Glenn Hughes interview • April 2011
Patrick Bechefer is the webmaster of the French Coverdale / Hughes forum and interviewed Glenn in Paris on April 13th. He kindly asked us if we would be interested in posting it here. I have edited it down a little. GH talks about the upcoming BCC second album and tour, and about thoughts of Mk 3 working together again.
FCH: You have released two 70 minute albums in 6 months, that’s very impressive. How can you be so inspired?
GH: It’s easy for me to be inspired after the first album. What I did on the first album when I came in with “Black country”, “One Last Soul” and “Beggar Man” and “Stand”, when I came in with these epic rock tracks, it proved to me that I didn’t have to just do funk and soul which I love. So I said ok, I want to be in a rock band. It was easy for me to focus on the second album. It was too hard for Joe to write because he was gone. I was alone; I took a lot, lot of time away from my band last year to write “2”. What you hear on “2” is the bones of Glenn Hughes’ music that’s given to the band to play on. So I was inspired. I wanted it to be, you know, cinematic.
FCH: I think we can feel that when you sing on that second album that your voice seems to be darker.
GH: Yes, definitely.
FCH: For me there is something of “Addiction” in this album.
GH: (surprised and smiling) Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking.
FCH: The first album has a certain success, especially in France. It did extremely well in terms of sales. I just wanted to know how you composed the songs of the second album. Did you compose them in the same spirit as you composed for the first one?
GH: Musically yes, but not lyrically.
FCH: Really ?
GH: (The) first album was very uplifting. And very sort of, like, happy. I said to myself on the second album: rock fans want to go dark so “Cold” is dealing with friends dying and grieving, “Save me” is about seeing myself die. It is dark you know, it’s dark shit.
FCH: That’s why it’s more intense and more aggressive.
GH: More visual. When you get the booklet and you read the lyrics of “Man in the Middle”, it’s very very very visual.
FCH: In a few words, could you describe Joe, Derek and Jason?
GH: Joe rises you know. He is the greatest new guitar player that we have alive. He doesn’t care about cars and jewellery or material things. He just wants to play. He is a hero, man. He’s a hero and he deserves his success. Jason Bonham, I’m his uncle Glenn, I’ve known him since he couldn’t speak. He was on my lap as a boy and now I’m playing in a band with one of my best friend’s son. So I would say Jason is a family member. Derek is a guy that I saw playing in 1993 with Dream Theater and I was very impressed with him. So when we put the band together, we thought he would be perfect to have the Hammond and he would be the perfect guy. Derek is a great family man. He’s changed his life style. Derek used to be a crazy party guy. But now he’s got a child and a wife, he’s very cool.
FCH: I just want to know if a band like BCC is a long-lasting group or is it just a short-lived project.
GH: I hope it’s long. You know, what BCC means to me is, I want to be honest with you guys, don’t take this the wrong way. It’s my group, it’s my baby; I take this shit very serious. Jason with Led Zeppelin Experience, Joe’s solo, Derek who’s been with Billy Idol, I’ve taken my career, you know, no solo album out for three years. I’ve got to be the Mick Jagger of this group. I’ve got to be the mouth and the frontman, and drag this band to the stage, put the flag in the ground and let if fly. Because this band live will be a mind blower. This band live will come in July on the 19th at the Bataclan, it’s going to be a mind blower. It’s a great band, great musicians; I mean these fucking guys can really play. So my dream is to be the “Man in the Middle” and keep trying.
FCH: You’ve got a very powerful band, really.
GH: It is what, how do I say this. It is everything that Deep Purple should be. If I was in Deep Purple, I would demand the quality of songwriting like this. We are, we will probably never become as big as Deep Purple but we will become bigger than Deep Purple now.
FCH: In my opinion, Derek is more present on “2”, in the new album.
FCH: Did you intend to display that aspect due to the fact that some people could have been disappointed of his relative absence on the first one?
GH: We knew Derek’s position on the first album was going to be as a backing. It is very guitar oriented. When we started making “2”, we weren’t sure how it was going to be on the keyboards. And then we wrote that part in “Outsider”, that Lord and Blackmore part (Glenn sings). It could be like Highway Star, you know. And then we realised you know, we were missing that on the first album. There’s an element of keyboards on this album that is very strong so hopefully, people will understand why we’ve done this.
FCH: I think in the first album, we talked about it, “Songs of Yesterday” was really a milestone, very important song. I think that “Save Me” plays that part, seems to play that part.
GH: On this one yeah. Everybody loves that one.
FCH: The collaboration between you and Joe I think works with perfection really on this album.
GH: You know Joe is one of the greatest new singers we have in blues and rock. We talked about Joe as a guitar player but let’s talk about his vocals. The last thing he sings on “Ordinary Son” before we go together, he sings (Glenn sings) like Paul Rodgers. He is an amazingly talented singer. His manager called me before I left to come to Europe to thank me for making Joe a better singer, which is sweet.
FCH: I think he has improved.
GH: Well, you know he tells me that to stand next to me on stage help him to really practice his singing. So I don’t know man, he’s like my little, he could be my son, you know.
FCH: How do you choose the singer of each song? You or him or?
GH: Kevin. As you know, I write most of the stuff. And I’ll take it to Joe to show him the songs. For instance on this album, I wrote “Crawl” for Joe to sing, I also wrote “Smokestack Woman” for Joe to sing, but Joe, let’s just say that I started to sing those songs and Kevin said “you have to sing these songs” because Kevin thought my voice was working for “Crawl” and “Smokestack Woman”. Because “Crawl” is a very dark song and I’ve lived that you know. Joe hasn’t lived that.
FCH: So you’ve got two albums now. About the set list, will it be composed of only BCC stuff?
GH: Well Joe really wants to play “No Quarter”. We did this in England and it was very very well received so you know, you can probably see “No Quarter” will be there you know. I don’t know what we’ll play. I don’t really want to play anymore covers. I want to play our songs. I don’t particularly want to play anything other than Black Country. You know, it’s not important for me.
FCH: In a certain way you are turned to the future.
GH: Remember guys, I’m going to be 60 next year and as long as Mick Jagger is doing this shit. He’s still kicking ass. So I have my friends who are older than me who are in my peer groups, who are still performing on stages. So as long as I’m in good health, which I am. Poor Ronnie, he got cancer. Ronnie, and this is the message that Wendy would want me to tell you: Ronnie never went to the hospital every year. You know, so this guy goes twice a year for blood work and twice a year for scans! I’m that kind of guy since Ronnie has died. I want to think about Gary Moore, was he going to the doctors? I don’t know but when you get to 60 years old, you go: I have to be careful. I know a lot of my friends are afraid to go to the doctor.
I’m so glad that we haven’t got to read that I died of drugs, you know. My biggest success in life is that I put the cocaine away, and the whisky. That’s the biggest success. This is great being the number one group having you know, the success we’re having but the biggest success is that I have a great and wonderful wife, a wonderful home…
FCH: You are going to release a DVD, a live DVD from concerts in Germany?
GH: June 30th, July 1st and July 3rd we are playing in Germany and we are recording Stuttgart, Munich & Frankfurt. It’s from the first 3 shows in Germany. You know something, it could be Bonn.
FCH: A little question about David Coverdale. Have you met him recently and can we expect collaboration with him in the future?
GH: David and I, I’ve said this and I’ll tell you. You’re the only person that asked me and I’ll tell you. We will only collaborate in MKIII. David and I have decided that when we can get Blackmore out of the house, we will collaborate. And you know the bets are against that. But, trust me. BCC success will make people, I think Lord, Paice and Blackmore will go “wahhh, maybe now it’s time” you know. But David only wants to work with Ritchie if he’s going to show up. The offers for the band are astronomical. Unbelievable.
FCH: So, how can you combine your solo career with BCC ? Is your solo career in stand-by for the moment?
GH: My solo career has been put on hold because I’ve been doing it for 18 years. But BCC in a way is kind of me anyway it’s kind of Glenn Hughes you know, being a singer and a frontman it’s ok for me. When you think of Glenn Hughes, you’ll think of BCC. It’s very simple.
FCH: ok, so when we think about Glenn Hughes, we think as a group.
GH: Yeah. I think so. That’s for now. But I’m coming in October solo.
FCH: In Europe? You already have solo dates in the UK.
GH: In May but you know, I’m going to do a full European tour. October, November and I’ll see you then when I come with my band. Soren, Anders and Pontus. It’s a fucking great band, man. Other than that my book is coming in May but it’s a luxury edition. It’s like expensive. The regular paperback edition which hopefully will be translated in French is coming in October. Thank you guys. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Thank you very much, you’re very nice guys.
FCH: Thank you very much Glenn.
A big thank you to :
Koid9, Hubert Allusson and Roger Wessier who gave us the opportunity to interview Glenn. Olivier Garnier who allocated a time slot to us and organised such a perfect interview. Nathalie Milliet who patiently translated the interview into French. And a thousand thanks to Glenn for his warm welcome, his kindness and his professionalism.