On the red carpet of the 2019 Ivor Novello songwriting awards, which was held Thursday night (May 23) at Grosvenor House in London, England, DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan was asked by NME if there are any new and rising rock bands that he pays attention to. He responded (see video below): "No, I steer clear of all that, and for a good reason. Because when I was in my formative years, I rejected Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and Andy Williams and Dean Martin, who I now realize were great artists. But at the time, I think as a young man, there's kind of a psychological vandalism that you have to make space for yourself. And I'm in that situation now, I think, where I've gotta step aside and I don't really wanna pass comment on new generations.
"I remember my uncle, who was a jazz pianist, when we did DEEP PURPLE 'In Rock', he ran from the room screaming, holding his ears: 'I can't hear anything. I can't hear any instruments,'" he continued. "And I was rubbing my hands going, 'Great.' So I had upset the previous generation, a man I respect highly. So I don't think it's right to pass comment.
"One of the funniest things I ever saw was when David Cameron was the prime minister [of the United Kingdom], and when asked who his favorite bands were, he said THE SMITHS. And my head started rattling, and I just imagined Morrissey sort of pulling his nose off over something like that. So it's that kind of thing — you don't really wanna pass comment."
The Mark II lineup of DEEP PURPLE was honored with the "International Achievement" award at 2019 Ivor Novello songwriting awards.
Gillan, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice attended the ceremony and picked up the award, a solid bronze sculpture of Euterpe, the muse of lyric poetry. They were honored alongside former PURPLE guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and late keyboardist Jon Lord.
The Ivor Novello organizers said they were "acknowledging an exceptional legacy that has inspired and shaped generations of hard rock musicians all over the world" by presenting the "International Achievement" award to DEEP PURPLE, which was formed in 1968 in Hertford, Hertfordshire.
Now in its 64th year, the ceremony celebrates excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing, and also recognizes a number of artists for their wider contribution to U.K. music.