March 23, 2011 / 5:00 PM / 8 years ago

Russia's Medvedev hosts his idols Deep Purple

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) listens to Ian Gillan (C), a vocalist from British rock group Deep Purple, while drummer Ian Paice sits nearby, during their meeting at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Vladimir Rodionov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ardent British rock fan Dmitry Medvedev got his wish on Tuesday night when the Russian president hosted Deep Purple at his luxurious residence near Moscow, the Kremlin said.

Medvedev, 45, dressed in jeans and a black jacket, drank tea with the rock idols he has followed since he was a young boy, when he listened to the band in his tiny flat in Saint Petersburg, locked behind the iron curtain of the Soviet Union.

“Of course when I started listening to Deep Purple I could not imagine that I would be sitting here with you at this table like this,” Interfax news agency quoted him as telling the band.

The veteran musicians, some sporting sunglasses and long hair, gave the Kremlin chief a pair of drumsticks as a gift before heading off to play a concert in the capital.

Medvedev first met Deep Purple in 2008, weeks before he was steered into the Kremlin by his mentor, then president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, at a gig marking 15 years of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

When Medvedev arrived to greet his guests, he blasted one of their songs from an old tape player, winning applause from the band. Vocalist Ian Gillan then joked that he always thought presidents were old men, though not in Medvedev’s case.

As the party gained momentum, Medvedev’s son Ilya, 15, played the guitar with the band, state-run RIA news agency reported.

Unlike Putin, who has said he prefers patriotic Russian songs, Medvedev — who has styled himself as a reformer — is a dedicated rocker. Last year he met U2 frontman Bono in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Steve Addison

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