This fall’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination for Deep Purple, perhaps best known for its 1973 hit “Smoke on the Water, hasn’t quite sunk in for long-time frontman Ian Gillan.
Voting continues on the hall of fame ballots. Ceremonies will be held this year in Los Angeles, for the first time in two decades. Inductions were in Cleveland in 2012, 2009 and 1997; they were otherwise held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.
Gillan has been front man with Deep Purple off and on since the late 1960s, having served as singer from 1968-73 (a period that included their celebrated 1972 album Machine Head), 1984-89 and from 1992 to the present. “Smoke on the Water,” which details a memorably bad Montreux concert experience, rose to No. 4.
Gillan, who had a brief tenure with Black Sabbath in 1983 between stints with Deep Purple, was also in a pre-Purple band with bassist Roger Glover called Episode Six.
Through it all, Gillan tells Gulf News, he steadfastly avoided the idea of becoming a “legend.” Gillan never wanted to become part of the very institutions that he’d pushed back so hard against in his youth.
But things have changed, he says, since the nominations were announced.
“When I was a kid, the last thing that I wanted was to be institutionalized and sort of fought against the establishment all my life,” Gillan tells Gulf News. “However, when I had a chance to think about the nomination I realized I saw people getting excited about it around me and I realized it’s for family and friends and it’s not for me alone, it’s for the people who have supported us all through these years particularly through the bad times. So, I look at it in a different way now, with a certain amount of humility.”