[% META title = 'Glenn Hughes, Interviews' %]
Here's an interesting article/interview with Glenn Hughes from a UK magazine called Metal CD from 1993, right around the time his _Blues_ album was released. Glenn has a lot to say here, so read on and enjoy...
(The following article is from Metal CD, Vol. 1, No. 5 1993 ENGLAND, original article written by Kirk Blows)
There's a joke quipped about chocolate fudgecake; good mate and Trapeze guitarist Mel Galley orders a couple of Carlsbergs; around the table the Molsens are being downed with consummate ease. It all adds up to a scenario that should make life uncomfortable for Glenn Hughes, as he sits in a London hotel restaurant, poring with others over the luncheon menu.
As it is, the vocalist is as happy and relaxed as one could wish to be. The former Trapeze/Deep Purple singer/bassist can seemingly laugh at the jokes that persist around the legend of Glenn Hughes - the man who descended into a world of drug-orientated oblivion following his years with Purple in the mid-seventies.
For all the self-destructive tendencies though, he's never been completely out of the limelight. He's colluded with guitarist Pat Thrall, worked with Gary Moore, joined Black Sabbath, contributed to the Phenomena albums, was featured on the L.A. Blues Authority release a year ago, made guest appearances with bands (surprisingly singing on The KLF's "America: What Time Is Love?" hit), and - having hit rock bottom before entering The Betty Ford Clinic at the end of 1991 - was fronting a reformed Trapeze (with Galley and drummer Dave Holland) last summer for some club dates. Now back as a solo artist with the release of _L.A. Blues Authority Volume II: Glenn Hughes - Blues_, Trapeze are on temporary hold until a deal is forthcoming.
"Here's my problem," Glenn explains, "You can't go on and do more gigs in England doing nostalgia. I can't afford to go out without having something to promote. I know there are CDs of _Medusa_ and _You Are The Music..._ being reissued, which is great, but I don't think Polygram are gonna promote them, which sucks. So I'm in the process of talking to labels about a new deal for Trapeze, but they're watching me closely. If I can do a Trapeze project, I will. But right now, with the _Blues_ project I'm going to be touring behind that. And then I'm doing another solo album in August, which is going to be *the* solo album, the major comeback one.
"This isn't the comeback album, this is an album of recovery songs from all that crap I went through at Betty Ford. This is an album saying goodbye to one chapter and opening another.
"Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records boss) begged me to do this album, and I said I know nothing about the blues, Chicago, or any other blues thing, but I do feel the bloody blues. And what better way to sing what I've been writing over the last year due to my substance abuse; it's basically blues-orientated for Christ's sake. Hence a blues record for me, a self-indulgent trip down memory lane to cleanse the spirit, if you will."
Not that _Blues_ has any cover versions. With Hughes forming a partnership with American guitarist Craig Erickson, the pair formulated approximately twenty songs in a fortnight, inviting axe-slingers Mick Mars ("He's a really great slide player, he's very underrated"), John Norum, ex-Ratt man Warren DeMartini, Mark Kendall (of Great White), Poison's Richie Kotzen, and new Love/Hate guitarist Darren Householder to join bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Gary Ferguson and make their contributions. "It's good to be back!," screams Hughes at the climax of "The Boy Can Sing The Blues," leaving no doubt as to the autobiographical nature of the album.
"It's totally autobiographical," Glenn assures. "Nine of the twelve songs are about substance abuse, and I know it is a bit over the top, but... To me, my sobriety is so relevant. Ozzy says it's boring to be sober and stuff; to me, I'm really grooving on the fact that I'm sober and clean. They call it a pink cloud in Betty Ford when you feel how I feel, and pink clouds normally last about six months. But it's fourteen months now and I'm still racing."
Hughes has declared himself clean before, but he admits these claims were always bogus. "I was never clean. I was trying to convince myself first. Why I did get clean was because I was dying. It was Christmas Day, 1991. I was coked out of my brains, couldn't breathe, couldn't walk and talk, so I drove to the hospital, and the doctor said the oxygen wasn't getting through to the brain. If I'd have stayed at home, I'd have died. It was not a fun experience, and I'd been asking God for the last three years prior to that for a sign. I was begging for help, and it came in the form of an intense hospital visit. So, for Glenn Hughes, it took a very life-threatening situation."
What role does God have in Glenn's life?
"God has always been in my life; I just hadn't accepted him," he reflects. "I'm not gonna sit here and Bible-thump to you, because I'm not that kind of guy, but I will tell you that God is in my life. I hand my will to him. He has taken away the obsession for me to use cocaine and speed and ecstasy. That obsession was fucking mind-blowing! I was so far gone, it was almost impossible for me to come back.
"I'll give you a daily routine. I would only use drugs on a Friday and Saturday night, but I would buy an ounce of cocaine, and in two days it'd be gone. And when you do that much blow, it takes about four or five days to come down, because you're in such a stupor. So I was only coherent for one day of the week, and that was a shakes day. For the last three or four years that was. Through projects like Gary Moore (_Run For Cover_) and Black Sabbath (_Seventh Star_) - dim-witted arseholes, I've nothing to say to them - I didn't use on the projects, but I was dying to get home to use.
"It's a spooky thing, this disease. And for the first six months of getting clean, it was on my shoulder saying 'C'mon, let's do one more line.' There's only really one way out of it, and that's Jesus Christ, and my acceptance of him is why I'm clean."
Surely it would've been easier for Hughes to clean up by removing himself from musical environments?
"It ain't gonna work that way if you're an addict," he states. "I thought if I left L.A. and moved to... East Grimsby, it'd be okay. But you can find drugs anywhere. There's no point in moving to escape the disease; the disease is in your mind, it drives you fucking mentally insane. Towards the end, I was making barnyard noises. I was getting really doolally.
"I can't... I won't work with people that have the disease. I can't risk it. I'm not gonna be like Aerosmith or Motley Crue; if you're backstage with me, you can have a drink, I don't care. I don't have a problem with booze, because I only used booze to come down off the toot. But the coke and all the other mind-altering chemicals, I'd have a real problem working with somebody under those conditions."
As for Glenn's next recording project - the "comeback" album - the singer is a little vague as to what direction it will take. Would it be a funk-rock thing as he'd claimed last year?
"It's really hard to say," he admits. "But we're talking to labels right now. I've got a new manager, and I'm working with Robin Godfrey Cass at Warner Chappell. We're compiling twelve or fifteen songs that will be the best possible songs for Glenn Hughes to put out, all of which will be radio-accessible. This is not gonna sound like a Michael Bolton thing; it'll be more adult contemporary, if you will.
"I'm forty years old. I don't want to be on stage with my hair long, grabbing my dick and saying I love the devil and screaming blue murder. They say I've got 'the voice of rock,' but for me it's a soulful thing. I'm a soul singer in a rock genre. I've been trying to break out of the rock thing for years."
Hence a brief liaison and rehearsals recently with Earth, Wind & Fire?
"I did it, and it sounded like a very bad Las Vegas act. There were twelve black guys and me, and when I started singing, the whole band put their fingers in their ears and said they'd never heard a singer so loud. It was: 'Can you turn it down a bit?' So it wasn't for me. It was horrible."
Reflecting back across your career, what are your greatest memories?
"Trapeze, I have to say, because that was when I was untouched by the chemical. And from ground up to arena-sized venues in America, it was all our work, no hype."
Are the memories of Purple primarily good or bad?
"Rather boring on stage. It wasn't really challenging for me. I didn't enjoy the square-sounding heavy metal stuff they did, a la 'Space Trucking.' I felt like a B act in a B movie. It was nice singing with David Coverdale, and the _Burn_ record worked very well, but this big live thing of five guys doing solos was the most boring shit... We got away with it, but I didn't like it."
Was it the Purple days that prompted your first involvement in drugs?
"It was Purple, the first tour of America. I started using coke, and it started getting heavy. I never did a bad show, but I was a little bit erratic to be around. I was a millionaire at 21, coked out of my mind, with my own limo, Rolls Royces everywhere. I could have shot somebody and got away with it.
"I see guys now like C.C. DeVille (former Poison guitarist), and it's like a mini Glenn Hughes. This guy is either gonna end up dead or... I saw him last week at the Randy Rhoads (benefit concert) thing, and I felt like going up to him and saying 'C'mon, look at me for Christ's sake.' But you can't do that. I'm in a very selfish program. It's called 'Let's keep Glenn alive and fuck everybody else.'"
However, there are exceptions where Glenn does feel able to pass on some benefit from his experiences.
"I'm sure Spike (of the Quireboys) wouldn't mind me telling you, because Spike's been dry for almost two months now. He called me up and asked me to give a helping hand, so I'm keeping an eye on him. And there's two other guys I sponsor. They call me everyday, and I give them guidelines.
"I live a very programmed existence. It's a twelve-step program, and I follow them all day long, so I have a somewhat boring lifestyle. But I'm around and I'm gonna be around for a long time."
(The following was transcribed by Damien DeSimone)