INTERVIEW: Glenn Hughes – Classic Deep Purple Live

‘The Voice of Rock’ is back in Australia for the second time in a year. After the amazing success earlier this year of  ‘The Music of Cream’ which saw Glenn as special guest he’s now back with his own ‘Classic Deep Purple Live’ show. It will be the first time in his career  since leaving Deep Purple 41 years ago that he will perform a set exclusively containing Deep Purple songs and it’s a real treat for Australian fans who get the only dates. We caught up with Glenn at his Birmingham hotel   where he’s currently doing press for his upcoming Black Country Communion release.

Mark: How are you Sir?

Glenn: Well I’m looking out the window at the moment and it’s raining cats and dogs, I normally live in Los Angeles as you know but I’m over here  doing some press, and looking out the window thinking I’m in the UK, it’s raining, but it could be worse!

Mark: It’s always good to be back home though?

Glenn: Well, if you say so (laughs).

Mark: (laughs) Well you’ll be headed somewhere a bit warmer shortly. Absolutely fabulous news of course, last time we spoke you were Downunder as part of ‘The Music of Cream’ show celebrating their 50 years and now you’re heading back in the same calendar year to give us the ‘Classic Deep Purple Live’ show

Glenn: I’ve been thinking about that over the years and then a few things happened – David a couple of years ago did his ‘Purple’ album; and I mean this with respect, the members of Deep Purple Mark II which is of course Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Ian Gillan are now calling their last tour ‘The Long Goodbye’ and so it would appear that we’re coming to the end of the Deep Purple that we know. And I wanted to wait for the right moment in my, as you know, very busy career at the moment I’m making new music every year. I wanted to wait for the right moment with the right touring vehicle to do a Glenn Hughes Deep Purple Tour. And that time is now. Due to the demand really – people want to hear those songs that I wrote and recorded and simply because I’m in a really good headspace, a good spiritual place, a place of serenity and I wanna go out and ROCK! Right now! On this beautiful place we call planet earth and I’m really looking forwards to coming back to Australia.

Mark: Great to get you back twice in one year! It’s probably not something that’s been constantly in your mind, but do you ever reflect on those times with Purple all those year ago – 41 years now since that last date in Liverpool?

Glenn: You know what I think about. You’ve got to imagine, and I know you’ve been there because you’ve been 21, 22 yourself, but when you look back at when you were 21 or 22 and when you look at where you are now it’s so different. We’re kids, we’re young adults then one day we’re this middle aged guy, different sides of the same person, different guys if you will, but inside we’re still growing spiritually and I just feel that this is the time for me. The appropriate time to show my respects and love and do an honourable show for the tie that I was in Deep Purple. I think that time is now.

Mark: It does sound right, at a time when as you say all those threads are being drawn together by the band themselves as they are, and also Mr. Coverdale’s ‘Purple’ album. What did you make of that? Did you enjoy it?

Glenn: Yeah, David sent me not one but two copies! He’s one of my best friends, like a brother, and what I’d realised is that he’d put a different spin on it, he’d not copied the originals and even the arrangements were slightly different. But you can’t really duplicate what was recorded organically on a 16 track analogue machine in 2015 when he did it. So what he did was put his own Whitesnake spin on it, he wasn’t trying to duplicate Ritchie or Jo and he did what I consider to be a very bold thing, you know. He wasn’t trying to go all retro and actually I think he did a pretty damned good job. I actually joined him onstage about two years ago, unannounced, no one knew I was coming on and there was such overwhelming warmth and respect from the audience, and if it were possible it even brought my friendship to David even closer. That was the first time we’d actually sung together in a long, long time. Like I said we’re more than friends and long may that continue.

Mark: You mentioned that David brought his own treatments to some of those songs, and when we saw you last in Australia you did that wonderful version of ‘Mistreated’ with just yourself out there with the acoustic. Are you going to be putting your own spin on the Deep Purple catalogue when you come over?

Glenn: Oh yeah! I mean look I’m going to do the songs justice. My webmaster keeps track of every gig I’ve ever done, every track I’ve ever played, every event and every show in the last 27 years and there has never been a complete Glenn Hughes Deep Purple show before, there have always been other songs from other albums, Hughes-Thrall, Black Country Communion, Trapeze, and solo Glenn. I’ve recorded over 500 songs now so for me to do these songs is a moment of love, and I’ve got to give that love back because a lot of people want to hear those. I’m going to be mainly sticking to the songs I wrote and recorded and there will be some arrangement things going on but it will be a bit of a journey and it will be honouring the melodies and the sounds that are Deep Purple. People will come and they’ll know instantly what song it is within the first four bars of the intro! I’m not going to go all Reggae! (laughs) I’m going to be bringing Classic Rock to Classic Rock fans and what’s better than real Classic Deep Purple songs.

Mark: Excellent, and you’re bringing with you a pretty decent backing band too! Those guys know how to put on a show!

Glenn: They’re an amazing band. In my opinion, I’ve got an Australian keyboard player Lachy Doley and I’ll say this to you and I want to make a statement here Mark, and I’ve played with Jon Lord and Keith Emerson, may they rest in peace, Lachy Doley in my opinion is the greatest living keyboard player on the planet right now for rock music in general, and he’s been a friend of mine for a good ten years now, he played on my last album, he’s insanely good and he’s Australian. And on guitar Jeff Kollman he’s been on and off with me for many years, he’s the right man for this Deep Purple show –a virtuoso guitar player and he brings every bit of love and respect to honour Blackmore, it’ll be a wonderful moment. On drums Pontus Engborg – he went to Berkley studied Rock and Jazz, and Ian Paice as you know comes from Jazz. So I’ve got a very very well-versed drummer who understands Paice and can play like Bonham. So the band will tick all the boxes for everyone, and I guess I’ll sing and play bass. I can feel the hair getting longer already! (laughs)

Mark: (laughs) In other news of course you’ve got the latest Black Country Communion album – BCCIV coming up, it’s almost upon us now?

Glenn: It’s coming out soon, a few days after I arrive in Sydney so even though I’ll be doing the Deep Purple Tour I’ll have the Black Country Communion album out that same week. And that album’s a very spectacular piece of work, we’re all very, very proud of that one. I can’t wait to get down there and play for you guys Australia’s always had a real connection for me, some of my relatives moved there in the 60’s and It’s nice to get a chance to see them, and Australia is a place I’ve always held in very high regards.

Mark: The one question I’ve always wanted to ask you and we didn’t get a chance to get to last time was, taking it all the way back when did you realise that music was going to be your life, was it one blinding moment of clarity or a gradual realisation?

Glenn: I was named after Glenn Miller, and for people who don’t know who Glenn Millar was he was a famous band leader in the Second World War, Captain Glenn Millar, trombone player, who led an orchestra and sadly his plane went down and he lost his life. I come from a very, very musical family and I was named after Glenn Millar so the first instrument I learnt how to play was the trombone and I learnt how to read music playing the trombone and one day when I was about ten and a half, eleven years old I went home from band practice, turned the TV on and I saw four gentlemen from Liverpool on TV and as soon as I saw those guys playing guitar I put the trombone in its case, picked up a guitar and the rest is Rock and Roll history!

Mark: We’ve got The Beatles to thank for that too then! If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album just to see how the magic happened and how it all came together in the studio, what’s that album for you and why?

Glenn: It would have to be ‘Sgt. Pepper’ simply because I was still at school, all of my friends were listening to Dylan, I was 14, and I was really railroaded by it, The Beatles were my first influence, but I was railroaded by the lyrical content, whether or not they were smoking pot or taking acid I didn’t know about those kind of things back then, but I was ensconced in the incredible spiritual messages they were giving to this young teenager. I mean ‘Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds’, ‘A Day in the Life’ – these songs were being driven into my soul. It was like I was going to become a song writer because of these songs they were giving me the inspiration in my bedroom here I wrote bits and pieces of what would later become songs that people would hear.

Mark: It’s a very powerful album and fifty years old this year.

Glenn: It’s classic, a classic.

Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us again Glenn. Have a safe trip over and we’ll see you when you get here.

Glenn: Looking forward to it, thank you so much Mark.

Glenn Hughes - Classic deep purple Live

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