This is Ian Gillan being interviewed in about the origin of the classic Deep Purple song “Smoke On The Water” from their iconic album “Machine Head” and made famous as the single from their live album “Made In Japan”.
Ian Gillan tells the story of the night of December 4th, 1971. Some “stupid” with a flare gun burned the place to the ground and Funky Claude was pulling kids out the ground. That is how the lyric goes because that is the story. The band was in Montreux, Switzerland with the to record the Machine Head album. While there they decided to take in a concert at the local casino. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing that night and Deep Purple and their entourage were in attendance. Someone shot a flare gun into the ceiling of the casino and started a fire that consumed the casino in flames and smoke. This smoke moved across Lake Geneva as Deep Purple looked on. Thus the birth of the song title “Smoke On The Water. Of course there is more to the story and Ian Gillan relates it very well here.
This is a good interview in which Ian Gillan opens up about this song’s origin and the bands present and future. The interview is from 2010 but it is worth your time if you like Deep Purple.