August 31, 2001

I was hesitating to write one of these because I didn't know what was going to happen with regard to Jon Lord, our keyboard player. At this point, it looks like we will finish this tour without Jon, because of medical reasons.

Tonight, we just got off stage after yet another outstanding Italian show. The promoter has told us that nobody can explain the great turnout of people at these outdoor shows. We suspect that it is the result of the widespread television coverage of the Pavoratti and Friends benefit show that we did this year. We are very glad to see the big crowds and especially to see the young age of the audiences, too. So, things are going very well for the underground Purps of the Deep.

Don Airey has been filling in for Jon during this whole tour. I was told initially that it would be just for a few days, but it seems like we have been communicating for much longer than the 3 weeks so far. He is the kind of player that can handle anything, super professional. Best of all, his soloing is incredible and quite inspiring for me to work from. He knows everything about everybody in the history of music. We have spent hours talking about the different classical composers, and their lives. He is one of the few people that I have ever met that has an equal awe for Wendy Carlos, the synthesist that gave us "Switched on Bach" and "The Well Tempered Synthesizer", one of my favorite albums of all time. We spent hours talking about all that, including Carlos' groundbreaking use of the vocoder back 30 years ago.

Something good is sure happening for the band in the way of audience response. We all feel that after our great U.S. tour leg and this summer festival tour, that the energy level has been put up another notch. Ian Gillan is the happiest I have ever seen him. Roger and I are grateful to have the positive feel of the band even as we are going through our own painful battles on the homefront, and Ian Paice is just loving the roll that we're on. All in all, I couldn't be more pleased with these guys. They even insisted that we add to the set list the instrumental piece that I wrote when we did the orchestra gig. Don quickly learned and adapted the string lines that I gave him, and now we're playing "The Well Dressed Guitar" in our show. The title came from me saying to Ian that it's the Well Stressed Guitar, and he maybe intentionally misheard it, or something like that.

Well, I'm going to go and grab some water and stare at the walls of my cubicle while I contemplate how to spend the next 24 hours of travel and waiting for the next show. 2001