GLENN HUGHES (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., January 20, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

With his first solo album in 8 years just released and a UK tour to look forward to, Glenn Hughes was in an exuberant mood when Mick Burgess called him up to talk about his album, the tour, the renewed activity with Black Country Communion and his thoughts on Ritchie Blackmore’s return to Rock.

You’ll be heading back out on the road in the UK in a few weeks. Are you looking forward to touring here again?

It’s always a pleasure playing in the UK and I’m really looking forward to breaking out the new songs. I live in America most of the time now so coming home to England is something I love to do so I’m really looking forward to the tour.

You’ll be joined by Soren Andersen on guitar who is returning to your band. What’s it like having Soren back with you?

Soren’s been with me for 10 years but Doug Aldrich was with me last year as Soren had a contract that he couldn’t get out of and he’s an honourable guy. Doug stepped in and did a wonderful job and we had a great time. Soren is like a family member to me, he’s such a good friend and a great sidekick on stage with me so it feels so good for him to be back.

Who else is coming out on the road with you?

I have Pontus Engborg on drums and Lachy Doley on keyboards and I think he’s the greatest new keyboard player in Rock on the planet. He plays with Jimmy Barnes in Australia and he’s coming over with my band for the tour. Remember, I’ve played with Keith Emmerson, Jon Lord and Derek Sherinian, the kings of the Hammond and Lachy is every bit in the league of those guys. He plays some great Hammond on the album and there’s a lot of Mellotron on there too. On Flow, he’s even playing a clavinet with a whammy bar on top of the keyboard, it’s just crazy.

With a new album out you’ll want to be playing a few songs from that. What sort of setlist do you have planned for the tour?

I think I’ll do about three new songs but if I had my wish I’d play the whole record back to back. Maybe I’ll do that next year or later on when people have lived with the album for some time. I think these songs are immediate and people will like them but I have a lot of music to play so I’ll do maybe three new songs then material from across my career. I’ll be playing some songs I didn’t play last year so along with the new songs you’ll hear a lot that you didn’t hear last year.

You were going to do-headline with Living Color in November but that fell through. What happened there?

I got a call to say they’d pulled out of the tour and was given no reason why but have since heard that they were offered a tour with Alter Bridge which their management must have thought was a bigger tour so they went for that despite all of the paperwork being sorted and agreements in place to come to the UK with me. There’s no problem between us as I know those guys well. I think it was their management who made the decision.

Who is opening for you now?

The good news is I got this great new band from the Midlands called Stone Broken and it’ll give them the opportunity to shine.

We’ve mentioned your new album, Resonate, that came out a couple of months ago. Are you pleased with the reaction so far?

The album for me is a return to my roots and a return home. I feel that I’m in the last stage of my career now and I want to go out the way that I came in. I was very focussed when I wrote Resonate and I knew what I needed to do, what I wanted to do and I knew what my fans expected from me. My fan base is growing and I’m now seeing teenagers at my shows singing along to my songs so a lot of young fans are coming to my shows now so it’s good to know that my music is not just connecting with my older fans but the younger generation too.

It’s your first solo album in eight years?

It is. My last one First Underground Nuclear Kitchen was such a Soulful groove based record so it wasn’t a typical Rock record. The problem with that is that it was put out on a Rock label and it probably would have been better to put it out on a label that was more Soul orientated. I loved that album and think it’s a beautiful piece of art. When I started to write for Black Country Communion and then California Breed I went back to my roots and back to the Glenn from where I came from and that struck a chord with fans across the world so I knew I’d make a Rock record next time. I went into my studio and wrote a new song each day, musically and lyrically. I wrote one, finished it and moved onto the next and worked like that until I had enough songs to record.

It’s actually probably one of your most diverse albums to date and goes from the heaviness of Flow to soulful ballad of When I Fall, the up-tempo Steady and the Funky in Landmines. You’ve covered a lot of ground in one album?

I am having the freedom to be Glenn and putting the big grooves in there but making them darker. Having Lachy come in and put in those ethereal Mellotron sounds, which I really love, really adds to the atmosphere of the album. I’ve been given the freedom to be just who I am and I think I’ve captured that on Resonate. I’d originally written the album for a three piece but when I knew that I wanted Lachy to be a part of it, it just developed from there.

Long Time Gone seems to capture the feel of the whole album in one song.

For me that encaptures the breathy voice of Glenn in the verse and then goes into the big chorus and there’s the Funk breakdown in the middle which is the Trapeze side of me. I think it’s a classic Glenn Hughes song as it tells you exactly where I’m at, where I’m going and kind of where I’ve been. Each of the songs on the record are like a mini movie to me. They are so visual and they really wrote themselves. They just kept coming when I was in the studio that I couldn’t keep up with myself.

Have you co-written the songs with Soren on this album?

No, I wrote everything from the lyrics to the melodies. I co-produced the album too. I thought it was important to find out where I am right now having gone through the things I have recently with my heart and my knees. After having gone through the recovery, I had to learn how to live again and to walk again. When I was in Newcastle last year I could barely walk. I didn’t show it on stage but towards the end of the tour I had to use a wheelchair for a time, it got so bad. I’ve run across America for the last 25 years and I think all that running has taken its toll on my knees. I got such a natural high from running. I think those experiences have shaped the songs on the album and I wanted the music and lyrics to be personal to me so that’s why I wrote alone this time.

As far as recording the album goes, did you approach this in a live in the studio sort of way where you all played together?

We were all no more than ten feet from each other and played very much live in the studio and I was directing the traffic. I played each song to them, they’d never heard them before until they were in the studio. We’d learn it for about 15 minutes and then we’d cut it and we did that every day. It was a pretty spontaneous process over a period of 12 days.

A few months back your old band mate in Deep Purple Ritchie Blackmore returned to his Rock roots with Rainbow for the first time in over 20 years. What did you make of it?

I wasn’t really sure. I’m glad he came back for his own sake and obviously he wanted to make some electric Rock music again after so long away, it’s been 20 something years. It was his choice and his choice who he had playing with him. I wished him all the best and have nothing but total respect for him and he knows that. I hope he continues along the road he’s on as his fans want more electric shows from him. All I want for Richie is happiness. Although I don’t see him very often I still have good memories of him and it’s all good between us.

You were big friends with Ronnie James Dio and he’s sadly not with us now. Have you heard any of the footage with Ronnie Romero?

I did. Singing Ronnie’s songs needs a special kind of singer and I think the young chap did a reasonably good job and I think Ritchie may well have found the guy for him. He was certainly a good fit for Rainbow.

As well as your solo work you are also working on a new Black Country Communion album with Joe Bonamassa. No one dared to hope you’d make another album. Why did you decide to come back and make another record together?

I want to state this very clearly. When Afterglow was released in 2012 there was no touring schedule arranged and when I realised there’d be no touring I said very realistically and very frankly but sadly, that if there was to be no tour then I’d have to go back to being a solo artist. I basically walked away from the car. I spoke to Joe, we never fell out and it was clear he’d have no time to tour Afterglow. He completely understood that I had to do my thing. The press said that we’d fallen out but there was never any falling out between us. Joe and I have continually spoken since then and in March of this year we had a nice dinner in Santa Monica and we were speaking about new music and how great it would be if we could all get together to make a new Black Country Communion record. Maybe this is the right time to do that. Jason and Derek will be doing it too. We have begun writing and will be completing that soon. In January we will go into the studio with Kevin Shirley and record and later this year the new album will be out.

You’re up in Newcastle on 20th January, which is the opening night of the tour. You’re a lover of football and a Wolves fan and as you know the North East is a hotbed for football. How do you rate the chances for Wolves, Sunderland and Newcastle this season?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Geordies and know how passionate they are about football up here and in Sunderland too. I’m a diehard Wolves fan and I get to as many matches as I possibly can. It’s been in my blood since I was a child. I see a new team but I don’t see a team that will get us into the top six so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the manager gone by Christmas, who knows we might get Sam Allardyce in. It’s painful but you can never choose your club, you just support the club that you support. Newcastle are doing really well and Rafa looks to be just what they needed and I’d be surprised if they don’t go up as Champions. As for Sunderland, it’s looking very bleak for them. I really feel for their supporters as they deserve so much better.

With Black Sabbath coming to the end of their career next year, do you have any plans to make another album with Tony Iommi again?

Tony is winning the battle that he’s had with cancer. He’s doing really, really well. Tony and I speak sometimes about making another album. You never know. All I care about is that he’s happy. I don’t know if he’ll tour again but I do know that he’ll always play music and if the opportunity arises where we can make music together then we will make another album at some point?

Glenn Hughes UK Tour starts at the Riverside, Newcastle on 20th January.
Visit for more details

Friday 20 January The Riverside, Newcastle
Saturday 21 January Islington Assembly Hall, London
Monday 23 January The Robin 2, Bilston
Tuesday 24 January The Garage, Glasgow
Thursday 26 January Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Friday 27 January O2 Academy 2, Manchester
Sunday 29 January Sub 89, Reading
Monday 30 January The Junction, Cambridge
Wednesday 1 February The Church, Leeds
Thursday 2 February The Fleece, Bristol


  • 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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