By: Gary Graff
Fans and admirers will pay tribute to the late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord at a 2014 tribute concert that's currently being put together.
Jacky Paice, the wife of Purple drummer Ian Paice and twin sister of Lord's widow, is organizing the show through her Sunflower Jam charity; a date and participants are currently being determined, and updates will be announced via the website www.concertforjon.thesunflowerjam.com.
Lord, who retired from Deep Purple 2002, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and died July 16, 2012, at the age of 71. Deep Purple has dedicated its new album, "Now What?!," to Lord, and frontman Ian Gillan says the keyboardist was on the band members' minds as they were recording:
"Jon was in our spirits and souls. He always has been. Jon was always sort of regarded as the godfather of the band in a very sort of avuncular sort of way and, y'know, we love him. He's always been very much part of the band even after he left. We're still very close friends. We were still very close friends and we knew he was ill and we were expecting something. Even so, when we got the news, it was still a terrible shock."
Gillan was among those who eulogized Lord at his funeral in England, and the singer included part of his speech in the "Now What?!" track "Above and Beyond" -- "souls having touched are forever entwined."
"That kind of summed up the fact Jon is still in the band and he's still with us in spirit...It was almost like when my dad died. He kind of physically disappeared, but then his spirit just filled the room. He's been traveling with me ever since. I think that just happened with Jon; his presence just filled the room the whole (recording) session, and I wouldn't say we wrote anything with him in mind...but his spirit was there, very much so."
Deep Purple hits the road again on June 2 in Bulgaria to play several summer festivals in Europe. The group will also tour Europe with Peter Frampton in the fall.
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