The architects of Hard Rock are The Who, Purple, Zeppelin and Sabbath. And I’ve been in two of those bands, so I feel very fortunate to be part of rock history.”
Glenn Hughes: Hey, Nando! How are you doing?
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Great, Glenn. It’s great to talk to you, it’s a real honor to have you on our show. Thank you so much for your time. Let me wish you a very happy birthday tomorrow.
GH: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much.
W (NM): We’re here to talk about the release of a tribute album, one of the best albums in rock history, probably, the great “Machine Head”. Do you remember where you were or what you felt when you first heard that album?
GH: Well, I remember at this particular time… This was the time when Deep Purple were watching me playing in Trapeze, you know, this was the time when Ian Gillan was kind of, you know, facing problems in the band, and this was all through the time when I first saw Deep Purple play in America. And I was really blown away with this particular album, this was the album that made the band very popular, so… But I remember very clearly where I was, and what I sounded like and it was pretty cool.
W (NM): And how did you choose “Maybe I´m a Leo”, and what was it like to record it with Chad Smith?
GH: You know, when this project came along, around two years ago, I had the opportunity to choose every track I wanted to choose, you know. And at first Black Country was going to record “Highway Star”, but my first choice was “Maybe I’m a Leo”. It sounds kind of like, “Glenn Hughes could do something with this song”, if you listen to the track itself, the way I’ve done it, it sounds more like Glenn Hughes. I don’t think it was appropriate to exactly sound like… I wanted to make it a little groovier. And, you know, you’ve got the keyboard, and having Luis Maldonado play guitar, and of course, having Chad play drums, and it’s a groovier track, and I really like it, so…
W (NM): In your opinion, what other rock albums could or should have a tribute like this?
GH: You know, it’s kind of difficult to have such big albums have tributes, because, you know, when you talk about Led Zeppelin, or Deep Purple, or The Who, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, it’s like it’s so big… And, as you know, looking at the people in this, you know, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and myself, and Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai, there are a lot of people that liked Deep Purple, and I’m sure that there are a lot of people who would love to do a cool Led Zeppelin album as well. But it’s really difficult to do tribute albums to bands that are very popular, because if you’re going to do tributes, you’ve got to it in a way that doesn’t sound exactly like the original, you know. I think Metallica sounds pretty cool doing “When a Blind Man Cries”, I think that track’s really great, and I think that that sounds like Metallica, you know, so it would be silly to sound just like Deep Purple.
W (NM): We have a classic question on our show, Glenn, that we ask every single person we interview: just imagine yourself listening to music, and a song comes up in a random way, that you just lose control totally, which song would that be so we can listen to it on our show now?
GH: You know, I just think the Beatles… It‘s always been the Beatles for me, so you know, it’s… The Beatles have always been the greatest rock’ N roll band for me, you know. So it would have to be a Beatles’ song. Probably “A Day in the Life”, by the Beatles.
W (NM): Talking about your new band, Black Country Communion, how does it feel to be in a new and such a successful band after such a great career? And how can you remain so fresh and young even after, like 40 year playing music?
GH: I think, for me, Nando… I just think it’s important for me to… I’m very competitive, I’m also very much a student of the voice and the guitar, and I think you know me well enough to know that I have a great hunger to play live and to make records. I’m no lazy person, I really, really work hard. I also believe in spiritual progression, and I also believe that things happen in their own time. A lot of people say to me “Oh, man, if hadn’t taken those jobs, you could have been such a bigger star in the 80s, and blah, blah, blah.” But you know, it’s my time now, I think it’s my time now. And I think in the next 10 years you’re going to see more of Glenn Hughes than you did in the last 20 years, so I’m just really, really happy where I am right now.
W (NM): That’s great to hear, Glenn. We’re very, very happy with Black Country Communion. How did you guys get together, and any plans to come to Brazil soon?
GH: Yeah, we’d love to come to Brazil, you know, we got together three years ago, well, almost three years ago, and we’ve made three albums. The new album’s coming October 30th, it will be in Brazil on October 30th. You know, I’m hoping there’ll be a tour next year, I’m also, you know, doing something new this year that will be announced in the next three months. It’s going to be a new thing I’m doing, it’s going to be very, very, very big. A new thing I’m doing, I can’t say any more than that, but I promise I’ll give you an exclusive.
W (NM): Oh, that’s great, man. That’s great. Well, I hope we can talk to you, or maybe one of the other guys about the new album release later on.
GH: Yeah, we’d love to do an interview with you. You know, I can do it maybe in September.
I’m no lazy person, I really, really work hard. I also believe in spiritual progression, and I also believe that things happen in their own time.”
W (NM): Changing the subject, Glenn, we were all very sad a few days ago with the passing of the great Jon Lord. What do you think that Jon represented to music and to the hard rock world?
GH: Well, Jon was the originator of the Hammond… The really heavy Hammond martial sounding, you know… Jon was the original creator. He was the Jimmy Hendrix of the Hammond organ, you know. But what I like people to remember about Jon Lord, he was a lovely man, a really kind and sweet man. He was like a father to me in Deep Purple, and I really miss him as my friend. We all miss him, obviously, musically, but for those people that knew him personally, it’s really, really tragic. Jon was a really great man, and now, you know… Jon Lord was the Jimmy Hendrix of the Hammond organ.
W (NM): Tell me if I’m mistaken, but you have many Brazilian friends. What’s your relationship with Brazil like and what do you know about Brazilian music?
GH: You know, I come to Brazil quite often, and I just, you know, I don’t know that many rock groups, of course, I know Sepultura. But I don’t know too much about a lot of bands. I come to Brazil a lot, and I have a lot of friends there, and I know there’s a different culture of music there. But I also understand that the metal and the rock scene in Brazil is very, very big, and that’s why it’s always a great pleasure to come down there, whether it’s on tour, or whether it’s Black Country, or whether it’s with a new band I’m performing. So the great part about Brazilian fans is they really love music, and they really are passionate about their music, and it’s really an honor for me to play there.
W (NM): That’s great, Glenn, we all love you very much. I was just a young kid in Brazil, about almost 30 years ago, and I remember as if it was yesterday watching Deep Purple´s California Jam on a cinema. I was fascinated by the way you played and sang, what do you remember of that festival?
GH: Well, I just remember it was very hot, and the festival was running early, you know, and that’s why, you know, we were forced to go onstage early before the sunset, you know. Because originally, we weren’t supposed to go on until the sunset. It was kind of a… The thing I like about Deep Purple when I was in the band, the band was playing just fine, it was like a place, if you were on the Deep Purple stage, there’s a good chance you were going to get hit with something. You know, there was a lot of aggression on stage, which we don’t see so much today, so the thing about… When you look at California Jam, you’ll notice we were like five warriors up there, and it was a… It was almost like a sporting event, you know, so I just remember it being really aggressive and real powerful.
W (NM): When I knew that I was going to interview you I began to listen to some of your early albums, and recent albums as well, and I thought, “Oh my God”. I still get goose bumps when I hear the whole album, like “Burn”, for example. Back in 74 you probably had like an audition of the album, or something like that. How was it like to hear that whole album at the time, and how did you feel like, did you know you were releasing one of the best albums in rock history, when you heard the whole thing?
GH: You know, I was talking to Dave Grohl about this same thing, about when they made their first album, you know. We talked about… I talk to many artists I admire about what was it like when they made their first big album, before it became famous, and we all kind of felt the same, we all feel that when we made our first album that was very big, we knew we were sitting on something very special. So, of course, when I was making “Burn”, with Blackmore, Paice and Coverdale, and Lord, we knew that we were sitting on a big bomb, so it was kind of special.
W (NM): I know this will be hard for you now, but could you choose a song from your career that you are really proud of so we can listen to it in our show right now?
GH: Well, I think honestly, truly, you have to, probably, listen to the “Soul Mover” song itself, because as a solo song, I think it’s really strong, and I also think that the song I did with Iommi, “Dopamine”, of Fused is a really strong song. I’m talking in rock now, metal songs, I think “Dopamine” from Iommi was a really really big song and “Soul Mover” from my album was great.
W (NM): Glenn, our show is like a hard rock and heavy metal show. So since you are an important part of the hard rock history, who do you think invented heavy metal?
GH: Well, you know, I think the architects would have to be Sabbath, Purple, Zeppelin and The Who. Those four bands: Sabbath, Purple, Zeppelin and The Who are the architects of hard rock music. And of course, later on came Priest and Maiden, Metallica and AC/DC. But the architects are The Who, Purple, Zeppelin and Sabbath. And I’ve been in two of those bands, so I feel very fortunate to be part of rock history.
I’m a white man, who has been blessed with this ability to control my feelings in a black sensibility.”
W (NM): Talking about the beginning of your career, Glenn, you had so many influences from R&B, as everybody knows. How do you think those influences helped you to create such a unique way of singing and playing?
GH: Well, you know, every artist that you interview on your program, everyone is going to tell you something different. I mean, if you were to interview Rob Halford, or if you were to interview Robert Plant or, you know, Ronnie James… They would all have, like, different answers about how they grew up listening… I know my friend Robert Plant was very much influenced by Mississippi blues, myself and David Coverdale were influenced by Detroit music. You know, we come from the 60s, so when you interview people, I don’t know, like James Hetfield, or Bruce Dickinson, they probably have another kind of answer. But for me, it was what was coming from America, it was black, it was either blues or soulful, it was about life, you know. It was really a difficult time for Americans in this time, and a lot of my vocal influences come from praying and, you know, it just comes from deep within. So my voice is… I’m a white man, who has been blessed with this ability to control my feelings in a black sensibility.
W (NM): Yeah, I love that. I also like a lot of Motown, and you know, Sam Cooke, and all these great singers… Marvin Gaye and I think that it’s great to hear rock music sung with that kind of feeling, like you do. I hope that Ritchie Blackmore doesn’t hear me saying this, one of the best guitar players in the world, you played, for a short period of time, with the great Tommy Bolin. What do you think that the world missed after such a premature death?
GH: Tommy was also… he loved Brazilian music, and he also loved reggae music, and he loved jazz, and he was very much into world music. Blackmore, as you know, has influenced many, many guitar players. Blackmore was into a medieval kind of music. If Tommy Bolin were to still be alive today, I don’t think he would be playing rock music, he would be playing something completely different. Tommy Bolin, Ritchie Blackmore, completely two different people.
W (NM): And he was a musician that had no barriers, he played every single kind of music. Do you agree with me?
GH: I agree 100%, he had no… Like I said, you know, he was into Brazilian music, and, you know, folk music, and jazz, and reggae, and also rock music. I really admire people who can really express themselves in many genres of music.
W (NM): Glenn, we’re almost finishing here. First of all, let me really, really thank you, because, you know, we’ve interviewed many, many rock legends, and I always get kind of emotional when I speak to my rock’ N roll heroes, and you’re certainly one of them.
GH: I love you down there, and I hope to see you again sometime in the next year.
W (NM): Yeah, thank you so much, Glenn, and just to finish, we normally ask our guests to leave a last message to a young kid, who’s starting a musical career. What would you tell him?
GH: I’d tell young Brazilian kids this: if you have the opportunity to pick an instrument up, whether you sing or you play drums, or guitar, bass, keyboards, or, you know, saxophone… If you have the ability to pick an instrument up, and you feel connected to this instrument, and your soul tells you “This is the right thing to do”, I want you to have that dream, and dream and never lose the dream of becoming an artist. Because when you become an artist in music, you are free, it’s almost like a freedom… It’s like great soccer players, it’s an art form, a beautiful freedom. So my gift to the young Brazilian kids listening today is that if you have the ability to become a musician, please take this as a gift, because it is the greatest gift that God could give you.
W (NM): Excellent, Mr. Glenn Hughes on Wikimetal. It was, again, a great honor to talk to you, and I hope to see you when you come to Brazil next time, and count on us to promote anything you do with your band, or a new band, or Black Country Communion, we’ll always be there.
GH: Well, thank you so much, I look forward to seeing you.
W (NM): Thank you so much, Mr. Glenn Hughes on Wikimetal.
GH: Thank you, Wikimetal, we love you! Rock N’ Roll!
Listen to the full episode: