Glenn Hughes interview, 5th October 2015

I spoke to former Deep Purple, Trapeze, Black Country Communion & California Breeze  singer/bassist Glenn Hughes earlier today about his forthcoming UK tour. 

Glenn Hughes photo by Mike Prior

You’re currently on tour in Europe and hit the UK in just under a fortnight for ten dates around the UK. Having lived in the US for so many years, does the UK still feel a bit like home?

Now that’s a difficult one.  My mum and dad still live up there in the Midlands, and I don’t have any brothers or sisters.  I left England in the early 70s, I’ve been gone for 42 years, and America is my home, but it’s like I’m still British, I never changed citizenship. A lot of my Brit friends have become US citizens. I’m very British, so much so that I wear gold and black to go to bed in – I’m a Wolves fan.  I love England but I live in L.A and I’ve been there so long, but I’m very much a bi-coastal kind of guy.

The Bilston date must be pretty much a home town show being less than 10 miles from Cannock as well as being a couple of miles from the Wolves ground.

That particular venue for me goes back 20 something years.  When I’d got my band Trapeze we did a reunion tour in America and we did a couple of shows at the Robin in 94.  The owner of that place is such a fanatical Trapeze fan.  Every time we play in the Midlands, whether it’s the Civic hall or Birmingham Town Hall, or The Robin, I always try to get back to what I consider the appropriate venue, and we figured on this particular tour, that club, they really respect where I’ve been and where I’m going, so that’s why we’re playing The Robin.

It is a great venue – good sound, good lights and really well run.

Also my mum can come so that’s a really great excuse for me to play there.

You’ve got former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich playing with you on this tour.

I do.  I’m very very honoured to have Doug playing with me.  Before Black Country I had a band with Soren Anderson, a Danish guitar player and Pontus Engborg, a Swedish drummer.  Soren couldn’t come with me on this South American and European run because he was contracted to do something else, so three months ago I had a decision to make – who to call?  I wanted to make music and travel, have breakfast, have dinners, with someone who is not only a great guitar player but who is also someone I can live with, hang with and be friends with, and I have to tell you these days I have to play with people where I can have a releationship that is more than just music, it’s a life stream for me.

It would be ridiculous for me to form another Black Country or California Breed, having the bands disband around me and it would be ridiculous to form another all-star supergroup that doesn’t tour.  The great news for my fans is that I’m now going to be touring for a one year cycle.  We started 7 or 8 weeks ago and the tour will run all the way through to September 2016.  It’s the longest tour I’ve done in 40 years and people will say why?   You know records don’t mean what they used to.  I am an artist that makes new music continuously, always writing new music, but if I’ve got a choice to make live music or an album, right now it’s got to be live.

When you’ve hear me sing live, I think every artist has a time in their career where they have to do what is right for them, and I think that time is now for me. With new management, new agency, my new band, and Peter Noble still with me, it’s a great crew doing a lot of things.  I think Black Country Communion opened a lot of doors for me globally and I’ve kicked it open and here we go.  We’re selling a lot of shows out, a lot of people coming to see us, and nobody is more grateful than me.  I’m so honoured about that.

With your solo work plus Trapeze, Black Country Communion and California Breed it must be very difficult to know where to start in terms of putting together a setlist

Certain friends of mine, famous or not, sometimes they don’t want to play their nostalgic songs.  I’m one to play new music.  I think people know I’m always taking risks and playing new music and writing music all the time, and jamming.  There’s a lot of interplay in my show.  Each night the song will be the same but there will be new bits put into the song – I can’t paint by numbers and follow that guideline.  Anyone who knows me will know I do walk the tightrope a bit, no safety net and I really like the interplay between Doug and I.

We live in a world that’s in an awful position right now with terrorism and kidnappings, the drugs – it’s just a really bad state of affairs, and music, whether it’s mine or whoever you listen to, is really the only centre of the universe that can really help us, it really can help people, it’s a real healing prospect for me to deliver my music to people who come to see me sing.  I’m really honoured to do what I do.

One thing that impresses me is that when singing live you can still reach those high notes that most singers who have been around for a few decades really struggle to achieve.

I think it’s the No fear factor.  I have an ability to sing notes that some people can’t do, and if you have fear and are afraid to try then you’re not going to succeed.  It doesn’t get any better than that for me, having that no fear factor – fear is the guilty party always.

It must be quite difficult on tour to sing every night, and travel as a group between venues without getting a bug that affects your voice.

You’re right.  I got sick a couple of times in the last twelve months and I’m going “I can’t get sick again”, so what I do is I’m very careful about germs, I’m not like Howard Hughes ridiculous, but I am careful about trying not to get sick.  Every time I go to Russia I seem to get sick, but we’re not there till Summer next year.  So yes I take care of myself.

Thanks for your time.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing everybody soon at the UK shows.



Saturday 17                       Southampton Engine Rooms                      BUY TICKETS
Monday 19                        Norwich Waterfront     
                                BUY TICKETS
Tuesday 20                        Newcastle Tyne Theatre                              BUY TICKETS
Thursday 22                       Belfast Limelight                                             BUY TICKETS
Friday 23                              Glasgow The Garage                                      BUY TICKETS
Sunday 25                           Holmfirth Picturedrome                              BUY TICKETS
Monday 26                         Bilston Robin 2                                                 BUY TICKETS
Wednesday 28                 York Fibbers                                                      BUY TICKETS
Thursday 29                        Manchester Club Academy                         BUY TICKETS

Sunday 1                    London Electric Ballroom                 BUY TICKETS

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.