Bass player's question time

Dressing rooms, Inspiration for lyrics, playing keyboard, 'Maybe I'm a leo' riff and learning to play bass

Nick Soveiko on February 06 2003

Q: Dear Reverend,

From the silly questions department:
Often Big Ian has a dressing room all to himself, while the four of you share another one. Why is that?

RG: Actually they are both our dressing rooms, it’s just that IG needs peace before a show and the rest of us need peace afterwards.


terry o'grady on August 20 2003

Q: Hi roger
i've been a fan since 1970.
Could you tell me how you and ian gillan get your inspiration for your lyrics?.
Cheers roger and good luck with the new album.
Best wishes terry o'grady london
RG: Hi Terry,
Where do we get inspiration? In a word... life!


Joanna on December 01 2003

Q: Hi, Roger,
My question is: I know you played keyboard on the "Fire, ice & dynamite" track. Do you play keyboard now, from time to time?
Cheers, JO
RG: Hi Jo,
Yes, I played on it, but as I player I wouldn’t consider myself on the same planet as Jon. I use keyboards for songwriting and production.


Tyler Eaves on December 04 2003

Q: Maybe I'm a Leo is probably my favorite Purple riff. I'm curious as to just where that riff came from. I'm guessing you wrote it..., it just sounds like a riff a bass player would come up with. It's downright "funky". I spent most of today working out the bulk of that song. It's amazing just how many variations there are on that one basic musical idea.

On two related notes: In your remixed version of Machine Head (As part of the 25th Ann. version) there's a bit of studio chatter that would seem to indicate that the main track was laid down with the very first take? The song has the sort of "loose" feel that does not lend it self to endless takes, but the band at the same time just so totally nails it.

Also, I caught (Via the magic of DVD, unfortunatly...) your performance performance with Gov't Mule in New Orleans. What a show! If there ever was an "All Star" game for bassists, this show probably comes about as close as we'll ever see to it. What was it like working with Warren and Matt, and playing in that kind of envirnonment?
RG: Hi Tyler,

I wrote the riff to Maybe I’m A Leo after hearing John Lennon’s How Do You Sleep. I liked the idea that the riff didn’t start on the down beat, like 99% of riffs do. Most of the songs on Machine were from the first take, or not long after.

Working with Warren and Matt was wonderful, they are really easy going players but with intense musicality


charlie on December 06 2003

Q: Hi Roger,

long time Purple follower from the seventies to today, now my 12 yr old wants to play bass. His school and a local search can not come up with a bass teacher locally. would it harm him to play standard electric guitar as we have had to buy him one just to get lessons to play. where does he progress to bass? keep on rocking..

RG: Hi Charlie,

I started on an old Spanish guitar, playing folk and blues songs. When we formed a band (I was 14) I offered to play the bass parts, removing the two top strings and clipping on a pick-up, as the others had better guitars or could play more chords. Any understanding of music is an asset when playing the bass, I had rudimentary piano lessons as a child and I’m sure it helped later on.


Switch to previous topics: Fender Precision, Influenced by Steve Morse, 'Pictures Of Home' solo, working with Gov’t Mule and 'Fireball' solo.