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Interview with Fazıl Okudan in Memory of “Ian Bairnson”

When I read that Ian Bairnson, the guitarist of The Alan Parsons Project, passed away, the first person I thought of was my friend Fazıl Okudan, who introduced me to the depth of the band, if not the band.

It brought back memories of us in the 90s, when we were both studying at university and I was a radio host and Fazıl was a guitarist and singer… Fazıl Okudan is one of those special fans of The Alan Parsons Project who not only listens to the band but is one of the few in the world. And this has not been lost to years or new music… For Fazıl, The Alan Parsons Project has always been the most special.

By the way, even though the growth of social media makes certain connections easier, it is still very, very difficult to be recognized and to turn those connections into friendships, we all know that. This is what my dear friend Fazıl achieved with Ian.

These two special people, not only themselves but also their spouses, were family friends and their music together was followed with great interest by The Alan Parsons Project fans around the world. So much so that after Ian Bairnson’s death, not only Fazıl’s close friends but also The Alan Parsons Project fans from all over the world sent their condolences to Fazıl.

On this occasion, I conducted an interview with Fazıl on in Turkish to talk more deeply about the music of The Alan Parsons Project and to pay tribute to dear Ian. The interest of Ian’s relatives is the main reason why we published the same interview in English; wishing them patience once again.

“Ian is a legendary musician who prefers to be at the forefront of his art.” – Fazıl Okudan

The Alan Parsons Project

Dear Fazıl, I know your emotions are very intense and it may be difficult for you to express your feelings, but every member of The Alan Parsons Project was legendary and you are one of the right people to commemorate Ian Bairnson. So let’s start from the beginning if you’d like;

When did you start listening to The Alan Parsons Project, can you tell us about this journey?

I got to know The Alan Parsons Project in 1980 with the album ‘The Turn Of A Friendly Card’. Both the songs and the recording quality fascinated me. I started doing research to find the band’s other albums. As you know, there was no internet back then and it was not easy to access information. I started collecting cassettes, LPs and CDs of the band one by one. Eric Woolfson and Ian Bairnson became my favorites on the albums. I started to play these albums to all my friends at school with my Walkman.

Also, TRT was using Alan Parsons’ music as credits in those years, but since they didn’t give concerts, they weren’t known by many people both in our country and in the world. Because during the ten albums they released as The Alan Parsons Project, they never gave a concert in any country in the world. When Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson parted ways in 1990, for the first and only time, the musicians who took part in the album recordings with Alan Parsons gave a concert. In the following years, Alan Parsons continued all his concerts with other musicians under the name “Alan Parsons Live Project”.

I can say that Ian Bairnson solos are the reason I started playing guitar, he is my idol.

We formed a band in high school just to play Alan Parsons Project songs. We even participated in the Milliyet Music Contest in 1990 with the songs of the band.

In 1986, I wrote a short article about Ian Bairnson in Hey Magazine.

Over the years, I have shared about the music and musicians of The Alan Parsons Project in many media.

At some point, my knowledge of the band turned into collecting.

I can now say that I am the person who has the most signed collection of The Alan Parsons Project in Turkey.

Can you tell us about meeting Ian Bairnson?

The Alan Parsons Project came to Turkey for the first time in 1998 for a concert at Bostanci Show Center in Istanbul and they performed two days in a row. That’s when I met Ian Bairnson. The day after the concert, I attended a workshop on sound recording techniques organized by Alan Parsons and Ian Bairnson at Akademi Istanbul.

The second time they came to Istanbul was in 2000 / June / We interrupted our honeymoon for the Open Air concert and made it to the concert.

In the following years, Alan Parsons came to Turkey three more times for concerts, but as I mentioned before, there were no band musicians involved in the album recordings.

When YouTube was first launched, I shared my Ian Bairnson solo covers on my channel, and when Facebook was launched, I set up the Ian Bairnson page. Ian was living in Spain at the time. Xavier, a Spanish musician, told Ian about me. He said, “You have a very big fan in Turkey and he plays all your solos.” As Ian was interested in me, I was invited to Barcelona.

In 2013, I had the honor of sharing the same stage with Ian and accompanied him on bass guitar. In this special event, we played The Alan Parsons Project and Pilot songs.

The Alan Parsons Project’s latest album Gaudi is dedicated to the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. So words can’t describe the joy of playing songs from that album with Ian in Barcelona.

In 2017, when we heard that Ian’s health was getting worse, my wife Ayşım and I went to visit him in Edinburgh. Ian’s lovely wife Leila hosted us very well. For a week we played guitar together, chatted, petted his cats and went cycling.

The Facebook group for Ian Bairnson, which I founded, continues to be active. His wife Leila and Ian’s sister Evelyn have contributed a lot to the group.

I also helped Kirk Kiester, Ian’s manager, to work on Ian Bairnson’s website.

As far as I know, Ian Bairnson was very active in the band; I mean, I know that he was present at every live recording of their albums. But I think he was a little bit in the background as a name; do you know why that is or do you have any guesses?

I think this attitude is in line with his personality and life view, because Ian is a legendary musician who prefers to be in the forefront with his art.

Lastly, can you tell us about your feelings?

Even though Ian is no longer here in body, his melodies will continue to touch our souls, forever…      

Who knows how many more young people will take up the guitar…


Youtube cover channel: FAZIL’s Cover Channel

Facebook group / IanBairnson

FAZIL OKUDAN Social Media:

Translation: Ufuk Sağın

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