The drummer Ian Anderson Paice was born on this day in 1948.
As a young child, Paice was inspired by drummer Gene Krupa, whose films he would watch, to begin banging knitting needles against the back of his sofa. After receiving a small drum kit as a gift for his fifteenth birthday, he began practicing his craft for real. He first joined his father’s jazz band as a stand-in artist and eventually moving on to bands of his own. One of these was a band known as Maze, which paired Paice up with singer Rod Evans.
Evans later auditioned for another band, taking Paice with him and inadvertently landing him an audition as well. Despite the fact that they had already hired a drummer, the group was very impressed and quickly substituted him in. The band was Deep Purple, and at just nineteen years old, Paice was the youngest member of the group and the last to be brought into the fold. He has since gone on to be the only member to consistently remain in all eight of the group’s lineups, providing memorable drum lines onstage and in the studio for fifty-two years.
In Purple, Paice has become known for his explosive, energetic style onstage. It was thanks in no small part to him that Deep Purple was named the loudest band in the world by Guinness World Records in 1972. Perhaps just as remarkably, Paice has been consistently reliable, literally not missing a beat through such moments as the onstage explosion which capped off Deep Purple’s performance at California Jam.
While being part of Purple hasn’t left him with a ton of time, Paice has still managed to do a few other projects. During an eight-year hiatus after the band folded in 1976, Paice joined Jon Lord and Tony Ashton as a member of the short-lived group Paice Ashton Lord; they released a single album. A short turn with Whitesnake followed, after which Paice collaborated with Gary Moore for a few albums. He has also lent his drumming to various other miscellaneous projects; this includes a symphonic tribute to the Police organized by Don Airey and Keith Emerson’s Christmas album. Despite having had no formal training, Paice has also provided many young drummers with some help in developing their own craft through drum clinics he has occasionally offered throughout the years.
On a personal note, Paice is my favorite living drummer. The swing and stylishness with which he handles tempo is unmistakeable in studio or onstage, and all the little tricks he uses have taught me a great deal about listening to rock drumming. Beyond that, his work genuinely moves me in a way few other percussionists can, something I cannot particularly put into words but I feel every time I spin a record he’s on. Paice isn’t just a great drummer, he’s a great musician overall.
I here at Gotta Hear ‘em All wish him a very happy birthday, and a safe and successful year to come.
- Paice, Ian. Tales from the Bar. https://youtu.be/crwa-hLPORU
- Edit on 2020-09-21: Optimized for new site.