Johnny a true Violinist?
« on: Sep 7th, 2006, 9:57am »
okay so maybe not... but i thought to myself what are the odds of two people named "Johnny Rzeznik" AND out of all things....both are musicians...if any of you live in San Fransisco check it out and let us know how Johnny does, haha!
CLUB TOUR LURES DEEP PURPLE SINGER
IAN GILLAN AND HIS MATES ARE HAVING A BLAST IN SMALLER VENUES
By Jon Matsumoto
Ian Gillan could have used his two-month break from lead-singer duties with the heavy-metal band Deep Purple for some rest and recreation at home in his small fishing town in southwest England. But instead, the indefatigable 61-year-old chose to make a concert tour of North America.
Gillan's trek, which brings him to Slim's in San Francisco on Monday, is more modest than he's used to with his primary band. Deep Purple still fills amphitheaters 38 years after forming in Hertford, England. By contrast, Gillan's tour consists of clubs.
``I'm having more fun than a butcher's dog on this tour,'' says Gillan by phone from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. ``Stepping out of the Purple tour for a couple of months and playing these little places, where the people are right in your face, is fantastic. I'm having a great time. I've got a great band with me.''
Gillan's shows are helping him plug his new solo album, ``Gillan's Inn,'' which celebrates his 40-year career in rock. Initially, Gillan thought of releasing a compilation of his favorite solo tracks, but when listening to some of the old albums, he was dissatisfied with the audio quality. His solution was to re-record the songs using current technology.
The new tracks on ``Gillan's Inn'' also feature guest artists, who help him tackle old solo favorites and songs from his days with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The sizzling ``Unchain Your Brain'' and ``Hang Me Out to Dry'' feature guitar ace Joe Satriani; ``When a Blind Man Cries'' highlights the blues-rock guitar work of Jeff Healey; Black Sabbath's ``Trashed'' includes Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi; and the Deep Purple anthem ``Smoke on the Water'' features contributions from current and former Deep Purple band mates.
Not wanting simply to replicate the original ``Smoke on the Water,'' Gillan added a vocal choir and an electric violin. The choir was meant to re-create audience singalongs during shows, and Gillan stumbled upon violinist Johnny Rzeznik by accident.
``Johnny was working in a pub near a recording studio in England,'' Gillan says. ``We went there for a bite to eat, and he was playing behind this pillar, so I couldn't see him. I thought, `There's a great guitar player.' Somebody said, `It's not a guitar; it's a violin!' I couldn't believe it. So we had a couple of beers with Johnny, and he ended up jamming with us. Since that day, his career has kind of taken off. He's touring around England and having a great time.''
For a recording artist firmly rooted in the analog era, Gillan was quick to embrace digital technology. ``Gillan's Inn'' is available as a dual disc with the audio album on one side and a DVD with a 5.1 surround-sound option and a bevy of extras on the other. The extras include behind-the-scenes video footage of the making of the record, track commentary by Gillan and audience-shot footage from live performances.
Gillan also is running a contest that will give winners a trip to Las Vegas to perform ``Smoke on the Water'' on stage with him and the band. Fans can enter by uploading their own vocal or guitar version of the song at www.gillans inn.com. One winner will be chosen in the vocal category and one in the guitar category. Another contest allows bands or artists to record their own version of the song for a chance to win $2,500 worth of music gear.
Because of his work with Deep Purple, it's easy to forget that Gillan has had a long, prolific solo career. He says he has written more than 400 songs and is working on 20 to 30 more. Gillan sang in Deep Purple during its 1968-73 heyday and rejoined the band in 1984. The current Deep Purple lineup also includes early members Ian Paice on drums and Roger Glover on bass. Former Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse has been the guitar player for the past 12 years, replacing founding member Ritchie Blackmore.
After Gillan's solo tour ends Sept. 30, he will rejoin Deep Purple on the road. He says that band is enjoying a new level of popularity. ``The late '80s-early '90s were a very bad time for us,'' he notes. ``Everyone was playing badly. The audiences were diminishing. Suddenly, Ritchie left the band, and the clouds disappeared. Joe Satriani toured with us for a year. Then Steve Morse joined us. (Keyboardist) Don Airey took over for Jon Lord, who retired. This has been the best period for the band since '69-'70. The places are packed, and we've gotten incredibly young audiences around the world.''Ian Gillan
Where Slim's, 333 11th St., San Francisco
When 8 p.m. Monday
Call (415) 255-0333
Stay True & Rock On!