On The Road With Indian Metal Band Millennium

Published Friday, January 20, 2012

Too many happy memories of being on the road with Indian metal band Millennium from 1987 to 2001. I’ll put them all down one day, not so anyone can read them but to try to make sense of those crazy years.

This memory is from ’95.

We were chilling at the Juhu Hotel (attached to the infamous Raspberry Rhino) before the first leg of the Deep Purple India tour in 1995. Millennium had just released our first full studio record and were as excited as teenage girls at a disco. It was goofy and funny, we had been together for 8 years as a band and this was the biggest deal we had got so far.

We landed in Mumbai earlier that afternoon and went straight to the Wizzcraft 7th anniversary bash at the Taj Mahal Hotel. It was a fun party, lots of pretty Mumbai girls, good food and an open bar. Deep Purple were there with Steve Morse (when I asked Roger Glover why Ritchie Blackmore had not traveled with them to India he said Ritchie would never do a gig in India, called him a racist). He was talking to this really hot long legged girl and they were getting close when our ever so delicate and sensitive bass player Malcolm Greig barged in between them and started chatting with Steve. The girl vanished but Steve was sport. Good thing too, he’s a big guy but no match for the mad man that our second bass player was. Steve may be a pilot but could he make a guitar from scratch from a block of wood with his won hands? No, I don’t think so and Malcolm did this sort of thing just for his personal entertainment.

It was well past 2 am when we all headed back to the Juhu Hotel and all holed up in one of our rooms. Rio was there on the bed, I was spaced out of my mind slouched in an arm chair. He suddenly gets up and in the way only Rio can, in his thick Tehran accent says “guys I got married a year ago and I have a daughter”. Roberto said “fuck off”! I ploughed through the haze of smoke and hugged Rio, I mean he was my mate even though he had kept this little piece of info from all of us for a year, he was still my buddy. It was then that I remembered it was my ex girlfriend that Rio was currently dating for the past year and she never had a baby bump, I would have noticed I think. So who was it who fathered his daughter and what happened to Rio and my ex girlfriend??? I found out all the next day at the gig when Mrs Rio and young Miss Rio came back stage.

We had 2 videos rotating on MTV in support the self titled album Millennium and now we were on the road with one of the all time classic hard rocks acts of the world – Deep Purple. It was a good time to be a rock star. In my moments of clarity I was reading Jeffery Archer’s Not a Penny More Not A Penny Less that I got from a second hand book store near the hotel in Mumbai. I was reading this on the flight to Delhi when the flight attendant announced how happy they all were to have the members of Millennium and Deep Purple on board and proceeded to thank each member of DP individually climaxing with Ian “Jillian”. I apologised to Ian for that, on behalf of a grateful nation.

So after a freaky energetic 20,000 strong crowd in Mumbai we landed in Delhi expecting fireworks. We had just finished our sound check at JNS when we had got a full 2 hours which is not bad for an opening act, normally we would have been happy with a line check. Deep Purple were standing by the stage exits listening to us, well, Ian and Roger were. Earlier on in the day the lighting rig had collapsed on stage and they pretty much stayed off the stage till they were forced to get back on it to perform. The idea of getting a PAR64 impaled on their heads was not the way they wanted to remember India. The gig was another thriller for us and Purple with the Delhi rockers out in force it was a nice night, one of many nice nights on the road with Millennium.