Deep Purple: Only 'Wimps' Cancel Concerts in Israel

Addressing the press ahead of their Caesarea concerts later this week, the English rock band explains why musicians should remain impartial in politics.

Ahead of their third Israeli tour, English rock band Deep Purple took a stand against other musicians who cancel their concerts in Israel due to politics, saying artists should not take sides in political conflicts, with drummer Ian Paice calling these musicians "real wimps."

The band spoke at a press conference Wednesday ahead of two concerts they are due to perform in Caesarea on Saturday and Sunday. This visit is Deep Purple's third Israeli tour. The last time they visited was in 2008, when they played four concerts to full crowds of cheering fans.

Deep Purple in Cyprus Concert - May 8 2011 - AP

Deep Purple's vocalist Ian Gillen stressed to reporters that musicians should remain impartial in political disputes, and likened this to making the assumption that Deep Purple supported all of Tony Blair's policies because they gave a concert in London ten years ago.

Guitarist Steve Morse quipped that left-wing groups did not know what to say to them when they refused to cancel performances in Israel. Saying that in any case, Deep Purple doesn't respect politicians in their native England, and questioned why their attitude would be any different in other countries.

The band also talked about how it feels to have spent so many years in the limelight. Gillen described the change from the early days of the band, when things seemed far less complicated, to today when he needs to ask for his wife's permission before going tour.

Gillen also acknowledged that the band is a product of its time and that there is a difference between their music and what is being produced by new bands today. Touching on other aspects of popular culture, he criticized the unnatural way in which reality TV makes people into stars overnight.

Deep Purple also sent a message to their Israeli fans - they are looking forward to performing in what is sure to be an exciting show.