Deep Purple's Ian Gillan: Pandemic Has Changed My Perspective On Technology

While the itch to perform probably has musicians everywhere in an especially forgiving mood when it comes to their live concert pet peeves, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan insists that the once frustrating topic of smartphone use at concerts wasn't much of bother to him on recent tours.

In a new interview surrounding Deep Purple's upcoming Whoosh! album (due August 7), Gillan was asked by Fox News for his take on phone use at concerts...when there were concerts.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame qualified that while it is perplexing that someone would pay good money for a concert ticket and then watch the show through the smallest screen possible under the guise of preserving the memory, he notes that every generation of fans has their thing.

"It became pointless to try and resist that tidal wave," he said. "We kind of got used to it. In fact, it became amusing to see everyone holding up their phone in the air when, back in the day, it was lighters. Initially, I didn't understand why everyone had to share everything and be in constant communication."

Nowadays, as he's mostly confided to his home, he has a renewed appreciation for the wonders of the Internet.

"But [with this pandemic] thank goodness for it," he said. "Because my phone hasn't stopped ringing thanks to friends and well-wishers from around the world. I may not always understand it, but I'm too old (Laughs)."

Lots of major artists like Jack White, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Godsmack, Steely Dan, Sebastian Bach and others have taken steps to ban the use of smartphones at their concerts, under penalty of ejection. Some have even availed themselves of a device that locks fans' phones for the duration of a performance.

Bob Dylan ended a performance in Vienna, Austria, last spring after seeing a fan violate his smartphone policy.

The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde walked offstage at a gig in Dubai amid rampant smartphone use.

While Slash and Nikki Sixx agreed in a 2018 conversation that looking out at a sea of mobile phones had to be accepted as the new normal for musicians performing live.

Photo: Getty Images

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