Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan: “Young artists should upset the previous generation and clear the decks”

"There's this sort of psychological vandalism that takes place for yourself"

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan has shared his advice for how younger artists can share the same longevity as them – encouraging them to not have heroes and make a space of their own.

Watch our video interview with Gillan above

Gillan was speaking to NME on the red carpet of the Ivors 2019, where Deep Purple won the International Achievement Award.


Asked if he was listening to any younger bands, Gillan replied: “No, I steer clear of all that. And for a good reason. When I was in my formative years, I rejected Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Dean Martin. I now realise they were all great artists but at the time as a young man, you have to clear the decks. There’s this sort of psychological vandalism that takes place for yourself.

“I’m in that position now. I need to step aside. My uncle was a jazz pianist, and I remember that when we did ‘Deep Purple In Rock’ he ran from the room screaming saying ‘I can’t hear anything, I can’t hear any instruments’. I was rubbing my hands going ‘Great’. I had upset the previous generation and a man I respect highly. I don’t think it’s right to pass comment.”

Deep Purple

Gillan added: “The only advice I can give is to absorb as much as you can from as wide a spectrum as you can. If you’re in a rock band and only soak up Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple kind of beginnings then you’re not going to have much leeway. We soaked up everything from Beethoven to Chopin to Jimi Hendrix to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.

“If you do that then it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.”

Deep Purple return to the US for a lengthy tour in September 2019.