Elton John made his first public appearance since falling “violently ill” last month, and he took the opportunity to slam the “MTV generation” for their lack of musical ability.

The veteran artist, 70, contracted what was described as a “harmful and unusual bacterial infection” during a tour of South America, leading to the cancellation of a Las Vegas residency and an eventual two-day stay in intensive care.

John appeared at the Cannes Film Festival in France this week to reveal the winners of a YouTube fan video competition, praising the clips made for classic tracks “Rocket Man” (which you can see below), “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie and the Jets” and others. Music-News.com reported that he told the audience he was “feeling very well” after being nursed back to health by his partner David Furnish, who described him as a “good patient.”

But at a press conference, which was also attended by John's longtime co-writer Bernie Taupin, John said, “We were before the MTV generation, and I’m glad we were, because we were real artists. The MTV generation brought along a lot of people who just made videos. A lot of the artistry went out of the music.”

He praised the art of music videos, noting that “visuals, whether it is a painting, a drawing, a piece of film, a video, enhance music. You get to use your imagination – you get into it. The future of creativity is clearly collaborative, fusing art and technology, and it’s been fantastic to open up our work to the next generation of creative talent and to share that process with the world on YouTube.”

John commences a European tour on June 3, before returning to North America for another round in November.

Masterpieces: The Very Best Albums From More Than 100 Classic Rock Acts