AN INTERVIEW WITH GLENN HUGHES
Frontiers Music Srl is pleased to announce the highly anticipated 12th original Glenn Hughes album Resonate — released on Friday November 4, 2016. The album dovetails Glenn’s U.K. and European tour with special guests “Living Colour” which kicks off in the U.K. on Tuesday November 8.
A true vocal and musical icon of our times, in the past couple years Glenn concentrated again on his solo career. Sold-out crowds were the order of the day, while touring non-stop throughout 2015, with shows in South America, Europe, U.K., Japan and Singapore. In addition, late in 2015, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, based in the U.S.A., announced that Deep Purple, including MKIII, is finally to be inducted after several previous nominations over the years. This was a culmination of a 40+ years career which saw Glenn leave his indelible mark in several musical endeavours and bands, including Trapeze, Deep Purple, Hughes/Thrall, his collaborations with Gary Moore, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and, most recently, with Black Country Communion and California Breed.
2016 was his busiest year yet. With summer festivals and solo shows in the USA, UK and Europe, finally Glenn’s first solo album in more than eight years will see the light of day! Resonate is truly a triumphant return to form for “The Voice of Rock”!
From album opener, “Heavy”, to the very last chords of the closer, “Long Time Gone”, it promises to be a contender for ‘Album of the Year.’ The new album features his live solo band members, Søren Andersen (guitars and co-producer), Pontus Engborg (drums) and newcomer to his band, Lachy Doley (keyboards), in addition to long-time friend and drummer, Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), who joined them in the studio for the opening and closing numbers. It might well be the heaviest-sounding of his solo albums but, as is his trademark, musical diversity shines through and as Glenn commented upon completion of the new recording, “this album is the first kind of a complete Glenn Hughes album”.
No other Rock musician has carved such a distinctive style blending the finest elements of Hard Rock, Soul, and Funk. That astonishing voice is Hughes’ calling card and the new album, Resonate will shine as a true Glenn Hughes landmark release. With the release of the album and the imminent tour I had several current subjects to explore and develop with the iconic vocalist himself. It is actually the first album that Glenn has put out where he has actually completely written and arranged everything himself. He feels the album is very representative of where he is in this moment in time. In recent years Glenn has preferred to release his music as various band projects so I was curious as to what lay behind the decision to release Resonate as a solo Glenn Hughes album. Rather than being a conscious and personal decision Glenn diplomatically gave the reason as being a contractual obligation. It was done purely for business reasons but yet he still decided to make it “as stunning as possible.” I questioned Glenn on the term and word that he had chosen to attribute to the album’s title. “I just knew when I came up with that title, I never questioned a secondary title for this album,” he says.
I saw Glenn live on his last set of U.K. dates shortly after former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich had joined with him. However, on researching for this piece I was confused by the fact that Doug was not appearing on the new album. I wonder why and what had prompted this apparently brief liaison to end. Certainly on stage the two had a personal and musical connection, which I felt would have crossed over well to doing something in the studio together. Søren Anderson, Glenn informed me, had been his guitar player for 10 years. At the time of the last U.K. tour he had been under contract, which he could not get away from and this made him unavailable for the date. Doug had stepped in to help him out. Søren has now returned and has actually been playing live with Glenn since June.
On listening to the new album several times there was one track that stood out and connected with me instantly.”Flow” was that song; it seemed to utilize and successfully fuse several different elements of modern and classic sounds. Glenn explained the process that lay behind its creation. It was built on a very dark riff but also one that he saw would make people in a live setting really groove. It is a mid-tempo song that had a very soulful vocal and a very simplistic chorus. There is a middle breakdown and Glenn just felt that “it was very important to me to have something dramatic happen.” The bass goes mental at the end and it was all recorded live. Glenn agreed with me highlighting that song. “That track is a significant track for me,” even though it was actually “quite a simple song,” he says.
I felt that the album Resonate as a whole would lend itself very well to its tracks being played in a live setting. With the forthcoming dates fast approaching I wondered to what extent would Glenn be dipping his toe into Resonate on those dates. Would it consist of the major part of the set list for the U.K. dates or instead just selected offerings of new material? Glenn has long been recognized as always featuring new music each tour and on not being an artist that merely recycles the same set year after year. On his last tour, which followed the Soul Mover release, he played five songs from it. As Glenn said, ”obviously I will be playing songs from Resonate; it is an incredible album.” Initially the set would have a couple songs featured and as the tour extended then he would add more songs from it into the set. He has many classics and songs that have sold many millions of albums so there are definitely some that friends would always want to hear and have included. However, Glenn is also an artist from his generation, who still dares to challenge himself and dares to completely reinvent himself with nearly every album he releases. He attributes that to the fact that Bowie lived with him for six months in the ’70s. That taught him how to recreate and reinvent what he had been doing and was an important thing for him.
The U.K. dates were being billed as a co-headliner with ’80s Funk Rock band Living Colour. I often wondered how those touring packages were devised. Was it something the acts themselves had direct input into, or were they solely the proviso and idea of a cash-hungry booking agent. Glenn had no previous working relationship with Living Colour and admitted it was the idea of a booking agent to put the pairing together. The two acts shared the same booking agent (read related article HERE).
There are many standout albums in Glenn Hughes’ musical legacy — from his collaboration with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Black Country Communion, etc. etc. He is one of only two musicians (the other being Ian Gillan) to have played in both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. However, there is one album that I have returned to many times over the years. This was never a success or a widely recognized international hit like many of the others: The Fused (2005) album Glenn did with Tony Iommi, an artist who is largely overlooked and largely underrated. On reflection was there any explanation Glenn could offer for that release’s limited impact.? “Sharon Osbourne had brought Sabbath back together to do a series of Ozzfests with the original line-up and the Fused album got put on the back burner.” Both Tony and Glenn still listen to it today and both rate it highly. A lot of fans also rate it as a huge record although commercially it is relatively unsuccessful. ”It is the album that got away from us, and it deserved its place.”
With many legendary icons unfortunately dying this year and the advancing years, many Rock stars are attempting to build bridges with former bandmates with whom they previously had disagreements. In the current climate of forgiveness and reconciliation would Glenn himself be seeking to reactivate an entente cordiale with any of his former colleagues? There are several that I, as a long-standing rock fan, would be particularly keen to see, especially if they were to recreate music together again. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Tony and I did something together,” Glenn responded. “Things will happen when they happen.” Following and developing this line of discussion there was a certain elusive guitarist from Glenn’s Deep Purple past who had recently had returned to playing Rock music, albeit just for a few shows. I was keen to hear Glenn’s thoughts and opinions on the Rainbow reunion and had that particular door of musical reconciliation been permanently closed. Glenn’s response was actually quite surprising: “Richie wanted me to be part of the Rainbow thing; it was the wrong thing for me to do. At that time early this year in April/May I was just getting ready to do Resonate and I was just so busy, and he had to do these few shows with his band….but I am not really a Rainbow kind of guy. It’s not what I do really.”
While I was on the subject of Glenn’s previous musical projects I had read conflicting stories regarding Black Country Communion; Glenn had recorded several previous albums with guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. I was eager to set the record straight and Glenn assured me that there would be another Black Country Communion album, which was scheduled to finish writing for several days after this interview took place. The album is due to be recorded in January and a provisional release date for May.
Like many, Glenn had faced difficult demons and addictions along his musical journey — what had been the motivating factor for him to break away from the path that had been responsible for so many others’ deaths? Why was he still standing strong when many former friends had long since departed? I was keen to identify that light bulb moment in time had caused Glenn to rethink, reassess and re-evaluate his life. “In the grand scheme of things — I don’t want to use the word God, I will just call it a higher power — I knew for a few years while trying to stop drinking and using drugs that something was channeling through me to help me. I was asking for help and when I finally got the message it was very clear to me that I was going to be O. ”I live that life on a daily basis. I will always be a recovering addict, but you have to realize that you have to treat it. For me changing my lifestyle and changing my habits were vitally important.”
The epiphanic moment saved Glenn and has subsequently led him to a very successful musical career, which has rescued him from the brink of disaster. Resonate is just the latest in a long catalogue of successful musical releases to bear his name. Unfortunately, shortly after this interview due to… a business decision, not due to Glenn Hughes himself, the U.K. Resonate dates had to be pulled. I do, however, recommend checking out the album and attending the shows when they are rescheduled.