Mannen, myten, legenden… Glenn Hughes. I hans lilla loge backstage på Sweden Rock Festival fick vi en liten pratstund med sångaren. Han visade upp det mest vita leende vi sett och såg ut att vara i toppform, vilket han även visade live en stund senare. Vi pratade bl a om hans kommande soloalbum, Black Country Communions återförening, David Bowie och om det klassiska albumet Hughes/Thrall, där det visade sig att det finns mer inspelat material:
In 2000. Pat (Thrall) was in New York and I went to New York and we wrote seven songs, or eight songs and we recorded them, but we never finished them. He moved to Vegas in 2002 and I went up there and did four more songs and we never finished them. Now, all these years later, Pat asked me about doing more work and I´m going “Man, we should have finished those songs!” Do I love Pat? Absolutely. Do I miss him? Absolutely. But I´m so busy. A lot of people, like yourself, would love a Hughes/Thrall 2. It´s likely, but it´s unlikely. It´s more likely that I´ll play with Tony (Iommi) than with Pat.
I follow you on Facebook and I have no clue whether it´s you posting things or…
You post a lot of old photos. Are you nostalgic?
No. I´ll tell you why. Great question. The reason I put old pictures up there, whilst I´m in this corridor of… between Glenn´s solo coming next month, new album, new photographs, new images… I didn´t want to put too much Black Country Communion photographs up there, so I chose to put these pictures up. I´m very happy with the way I look right now, it´s just that I think a lot of people, a lot of fans really love that shit. One or two people will go “Why don´t you put any new pictures up?” Well, I don´t have any new except for live pictures, so I post all my stuff. I have a webmaster that goes in and helps me because I´m busy a lot, but I´m very social on social networks. Sometimes I have to back away because there´s a lot going on, but I have a really cool fan base.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thing must´ve been really cool?
It was great for David (Coverdale) and I. We are so good friends for 43 years. The other guys… Before Jon (Lord) passed away we became friends again. I haven´t seen Ritchie (Blackmore) in 40 years and I don´t really know Gillan and Glover really, so at the Hall of Fame you could probably see that it was David and I and then the other guys over here. I don´t really know them. We´re all nice, but… People ask me “Were you upset that Gillan didn´t invite you to sing?” No, everybody knows I can sing. I think David was more upset than I was. We got to sing at the end of the show. Deep Purple for me is a long time ago. I was included in the induction because “Burn” was a big, big album. I´m so grateful. I´m the only one at this festival (Sweden Rock Festival), with the guys in Queen, that are hall of famers. Ain´t that crazy? It´s me and them. You know the people that aren´t in the Hall of fame? It´s insane, so maybe I can open the door for Rob (Halford) and the guys in Judas Priest? I don´t know? I was there last week with Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains). I´m an ambassador now for the Hall of fame. Isn´t that crazy? It´s so fucking hard, they will never take your call when you´re not in the Hall of fame and when you get in “Can you come next week?” It´s incredible.
Steve Miller was kinda hard on the Hall of fame.
Steve is an old friend of mine and he has a very short fuse. Here´s the deal. A band gets inducted, a band like Deep Purple, this is the deal: They fly you and your wife or assistant in from wherever in the world. If you´re a solo artist, they fly the solo artist in and the wife, they don´t fly in the band. The fact of the matter is that Steve thought… maybe it upset him and he had to dig up over a hundred grand. I´m laughing, but it wasn´t funny and it´s not funny, but I understand why Steve was upset. Did he have to talk about it backstage? Maybe? It was up to him. But the truth of the matter is that it´s fucking expensive. It´s $10.000 a seat on the floor. My manager bought a table for $100.000 because it´s for charity. Steve decided to go on a bit of a… you know. He´s got five members, five wives, crew. I can´t speak on the behalf of… I know Steve and he´s still upset, but I am now in the Hall of fame and I´m working with the Hall of fame. I love them, they´ve been very gracious to me and I´m gonna be an ambassador for the Hall of fame and they´ve asked me to be included on every year´s induction.
You mentioned David Coverdale and I interviewed him a few years ago and I got the feeling that in the last couple of years he´s been thinking more about the past and to forgive what has happened. Do you feel the same way, that you reach a certain age and look back on things and…
You have to forgive. I have issues that I don´t wanna talk about and I gotta forgive myself. Let´s just say that on the business level there´s some shit going on with Deep Purple that is out of this world. On a personal level, I´m not friends with… I know Roger, but I don´t know Ian Gillan. David and I are like brothers, literally brothers. A lot of bands from the 70´s, in fact all of the bands I know, The Who, The Stones, Zeppelin, KISS, it´s not what you would imagine. It´s like… they don´t… like Mötley Crüe, they don´t hang out with one another. They don´t see each other. It´s business, but for me, my wife is an accountant, so since I´ve been with my wife I understand what business is. I´m a very social butterfly and very huggy, touchy, Americanized, feelings guy and some musicians aren´t like that. They´re very sort of stiff. I´m a hippie man. I look like a modern guy, but I´m very much into the soil of the Earth. I have no resentments in my life. I also have no expectations and because I have no expectations, the doors are always opening. When you expect something it never happens, you have to let things happen. I know you´re Scandinavian and in another word, God may freak you out, but in order to get sober I had to find a higher consciousness.
I know you lost your father recently.
On the same day as the Hall of fame.
I understand that both he and your mother were very supportive of your career.
Yes, they bought my first guitar, made payments so they had to go without, so I can have. They drove me to the gigs when I was 13 or 14, supporting me. I was actually gonna have a real job when I left school and two days before I was gonna start working in this shop, I got asked to join a professional rock band. The only job I ever had has been singing and playing. I supported them financially throughout their lives, like they did for me when I was young.
Did they play any instruments or sing?
No. They were very big Frank Sinatra fans. I don´t know if you know this story, this is great, but you´re gonna love this story. Frank Sinatra´s valet, that´s the guy who does all his… like shaving him and taking care of him, he was my best man at my first wedding. His father was the head of the mafia in New York. His name is Castellano, so his father was the head of the family. My parents got to meet Frank Sinatra and Sinatra gave my dad some of his clothes. Isn´t that crazy? Then my father, who was singing Frank Sinatra songs when I was 12 years old, got to meet his heroes. Frank sent a limousine for my father to my house and I got to shake his hand. Isn´t that great? It´s a real story. A fucking great story.
You losing your father and we´ve also lost Lemmy, Bowie, Scott Weiland, Jimmy Bain and Prince. Does that make you think of your own mortality?
All those guys… I never met Prince, but I did see him play. The one that shook me hard, because he lived at my house in the 70´s, was Bowie. He lived with me for six months. Only five people knew that David was very sick with cancer. I wasn´t one of them, so when he died in January it fucking really hurt. I wasn´t hurt because he didn´t tell me, I was hurt because the way he did it with the video for “Lazarus”. The way the video and the lyrics and… Two weeks before he died, there was a picture of him in New York smiling and this is the most incredible passing and there was no burial, there was no service. He wanted to have a complete… no service for friends, no nothing. His body was taken to a morgue where he was cremated and it´s the most insane out of this world experience. Kinda freaked me out, you know what I´m saying? Because I´m still coming to terms with it and a lot of people didn´t get to say goodbye. Of course, since his death I´ve done three books about him, because he was such a big part of my life.
But does it make you think of your own mortality?
No. Everybody asks me that question because Lemmy was really close to me, we were really good friends. It´s like, I´m sober and I´m clean. We know Prince was like administrating the drugs like Michael Jackson… we didn´t know him and I´m not saying anything bad about that. I can´t do that. It saddens me to think that that cool, young man… I say young because he´s younger than me, was stricken with opiate addiction. I´m so sad about that. I saw Lemmy two days before he died, man. He was rocking. He knew he had a few weeks and he went out exactly like he said he was gonna go out. I must say to you, seeing my father made me realize that death is not the end. It´s not the end. You can´t let it be the end. Listen, we´re all going to die, but the only thing we have, and this is very important, is right now. I´m gonna play here soon (Sweden Rock Festival) and then I´m gonna go to Copenhagen and I won´t think about tomorrow, because it may never happen. All I´ve got is today. I don´t take any resentment onto the stage, I don´t take my business onto the stage. I take my soul and my heart and my voice and the gift that God gave me.
When I read interviews with you, I always get the feeling you´re in really good place?
I had surgery on my heart three years ago. The knees this year. I´m very fit and I´m very spiritually fit. I don´t have resentment and I don´t have any expectations. If you have expectations of great things happening… you have to let the door open up on its own, but you have to kinda hope it opens. I don´t wait for the phone to ring. I unplug the phone now, because it never stops ringing and I´m trying to work. I´m gonna be on the road for one year. I´m recording the album in three weeks in Copenhagen and I´m gonna release it in November. I do my American tour in August and South America in September. In October I´m promoting the album, my Glenn album. The album comes out on November 5th and I´m on tour on the 9th until Christmas and in January it´s Black Country Communion. My next year is gonna be fucking insane.
What´s your next album going to be like?
Groovy. I have to be very careful now. I´m a rock artist. Black Country Communion has told the world that Glenn is back in the 70´s style because I am a 70´s guy, so I´m gonna be making a very groove Glenn album. Not like my last album where it was very funky. It´s gonna be more groove. Chad´s (Smith) gonna come over and play on some songs. The guys you see me play with today, that´s my band. I want the band that plays on the albums to be on the tours. It´s serious. I´ve been off for six months with my knees, so now I´m recovered. You won´t even notice I´ve had surgery today. I´ve really recovered, you know. I have a great wife and I have great fans. My mother´s still with me. I was at my father´s funeral and a lot of people can´t handle death, a lot of people drink and get fucked up and I just said “I love you and thank you for all you´ve done father. I love you and thank you so much.” I´ve got my mother to take care of and what you see with Glenn is what the real thing is.
What made you put Black Country Communion together again?
Joe (Bonamassa) and I got together in March, alone, before Derek (Sherinian) and Jason (Bonham) and Joe and I discussed about a reunion alone at dinner. We both made amends to one another about the break up. We both said we acted like school girls. It was very stupid and we said sorry to each other and we hugged each other. We start writing July 20th. I didn´t have any expectations and then Joe called me after five years, “Hey, wanna get together?” and I said “Sure.”
A totally different thing. I kinda discovered you through the Hughes/Thrall (1982) album and to this day it´s one of my favorites. Was there ever a plan to make another album?
Yeah, in 2000. Pat (Thrall) was in New York and I went to New York and we wrote seven songs, or eight songs and we recorded them, but we never finished them. He moved to Vegas in 2002 and I went up there and did four more songs and we never finished them. Now, all these years later, Pat asked me about doing more work and I´m going “Man, we should have finished those songs!” Do I love Pat? Absolutely. Do I miss him? Absolutely. But I´m so busy. A lot of people, like yourself, would love a Hughes/Thrall 2. It´s likely, but it´s unlikely. It´s more likely that I´ll play with Tony (Iommi) than with Pat. Love Pat, love the album.
Did you do a full tour with that album or was it just selected dates?
We opened for Santana in 82, about ten shows and then we did about seven shows solo. Back in that period we were fucked up and the record company didn´t like the fact that we were getting stoned. That´s 30 some years ago and it´s different now. Hughes/Thrall sold a lot of copies, a million copies and I would say 950.000 of them are musicians or industry people. Every musician I know, black or white, has that album.
What was the deal with the masks on the cover?
No idea. I had no part in that. Fucking stupid. Oh my God and there was so much makeup and oh my God. Pat and I didn´t have anything to do with that. The 80´s were different.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen