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Ian Gillan Explains ‘One Eye To Morocco’

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan has released ‘One Eye To Morocco,’ his first solo studio album in more than a decade, but he has little time to promote it with a tour. He’s on the road with Purple, hitting more than 20 countries, including Japan, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Greece and Lebanon, ending, as of now, on December 8 in France.

“I’m going to wait and see if there’s a demand for [a solo tour],” Gillan tells Noisecreep. “I’m not going to push it and if I do, I think I want to make it into a fusion experience, a theatrical thing. I’ve got some ideas. Little too soon to say right now. I’m flat out with Purple this year anyway, so maybe next year. I just got back from South America and we’re just off to Japan [April 8 to 15]. If there’s a demand, I can always find time to do some shows for sure.”

On ‘One Eye To Morocco,’ a bluesy and rock recording far softer than any Deep Purple album, there is a slow track called “Always The Traveller” which closes the album. The title pretty much sums up Gillan. “We played in 48 countries last year, I’m told. That’s pretty normal. Yeah, I’m always on the road. I’m home for about three months of the year. The rest of it is pretty intense though and I love it.”

In fact, it was in Cracow, Poland of all places where Gillan got the idea for the name of his solo album as well, as the Middle Eastern-flavored title track that would help shape it. “I was in a café in the Jewish quarter there, talking to my friend about [Holocaust hero] Oskar Schindler, and a beautiful woman walked past and I lost concentration completely and followed her with my eyes and he said, ‘Ah, Ian, you have one eye to Morocco,’” Gillan says.

“Well, in English, we probably say ‘a wandering eye,’ but in Poland the expression is ‘one eye to Morocco and the other to the Caucasus,’ which literally means you’re cross-eyed. You’re looking in two directions at once,” he explains, “but more philosophically I suppose, it could apply to sitting at your work or your school and you’re dreaming of what you’re gonna do on the weekend.

“Of course, I saw that as a perfect musical metaphor for not only the song, but the album as well, whereas the Caucasus is Deep Purple and Morocco is my naughty weekend away.”

Is it a positive distraction? “Yes, it is,” Gillan says. “I think you need it. I can’t do one thing at a time. If I’m writing song lyrics, I’ve got to be doing the ironing or cooking or something while I’m working. If I just sit there and stare at the walls, I get nothing.”

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