clavinet and it's the main keyboard on 'Hollywood Rock and Roll', On top of that instrument I have my Moog Opus synthesiser, I have also got a Roland Space Echo and every instrument can be patched through that at the touch of a button. There is also a Moog Phase unit. (I should say "Mowg" but they all say "Moog" in Buffalo!) I have met Robert Moog a few times but now, as most people know, the synthesisers are made by Moog Inc. By the way, the phase unit can have all the instruments patched through it as well and it sits straight in front of me. Just to my left I've got the Moog Source synthesiser which is a lovely instrument, I'm still learning it and I don't know yet if it is going to be a successful stage instrument, but it will be very good in the studio.
Behind me I have got the Yamaha Grand with the Polymoog and then the Minimoog on top of it. I really only use the Polymoog for the string sounds and a couple of other effects that I like. Nevertheless, it was a brave instrument I think, and was one of the first polyphonics available.
Do all the strings on the album come from that?
Jon What I usually do is record low, middle and high strings on three separate tracks. This way I get more movement in the chords, rather than playing fistfuls of chords together. I usually write the string arrangements out as if it were going to be played by a string orchestra, then build it up myself. I find that way I have a good mix because I am thinking of the parts and this gives a little more air to it somehow. No matter how much echo you put around it, if you just use fistfuls of polyphonic strings it does tend to sound a bit like an Italian pop song if you are not careful.
I also use a thing called a Moog String Filter, which is really an equaliser with four different frequencies that you can boost and cut. I find it useful for doing things at the lower end of the Polymoog and if you filter out a couple of frequencies you can get a very nice solo cello effect.
Instruments that I would like to have include the Synclavier and the Emulator [reviewed in June '82 E&MM], but at the moment these are ridiculously expensive and I am not sure that I could find anywhere in my set-up for digital synthesisers apart from the Source. Your magazine is helping me find more of these instruments although I find some of the more technical articles quite difficult to comprehend. I am basically a musician who works from the emotional rather than the practical.
There is another point too — I do get an awful creeping feeling that machines are beginning to play men, and I am worried about it. The trend seems to be that a fairly untalented musician can get his hands on a very clever machine and make it sound very good. Okay, that is fine in some respects because it gives young people a chance to do things quickly, but it might be the beginning of the winding down of the importance of technique, and that would be a great shame because only with the technique can music break new barriers in the end. The brain, mind and heart of the musician need a channel to come out through and these are your fingertips in my book. So your fingers have to be technically able and if you want to improvise for example, you can't unless you have adequate technique because that split second when something wonderful happens in your mind obviously comes straight out and you can't spend time fumbling around.
Do you find that you are much more aware of keeping your fingers in trim?
Jon Well, I am 39 now and I believe my playing technique is still not too bad, although over the last few years I have made a big effort to practise. During the heyday of Deep Purple I hardly practised because we were working so damned hard, and really playing every night is not like practising because it is not the same discipline. From about 76 I decided on the discipline of constant practice — I still do scales, arpeggios and contrary motion and all that, and they are very useful. Practice is vital for your improvising. Without it your fingers will not do what you want and as a result you start taking shortcuts. I still don't practise enough but I am working at it. It is vital.
Let's move on to the tracks of the LP and the musicians concerned.
Jon There are four drummers featured on the LP. On the first track 'Chance on a Feeling' it's Ian Paice with Neil Murray on bass, Bernie Marsden on guitar, and I am playing the Hammond and Polymoog with some Minimoog as well.
The guitar solo was interesting because we turned the amp on its back facing upwards resting on three or four bricks and put a mike 20 feet away with the amp volume turned full up — it made quite an interesting sound that's more than just fuzz and distortion. (We had some glasses of wine at the time so it seemed a good idea!) The vocals were done by Bernie and the two girls Vicki and Sam Brown, who's incidentally Joe Brown's wife. (Joe Brown the singer). It was interesting the way the singers worked. I would simply tell them the effect I wanted to create and let them see what they produced. I would play the tune over to them and in Vicki's case on the song 'Say It's Alright', I played her the tune and then she did wonderful things with it, bending it to her own use. Again the song 'Where Are You' which Elmer sings. I love his voice, which has a very 'lived in' feeling — it's that cracked earthy quality and an untrained quality which I like, because the song is a very sad and lonely song. I wanted a bleak vocal effect so what I did was played it over and showed him the words. So his performance was really from his understanding of what I was trying to say rather than me giving him the precise notes I wanted.
'Before I Forget' uses the Polymoog and Minimoog. The cello sound is the Polymoog with the strings filtered and the French horn comes from the Minimoog — also the flute with digital echo panning left and right in the stereo field. I wanted the type of track to be as atmospheric as possible and it was originally going to be a song. At the time I was under enormous pressure from friends and colleagues to have an album with songs on it rather than just instrumental so I was pleased with the way this one came out.
Do you write the words first?
Jon It varies, sometimes I have ideas for the lyrics but the 'Before I Forget' lyrics came first as a title and then I just doodled. I remembered an effect I had heard with flutes echoing away and I wanted that. It gives the feeling of when you sit with your chin in your hands.
Next piece is 'Tender Babes' with a white noise swirl in the beginning and an interesting medieval flavour that follows. The first time I heard it had me listening hard because it sounds like the real instruments being used.
Jon Yes, but it is the Minimoog doing those. I tried to get a recorder effect with lutes in the background — these came from the Polymoog using the harpsichord sound filtered slightly. It's based on a 15th century tune by Thomas Tallis. Cosy Powell interrupts it with the loud drumming and brings us back to the 20th century. I am playing the Hammond with slow Leslie effects and the parts are doubled on Minimoog. The bass is played by Neil Murray (from Whitesnake).
So it is just the three of you — I call it a sort of neo-medieval rock dance.
Jon It was quite difficult for Cosy because it is all in 4/4 but uses different bar lengths, some three, some four, as in traditional medieval music.
'Where Are You' follows and this is where I felt the dynamics and tempo expressed the lyrics very well.
Jon The 'Waking from a Dream' solo is on the Moog Source. The words incidentally are by Elmer Gantree. I was very sad and lonely when I wrote it. It was in a hotel room in Philadelphia. We were snowed in and it was the night off in the middle of a tour and I was homesick. The phrase 'Where are You' is followed by a whistle effect — that's a Micromoog that I rarely use. (The actual notes come from the way my wife whistles to the dog when he comes running so that gave me the idea!) Most of the piece is just piano and Polymoog and it was written on a small Roland electric piano in my hotel room, using headphones. The solo instrument is the Source. I tried to get the effect of an alto sax with it. My father plays soprano and alto sax and I wanted to get the feeling of his old-fashioned dance band style from some parts using very excessive vibrato. It's an 'in' joke for my father really as he is 74 and still playing! I play the track on my own for Elmer's singing and I am particularly proud of that one.
Then comes 'Bach Onto This' — the title's a little joke again — it's a musician's phrase I have heard a lot lately: "Back onto this", and I didn't know what the hell to call it. You see I don't like to take myself too seriously if possible. So I thought, because it is quite a heavy piece to do, I would lighten it slightly with the title. On the track I used just about every keyboard I've got at various places, but not all the way through, obviously. There are a couple of places where the Polymoog touch sensitivity is noticeable and the Source is used with the Opus for particular sounds including the white noise effect. There's also a piano there and the drums are played by Simon Philips. Incidentally, he has been doing some playing recently with Toyah.
We used a backward piano tape reversal to get into the Fugue proper. The tom-tom rhythms are at the point where I try to get Simon to follow the tune of the Fugue rather than just the beat. It's a technique that works well with classical music.
I enjoyed the filtered harmonic sweeps and the stereo positioning of the melodic lines is good for Bach's counterpoint.
Jon I wanted it all to be heard.
Next comes 'Say It's Alright' with the guitar lead played by Mick Ralph from Bad Company. Bass is Neil Murray and Simon Philips is on drums. The vocals are by Vicki Brown singing a sort of Aretha Franklin style. She has a lovely voice and spends most of her time doing backing vocals for others, but I am trying to get her a record deal because she really is a wonderful singer and can convey emotions very well. The music itself is based on a simple progression apart from the middle eight which I took from Grieg.
'Hollywood Rock and Roll' has a slide guitar solo in the middle and the group on the track is really Bad Company minus the singer: Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirk, Boz Burrell, with Tony Ashton singing. The polyphonic brass sound comes from the Opus — I like the synthesiser to suggest traditional instruments. Tony Ashton does the vocals in a sort of spoken/singing style, (the Germans call it sprechgesang). I don't like fade outs and I managed to find a good stopping place in this one.
Often you use an effective coda or repeat end such as in 'Mirror on the Wall'. Then there is 'Burntwood'; this slowly fades in with noise generator and a low synth sound until we hear Vangelis style brass notes!
Jon I did write it before 'Chariots of Fire'! The, place I live in is called Burntwood so it was an attempt to evoke the English countryside. I live on top of a hill so the beginning of it with the white noise is my suggestion of the wind. The horn call is the first four notes of the tune over a pedal point — all done on a Minimoog.
This one in particular could have made a good film score.
Jon Everyone at EMI has said "If only we'd got a film to hang on that one, it could have been a single!" The bass player is Neil Murray again and he is playing the Aria fretless bass.
I wanted the effect of him following the tune. We double-tracked the fretless bass and put it out of sync very slightly. I think he played it, very well because it was so difficult to keep his part in tune as he moved up the fretless neck following the piano melody. I did give him notes to read and he makes it up from that. I don't mind the other musicians interpreting it their own way. If they come up with something better they can use it, but here I wrote the parts out and simply added the chords so that he could improvise.
Here is a technique that younger players might enjoy, using the bass as a copy of the melody line.
Jon Yes, it is a pleasant effect. This track could easily be played live on stage because it is just the piano with the bass and I wanted it to be like a salon piece. It is one I've played from memory although I had written it out months before as a separate piano piece.
What were your other two albums previous to this?
Jon The last one was out in 76 and was called 'Sarabande'. That was with orchestra and some rock musicians literally thrown in the deep end. The album did particularly well on the continent. The other one was 'The Gemini Beat' which was done way back in 72.
How do you feel about the new mixture?
Jon I just wanted to make a solo album without too many trappings — like a 100 piece solo orchestra!
But I do feel you have still kept the orchestral sonorites with the electronics.
Jon I am a fool for the orchestra — I love it! I consider it to be an instrument, not a collection. There is nothing more exciting than an orchestra for me. Those orchestral climaxes are very much part of my music.
Did you do the arranging for the new album?
Jon I prepared a lot of it beforehand in my mind, wrote down the various sections I wanted to appear and then took it along to the studio — I use Britannia Row (used by Pink Floyd). I usually get straight into the recording after a couple of test runs, and we usually do one track a day. I arrange it all up front and try and get the musicians in the studio when I need them. I know other people work at a greater rate of knots than me and would do two or three tracks maybe, and I'm also not too keen on doing bits and pieces at a time. As far as mixing is concerned, I am indebted to Guy Bidmead and Mike Johnson at Britannia Row. As I say, I am not a technical person, so I find processes of mixing a bit of a mystery, but I do understand what effects I want and so on, so that is how I contribute. Of course, I don't use any of my stage effects when recording. I use studio echo which is plate or digital along with digital reverb and I don't go for a lot of synthesiser effects. I am not particularly a fan of pure electronic music and musique concrete — that's not my style. I produced th- album with assistance from Guy Bidmead and we decided tracks etc. as we went along.
Not being able to sing myself is a major drawback for me. I thank God for my talent with my fingers but I wish he had let me sing as well, but I don't like to use vocoders and other electronic tricks to try and make up for that.
Is the single a direct copy of the album track?
Jon No, it is a cut down version. It was EMI's idea and they said it was very much 'Jon Lord'. The idea was not that we wanted a hit single that trailered the album, but was really aimed at getting radio play. It's cut down to under four minutes from the eight minute version on the album, I simply found logical joining points from the original track. On the other side of the single is 'Going Home' and this was played by myself with Bad Company. The theme is on the Minimoog and it has a bit of early Billy Preston stuff for organ.
You have mentioned that you would like to do some concerts and tours. Is there anything in the pipeline?
Jon Yes, but the problem is trying to get Whitesnake back into gear. We are not on the road at the moment due to legal problems our singer has, but we should be back in the late autumn. So I thought a fairly low-key concert hall tour would be a good idea using as many of the album musicians as possible.
Playing and performing is more important than the studio. I love the studio but it can be a sterile atmosphere if you don't balance it with the performing. I love going out in front of an audience, and with the lengthening process that would go on in rehearsals that would make it work live, it could make an interesting concert.
You believe there should be no barriers and take your ideas from whatever source you want?
Jon There are 12 notes from C to C and when you consider all the music that has been written from these 12 notes it is quite stunning that it is possible to make up something new. Music - be it rock, jazz, classical or whatever uses the same notes, so why the barriers? I am not a banner waver but I would like to see a less blinkered attitude towards various styles of music.
If I were to be a crusader that would be my crusade.
Interview by Mike Beecher
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