[% META title = 'Glenn Hughes, Interviews' %]
From: Guitarist, May 1994

Glenn Hughes

The former Deep Purple star is back with a revitalized solo career and a reunion with his pre-Purple muckers Trapeze

Twenty-five years into a music career that could be most politely described as chequered, Glenn Hughes has survived probably more than his fair share of rock 'n roll's most tempting, and destructive, excesses.

By Tim Slater
After reaching superstar status in the mid-70s as bass player and vocal foil for David Coverdale in Deep Purple, Hughes embarked on a solo career while simultaneously fighting a fierce personal war against the drink and drug related problems which were to plague him constantly throughout the ensuing decade.

But whatever demons may have befallen him, Hughes' magnificent soul-tinged voice remained intact, and the dawn of the 80s saw something of a recovery with the recording of some sporadic, but surprisingly impressive, works; his contributions to Gary Moore's Run For Cover, Black Sabbath's Seventh Star, and a superb album with Canadian guitar wizard and current Meat Loaf sideman Pat Thrall proved that the magic was still there. The Hughes/Thrall project particularly promised to blossom into an ongoing association until Hughes again sadly succumbed to his problems. However, in the summer of 1990 fortunes were to take a surprising upturn, as those notorious art terrorists, The KLF, chose Hughes to add The Voice Of Rock to a bizarre pseudo-operatic dance track called "What Time Is Love."

Swept on by the burgeoning rave culture, the song consequently became an enormous hit around the world, and Hughes admits that this gave him the confidence to clean up his act and relaunch his career anew.

"The KLF were fans of mine for a long time," he says. "They had been considering different guest vocalists to play The Voice Of Rock, such as Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, and myself. I was the first one that they had come down. I did eight different versions of the track, and they were so impressed with what I did that they asked me to do the video, too!

"All of this happened at the time that I was starting to get clean and sober, and I realized that this song was probably going to break my career again, so that's one of the reasons that I started to get back in shape."

Did The KLF's penchant for eccentric behavior manifest itself during the "What Time Is Love" sessions?

"They are great, great guys, and I had a ball working with them and found them very inspirational. They gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted to do, and I actually still throw the tune in when I'm doing my own live shows, and the people just go crazy."

Shortly after this episode, Hughes recorded the low-key Blues album - a standard and indeed rather flaccid cod-metal affair which Hughes readily admits was more a part of his therapy than a serious comeback record. "The Blues album was something that I needed to do just to do some work, and although it isn't really a straight blues record, it was recorded with a blues attitude in that it was recorded very live over a couple of weeks.

"It wasn't really very focused and the record company didn't really get behind it, so to me it was just a stepping stone to this new record. But it did show the record company and the fans that I can still do the business and how serious I feel about my life and my career.

"I've always been blessed with this ability to come out smelling like perfume," Hughes continues with a laugh. "What is always misunderstood about drugs is that people don't become addicted to become assholes! They become addicted because it's in their nature to become addicted. All through the period when I had problems, the only person I was hurting was myself, but I feel almost glad that I dabbled in drugs, because in a funny kind of way getting off them has helped me to become the individual that I am today who is totally focused on staying clean."

Hughes' words would appear to ring true, for after the Blues album's tentative start, his new record From Now On stands proudly as a showcase for his newfound strength and enduring vocal talents and, while it still isn't perfect, it must surely rank as his best work for a long, long time. Recorded in Sweden with a wildly enthusiastic backing group, the whole album quivers with an air of pent up energy, although it is perhaps ironic that the standout track on From Now On is a riotous cover version of the classic Deep Purple track "Burn", proving that the passage of time cannot completely erase echoes of Hughes' illustrious past. But why forsake L.A. as the traditional home of mainstream rock to record in the comparative isolation of Sweden?

"I was on the road with my band and they are all Swedes, and in this day and age you've got to make records as cheap as you can. Also, I wanted to get away from the formulaic L.A. sound, but this album is still pretty slick. The next album definitely won't be as slick, but Europeans and Americans just tend to work differently."

Running parallel to Hughes' revamped solo career is his short sojourn with the legendary Birmingham quartet Trapeze, which not only spawned Hughes, but also guitarist Mel Galley and drummer Dave Holland, who both went on to respective glory with Whitesnake and Judas Priest years later.

"We started working together in 1969, so I feel like a real old geezer. But after 25 years in the music business, I knew what I wanted to do. And I think that an artist like myself who is a true artist will be around for a long time."

(This article was transcribed by Damien DeSimone

glennpa@nic.com (Damien DeSimone)