President Dmitry Medvedev hosted an unusual group of guests on Tuesday – members of the British hard rock group Deep Purple, one of the Russian leader’s favorite bands since childhood.
Medvedev was quick to note how much things have changed since he first heard Deep Purple thirty-three years ago.
During their meeting, the President recounted how as a teenager he had worked as a disc jockey at parties – and confessed that each play list had to be approved by the Young Communist League.
“When I started listening to Deep Purple, I never could have imagined that we’d all be sitting at this table,” the president told the group. He went on, “at that time we had kind of a tough system, as you know.”
Drummer Ian Paice greeted the president with a set of drum sticks to commemorate their meeting.
Ian Gillan, the band’s singer since its early days, told Medvedev, “it seems to have been a long journey. The dream of coming to this country when we were kids was beyond our imagination – it was a strange and distant land.”
Medvedev’s love of hard rock became well-known early in his campaign for president, when he told an interviewer for Russian magazine Itogi that he spent much of his time as a teenager “endlessly making copies of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.”
Deep Purple were in Moscow before playing a concert at the Olympic Stadium Wednesday night. The President did not attend the concert, but sources close to the government said his son Ilya played guitar with the band during their visit.