Glenn Hughes releases his eagerly anticipated first solo studio record in almost seven years.
The “Voice of Rock” is back with his electrifying new record Resonate. Hughes has reunited with his long-standing band mates Soren Anderson (guitars and co-producer), Pontus Engborg (drums) and new boy Lachy Doley (keyboards). Red Hot Chilli Peppers sticks man Chad Smith also features on the opening and closing numbers.
Having been recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the legendary Deep Purple Mk 3 lineup, news has started to emerge also of a forthcoming Black Country Communion reunion. National Rock Review recently caught up with Glenn Hughes at home in L.A. to get the low down on all things Resonate.
NRR: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review once again, we really appreciate it, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Obviously, you’ve got a brand new album coming out called Resonate. I was just wondering could you tell us a little bit about the album and the inspiration behind it?
Glenn: Do you know I made the album whilst recovering from knee replacement, my left knee last December and my right knee in January. I wanted to sing and feel about … recovery for me was important, so the first five months of this year were spent at home with a recovery team, a physical therapist. I had to relearn how to walk and do the right thing you know. It was important to figure out how do I walk again, how do I do this and how do I do that, it wasn’t easy.
NRR: People are saying that this is your heaviest album to date. I was just wondering was that your intention when you set out to record this album?
Glenn: No, because when I started to write, I think “Steady” was the first song I wrote. When I wrote “Steady” I’m going ok we’ve got this groove track and we’ve got a really, really glorious chorus.
What I did Adam on this album, unlike on any other album I said to myself I’m going to write one song every day, but this time I’m going to finish it in its entirety. Before I have dinner I want the music to be done and after dinner, I will arrange it and then I write lyrics, and right before I went to bed around 9 or 10 o’clock every night I would sing it. The next day I would do the same with the next track until I had twelve songs.
Over the course of fifteen days I had written this album that you are hearing and I say to you, and I’m being very honest with you this album wrote itself, it was such an easy album. I was alone in my studio and my band had no idea what I was doing, they knew I was writing but they had no idea I was writing an album. Then when I called them I booked some studio time in Europe and we went in and I played them the songs and they went ok here we go. So it was a case of letting people hear them and being spontaneous.
NRR: Where do you find the inspiration for your songwriting?
Glenn: What comes from within for me, what’s going on with me internally and what’s going on with me internally is probably going to happen to you or those people around us. Because I don’t write about fictional things, I write about the spiritual condition, I write about what goes on within, the good, the bad, the indifferent from birth to death, what goes on in between, some fear, some lack of faith, some finding faith, some losing love, some finding love, seven deadly sins stuff that people will relate to.
Now when I was 22 years old I didn’t really relate to most of these things, it’s when your 22. When I look at my lyrics from when I was 22 and 23 years old with Purple and with David, I’m looking through my lyrics and I was thinking what? What was I writing (laughing) I think Lennon and McCartney and Townshend were the only three real great, great lyricists from Britain back in that period who were thinking about stuff that they hadn’t lived yet. So I think writing lyrics for me is vitally important.
NRR: On this album, you’ve brought in Chad Smith, I know he plays a couple of drum tracks on the record and I noticed today you also posted about it being his birthday as well. I know he’s a great friend of yours, I was just wondering what’s it like working with Chad and what does he bring to the process?
Glenn: Well he most certainly brings his drumming, but he brings a sense of humour and a sense of love to me and my music. He’s a family member to me, I’m godfather to one of his children, he’s my best mate, we are there for each other.
He’s been through a lot of things with my health, I’m always there for him, it’s a genuine case of a dear friend. I don’t have any brothers or sisters and he absolutely most certainly is a brother to me. So when he comes in, he’s been on five of my albums now, so when he comes in to work with me he’s completely there 100%. It’s always a joy having Chad Smith around. If you know anything about Chad, he’s a very funny guy and he brings a lot of love and humour to anything he does, so it’s incredible.
NRR: Since the last time I saw you perform live over here in the UK, obviously you came over with Doug Aldrich and Pontus Engborg on drums. Since then you’ve also brought in a keyboard player in the shape of Lachy Doley. You’ve worked alongside some great keyboard players in your time with Jon Lord in Deep Purple and Derek Sherinian in Black Country Communion. Did you feel like a keyboard player was the missing piece of the puzzle for your solo record?
Glenn: It may have been, simply because I was writing songs to be recorded as a trio. Then on the eleventh-hour, sort of April of this year, I said to myself I’m going to have to play some keyboards. Then I went wait a minute this is going to need a real keyboard player. I play with Lachy because I’m friends with Jimmy Barnes the Australian singer and Lachy plays with Jimmy. Lachy Doley, remember I played with Jon Lord and Keith Emerson, when you play with two guys who are that good then Lachy comes into your life and you go oh my god this guy is insane. He’s an insane keyboard player, he was incredible.
NRR: Do you have a particular favourite track on the album and if so which song and why?
Glenn: I don’t really have a favourite track because they are all special to me because they are all telling a story, they are all giving me the real deal of what’s been going on. I get asked that question a lot, what’s your favourite track and it’s a normal question, but it’s difficult to answer on this album because it was written almost like a movie, it was like written in scripts and written in chapters, it was like one long song.
NRR: You’ve released a new music video for the song “Long Time Gone” from the Resonate album. Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind that song?
Glenn: It’s a song about coming home, it’s a song about being lost at sea and getting back on the beach and walking back home. For me, this album is a healing album the buzz word for me is healing. That song really speaks to me, it really means coming back home you know, rejuvenation, resonation. I keep using that word, it’s something that the last song on the album really means it’s been a long time, it’s been a long time gone you know.
I feel like I’m talking to myself when I’m saying it’s good to be back, you know from open heart surgery three years ago to double knee surgery this year, it’s not been an easy pretty ride for me, it’s not been something that I’ve spoken about, but it’s not been easy having major surgeries like this. It’s been pretty devastating, so I’m just really glad to be back and I’m glad to be of service to people that need help.
NRR: I just wanted to touch upon Black Country Communion because there was news floating around the internet earlier this year, everybody thought that Black Country Communion was over and then there was news coming out stating that you guys are on the verge of recording a new studio album. I was just wondering what sparked that rejuvenation of the band and the change of heart within the band, how did that all come about?
Glenn: It’s very simple, Joe and I over the course of the last four years have not stopped talking to one another. Joe has always come to see me and I’ve been to see him perform, and he’s always there for me when I play.
After the Hall of Fame, Joe and I had dinner in L.A. and we spoke about a reunion. We said wouldn’t it be great to make an all killer no filler album, a real grand opus, a really great return for a really special band. We said to each other, let’s not do an album that’s not gonna be fucking great, let’s make an album that ticks all of the boxes for every rock fan, not just Black Country Communion fans but rock fans. Let’s make an album for the rock genre globally, because Black Country was quite big everywhere.
So Joe’s been in my house all week, he’s coming again today and he will be here tomorrow and Friday and we’ll be finished writing on Saturday. Then we will be going into the studio in early January to make the album and the album will be released May 20th.
NRR: That’s great, so it’s definitely on its way.
Glenn: The one thing about Black Country is we know the recording date and we always know the date of release, it’s always been that way, it’s like an animal and a machine, we know exactly what we are doing.
NRR: Do you think the band will tour again off the back of this forthcoming record, or do you think it will be more of a studio-based project?
Glenn: Joe and I have said that we would like to play, that is the extent of it. What we haven’t done, which is really good by the way, is go into any length to discuss where and how we will play, because what we don’t want to do is shoot ourselves in the foot. As you know Joe is the busiest man in the music business, I am also now doing Resonate touring through next year. Then we would love to play, it’s just a matter of where and when. What we don’t want to do is announce something and we don’t do it like last time, we were going to play one show and it got cancelled, that won’t happen again. We just want to make a fantastic album and then we will see what happens after that, I think it’s as simple as that really.
NRR: Late last year you were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Deep Purple Mk 3. I was just wondering how did that feel for you to receive that kind of recognition?
Glenn: It was huge because in America there’s nothing bigger than the Hall of Fame, it’s like getting an Oscar. If it’s in England, it’s like getting a Brit Award or something like that you know a Pulitzer prize or something, I don’t know. It’s a huge honour and there are only 335 acts in the Hall of Fame and each one is huge. Now we are in there with The Stones and The Beatles and Zeppelin and The Who and Sabbath, it’s like Purple I guess would have qualified to be in with those other friends of ours. So it was a grand and glorious evening.
NRR: I was just wondering having had such a long and successful career, with the benefit of hindsight is there anything that you would have done differently?
Glenn: I’m sure there will have been, but I’m a firm believer in everything that happens does so for a reason. Did I enjoy being misguided in the 80s? No. Did I enjoy being cast out? No. But it’s only made me the man I am today, I’m strong, sensitive of course, but I’ve been through it all, I’ve been through everything you can possibly imagine, almost died a few times and that’s not being grandiose, I say that because it’s real. I am one of the guys that is supposed to be here to carry a message to people of healing. I will say again it’s the healer, I’m not going to change the planet, but music certainly heals, it really heals.
NRR: What’s the plans for Glenn Hughes for the rest of this year and into 2017, what’s on the cards?
Glenn: Well you know for me finishing Black Country and getting the songs down and ready, going into next year to do Black Country. Then touring America for Resonate and then coming back into Europe to do Glenn Hughes Resonate festivals.
Again what I can’t do Adam, I can’t say there will be huge amounts of shows for Black Country because what I won’t do anymore is quote something that’s not real, all I can say is that we are making a great album and we hope to be surfacing in a city near you, you know so that’s really important. But for me the true fact is that I’m a solo artist, I’ve got an amazing manager, an amazing agent and I can play anywhere in the world and I’m looking forward to coming to a city near you.
NRR: That all sounds great and thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it. Good luck with the album release and the forthcoming tour and finishing off the Black Country Communion record.
Glenn: Welcome, nice to speak to you, Adam.
Resonate by Glenn Hughes is out now via Frontiers Music Srl.
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Photo: Â© Stuart Westwood Photography