Interview by Adrian Hextall
Picture credit: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
Glenn Hughes, the former bassist and singer of Deep Purple, known to millions as the ‘Voice of Rock’, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and the current front man for rock super group Black Country Communion, is pleased to announce that he will be performing Deep Purple only material with his “GLENN HUGHES PERFORMS CLASSIC DEEP PURPLE LIVE” for the first time ever in Ireland in September 2018 ahead of his nationwide UK tour in October 2018. 26-year old British blues rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Laurence Jones will be his special guest on the UK leg of “GLENN HUGHES PERFORMS CLASSIC DEEP PURPLE LIVE” in October 2018.
We spoke to Glenn during one of his rare visits to the UK. Sounding chipper, very sprightly and fizzing with excitement about the upcoming tour, the bassist and front man seemed relaxed and willing to talk about anything.
GH: I’m good man, before you know I’m sitting in the Black Country right now.
AH: Home away from home?
GH: Well it is, I don’t get the chance to spend much time in the country I was born in. But, I’m here right now and I’m enjoying the weather, that’s where I’m done.
AH: I was going to say you have come away from Californian weather to just find Californian weather basically. [Interview took place during the hottest summer in the UK since 1976]
GH: I don’t know if you remember. I don’t know how old you are, but in 1976 in Britain, we had a very very very hot summer. I was making my first album Play Me Out but that summer was so hot and this summer is exactly the same.
AH: Looking at what you doing with the upcoming tour, you seems to have quite a lot of firsts, not only you’re doing a show in Ireland for the first time.
AH: But of course the songs themselves. First time performing some of them, since when was it? ’76?
GH: Yes, I think I can fill you in now on my history. So, as you can imagine, Deep Purple have been continuing with the various member’s and then Steve [Morse] came in and of course David [Coverdale] has done the Purple Snake record and all that promotes us around the globe so people starting contacting my office and my agent about ‘would Glenn like to do something like a legacy of songs?’ It took me about three to four months to put it place.
GH: And then I said, let’s give it a run in Australia and New Zealand, a place I love to play. We went down there. We completely sold those venues out, theaters, all around Australia and New Zealand, it was successful. But what I did, I dedicated the show to being not just a studio version of songs but something that we can present to the fans, die-hard Purple fans. Something a little different to the work with Purple Snake, or you know the Deep Purple Mark X or whatever they call it this day.
AH: With this– was the Australian and New Zealand thing because it’s just fell on your lap at the right time what did you think? Was it an option to just test the water?
GH: No, I honestly feel like from the tickets sales and the VIP meet and greet sales that lots of people been waiting for this. Remember cause it’s not, you know me going out doing anything primarily, I don’t know 90% of the show is Mark III, Mark IV material.
And people are, you know– you’re not going to get that if you don’t see, with all out love and respect here I have no bad feelings towards Deep Purple, the original guys. No one’s gonna play those songs other than me, you will not hear the songs that I’m doing by anybody else now. I mean David’s now moved back into Whitesnake. And that’s a lot of ages, a lot of people around the world, that want to hear these songs.
So you know, people say, “you know such a shame you can’t get David to do this or Ritchie to do this.” No, it’s like not an option for me, so I’m, while I’m still working in my golden years. I’ve got time to do this, I’ve got time to do this, I’ve got like you know orchestra’s I want to play with I want to do– you know, acoustic shows I want to strip it down and be raw. But right now I’m in a Deep Purple classics mind that I used to perform. Let’s get it right…… Glenn used to perform the Purple classics. And that’s what I’m doing for the next two years.
GH: it’s going down, I say going down, it’s being accepted by fans and promoters that’s all I care about.
AH: Absolutely, I mean you’ve got to look of the size and the venues you play in the UK to see the acceptance that everybody is ready and fired up to do this, aren’t they?
GH: I think the show, pretty much can be sold out by the time of– I mean with the tickets sales are way up on anything I’ve done in the last couple of years. I think a lot of people are saying Glenn is, if I may say Glenn is back rockin’ and you know he’s got the hair back, and he’s got the rhythm back throughout. What I’m doing is giving people, I’m giving rock fans pretty much what they’ve been waiting for for a long time, you know–
GH: Right now, I’ve tipped the hat to classic Deep Purple and I think it’s paying off, you know. I’m not talking monetary I’m talking to paying off directly for me.
AH: Got you. I mean, look at what you have been doing right over of the last few years. I mean you mentioned, you know Resonate the solo album, the Black Country Communion releases as well. One after the other, you say the Black Country shows really say Glenn’s back. I would argue the Resonate shows did as well.
GH: As you know Adrian, my mom passed away in February of ’17, when I was on the tour. I was, you know, being here for my mom when she was passing over and then, I did not cancel a show, my mom said don’t cancel a show and I didn’t. And you know, I think how far I’ve come since the old days, when I was drinking and using drugs that would have killed me. But it made me stronger and I think something happened to me when my mom died I just said, ‘I got responsibilities for my wife and family at home in LA to be the best son I can be and to be the best human I can for the planet.’ Isn’t it pretty strange that out of all people from my peer group from the ’70’s, you know, most of them all have problems or are dead but Hughes is the only sober man now.
What I am saying, I think I’ve turned my life around you know, I think people, how to say this, half joking, a lot of people thought I should going to be the next to go.
And the fact is I wasn’t the next to go, because Hughes you know…… got his life sorted out. How lucky and grateful am I to be. Still deserving the planet, so giving back. I keep talking about love because it really is everything to me. Giving back the love to fans who are freely giving me their love and support for decades.
AH: You talk about the love the fans are giving, is this, is it the songs that you’ve chosen are they fan favorites or yours?
GH: You know, I sang about 40% of these songs and David sang 60 or something, maybe 65-35. But you know the songs I sing that he sang I think people know that DNA so I’m gonna sing them. You know, it would be foolish not to do Sail Away because I thought it was great, so I think I’m covering them really well. So, it doesn’t really matter, all I know is I’m giving back that love to lots and lots of people that want to hear these songs, you know.
The Deep Purple that’s touring right now is coming to an end. I mean I don’t know when, I have no idea, it’s none of my business but this is going to be, you know, this window of opportunity for true fans to let me play this song. But I’m actually not a tribute artist, I’m actually a member of the band that was writing and playing those songs you know.
AH: Absolutely, if anybody’s entitled to play it has to be you.
GH: As you know I’ve never been so fit, healthy wise and singing wise and I’m very very socially inclined these days. I’m taking that around the world, I think people in my audience, Adrian. They can see that I’m genuinely dedicating the craft of Deep Purple to the Europe fans.
AH: Over the course of summer as well, you’ve had some festivals in the UK which allowed you to get your set list in shape, I’m guessing the show later in the year will be more than seven nine tracks that we saw it Steelhouse Festival here recently.
GH: Because it’s evolving for me, you know it’s evolving and I’m going to be doing– and by the way, this tour I’m doing will be the longest tour I’ve done since Deep Purple broke up in the Spring of 76.
AH: You have to be healthy enough, don’t you, to be able to do that longer tour.
GH: Look I ain’t Superman and I do– you know, oversell me. I don’t look at my age So I am evolving as you know me were I think you know I evolved musically and the way I look and the way I– whatever I think I’m not that kind of man you know– I like to take risks, don’t I?
AH: I would agree, yes, yes. But it pays off, I mean, you now look what you have to manage to do with Joe and the guys with Black Country Communion. That was a risk in its, it had a moment, it fell apart, you pull it back together those two shows you did recently for BCCIV, fantastic.
GH: No, it’s come back to a beautiful place. I spoke to Joe last week and Kevin yesterday, It was like we will come a long way. Joe is a very very wonderful guy and I love him so much and Jason is doing great as you know.There may be a fifth album but I don’t know it won’t be next year and that’s an exclusive for you. Because it’s just too busy.
And it’s now, all of a sudden, it was like everybody else is busy now. Now, Uncle Glenn is busy so–What I can do is, I can’t let- what I’m doing with the Deep Purple legacy go off the boil. I’m doing three American tours in the next 12 months. We are starting in two weeks in New York. I’m selling a lot of fuckin’ ticket with my friends. [laughs]
AH: It really is a heartwarming to hear and see what’s going on with you.
GH: Adrian, its dedication. I’m not working on the stage, I’m going to play this song again. No, no, I’m actually going and going, I’m going to really give it a go here. You know let’s fucking ramp it up. Let’s make it somewhat dangerous. Maybe this is going to be, I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. Maybe- I don’t want people think I’ve got this thing fired up in a big bowl and it’s so frizzy because it might be raw and aggressive. You know, that’s what I am looking for, I’m not looking for a cabaret show here.
AH: Tell me, Glenn, a little bit about the artwork for the tour as well because it’s a perfect fit to that era as well isn’t it?
GH: It is, you know my manager and I put that together. It is still– if it’s going to be a set list from the 70’s and truly may be a photograph from the 70’s put on to a graphic design. And the graphic design you know the peace & love vibe it’s very 1972’ish ‘3’ish. And you know, I want to have the audience come in and see that backdrop and see the lights and go “well there’s no drum riser.” That’s what we knew, we don’t have drum riser in the 70’s and know I want to keep it as plain as we can looking sound and alike.
AH: Yes, authentic.
GH: Almost that renowned people to go, hang on in a minute, is this the feeling in 1974? But people seem to think that I– you know, I want to be 1974. No, no, no, I’d been there have done it and have come out of that. I should’ve died in 1976, I didn’t, but I can go back now safely and feel like I can do it again, you know.
I will say it will be somewhat raw and aggressive. It will not be choreographed in any way shape or form you know, yes I mean, It’s going to be you know, as you know me well you know that I’ll never sing the song like nailed perfectly and it’s great that other people do that. But with me, it’s going to be a bit raw.
And that’s what people want, they don’t want choreographed, they don’t want people on computers pressing buttons, they don’t want lip sync, they want some fucking guys of depth. You know, it’s gonna be a rough show you know.
AH: You want to come away surprised, if you hear a perfect note from the album, it’s just well I might as well have watched this on the tv as the music video to go with it or something.
Your life story Glenn that’s probably worth a documentary that’s going to have so many people to come interview, to talk about experiences with you.
GH: If you get my book, but the book is a statement of what happened and ever since I finished to write my book 7 years ago, so much has happened since you know, interesting spiritual stuff and meeting of people and I think spirituality is come into my life, very strong. I’m not talking about you know, religion, I’m talking about spiritual progression.
AH: Yes. I can appreciate that and presumably, that also helps you to stay fit, focus, healthy, everything. Isn’t?
GH: It’s meditation, Adrian. I think it’s you know- Sutra, Tantra, and TM Meditation, Zazen Meditation really help me slow down I don’t know if you notice on my photographs I’m surrounded by Orbs these days, and Orbs are guiding spiritual things that they call them angel. These definitions of what Orbs are but you’ll notice on pictures I post.
One out of three, there’s Orbs around me and scary at first but I am now meeting with enlightened figures from India and Pakistan and people or guru type figures. But I think it’s showing me and guiding me in the direction that is suited for me now.
Google Orbs you know O-R-B-S and google om ah hum, it’s O-M second word is ah, A-H, the third word is H-U-M, om ah hum. Google that and it’s a Bhuddism word of peace by speech and mind it means everything that we need in life is coming from our mind and my- generally all of our lives on this planet are peaceful but we mess them up by thinking stupid stuff. But mind– reverted the years of mind is a terrible place to be, I just want a peaceful mind Adrian, I just want to be peaceful in our very own peaceful planet.
AH: I love that sentiment, if any more people could think in that way Glenn, the world would be a better place. I think that’s a wonderful way to close it. Thank you very much as always of your time.
GH: Listen, bro, I look forward to coming and shake your hands, giving you a hug when I see you.
AH: Good man, thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it.
GH: Okay, thank you, bro.
GLENN TOURS THE UK & IRELAND IN SEPTEMBER \ OCTOBER:
29th Waterfront – Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND
30th Olympia – Dublin, IRELAND
2nd O2 Academy – Bristol, UK
3rd Assembly – Leamington Spa, UK
5th Engine Rooms – Southampton, UK
6th Tramshed – Cardiff, UK
9th University Union – Leeds, UK
10th O2 Academy – Newcastle, UK
12th O2 Academy – Glasgow, UK
13th Academy 2 – Manchester, UK
15th Koko – London, UK