The term “legend” gets thrown around a lot in the metal blogosphere, but there are few people more worthy of that particular honor than Ian Gillan. Not only does the 65-year-old singer front eternal hard rock icons Deep Purple, he’s also had a successful solo career and even joined Black Sabbath for their 1983 album ‘Born Again.’
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to do what I do for a living,” Gillan said. “That’s why I want to get the word out about this school [in Armenia] with the music. It’s the best way I can help out.”
Gillan is talking about a music school he’s helping to rebuild in Gyumri, Armenia. Noisecreep spoke on the phone with the singer while he was in Israel promoting WHOCARES, the new project featuring himself, Tony Iommi, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, and others. The band just released a two-song single whose royalties will go towards funding the music school.
“I’ve been visiting and performing in that part of the world for years now,” said Gillan. “I feel very connected to the people and their culture there. Last year I performed with the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia and it’s one of the highlights of my career. In 1988, there was an earthquake in Armenia and the country is still trying to recover from it. I think getting this music school up in Gyumri will make a huge difference.” Gillan has also received the Armenian Presidential Medal of Honor for his work in the country.
The last time Gillan and Iommi recorded together was on Black Sabbath’s ‘Born Again’ album. Noisecreep asked him if it took a little bit of time to dust the creative cobwebs off. “It actually happened pretty quickly. I’ve known Tony for a long time and we came up in the same scene and music. One of the songs we did for this WHOCARES project is called ‘Out of My Mind.’ For that one, Tony wrote the most of the music, the riffs, and then I took that and added the lyrics. It felt so natural to me.”
‘Holy Water,’ the other track on the WHOCARES single, was co-written with guitar wizard Steve Morse, Gillan’s bandmate in Deep Purple. “Tony plays on that one too and did some great stuff for it,” said Gillan.
The two-song WHOCARES single will be out in America on June 27th via Eagle Rock Entertainment. The CD will also include a music video and a 40-minute documentary about Gillan and Iommi’s involvement with the school.