The man who balanced Deep Purple with the London Symphony Orchestra

The man who balanced Deep Purple with the London Symphony Orchestra


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2011

Sad news has just reached me that Moray McMillin has died.

He worked as sound engineer on tour with Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Public Image Ltd, and Suzanne Vega. But the toughest assignment on nine years of touring with Deep Purple was the 1999 Jon Lord-led gig that he engineered with the London Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall, conducted by Paul Mann.

After two RAH concerts and a famous recording, they went on to tour 40 concerts in South America, all the way through Europe, and in Japan.

Quite apart from the balancing problems there were temperamental inequalities between the two bands that had to be carefully managed. Moray, by all accounts, was brilliant.

Live at the Royal Albert Hall

I met him briefly once at Abbey Road. Lovely man. Sad to see him go. Expect more reminiscences later.

He died of lung cancer, aged (we think) 57. Donations, please, to The Hospice of Saint Francis, Spring Garden Lane, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 3GW.
01442 869553




  • Paul Mann says:

    Thanks for putting this up, Norman. Moray was indeed brilliant, and a lovely man. The full details for anyone who wishes to pay their respects via a donation to the hospice that looked after him so wonderfully are:
    The Hospice of Saint Francis, Spring Garden Lane, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 3GW.
    01442 869553

    The work he did on those concerts was magnificent. To combine a symphony orchestra with a band like Deep Purple is a feat in itself, but he managed something even more remarkable, which was to make the orchestra still sound like an orchestra. Moray brought us all together in sound, the best of both worlds, and no-one could have done it better.

  • Stathis says:

    I knew the man quite well, met him last time after the Deep Purple gig in London in 2009, had a chat over a fag (well…). He was a great engineer and a lovely man. Very sad to hear this.

  • Skoots Lyndon says:

    Thank you Norman for remembering Moray in print. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with him for nine wonderful years. The memories I carry of Moray are many. Most are humorous, many enlightening, but none forgettable. He was always ready to give of his vast knowledge to any in need. That included myself on many occasions. I thank you Moray to all you added to my life. To all that know Moray please raise a pint and toast to our friend. You shall be Greatly missed Sir.

  • Studs Watson says:

    I was a nipper when I worked with Moray and I am a better person for knowing him and very privliged to be able to call him a friend, a real gentleman.

  • Big Jim says:

    As a friend to Ronnie James Dio for 20 years before his passing, I met many of his crew. RJD seemed to surround himself with people like him…Kind, hard working, talented & good hearted folks. Moray was no exception to the rule. Rest in peace Moray. ::bows head in respect::

  • Christian Stumpp says:

    I met Moray through our contacts to Deep Purple as our company is supplying some of their stage monitors. From day one that I met him, I knew that he was one of these persons that make it worth while being in this industry. Somebody with a very professional attitude and great knowledge (and willing to share it!) yet modest and down to earth – and with a great humour. Moray opened a lot of doors for me and I am very happy that I could give him something in return when I helped him to find a job in the industry while he was looking to retire from touring.

    Rock on in heaven, Moray, I am very sure they’ll have a great FOH tower there for you.

  • Kathy says:

    I am sad to see this awful news. Moray was a wonderful man. He was funny, an advisor, a defender and excellent in his work. I have many fond memories of chats and walkabouts and sitting at the back of the desk at shows. I took a photo of Moray when he had a clean shave, no moustache or beard. He said it was a moment of madness and will not be seen again. Rocking with Ronnie now.

  • Brian Phillips says:

    I had the privilage, although a sad privilage, of meeting Moray again after many years. Working at the Hospice I treasured spending time with Moray and his family sometimes for hours, sometimes for a few minutes and also for precious seconds to recieve one of his ” Special Smiles ” when he was tired and sad with the pain.

    We never did get to connect up the Pro FX 12 Mic’s and Speakers you so generously gave the Hospice Buddy ! but I promise you and the family this Dr Taylor and I will Crank Up the Watts and play ” Smoke on the Water ” the first time we use the gear in anger.

    As Hendrix said ” If I cant be with you in this world I’ll see you on the next one !! So Don’t be Late !!

    See You Buddy xx

  • Charlie Lewis says:

    Moray McMillin was a one-of-a-kind. Great Sound Engineer, Great friend, Devoted Husband and Father. For over 20 years I had the pleasure of working with him. The stories one could tell would only pale to the truth. We lost a true friend. We will see you on the other side my friend, Keep the beers cold for us! Love and Miss you Moray.

  • Guy Morris says:

    This maybe a few years late but it is my only way to pay my respects, I was shocked to hear that Moray had died not long after I met him for what was the last time at PLASA. He was with HK when I first got to know him and for a man who had done so much in his life with so many notable artists, he had that rare quality of being a normal person and ultimately likeable. I’m still sad over his loss but grateful to have known Moray for the time I did.