Back on Tour – 2015
Glenn Hughes was clearly early in the musical queue when they dished out talents and skills – writer, arranger, vocalist, bassist & guitarist, collaborator…..hence any news of a new tour is gladly received in rock circles. The power trio format is to be used. Pete spoke to Glenn in Switzerland, about the rock star’s performance plans and other matters:
JLTT : Hey, we‘re recording now mate – how are you doing?
GH : It’s going well, man – we‘re in Switzerland right now
Can we talk first maybe about the pending tour dates and in particular, Glenn – the lineup for the shows?
Yeah let’s talk about the why and who and where of what I’m doing currently..I had decided to go back and work as a trio again..in the ‘Glenn Hughes’ name..I had a trio before the Black Country thing and the same lineup was going to be the one for this tour BUT my guitar man Soren had already contracted himself out for this period, so I had to make a decision..who do I call? (Sighs) And there was only really one guy I wanted to call and that guy was Doug (Aldrich – PS). Simply because, for me, his is a/ a really dear friend of mine and b/ that he is an insanely great guitar player and also c/ I can have breakfast with him! And talk, y’know? And Doug just fits all that mould so very easily…he was introduced to me by Ronnie Dio, years ago and of course he’d been with David (Coverdale – PS) so it’s a family affair, you might say. Now Pontus (Engborg – PS) is also an insanely good young man drummer and again, he fits the bill perfectly.
(Photo credited to Gene Kirkland. L-R Pontus Engborg, Glenn Hughes, Doug Aldrich)
Now I saw that original trio with Soren play in London and coming out of the gig there were broadly three topics the concertgoers had – one ‘I’m going home to burn my bass, I’ll never be that good’, two ‘ What a voice..and he’s always been that good’, and thirdly – which is me as well, ‘what a great setlist’…you now have such a body of work that you’re in the ‘Ernie Isley’ situation as he told it to me – ‘Just what do we include !?’
(Breathes out) I know! that’s the quandary..but let me tell you the truth, here..though I gotta be careful in what I say as I’m coming to Britain to play there…(emphatically) this setlist is really, really doing the business..there’s something about this particular setlist…that is just magic. It happens from time to time, when you get that certain setlist, y’know? That and the way we’re playing it..you must remember now, I have done the keyboard thing and I wanted to go back to playing as a trio..BCC was going to be a trio with Joe then Kevin Shirley brought Derek (Sherinian – PS) in…you can’t hide in a trio, you all got to work. It’s an amazing thing for me to have stumbled upon, again. There so much space…
Can you tell me Glenn, I’m not going to prise all the songs out of you, promise BUT are there one or two cuts that you might be including?
We’re gonna do ‘Way Back To The Bone’ – Trapeze – which for me was the first rock song I wrote back in the day, before Purple. The first sign that Glenn was going to go THAT route, he’s not doing a Zeppelin thing, he’s going more of a switch. And people really know that song, from me. Otherwise there’s a song that I brought back in when we played in South America – ******* – and that song was the first that I wrote for Hughes Thrall – so that’s a classic song..of course there’s so many other songs that you have heard me sing before..but now to hear it from the trio, well there is so much space in there
Well you know I love Hughes Thrall from previous meetings..there’s so much air in all those songs..and now Doug, he can play the double-neck guitar 6 and 12. And he’s a fine slide player…
I need to tell you something about Doug. I have known Doug a long time and I have seen him play with Ronnie and with David. OK, but Doug played with me the night before Ronnie died, in May, five years ago. It was a fateful night and Ronnie was about to pass away. And here I am talking to you now about working with this young man. What I found out about Doug that night was that, as a human being as well as a musician… I thought he was a great player already BUT he was SO amazingly different..and when you integrate him into the music you are creating, well he is a way, way better player that I even thought! So the good news for me now is that I have an incredibly good band to do the tour with. Doug is very gracious..(Ponders) – …Pete, it’s important for me at this point in my career to work with people that are stable, that are ready to go. That are family-oriented and are serious about their craft and I think I find myself in the right scenario, with people surrounding me now and great management, great fanbase. Talking to the media and the following online – it’s all me, there no layers to peel away. It’s Glenn Hughes
Now maybe it’s unconscious or organic, but whatever guitar player you are with, you play to their strengths, you adapt to their sound..with Tony Iommi there’s these hanging clouds of fuzz and you would play a busier bassline under that legato, for the dynamic..BUT with a busier cat, say Tommy Bolin, you thump in a note, leave a space, then another..chameleon-like but counterpoint..comes back to making the song work?
(Emphatically) I’ll tell you what it is, bro’…when I was 17 and Andy Fraser was 16, we played a show together – Trapeze and Free – in Wolverhampton at the college. You may know that in later years he was one of my best friends (us too, wonderful guy – PS)..so I learned from the greatest player of all time, for me. About what you DON’T play. You know, you can play really fast and that’s fine – like my friend Billy Sheehan, great player – BUT for me as a groove-based player, it’s the notes that I don’t play that matter as much as those that I do. That resonates with me and especially so in the trio
I get you totally there, I had a time when I was just I love with Little Feat..and at any one time three out those six guys would be playing and the pulse was there
Yeah!! – exactly!
You had a great dynamic too, when you played with Stevie Salas
Yes, I DID have a dynamic with him, very true
‘I Was Made To Love Her’…wow
Isn’t that a great track? You are one of the very few people that signal this kind of intent or factor in an interview – about who I’m playing with and what I do. It’s very very crucial because with Joe..he and I were jamming before Kevin came in and it sounded ****in’ awesome…and here I am talking about Doug and that’s what we have here, that feel. That Stevie Wonder song with Salas is killer, I do agree
Still my favourite track of yours – kick me up the arse if you want is ‘Coffee & Vanilla’
(Warmly) Well thank you – that was a period for me when I was doing something different…I know you are aware of this already ..when I make a record I don’t swim in the same waters, every time..yes, I’m a rock’n’roll singer,but I do change flavours, I’m not frightened to take a risk.’Coffee & Vanilla’ for me as a bass player, it’s the notes again I didn’t play. It’s very..swaggery
(Photo credited to Joe Lester. Glenn Hughes)
The only similar playing I’ve heard funnily enough is on the Diana Ross solo stuff..a busy melodic run, then nothing, THEN the right note dropped in ALMOST late.. but most rock people just don’t get it..
When a lot of us in the 60s were following the Beatles and The Stones, my girlfriend’s brother ran a discotheque in Wolverhampton, like an all-night thing and he was playing stuff from Otis, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave..so I guess I unconsciously drifted away a bit from the Stones and Beatles, into Detroit and Stax and Memphis..you mix Tamla Motown and rock music together, that is a lot of what Glenn Hughes is about
There’s a record they’ve never released of course which is Jeff Beck out at Motown
And Jeff Beck is of course one of the all-time masters…
Are you taking the Orange amps out with you this time?
I am! And we were just talking last night..and the sound I am getting now, thanks to the good people at Orange, it’s as good as anything I have ever used..I am actually having just as much fun playing bass as I am singing
I have an Orange bass combo for when I play bass and I was gigging with the Country Joe cats and lent it to Bruce (Barthol) ..it just SANG! – each note..with warmth
I am really in love with Orange, man ! and you’ll be hearing that all over the UK
There’s one thing you have in common with Dave Crosby – your songs do use major sevenths and minor ninths, unusual in rock…it takes a song in a slightly wistful direction..do you know what I’m saying?
(Laughs) NOW you’re talkin’!! Actually you are getting to my heart, here….I have been working on a secret project with ****** for the last couple of years..their music is written hard with major sevenths and minor ninths..when you use them in R&B they become very flavourful, but when you use them in ROCK, they are really different.I do use them a hell of a lot. Kevin Shirley didn’t like those chords but they kind of worked, for BCC. The work for me in my genre, I don’t use them lightly, I use them heavily
I’m going that way…if you use a major seventh in a minor chord sequence it’s cathartic..you want to hear what’s coming next
You are the first person in my entire history that has brought this into an interview!! I think it’s great that someone has gone there now, as it’s something I really enjoy! It’s an important facet of my work
I think I am in danger of going over time and I don’t want to eff up the other guys so thanks for talking with me again, Glenn…
I enjoyed this catchup, Pete and I look forward to seeing you when we’re over
Say Hi to Jared from Just Listen To This, he’s a gentleman
He’s here with me now, so will do! Drop by when we’re there
(Photo credited to John Bull. Jared James Nichols)
Glenn Hughes will be embarking on an Autumn 2015 UK Tour which will feature Ex-Whitesnake Guitarist Doug Aldrich and drummer Pontus Engborg in Glenn’s band and special guest Jared James Nichols at the following venues:
Southampton, Engine Rooms Saturday October 17 BUY TICKETS
Norwich, Waterfront Monday October 19 BUY TICKETS
Newcastle, Tyne Theatre Tuesday October 20 BUY TICKETS
Belfast, Limelight Thursday October 22 BUY TICKETS
Glasgow, The Garage Friday October 23 BUY TICKETS
Holmfirth, Picturedrome Sunday October 25 BUY TICKETS
Bilston, Robin 2 Monday October 26 BUY TICKETS
York, Fibbers Wednesday October 28 BUY TICKETS
Manchester, Club Academy Thursday October 29 BUY TICKETS
London, Electric Ballroom Sunday November 1 BUY TICKETS
For more information visit: http://www.glennhughes.com/ontour.html
(Thanks Peter, thanks Glenn H)