[% META title = 'Glenn Hughes, Interviews' %]

Glenn Hughes from Fender Frontline


The following article/interview appeared in Fender Frontline magazine, Summer 1993 issue - Vol. 10. I laboriously typed it in for the benefit of the newsgroup alt.music.deep-purple, thank you. :-) Hope you enjoy it!


What do Ritchie Blackmore, Stevie Wonder, Gary Moore, David Bowie, and Tony Iommi have in common? The answer is - Glenn Hughes! A seasoned veteran of the "big time" and a genuine rock and roll survivor, Glenn's talents and abilities are legendary. He is an extraordinary hybrid in rock music equally renowned for his soulful and compelling singing voice and his funky and imaginative bass lines. His formidable combined talents of singer/bassist/composer place him in the same league with such luminaries as Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, and Geddy Lee.

Born and bred in Birmingham, England, Glenn Hughes first came to international attention in Trapeze. "Originally Trapeze was a five-piece band - singer, guitar, drums, keyboard, and bass - and I was the bass player and background vocalist. On the first Trapeze album, it was obvious I was developing into more of a singer than our lead singer was. We let him go by the second record "Medusa", which was a breakthrough album in America. That was 1970 and at that point we were a power trio - like Cream with maybe a bit more movement, a bit funkier."

Not surprising since Glenn's roots are in both R&B and rock. "Along with Sixties bands like the Hollies, Animals, and Cream, an important influence was soul and funk - for both voice and bass. I've always been into black performers - Stax, Motown, and so on. One guy who particularly inspired me was Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone bassist) although I'm a pick player 75% of the time. Another was Andy Frazier of Free. He is the king of taste - straight-forward solid bass."

In 1973, Glenn left Trapeze to join progressive-metal supergroup Deep Purple. Rock legend has it that Ritchie Blackmore and company had been sizing up Hughes for some time. Glenn recalls, "Trapeze was very popular on the West Coast. We were regularly selling out the Whiskey in L.A. for like five nights straight. All the guys in Purple were there and I didn't realize it at the time but they were checking me out! A month later they asked me to join the band. I wound up joining Purple for the "Burn" album ∆which also introduced then unknown David CoverdaleŇ. I'm proud of my work on that record - particularly the bass lines on "Burn" and "Mistreated"."

Glenn went on to record "Stormbringer" with Deep Purple in 1974 and the controversial "Come Taste the Band" LP in 1975, the latter creating quite a stir due to the leader-founder-guitar hero Blackmore's replacement by American fretboard virtuoso Tommy Bolin. Purple disbanded in 1976 leaving Hughes free to rejoin his Trapeze bandmates for a brief reunion tour of the States. 1976 also marked the release of Glenn's solo album "Play Me Out" (available now as a special import on the Safari label) which contains some definitive bass playing and singing. He then focused for a few years on writing and studio work. Glenn returned to the stage in 1982 in the Hughes/Thrall group with monster guitar player Pat Thrall (Pat Travers, Automatic Man et al). The team produced the musically excellent but relatively obscure Hughes/Thrall album before parting company. Happily, the Hughes/Thrall union resurfaced in the soundtrack to the 1987 hit comedy "Dragnet" with the driving metal/R&B/rap theme song, "City of Crime."

Following Hughes/Thrall, Glenn commenced a hectic period of varied session and stage projects. He appeared as lead vocalist on the European release "Phenomena" featuring a stellar lineup of British rock giants - Cozy Powell, Don Airey, Neil Murray, and Mel Galley and also on Gary Moore's "Run For Cover" album (1985). In 1986, he joined Tony Iommi on the "Seventh Star" record. 1988 saw the release of "Phenomena II" with another all-star cast - Hughes, Ray Gillan, John Wetton, Mel Galley among others. A year later, Glenn guested on Whitesnake's "Slip of the Tongue" album and in 1991 appeared on John Norum's "Face the Truth" record. His recording with The KLF resulted in 1992's massive European hit, "What Time Is Love."

Which brings us to the present. "I've just released a record on Shrapnel called "Glenn Hughes Blues." It's got a ton of great players on it - John Norum, Ritchie Kotzen, Warren DiMartini...Mick Mars plays a great slide solo on it! This is a record about pain and recovery; it's very autobiographical. I don't want to talk too much about it but I've had a history of drug abuse and it kept me from being focused in the past. I feel as if 1993 is the start of the new era of Glenn Hughes. I'm out to educate young people and musicians alike on the dangers of drugs. Careerwise, there's a bunch of stuff happening - I'm due to sing background vocals on the new Motley Crue record, I'm on George Lynch's "Hypnotica Erotica" coming out next month and I'm getting ready to make the first real big Glenn Hughes solo album which will come out in early 1994."

While Glenn's past and present client roster reads like a who's who of guitar greats, there is one guitarist who remains on Hughes' wish list. "I'd love to do something with Jeff Beck in the near future. I want you to print that because I hope he'll read it! He once asked me to play with him twenty-two years ago and it's been on my mind ever since."

In closing, Glenn commented on another great combination - Hughes and the Fender bass. "I've been playing Fenders for something like 23 years now! I'm always trying out different basses but I always come back to my old Fenders or, now, the new ones."

Welcome back, Glenn.


Bill Jones