There’s a reason the legendary Glenn Hughes is known as the Voice of Rock.
Throughout the years, Hughes has acquired a resume of rock that is largely unmatched. He’s offered his talents to Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Hughes/Thrall, Voodoo Hill, Phenomena, Hughes Turner Project, Tony Iommi, Gary Moore, Black Country Communion, California Breed, and many, many others. The list of bands he has been in and people he has worked with continues to expand year after year.
Recently, Hughes took the time to speak with Screamer Magazine about touring plans, the return of Black Country Communion, and his latest solo album, Resonate.
Before the November release of Resonate, it had been eight long years since Hughes had last released a solo album. Despite those eight years, Hughes said the songwriting for the album came naturally for him.
“I did three Black Country albums and a California Breed album in the last five years and, earlier this year, I had both of my knees replaced from extensive running so, while I was in recovery, I was starting to write songs in my studio,” said Hughes. “When I got enough songs, I thought to myself ‘Huh, I think I’ve got enough songs to make an album here.’ So I told my record company I think I can make a record. I had no idea what I was gonna make of it but I said let’s plan on releasing the album and get it out there. This is an extremely personal record for me because it’s an album about life, death, and what happens in between.”
Though Resonate maintains Hugh’s signature funk rock sound, it is noticeably one of Hughes’ heaviest albums yet. While he admitted his record label, Frontiers Records s.r.l., provided some sway on his new sound, moments of turbulence in his personal life certainly inspired some of those changes in sound, as well.
“I think I’m angry in this album and you can hear it. In a couple songs, you can hear I’m really pissed off… This album was very cathartic for me because I got to unleash who I am. I wrote every single song and I wanted to express myself. I knew while writing this album that I would be unloading my life to the general public, so I’m really happy that people are connecting with this album… it’s incredible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I lost a couple of dogs, I lost my dad and learning how to walk again after a double-knee surgery is not an easy thing to do… but I’m over it. I’m all good now,” said Hughes.
Hughes’ musical career reaches back nearly five decades and, according to him, it’s been an enlightening and rewarding journey every step of the way.
“When I was a teenager or in my early twenties, there was a lot of success as a young man and I’ve spoken to other people that you know about the success they’ve had as a young person… we had no life to talk about. We had no experience. Now I’ve got all these things that have happened to me. I mean the good, the bad, the glorious, the ridiculous… And as far as the songwriting goes, I think Resonate is the best album I’ve ever done. Simply because I’ve gotten older and I’ve gotten better. I’ve never stopped pushing the boundaries. I know a lot of people that don’t play unless they’re making an album or on tour. I play every day and I love what I do. It’s not that I have to, it’s just I feel I need to because I feel it focuses me,” Hughes explains.
In Resonate, Hughes’ voice sounds as powerful and majestic as ever. And while one might credit talent alone to be the source, Hughes said there is a lot of hard work behind-the-scenes that goes into keeping his voice performance-ready.
“I get a lot of sleep, drink a lot of water, I’m a vegan. I exercise a lot, I warm my voice up and my body because I do yoga,” Hughes said simply. “I just think everything I’ve done in my life has helped me recover from my past. I’ve done so many things in my past that were incredibly stupid but I’ve always owned up to it. I’ve always said ‘Well, what have you learned this time, Glenn?’… I’m always going to be studying my life and studying the art form of music; I think it’s incredible to do that.”
Hugh’s UK/European tour was recently cancelled after co-headlining band Living Colour booked a conflicting support slot on Alter Bridge’s European tour.
“What a nightmare,” said Hughes. “I’m not gonna disrespect anyone, but I was partnering on tour with another band and they, after seven months being on board, decided they didn’t want to do it. So the promoters, because it was a co-partnership, had no choice other than to cancel the tour, which was really a bad time because my album came out last week… but the good news is, next week I’m announcing a new tour. Rescheduled shows will be starting in January so I’ll only miss two months, which isn’t the end of the world. I’m still going to go out there. I’m going to do my own show, a full-headlined set, with more songs from Resonate because the album… the album needs to be seen and heard. Everything happens for a reason. We all do things that, in the end, we have to go ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’ It’s just the way life is… I said ‘Whatever happens, I know that someone up there is going to take care of me. And that’s what happened, so I’m really happy to tell you that.”
Hughes had a delayed, but highly-deserved, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame back in April for his work with Deep Purple. But what should have been a glorious day for Hughes was quickly soured.
That very same day, tragedy struck.
“The same day I was inducted my father died… I think if you look at the footage you could see I was troubled. I looked at it like this. My dad gave me my life and gave me my guitar and I’m very spiritually-inclined to know that my dad was watching me. I’ve recovered from open heart surgery in the last three years, had a double-knee transplant, numerous other things have happened… I just want to tell people that while you’re out there, kids, enjoy your life. Enjoy every moment of every single day because life is a moment to moment thing… 30 years ago I probably would have gone out-of-my-mind-drunk about it but, I’m just very proud to be his son, you know?”
Following his induction, Hughes met up with former Black Country Communion bandmate, Joe Bonamassa for a celebratory dinner—a fateful meeting which would lead to the reunion of the band and the start of a new project.
“We called Derek (Sherinian) and Jason (Bonham) and within 24 hours we were on for a new album… The music’s already written and I’m writing music, so I have a whole bunch of work to do before Christmas. We go into the studio January 3. It would be stupid to go into the studio in any form with anybody if the songs weren’t up to snuff… if the songs weren’t as good as the last album. You’re only as good as your last piece of work. I have a studio in my house and Joe was over here every day. When he left we had a good playback. So I’m going about writing some lyrics. I’m still digging deep for lyrics and really taking this seriously. The music is incredibly dramatic. It’s bombastic … there are mandolins on the album. There’s going to be some orchestration. I think it’s going to be a classic record,” Hughes said.
While Hughes couldn’t disclose all of his plans for the coming year, due to contract restraints, he assured his fans they will have plenty to look forward to in 2017.
To his fans in California, Hughes had this to say: “People of L.A., rock fans, music fans, people who dare to dream… I’ve been living amongst you for 43 years. I came here on a whim listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash and I moved into Laurel Canyon to be close to the peace sign movement and then I joined Deep Purple… so I’ve been living in L.A. most of my life. I’m very much American. I live in paradise in a country that is riddled with fear at the moment, but us Americans need to stay together. Music is the healer. It’s not going to save the world, but it’s going to heal it. Let the music come to you. All I can say to you is I love you so much from the bottom of my heart. I’m so glad to be a Californian…. God bless you all, I’ll see you soon.”