Glenn Hughes is back on the road across the UK this month and he’s bringing former Whitesnake favourite Doug Aldrich along for the ride.
RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with the legendary rocker.
RUSHONROCK: How well do you know Doug and how did the partnership come about?
GLENN HUGHES: Ronnie James Dio had been my friend since 1973 and when he came out to LA we lived in the same neighbourhood. We were very close back then and everyone who Ronnie worked with in Dio he tended to introduce me to. So I got to know Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice and eventually Doug Aldrich. That was the start of our connection and our friendship. I remember seeing him play for the first time and thinking to myself this guy is really, really fucking great.
RUSHONROCK: Is now the right time to turn that friendship into a working relationship?
GH: Doug has been a close friend of mine for 20 years now and when I was looking for a guitarist to work with he ticked all of the boxes for me. He was the first guy on the list when I decided to go out as Glenn Hughes again. He’s a person who I knew would show up for me every night and a person who would tell me honestly what’s going on. I knew he would bring that integrity to my music.
RUSHONROCK: Your setlist includes music from Trapeze, Black Country Communion and even Whitesnake – is Doug already having a big influence?
GH: I came up with a setlist for the tour and gave it to Doug and then the two of us talked about what might happen if we included a Whitesnake song in the set and what the perception might be. I asked him for a few ideas and he thought a certain song would be appropriate for me to sing. We didn’t even tell David! It’s the only non-Glenn Hughes related song in the set but it’s gone down very well so far!
RUSHONROCK: Why revive the Glenn Hughes solo shows just when you were enjoying being in bands again?
GH: When California Breed split up…I disbanded that band because Jason [Bonham] had gone. Don’t get me wrong I love Jason to death but what he did with that band made me reassess the situation. That dynamic just wasn’t working for me. And I didn’t want to get another drummer in who was going to do that to me again. I was at a crossroads. After California Breed I could have put together another big name group of musicians who might all have had hidden agendas but it was suggested I revive the Glenn Hughes name.
RUSHONROCK: Did you have any reservations?
GH: I had no idea there was an international audience still waiting for me out there. We’ve come off the back of 10 sold-out shows in South America and just did four on the bounce in Europe. It’s been working really, really well. I think Black Country Communion and the music I made in that band has given my life a new meaning within the rock genre. I’m taking the opportunity to show people what I can do.
RUSHONROCK: And was there a time when you weren’t sure whether you could do rock any more?
GH: I wrote the Black Country Communion songs without knowing how they’d be received. The first song I wrote for that band was One Last Soul and the second was Black Country. When I first played One Last Soul to Joe [Bonamassa, BCC guitarist] and Kevin [Shirley,producer] they were quite unsure about it. I’d written six BCC songs by then and it was the last one I played for them. I played it last because I thought it was a radio single. I wasn’t really looking for that but it proved to be a hit. When people became familiar with the line ‘I am a messenger’ from Black Country it created a new legacy where my music is concerned. I was spreading the word that blues rock is alive and kicking and I had a role to play. I also realised that I was in a different position to write those songs – there was more to my armoury than there was when I was 17.
RUSHONROCK: Both you and David Coverdale are mining a rich seam of classic Deep Purple material in 2015 – does that band’s legacy remain undiminished?
GH: Both David and I have finally realised that there’s nothing we need to worry about where Deep Purple is concerned because we tried desperately to get the MkIII line-up back together with Jon Lord. We just couldn’t do it. We’ve both come to terms with the fact that the legacy is there and that band will be remembered as something special in the history books long after the two of us have gone. We’ve grown as individuals and accepted the past – David has done his Purple album and I’ve brought Doug in from his band to play some Purple classics. David and I have become even closer in the last few years and it’s fantastic that we’re both comfortable enough to celebrate our contribution to Purple.
RUSHONROCK: How do you feel about Ritchie’s promise to return to his rock roots in 2016?
GH: I love the fact that Ritchie is going back to his rock roots. He’s found a new singer and that singer will be performing some of the songs that David and I recorded with Deep Purple.
RUSHONROCK: Are you just a little bit jealous where the new guy is concerned?
GH: Both David and I would have liked to have been involved but for some reason Ritchie has chosen another path. I think I’m speaking for David as well here when I say we want to wish him all the very best. We all need Ritchie to put that rock strap back on his guitar. It’s been a long time coming.