Following the split of California Breed, Glenn Hughes gets ready to hit the road across the UK with his solo band featuring Doug Aldrich.
National Rock Review recently caught up with the ‘Voice of Rock’ to talk about his forthcoming UK tour, the end of California Breed and the likelihood of working with Ritchie Blackmore again.
NRR: Thanks for taking to the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review today, we really appreciate it. It’s a real honor to speak to you.
The last time we saw you in the UK was at the back end of last year with California Breed where you were touring with Slash. The band seemed to end really quickly, what happened with California Breed?
Glenn: Well for me actually, I haven’t really been asked this question personally. I mean I’ve been asked on the Internet.
Jason decided to leave when we were on sale with Slash and Myles Kennedy, we were selling tickets. My name was on the ticket that people were buying and when my name is on a ticket, I’m going to show up. So Jason with all due respect to him didn’t want to do a tour, he just changed his mind but because we were on sale I said to the manager of the band well I’m not going to disband, if this had of happened a month ago then we would ofÂ … you know, closed the door.
If somebody is going to buy a ticket to see me with Slash and Myles Kennedy I’m going to show up. Consequently that led me to finding a new drummer who wasn’t Jason Bonham. The band then hinged itself on being Glenn Hughes band because Jason had gone. I was working with a young guitar player Andrew Watt, a very talented young man but unknown, so it left me in a bit of a situation where as to what do I do after the Slash tour? Do I reform California Breed with another famous drummer, do I continue, what do I do?
So before I even entered the stage with Slash and Myles Kennedy last summer I resigned. I said I’m going to leave after I’ve done the Slash tour. I did not announce it but I didn’t want to waste anymore time forming a band where the guitar player didn’t want to play or the drummer who is gonna leave. I’m 64 years old, I’ve got seven, eight or ten years left to do what I’m going to do. Why don’t I go back to being Glenn Hughes solo artist, new management, new agent .. a global tour is beckoning. I thought it would be the appropriate thing to do.
Now I’m probably breaking the news to you today where you are probably thinking Glenn was unhappy. I was not unhappy, I was just hurt that Jason would leave a band when tickets were on sale.
NRR: That’s understandable.
Glenn: I do all of the press for Black Country Communion and California Breed and if anything goes wrong people point the fingers at me. So I will be the first person to stand up and go blah blah blah blah blah, but I was just tired of doing this and not getting any respect from the people I was working with. Love Bonamassa, love Jason, love them all but they just didn’t want to work.
NRR: Obviously, like you just mentioned there you’ve got your solo band going now and Doug Aldrich has joined the band which is great. What’s it been like working with Doug and how did you two meet?
Glenn: It’s wonderful working with Doug. I’ve known Doug since the Ron Dio years and of course David. Doug is not only one of the nicest men we have in the industry, but he’s one of the top 5 I think guitar players we have playing rock music on the planet.
When you get a guy who you can work with who is a really nice man, a family man and is a very talented man. It’s a win win for me. I’ve played with the greatest guitar players alive, but I’ve found myself in a situation with Doug who is a really, really honest sensitive caring man and genuinely wants to play with me and shows up for breakfast and we have some fun. We have no secrets, we are family men.
I’ve surrounded myself with a loving, nurturing group of guys in my band. We are scheduled to tour for the entire of 2016. Doug has replaced my guitar player Soren, so Doug right now is playing with me, I’m hoping Doug will be with me for a while but the name of the band is Glenn Hughes. Doug is playing with me and it’s going really, really well.
NRR: Do you have any plans to write any new material with Doug?
Glenn: I do, the funny thing is and this is the first time I’ve said this in an interview, I’m just too damn busy to make an album (laughing). It’s crazy because you know my history, I’ve done so many records and I haven’t toured enough.
I think the reason why is because I didn’t have the right management. I have amazing management now and they are telling me that agents and promoters around the world are coming for Glenn Hughes shows and I’ve got to be honest with you I am very, very, very humbled by that. That I can actually go out and do what I do live.
I think anybody who has heard or knows about Glenn Hughes they say you’ve got to hear him sing live. The fact of the matter is that we haven’t had enough of that. You know Black Country was the start of it for me and working with Joe was an amazing gift and now to go out with whoever is in my band, we are going to be scheduling shows all the way through to October ’16. So you are going to be seeing a lot of Glenn Hughes and long may that continue.
NRR: So you are about to embark upon your forthcoming UK tour very soon. What can the fans expect from your show this time around?
Glenn: Pure rock. It’s a rock show, it’s a generation of four decades of Glenn Hughes rock. We all know that Glenn likes to do the groove stuff and you know is he black, is he white, no he’s from the West Midlands and he is a white man.
He’s been called the ‘Voice of Rock’ and blah blah blah and what he is doing is he is that rock guy. I’m really in a place where I know where I have come from and I know where I am going. I’ve massed a great talent of people around me and we are celebrating the Glenn Hughes rock thing.
You know it’s a very intense rock show, it’s two hours. It’s a blistering show, a lot of drama in the show and a lot of edge, a lot of sensitivity and a lot of great musicianship.
NRR: Out of all of the many hundreds of tracks, you’ve just mentioned there four decades worth of material. What’s your favorite track to perform live and why?
Glenn: Well there’s so bloody many. People ask me, how can you do Burn for 42 years and keep it fresh? Well I know singers, famous guys that have a problem doing that, I shan’t say who they are because you probably know who they are. When I play a song like Burn for the ten thousandth time, do you know how many people go mad when I sing that song? It’s because it’s their song.
That song was written by five guys and that song is now owned by the world, it’s their song. How can I not perform that song every night like I wrote it 42 years ago. So when I’m going to sing or play a song, I’m going to deliver it.
I don’t fly my stuff in, I really mean what I do when I’m up on that stage. I’m not drinking, I’m not thinking about women, I’m not thinking about smoking cigarettes, I’m thinking about making people go home and go I want to see more of that next time. I’m very, very honored to have the most amazing fans.
NRR: You just mentioned Burn there. Obviously the Deep Purple years, I know yourself and David Coverdale are still very close and I saw some footage recently where you performed onstage a few months back with Whitesnake.
I know there was some talks earlier this year about a potential Deep Purple reunion with Coverdale and trying to get Richie Blackmore involved. Do you think that could ever happen and if so would you want to go down that path?
Glenn: David and I will work together at some point. David and I spoke while Jon was alive, Jon and I and David spoke about the best way to get the real deal with Mk3. We did try to do that. Certain people we couldn’t get them to the table.
Let’s just say that both David and I have …. maybe we could of worked with Ritchie. It just didn’t work out, where it was appropriate. Did we want to do this, I’m sure the fans would of wanted us to do this.
David and I only want to wish Ritchie the very, very best. We all know that Richie is going to play some shows next year, he’s found a new singer. You know David and I could of done something with Ritchie, it didn’t quite work out, so we move on.
You know i haven’t spoken to Ritchie in 41 years. I only want to wish Ritchie all the very best in his shows next year. I just wish him a great success, but I don’t want to live so much on past memories. I just want to carry on with my life you know, and be in the real, real world.
I’m so grateful and humbled and honored to still be alive to do what I do … but David Coverdale and I are as thick as thieves so you never know what is going to happen.
NRR: You also played some shows with Kings of Chaos earlier this year, that must of been a lot of fun?
Glenn: It’s always fun with Slash and Duff and Matt and Billy Gibbons and Steven Tyler. These are my friends for three decades. All clean and sober guys. I live in Los Angeles, a very very large town but a cliquey town of sober men if you will. As you know I should be dead ten times over.
I’m very lucky to surround myself with loving people. Those guys I’ve mentioned are the closest friends I have. It’s a band of brothers. You are talking to a guy who should be dead.
I’m British .. Americanized, 43 years I’ve been living in Los Angeles but when I play in the UK I’m flying that British flag you know. I have an amazing fan base in the UK. This tour for me that is coming up that I’m talking about, is a very, very essential part of my life. So people that are reading this interview need to know how important the UK is to me as it is my country of birth, although I am very much Americanized but I still wear my union jack underpants (laughing).
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us and we are really looking forward to seeing you at the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle.
Glenn: Let me tell you Newcastle is a place that holds a very, very high mark in my love, it’s an amazing rock town and you can bet your life it’s going to be one hell of a show.
GLENN HUGHES â€“ OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 UK TOUR
Sat 17Â | Southampton, Engine Rooms
Mon 19 | Norwich, Waterfront
Tue 20 | Newcastle, Tyne Theatre
Thu 22 | Belfast, Limelight
Fri 23 | Glasgow, The Garage
Sun 25 | Holmfirth, Picturedrome
Mon 26 | Bilston, Robin 2Â Wed 28 | York, Fibbers
Thu 29 | Manchester – Club AcademyÂ
Sun 01 | London, Electric Ballroom [BUY TICKETS]
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Photo: Â© Joe Lester