Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan joined Vikram Chandrasekar of Tales From the Road for an interview. During the conversation, he recalled the time he toured with Ronnie James Dio and Scorpions frontman Klaus Meine.
On July 19, 2002, Deep Purple, Ronnie James Dio, and Scorpions shared the same stage at the Rock Fest in Cadott. That lineup also included several prominent artists such as Ted Nugent, Poison, and Meat Loaf. Although many expect rock bands to have some rivalry, Ian Gillan, Ronnie James Dio, and Klaus Meine were actually good friends back then. They were not only fellow musicians but also very close like brothers.
As they were really close, Ronnie James Dio’s passing on May 16, 2010, left both Gillan and Meine heartbroken. Following the musician’s tragic death, Klaus Meine dedicated the song ‘Send Me An Angel’ to Dio, and Ian Gillan appeared on the Ronnie James Dio tribute album. Both frontmen often stated that they will never forget him and have tried to keep Dio’s legacy alive.
In the recent interview on Tales From The Road, the host Vikram Chandrasekar asked Ian Gillan about his friendship with Dio. Following that, Gillan recalled the time he toured together with Meine and Dio back in 2002. He stated that Klaus and Ronnie weren’t as tall as him, and they looked pretty short when right next to him.
Gillan then said he, Meine, and Dio took a photograph at that time. According to the musician, it turned out to be hilarious as both Meine and Dio looked like ‘two little ones’ on either side of him. Following that, Gillan said they named the photograph ‘the three fivers’ as a joke.
After being asked whether he was close with Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan told Vikram Chandrasekar:
“Yeah, we were close. We were very close. It was Ronnie Dio, Klaus Meine, and myself; we were on tour together. Of course, as you probably know, Klaus and Ronnie are diminutive figures — they’re not very tall — and I’m just over six feet.
So, we had a photograph taken together with me in the middle and the two little ones on either side of me. It was hilarious. We got the picture pinned up in the dressing room, and it was called ‘the three fivers’ as opposed to ‘the three tenners.’ It’s an English joke.”
You can check out the full interview below.