“It’s an abstract concept,” singer Ian Gillan told Billboard. “There was an apocalyptic quality to the (music of) ‘Man Alive’, and the idea developed lyrically from there — the scenario of this event that took place and everyone got killed, and you get this picture of ‘all creatures great and small grazed on blood red soil, and grass that grows on city streets.’ So it’s a post-humanity scenario. And then all of a sudden something’s washed up on the beach, and it turns out to be a man, and it’s the only living man — but it’s just a man, so…That’s the end of humanity, because what use is one man? That was the idea. If it was a painting, you’d call it impressionistic.”
“Man Alive” follows “Throw My Bones,” released in March, as preview tracks from Deep Purple’s 21st studio effort, the follow-up to 2017’s inFinite. The band had originally hoped to put the LP out on June 12, but with the closing of distribution lines and retail as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they have pushed back its arrival until Aug. 7.
Whoosh! was recorded in March 2019 in Nashville, with Deep Purple working again with Bob Ezrin, who produced inFinite and its predecessor, 2013’s Now What?! Gillan is more than pleased with the impact the veteran producer has had on the band.
“We’ve developed complete trust in him, which is rare for an outsider who comes into a group that’s been together for so long,” he added. “I remember very clearly Bob’s speech when we first met in Toronto; He wanted us to be like we are on stage and jam and improvise and make (songs) out of that and not worry about how long they are or any of those side issues. He was like, ‘Let’s do what Deep Purple does and it’ll all work out,’ and the results of that have become manifest.”
Gillan explained that the album’s title served as a metaphor for the group. “Whoosh! is an onomatopoeic word that, when viewed through one end of a radio-telescope, describes the transient nature of humanity on Earth,” he said. “And, through the other end from a closer perspective, illustrates the career of Deep Purple.”
In announcing the delay of the record, Gillan previously said, “During my quarantine I’m listening to a lot of music and guessing that it’s the same for many of us during this scary disruption to our lives. We know, don’t we, that music will play a big part in our celebrations as we step back into the light.”
Touring plans for Whoosh! consist of European dates throughout June, July and October. According to the band’s website, only one show, the May 31 opener in Moscow, has been scrapped due to COVID-19 as of press time.