DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan spoke to the Radio Rock 106.6 radio station about his love affair with Portugal where he has lived part time for more than a decade. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I have a few places in my heart that I call my spiritual homes. And that all started with Beirut, with Lebanon, back in the '60s. And I would since include then Japan, Poland, Italy, Brazil, for sure, and Portugal. These are very close to me.
"Between the tours, going all my life, really, you take a break… It's a strange situation, if you're a traveling musician, because you go away for a long tour and you don't see your family and when you get home, you wanna put your feet up and watch some sport on TV, and your family has all got their suitcases packed and say, 'Right, let's go on holiday,'" he explained. "I'd just come back from being from the road. And so, of course, I have to go on holiday because it's a wonderful time to share with your family. But it means you're never really home and you're constantly traveling.
"We had some fantastic times, when we were younger, in the Caribbean; I used to go there regularly — two or three times a year — between tours," Gillan added. "My wife and daughter used to fly out and we used to go scuba diving and have a great time. Then, of course, we were thinking about buying a place there, but it's a long way for relatives and friends to go for a weekend. So we started looking at Spain, and then we came to Portugal. A friend of mine lent me a house here, and then I started renting and I fell in love with the place. It's very similar to home. The Portuguese have a very similar sense of humor; they like to laugh a lot. And the beer is really good. The bread is really good. I can buy a loaf of bread for 70, 80 cents. I can get a beer for 80 cents. And in England, a beer is… it's five pounds, six euros for a beer. It's a no-brainer. And, of course, then there's the weather; the weather's pretty good too. So long story short, about 15 years ago, I stopped renting and I bought a house here. So I spend half my free time in Portugal and half my free time at my family home in England."
Gillan is best known, of course, as the lead singer and lyricist for the truly legendary DEEP PURPLE but his musical career takes in other avenues too. Upon leaving PURPLE in 1973, Gillan subsequently formed THE IAN GILLAN BAND (around late 1975/early '76) and the band simply called GILLAN in 1978. After a spell fronting BLACK SABBATH, Gillan rejoined a reunited DEEP PURPLE IN 1984. He left the band briefly in 1989 but rejoined a couple of years later and he performs with them still today across the world.
DEEP PURPLE's latest studio effort, an album of covers titled "Turning To Crime", came out on November 26 via earMUSIC. The LP contains DEEP PURPLE's versions of great rock classics and musical jewels — including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Seger, CREAM and THE YARDBIRDS — carefully chosen by each member of the band.