Redefining age 66 - when your job description is "rockstar"

Deep Purple and Orchestra - Maybe I'm a Leo, Mainz, Germany, July 2011:

Ian Gillan, 65, is best known as the lead singer and lyricist for Deep Purple. Roger Glover, 65, is the bassist and songwriter for the group. Ian Paice, 63, is the drummer. He is the only founding member of the band who never stopped performing with the group, and the only member to appear on every album the band has released during the last 43 years (Deep Purple was founded in 1968).

This is the same group almost 40 years ago, in 1972:

I had been to two Deep Purple concerts, the last one was in June 2011 and it was quite impressive. The audience age ranged from 5 to 75 and everyone rose to their feet to the sound of Smoke on the Water.

From Time-Colonist, Vancouver, Canada:

Welsh-born Roger Glover, now a 66-year-old grandfather, says "when you're on stage, you're still the 19-year-old boy you once were, in thrall with the music. I probably enjoy it more than I did before."

Back in the early 1970s, Deep Purple toured relentlessly. In 1972 alone, the band undertook six tours of North America and a tour of Japan — and wrote an album. Overwork sapped their joy, with the band folding (albeit temporarily) in 1976.

"Now, every night I step on stage I value it immensely. [Performing] is something very few people get to experience, therefore I can't take it for granted," Glover said.

"That's the only time when there's no distractions. There's no phone calls, there's no computers, there's no family, there's no children. There's nothing except for your music and the audience. . . . It's a lovely moment in time, and you're so in the moment. You brain is whizzing along at light speed, because you react to what the others are playing. It's a moving, liquid thing. You keep it together as possible, and also as expressive as possible."

Older and greyer, Glover nonetheless remains slim and trim. Asked whether he maintains a fitness regime, he laughed. He is, after all, still a rock 'n' roll star.

"I'm not really an exercise person. I should be," he said. "I work out on stage. Two hours every night is like two hours in a gym. It is physical."

How long can the group go on? According to Ian Gillan: “People like to do stuff that they’re good at, that they enjoy, that they get something out of. So while it’s fun and we’re all getting older and bits are dropping off here and there, it’s still great. I think there probably will be another album.”

Why aging rock stars still tour: "Once the lights go down and the crowds roar, something magical happens. All your aches and pains go"

"Why don't rock stars ever know when to retire? While the music stays the same, nothing else does"


Videos from Deep Purple at Ravinia Festival 2011, 3 part series.
Deep Purple – review, The Guardian, 2011.
"During the monster-rocking ““Smoke on the Water” the middle-aged man in front of me inserted a pair of earplugs and started singing as if for all his life"
Jon Lord says thank you for Classic Rock Innovator Award, 2011,
Deep Purple live: 66-year-old vocalist, a plastic cast on his foot, seems to build up steam as the night goes on
Legendary UK Deep Purple band soldiers on: "We haven’t eaten for 2 days, we look at each other, and "it’s the glamour that keeps us going"
Deep Purple not for the faint of heart. Time-Colonist, Vancouver, Canada, 02, 2012.
Ian Gillan on his vocal style:

Comments from Facebook:

Deep Purple shows shades of youth - British hard rock group are still on the road after 40 years, a feat in itself - Toronto, 2012

I've seen Deep Purple in concert twice (2000 and 2012), Ian Gillan once, in the 1990s. Amazing energy.

They're the basis of my "How to be a Twitter rockstar" talk for physicians... :)

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