Rock fan Medvedev meets lifelong musical heroes
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a big heavy metal fan, achieved a lifelong dream yesterday by getting to meet his favourite rock band, Deep Purple.
Classic rock bands enjoyed immense popularity in the Soviet Union, even though Soviet press in Cold War times would describe such a music as an attempt at spreading the West's "imperialist pop culture".
The band members had tea with the Russian leader at his residence outside Moscow, where Mr Medvedev told them they were his favourites since he was 12.
Mr Medvedev (45) is known as a fan of hard rock bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, unlike his predecessor and current prime minister Vladimir Putin who iis reported to be a fan of ABBA.
"When I started listening to Deep Purple, I never imagined I would be sitting with you at this table," Mr Medvedev told the band's members yesterday.
He also revealed that as a DJ at his school in Leningrad, now St Petersburg, he would play rock music at discos, after first getting the approval of the Communist youth organisation.
"We had quite a strict system then, you know," he said.
Mr Medvedev's 15-year-old son Ilya, meanwhile, brought out his electric guitar and jammed with the band.
Mr Medvedev met U2's lead singer Bono last August before the group's first-ever concert in Russia at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium.
His meeting with Deep Purple was scheduled directly after talks with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, and the president played a Deep Purple song at full volume on a reel-to-reel tape recorder as he greeted the musicians.