With the latest of this summer’s big rock festivals just days away we’re focusing on five of the must-see bands of the weekend at High Voltage 2011.

First up it’s retro blues rockers Black Country Communion and we’ve grabbed frontman Glenn Hughes for an exclusive pre-festival chat! 

rushonrock: How does the second BCC album differ from the first?

Glenn Hughes: The new album is darker and heavier than the first. I wanted to write songs with substance – introducing stuff I hadn’t talked about for 10 or 15 years. It’s about people dying. It’s about secrets. It’s pretty dark.

rushonrock: Is that how you intended it to be?

GH: Rock fans in general tend to gravitate towards the darker lyric anyway. They don’t want me to sing about puppies. Black Country Communion is a rock band and we understand that.

rushonrock: After an impressive debut could you relax working on album number two?

GH: Putting together the second album was the perfect process for me. It was a good chance to stretch my muscles and pump it up with Black Country Communion. I’ve sold my soul for rock n roll.

rushonrock: Why are you so enthusiastic about this project?

GH: It’s like being in a real band again with me as the ringmaster. I wasn’t prepared to do that years ago but it’s the right situation at the right time. I can kick some major ass in this band.

rushonrock: How did the songwriting process work out for the new record?

GH: I needed Joe [Bonamassa] for two weeks at the end of the year but I could only get him for three days. It was a good thing that I came in with the songs. I came in with 10 songs and Joe came in with two – two songs will be bonus tracks.

rushonrock: BCC might be more of a band in 2011 but you’re still very much the man in charge…

GH: I’m a bit of a control freak. I’ll happily admit that. Being in charge of the songwriting gives me the most enjoyment. I’ve been playing and singing for a long, long time but writing the songs give me a lot of joy. Having Joe on my shoulder is a huge help. He might turn out to be the greatest blues rock writer as well as the greatest guitar player around.

rushonrock: But everyone’s saying the drum work is what really sets BCC 1 and BCC 2 apart…

GH: Jason Bonham recorded out of his skin for this album. We’re now hearing the son of John Bonham at his finest. Let’s give Jason his due – he is an exceptional performer. Musically, pound for pound, he’s the best drummer that I’ve worked with and I’ve worked with just about every major drummer there is!

rushonrock: The gigs are coming thick and fast this month – are you enjoying the challenge?

GH: I formed Black Country Communion with a view to touring. This band was never meant to be a studio project. I want to play live. I might be the oldest member of the band but I have the youngest mindset! I’m a live entertainer and I like to get out there in front of the fans. I’m a performer in every sense. That’s just what I do. I really, really enjoy myself when I’m out on stage.

rushonrock: Are you still in this for the long haul?

GH: We’re not messing around where Black Country Communion is concerned. There’s a live DVD and Blu-Ray coming in time for Christmas and we really want to establish the band as a genuine classic rock brand.

rushonrock: What do you hope to get out of a swift return to the High Voltage festival?

GH: High Voltage is going to be something special this year. Last year was very daunting and very sad. I was up there on stage doing the Heaven & Hell set and there was Wendy Dio crying on one side and my wife crying on the other. It was bittersweet I suppose. For Black Country Communion this is the biggest gig we’re doing in 2011. It’s the only festival we’re doing this summer and we want it to be very special for the UK fans.

rushonrock: How are you going down on the other side of the Pond?

GH: We’re doing great in America as well. The US is getting the full Black Country Communion treatment. We’re a global band. We appeal to different people. The Germans are getting a great big kick out of it. But we’re born to be a big band in the world of rock – we’re not called Black Country for any other reason than that’s where we honed our craft: in the home of rock and metal.