Glenn Hughes 2010
Photo: Christie Goodwin

With a career spanning almost 40 years, Glenn Hughes has amassed an incredible body of work with the likes of Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Hughes Thrall, as well as Black Country Communion.

You’re about to hit the road on your biggest headlining UK tour in years, covering 16 shows starting on September 23rd in Manchester and ending on the 13th of October in Southampton. Are you looking forward to getting around the UK again?

GLENN: I’m super pumped about this especially with the new Black Country Communion album coming out, as well as being out on the road. It’s a great time and I can’t wait to get out and play for you all.

You have a huge catalogue of material to draw from. Where do you start when drawing up your set list?

GLENN: I won’t say what songs I’ll be playing, but the set list will be Trapeze, Hughes Thrall, Purple, and my solo material. It’ll draw from the Rockier side of what I’ve done. I just want to go out and emphasise my Rock side. I guess at this point I want to return to my roots where I started out playing Rock music. The set list is designed for the Glenn Hughes Rock fan. I wanted to make it a really cohesive set of songs that’ll be a great show for my band and the fans. There’s a great vibe in the show and there are a few songs I haven’t played in a really long time, so this is what the fans want to see from time to time I guess. The tour is about the celebration of my 40-year career.

Do you think that working on Black Country Communion reinvigorated that side of your music?

GLENN: I think it has. When I started working with Joe Bonamassa, we didn’t really know what kind of music we were going to make and we ended up doing a real big Hard Rock album. I guess Joe ended up doing what he wanted to do all along and be in a Rock band.

Back in the early ’90’s, your touring band was comprised mostly by the guys from Europe. Who are you bringing out on the road with you this time?

GLENN: When I came back in ’93, I had rented a home in Stockholm and everyone knows that the band Europe are Swedish and they became really good friends of mine. I started my comeback with those guys and it led me back into Rock music. On this tour, I have my long-time keyboard player with me, Anders Olinder. He was with Peter Gabriel for a while … he’s a great Rock keyboard player. Soren Andersen is on guitar, and he played with Mike Tramp from White Lion. He’s a Danish guy, sort of like a young Tommy Bolin… he plays across the board and understands Blackmore, Bolin, Pat Thrall, and Mel Galley, so he’s a perfect foil for me. The drummer is Pontus Engborg; he’s 30 years old and the youngest member of the band. He’s a big, tall Swedish guy that’s been living in Los Angeles and he’s an amazing, massive Rock drummer. The guys are younger than I am, as I wanted to bring out a younger band because I feel young and reinvigorated. I feel reborn so this is the kind of band I want to work with.

It’s certainly been a busy time for you recently … and on 20th of September your new album from Black Country Communion was released. This is quite possibly the most eagerly anticipated album in recent years. Are you excited now that it’s coming out?

GLENN: What people need to really know is that this is a Rock album. This is YOUR album. We made this album for you guys. It’s a Rock ‘n’ Roll album for Rock fans. Although I live in America, this is a very British-sounding album and we’ll be coming over to the UK to play and the dates will be announced really soon, and you can bet that Newcastle will be included amongst those shows. I am so excited that the album is finally coming out.

Black Country Communion features four highly respected musicians. How did you end up working together?

GLENN: Joe Bonamassa and I became really good friends about four years ago. He was a fan of my music but I didn’t know too much about Joe. I started to hang out with Joe and we started to write some songs and Joe started to become more and more popular. I think Joe was secretly plotting something and we ended up putting the band together towards the end of last year. It’s now almost a year later and the album is almost out and a lot of hard work has gone into creating it. All that hard work is paying off and we’re all so proud of this album.

Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted when the band came together, or did the sound and style sort of evolve as you played together?

GLENN: When Joe and I started working we didn’t know what kind of Rock music we were going to make, whether it was going to be straight Hard Rock, or something more Bluesy, or maybe something with some kind of Memphis influence. The longer me and Joe played together, the louder the Marshall’s became and the Les Paul’s started to come out and we began to really crank it up. Joe and I realized that we were going to make a Rock album. People seem to see Joe as this great Blues guy, but he grew up listening to Purple, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Humble Pie, Free, and Traffic and bands like that. That’s Joe’s background, but we all know Joe as the number one Bluesman. On this album, Joe is Rocking and if you want to hear a Bluesman who wants to Rock, I advise you to go and listen to Joe Bonamassa. He’s such a nice guy and I’d like all Glenn Hughes fans to become Joe Bonamassa fans as he is just great.

It’s been a long time since you’ve been in a band set up. Was it strange for you working as a band rather than a solo artist?

GLENN: It is difficult because you have four very strong-minded guys and I am the elder statesman, and I’ve written most of the material, but I write with Joe, Jason, and Derek in mind. When I take a song into the studio, that song gets kicked around by each member, but when I have my own band that doesn’t happen as I have a very definitive idea of what the song should be. So when you have four strong guys in a band and a big Svengali type of producer in Kevin Shirley, who has produced Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Maiden, and The Black Crowes, then you know you have five guys in there kicking and screaming and it’s great.

The opening track “Black Country” is the heaviest thing you’ve done in years. Did you want to make a real instant statement of intent for the listener?

GLENN: It’s a welcome back to the Rock format for me. If you drop the needle onto Track 1, it gives you a real sense of where you’re going on the ride with Black Country. “I am a messenger, this is my prophecy. I’m going back to the Black Country”. It’s a statement, the planting of a flag saying “We’re here and this is who we are”.

You’ve also reworked Trapeze’s “Medusa”. Why did you choose that particular track for the Black Country Communion treatment over all of your other work?

GLENN: It’s very simple, really. Joe loves the track, and Jason ‘s father, John, played that track twenty times with me back in 1970 on tour with Trapeze. John and I used to hang out a lot back in those days and he used to drive me to gigs. Now I’m playing this song nearly 40 years later with his son, so it’s special. It’s a beautiful thing and Jason Bonham plays it insanely brilliantly. I’ve now played that song with both Bonhams… it’s crazy.

Talking of Trapeze, do you have any Trapeze-related projects lined up?

GLENN: What I would like to do is an album of Trapeze songs with my mates like Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top and people who are fans and friends of mine who understand Trapeze, like Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule and maybe Greg Allman or Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes could sing on a song. To do an album with Trapeze maniacs would be my dream and I’m giving you a bit of an exclusive here, so if I’m going to do anything with the Trapeze name on it I want to bring in my friends to help.

The special edition of the album includes a bonus DVD. What have you included?

GLENN: We film everything, so there’s outtakes from the studio, there might be a live recording on there too. I haven’t actually seen it yet, so I’m not sure exactly what’s on there, but I think the video for “The Great Divide” will be on there. I haven’t seen it so it’ll be a surprise for me too.

As for live shows, will you be relying solely on your own band material or will you be popping in a couple of tracks from each band members’ past material?

GLENN: We’ll only be playing Black Country Communion material at the shows. We’re creating brand new music and I’ve certainly been trying to steer the band away from playing any of the old music that we’ve done. Everybody knows that I was in Deep Purple, but we don’t need to be doing that. In fact, I’d rather do a Led Zeppelin track. There’s over 70 minutes of music on the album, so we have a lot of music to play. It’s very important to us to show the audience that we have these songs and this is what we are we are about. When Rock fans hear this album, they’ll know that it’s a serious band. I’m really good friends with guys in Chickenfoot, Them Crooked Vultures, Velvet Revolver, Audioslave, and everyone in that “supergroup” type of thing, but we don’t look at it like that as we’re all good mates. We are just the latest new band to be called a “super group” simply because we’ve sold lots and lots of albums.

Will you be playing any Black Country Communion songs on your solo tour?

GLENN: You know, I think I’ll leave that to BCC, but there’s a possibility I’ll play “Medusa” as that’s my song.

You’re all very busy with your own careers. Do you see Black Country Communion as a refreshing distraction from your day jobs or can you see this as a more long term project?

GLENN: I see this as running parallel to my solo work as Jason is committed to doing the Led Zeppelin Experience over the next 3 years; Joe is doing his thing, as is Derek, but I’m going to tell you now that we all believe in this band and that we are band that will continue. We’re not just a band that makes records … we want to play live. The next announcement we will make is some live shows. They won’t be until next year, but I promise you we’ll be coming over to play. There will be another album, there’s absolutely no doubt about that, but all we want to do now is get this one out and go and play live.

You’ve also been working on the re-issue of Deep Purples Come Taste the Band. What’s the latest with that?

GLENN: Kevin Shirley has remixed Come Taste The Band and it sounds fantastic. The original version was a great album, but this one sounds like you are actually sitting in the studio with us, so my hat’s off to Kevin for doing such a great job.

There have been a couple of releases such as Inglewood Drive and The Days May Come that contained some outtakes from those sessions. Have you found anything else lying in the vaults since you’ve started this project?

GLENN: Yes, there is. There’s a Tommy Bolin and Ian Paice jam called “Always The Same In LA”. There’s a few moments of vocals and the rest is instrumental and it’s something really special. I know fans love extra bits, so this is for them. I’m always trying to think of ways of giving a little extra something, so that’s a gift for the fans.

If all that’s not enough to keep you busy, you’ve also been working on your biography. When can fans expect to see this?

GLENN: It’s now nearly complete. I’m just bringing some photographs together to finish it off. The first edition will be the Deluxe edition, which is hand bound in either snakeskin or satin, and I’ve recorded a special vinyl EP, which will be included and this will feature re-recorded versions of “What Is A Woman’s Role” and “Holy Man” and one new track, “Dying To Live”. This special edition will be out next March and the regular version will be out later.

Is this a look at your whole life or just certain aspects of your career?

GLENN: This will cover everything. It’s taken me five years to write it and I want it to be totally honest about what it’s like to come from a working class family and then to become very, very famous and then become an alcoholic and the wheels come of, and then what it’s like for the wheels to come back on again in the last 20 years of my life, bringing me right up to Black Country Communion. Everything is rosy for me now, but it has been very difficult in the past. I want everyone to know what it was like for a normal working class boy from England to shoot to stardom and head over to Los Angeles to go absolutely crazy and to come back from the brink of death.

You recently lost your very good friend Ronnie James Dio. What did Ronnie mean to you personally and from a musical point of view?

GLENN: I took Ronnie in, in 1973 when Ronnie’s band Elf supported Deep Purple. I befriended Ronnie and we became best mates. When he left Rainbow in 1978, he moved to LA to be close to me with his wife Wendy, and he lived 3 streets away. Ronnie and I and Wendy and my first wife pretty much lived together for 10 years and we became very close. For me to participate in anything related to Ronnie, I’ll always be the first in line. When Wendy called me to sing at Ronnie’s funeral or sing with Heaven and Hell at the High Voltage festival, of course I would be there. I know that Ronnie would have wanted me to be there for him and I know for a fact that he’d be there for me. Ronnie is without a doubt the best Metal singer there was, both Ronnie and Rob Halford are my two favorites. What people need to know about Ronnie is that he was a humanitarian and he dug deep into his pocket to help underprivileged children to feed them, to put a roof over their heads, and teach them of the dangers of drugs. Anyone that helps others and gives their time to help underprivileged children is a hero in my book. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such an outpouring of grief when a musician has died and I’ve seen so many over the years from Keith Moon, Tommy Bolin, Phil Lynott , Mel Galley, and John Bonham. I’ve lost four of my friends to cancer this year and enough is enough. I hope that one day we can get a cure for this horrible illness. There’s not a family around that won’t be affected by this disease.

Just to wind things up. What do you have planned after your solo tour finishes?

GLENN: I can’t really say much, but I can say this … because of the great response to the first album, we are going into the studio to make our second album in January. Joe will continue his touring. I will go to the Far East, Singapore, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. I will also be going to South America. Jason will also be doing his Led Zeppelin Experience thing and Derek has his own stuff lined up too. Black Country Communion will be a touring band in 2011 and even more so in 2012. We want to build on what we started and now that I’ve got these three guys with me I want to keep this together.

Black Country Communion’s debut album was released in the UK by Mascot Records on September 20th, and in the USA by J&R Adventures on September 21st. Visit


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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