On More…or Less?

You do the job that is necessary for the track in front of you. The more years I have under my belt playing, the more I realize that less is more. If you don’t need to play a drum fill, then maybe you shouldn’t do it.

On Playing for the Mics

When you’re in the studio, you’re in an artificial environment. You’re playing for a machine; you’re not playing for an audience, which is a totally different thing. Your tempo has to be precise and feel good, because it’s being captured for eternity.

On Time

We’re all a product of what we see and hear going on around us. Today, if we hear music where the tempo slips, it sounds wrong to us. Thirty or forty years ago, we accepted that the music moved within itself. We’ve become conditioned to this machinelike tempo that popular music offers now.

On Working With Legendary Producer Bob Ezrin

Bob really lets me get on with it. He trusts me to do the job quickly and efficiently. Occasionally he’ll suggest changing the drums for a different sound, but we didn’t do that so much on our latest record, Infinite. I usually try working with what’s in front of me and just tune in the snare drum to find what he’s looking for.

On Deep Purple’s Classic 1972 Live Album, Made in Japan

Made in Japan is not our most musically perfect recording. But it is a wonderful document of our brand, and [was made during] a very exciting time, when we were allowed to express ourselves and take as long as we wanted over solos and create bits of music rather than songs. It’s probably the most raunchy, loudest jazz record in the world. And if you listen to some of the extended solos, that’s not far from the truth.

On the Group’s 2016 Induction Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I don’t really mind that it was long overdue. I just wish it happened a few years sooner so that our dearly departed friend Jon Lord could have been there to accept it with us. [The Deep Purple keyboardist died in 2012.] These awards start to smell of Hollywood, where people pat themselves on the back for doing their job. You should always do your job well. I don’t think rock ’n’ roll really has anything to do with that sort of culture. It was nice for our fans. For me, let’s just say it hasn’t changed my life.

On the Importance of the New

Whether the development of rock ’n’ roll drumming was partly down to me, I very much doubt it. There are really no new things; there are just new ways of doing old things. Most of what I’ve done are old things that I tried updating a bit. The most important thing from my career, which I hear quite often when I meet a drummer, is that I’m the reason they started playing drums. That’s pretty cool. More than anything else, that brings a smile to my face.

On the Long Goodbye Tour

The idea of shutting the door on fifty years of your life is pretty scary, especially if you don’t want to do it. But there’s the realization that, at our age, two or three years is a long time. When you are twenty-one years old, three or four years later you’re still in your twenties and you’re the same physical creature. We’re not guaranteed that youthful longevity anymore. We know it’s coming to an end, but we’ll keep it going as long as we are physically able and mentally enjoying it. Once that changes, it will stop. But building up to a last date, a last gig in a defined city, that is an awful thought. I’d rather it happen one morning, when someone wakes up and says, “Okay, I don’t want to do it anymore. That’s it—bye, bye!” That’s a lot easier to take.