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Hughes in Guitar World

Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa live in London, Sep 21, 2010; photo © Christie Goodwin

Guitar World has a lengty interview with Glenn Hughes, where he talks about everything from his humble beginning as a trombonist in a school orchestra, to Deep Purple, to Black Country Communion, to the late Gary Moore.

Would you say you were the driving force behind Deep Purple’s groovier sound in the mid-’70s?

That’s a great question — but no one put a gun to my head telling me to be me. I mean, if you study those records, like Burn [1974], which was where David Coverdale and I came in, replacing Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, we were brand new, fresh, living in this castle, writing the album. We’re getting along really well, as Ritchie Blackmore does with every new member that comes in -– he’s a great guy. The album was more what you would consider to be rock-focused and Deep Purple-sounding, with its majestic keyboards and Blackmore’s insane guitar playing.

But when Stormbringer [1974] was being written at that same castle, Ritchie didn’t come in with any songs. He came with only one track, one idea. So it was left up to David, John and myself to come up with the goods, if you will. And we started to write things that were groovier, more melodic. I really liked the direction of Stormbringer, but left to my own devices, I’m gonna be — you know — left to my own devices. I think it would’ve been silly for David and me to come into Deep Purple and ape Ian and Roger. It would have been pointless.

Am I the man who killed Deep Purple? I don’t think so. I think every band from that era, even if you look at Led Zeppelin, if you look at their first four albums, they’re extremely different from one another, and I’ve never made the same album twice. There are other artists who I shan’t mention — all good friends of mine — who have this one-dimensional sound, and it really works for them.

For me? I’m not driven by the mighty dollar. I’m driven by the artistic form of writing music that is different from the last album, while still keeping a focus on what the general direction should be. I don’t take responsibility for Blackmore leaving Deep Purple because of the music I was writing. If you look at the annals of Deep Purple, you’ll notice that Blackmore, every second or third album, would like to change the vocalist anyway.

When you listen to those albums, including Come Taste the Band [1975], you’ll notice they’re very much three different albums because, if you’re between 18 and 25, that’s when you’re really growing musically and spiritually, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’ve never been a one-dimensional rock artist. I can’t help myself.

Read more in Guitar World.

Thanks to Blabbermouth for the info.

32 Comments to “Hughes in Guitar World”:

  1. 1
    HardRockPete says:

    I’ve gained a lot of respect for Glenn Hughes over the last 10 years because of his honesty and of course his abilties as a hard rock musician. He may be inspired by funk and so on, but he makes tremendeous hard rock music. Both as a solo artist and with BCC. I used to blame him for breaking up Purple in the 70s, but not anymore. His drugabuse didn’t help of course, but to blame only him for the break up? Nah… There were a lot of reasons for the band to break up. First, Blackmore leaving to form his own band where his word was the law. Then they replaced him with a heroinaddict, Bolin (they didn’t know of his addiction), and Hughes became a drugaddict at the time. A lot of shit happend in the band at the time, but (a few) good things came out of it. CTTB was a great record, but the best thing was…….the break up gave us Rainbow!! And Dio!!!!

  2. 2
    Drdp says:

    Will you PHULEEEEEZE do a proper US tour with BCC For GOD’S Sake!!!

  3. 3
    Scott w. says:

    @3 I second that! I live in Northern California and Hughes lives in Southern California. Apart from some L.A. one off shows, i have never had the opportunity to see him in all these years! I am not travelling 600 miles to catch a show. At least he could play a show in the gay (oops! i mean the Bay) area!

  4. 4
    Roberto says:

    Even if I don’t like most of the Hughes solo albums I think Stormbringer is an underrated masterpiece with first class songwriting…In my opinion one of the best Deep purple and ’70 rock album ever…

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    So which one song was it that Blackmore allegedly brought to the Stormbringer sessions? More clap trap from Hughes trying to validate his so called songwriting skills. Bringing more melody in, yeah sure, Not! Why is Blackmores name listed on 7 songs then? You can tell he had nothing to do with Holy Man & Hold On, but I can hear his influence in the other songs big time!
    Holy Man is a superb song that has Hughes influence on it no doubt [Coverdale/Hughes/Lord] & Hold On[Coverdale/Hughes/Lord/Paice].
    Album Track Credits with Blakmore: Stormbringer [Blackmore/Coverdale], Love Don’t Mean A Thing [5 members], Lady Double Dealer[Blackmore/Coverdale], You Can’t Do It Right[Blackmore/Coverdale/Hughes], High Ball Shooter[5 Members],
    The Gypsy[5 Members] & Soldier Of Fortune[Blackmore/Coverdale].

  6. 6
    T says:

    Blackmore’s abrupt departure in 1975 was like cutting the head off a snake. It was only a matter of time before the body died. We are starting to witness the same thing with the current band starting with Blackmore’s departure in 1993, but it is taking the snake a lot longer to pass away.

    Certainly it is clear by now that Blackmore had a lot to do with the musical direction of Purple. Hughes is absolutely correct. Without Blackmore’s direction and input, it was up to the other members to provide a sound–a sound that did not resemble a Blackmore-fueled DP. The current Purple line-up is much like Mark IV in that regard as it little resembles the “original” group.

    Glenn Hughes was not some kind of Yoko Ono. Rather, the band lost its identity–much like it is doing now, when side projects are more important than the band’s direction.

    I’m thrilled that fans are discovering Glenn Hughes after all these years and wonderful albums. BCC is just the tip of the iceberg.


  7. 7
    Tracy Heyder (Zero the Hero) says:


    To blame Hughes for the Purple breakup would be preposterous. Bolin died….that did it. Simple as that. As for the interview here, he as usual comes across as the ‘Man’. Though I love his talent, and pretty much all of his recordings, he could do with a little less ‘personal grandeur’.

    As for his tenure with Gary Moore, I wish there was more, as I wish there was more of Hughes with Sabbath. Damn the dope he allowed to mess up his brain. I loved what he did with my hero Gary Moore and on 7th Star. I am a fan for sure and BCC is as good as it gets regarding hard rock.

    I look forward to #3 and seeing them ‘live’ again.


  8. 8
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I thought Bolin died after they pulled the plug.

  9. 9
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 5

    I always feel ambiguous when hearing STORMBRINGER.
    Sometimes I am able to really enjoy this record.
    Other moments it kinda depresses me.

    What RB did on the album is good but it’s clear that he was not involved as much as we wish for.

    Was it the divorce he was going through?
    Was the click he felt with DIO that big it was to hard becoming inspired by DP again?

    Yes, it was “just another”phase in his career.

    There is no doubt that I d not have want to miss what RAINBOW brought us.

    Ofcourse it would have been bliss if thing went upwards after that, but that’s another story.

    IMHO 1976 was his peak.
    After that there were great albums, moments, gigs and so on but it never really scaled the heights of the Rainbow MK II era.

    Ofcourse Son Of Alerik, The Battle Rages On and loads of other gems were yet to come but……

    I m probably contradicting myself now.(…)

    Coming back to Glenn Hughes.
    The man made so much great songs since 1993, that’s what I d like to call a rich heritage.
    That combined with all the greatness MOST ex Purple members produced over the years is something to be thankful for.

    Comparing might be wrong again but….

    IMO Jimmy Page’s last real peak was the album PRESENCE!!!!
    Did he make something really worthy since?
    Plant sometimes did.
    I m not sure about Jonesy.
    Bonham died.

    Decades of emptiness almost compared to what the DP members did.

    And still they are still being hyped as the greatest band.
    I love their stuff untill Inthrough The Outdoor, still have not come to terms with that one, but after that it was hard being a Led Zeppelin fan.

    I heard Glenn’s latest Wolverhampton live album.
    IT ROCK!
    His bass never sounded that good and yeah, he did not quit the screaming…….

  10. 10
    Steve Hawker says:


    The band had already announced its demise in July 76 (I remember the article in Sounds vividly), five months before Bolin’s death. Lord and Paice had made the decision during the UK tour in March. So it cannot be Bolin’s death that caused the Purple breakup.

    Lord blamed Hughes: “A sort of soul element came into it, which finally took over and destroyed it when Glenn decided he was God” [Dave Thompson’s SOTW: The Deep Purple Story]. Glenn lovers cry and complain all you want but Lord was there and we weren’t.

    In reality it was Blackmore who killed DP the first time round. He manipulated the situation to eject Gillan and Glover and by the time Stormbringer was being recorded, he was already well down the road towards Rainbow. Without 3/5ths of the heart of a band, its demise was inevitable.

    We can speculate now about the similarities between the mid 70s and today because I’m darned near certain that Gillan is burned out. I see one more album and if that doesn’t work, that’s the end for DP. And that’s OK by me because we have so much to be thankful for.

  11. 11
    Rascal says:

    @ 6 This ‘snake’ has lasted longer without the head than with it!

    Typical Hughes ‘grandeur’ – cant fault the man (much)

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    The demise of that version of Deep Purple from what I have read over the years, was attributed to the Bolin/Hughes fiasco! That is, woeful ego’s totally out of control with the predictable sex, drugs & alcohol destroying what was left of Deep Purple’s previous reputation!
    The band, Lord & Paice in particular, thinking “what have we done”? Coverdale I think, was also with Lord & Paice. There is photo in a Deep Purple history book that I have from the early 80’s & it says it all really! The image is of a sound check or a rehearsal & Bolin & Hughes are carrying on like the proverbial twats, with Lord & Paice in the background looking pissed off big time!

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    I forgot to add this to my previous post that Bolin died app 8 months after Purple’s final concert. They were well & truly finished by then, officially! They were never going to go on after that woeful world tour. Just ask Lord & Paice & Coverdale, they were loathing it towards the end of that tour, as were the management & the crew etc!

  14. 14
    Scott w. says:


    Bolin died on the day of my 14th birthday (Dec.4, 1976). DP had already called it quits before that in March of ’76. i do agree about his “Personal Granduer” though!

  15. 15
    Bob says:

    HRP, Bolin died after Lord & Paice ended Deep Purple.

  16. 16
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Did not know T. cited Glenn Hughes?

  17. 17
    Tracy Heyder (Zero the Hero) says:

    OK, you have jogged my memory regarding the articles and announcement from Lord and Paice, but…..

    As with any knee jerk reaction sometimes announcements are premature. I believe that had Bolin not died, they would have addressed the situation after some time passed and recorded another record. CTTB was evidence of the great music they were capable of. All that needed to be done was to address the ‘extra-curricular’ activities involving Hughes and Bolin and Purple could have and probably would have attempted another shot. Just my personal opinion though and obviously an unknown. They had some terrible moments and then again some amazing ones too. I witnessed one of the true gems in Miami. All 5 cylinders were firing that night. I do listen to the Bootleg recording of that show quite often, along with CTTB. Good stuff.


  18. 18
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 17

    Great idea but it’s the perspective of now looking back and so on.

    It took Glenn uptill 1992 to turn the swith and change his life.

    Who or what should have been able to change their “minds” around 1976 to get their shit together.
    In the 70’s it was v ery normal and standard to use substances.

    I said in 1977 that smoking was bad, no matter what, but people still(In the 50’s already people were adressing it!!!)rejected as and stubbornly insisted to pursue that behaviour.

    I m afraid that it would have been the dame with harddrugs.

    That’s one of the problems : People see alcohol and tabacco as acceptable substances but in the end those are HARD DRUGS as well.

  19. 19
    Roberto says:

    Deep Purple died in 1976 due two addicted members (Bolin and Hughes) which were reasonably not able to play great live shows, a singer which was there more to enjoy the R’n’R lifestyle than to sing and two founding members which were looking to the big ship sadly falling…This are the reasons why…

    anyway that line up was incredible when they wanted: live california 1976 proves it…

  20. 20
    Patrick says:

    wasent it said that the next album was going to be a all out rocker ? what a shame ….

  21. 21
    Tracy Heyder (Zero the Hero) says:

    Yes Priest, Hughes took all the way up to 1992 to straighten himself up, but that isn’t my point. Most great bands from that era and the 80’s had issues with dope. I don’t give a rat’s ass either, as long as they carry their weight. Purple shutting down as it did while Hughes was in his state helped dig him deeper. I don’t know if there was any pressure from the other band members toward the over indulgence but if not, then they were just enablers. It seems the only actual ‘Purple Drama’ that happened whereby members took stands and spoke up about anything face to face was between Gillan and Blackmore. All others were just passive and later talked (or more realistically whined) about issues after the fact or behind closed doors. Coverdale, Lord and Paicey should have stepped up and demanded a change in Hughes and Bolin’s behavior. Ultimatum time. If they wouldn’t conform, then all they needed was a Bass player whom may have been a better influence on Tommy (’cause I would have kept Bolin and dumped Hughes), and less funk. ‘Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are’. They could have brought back Nick Simper (whom was available due to Warhorse pulling the plug in 1974) for that matter. Cool line-up there. Lord, Paice, Simper, Coverdale and Bolin.

    What a shame they weren’t more a band of ‘brothers’, stepping up and stepping in rather than taking the high road. Bolin may be alive today if he had some heavier intervention from those whom instead, literally stood by and watched the madness unfold and progress. In all actuality, the ‘straight guys’ are more accountable than Hughes regarding Bolin. Hughes was messed up too, so his head wouldn’t detect the chaos. But, those whom were sober enough and aware of it all, that just observed and allowed it to kill such a great band (and guitarist) truly should have a hard time looking in the mirror. Yeah, I’m the first to say that we all are responsible for our own behavior and mistakes, and don’t really have too much sympathy for those whom allow dope to control their life, but that doesn’t mean that those whom witness a fellow human being they know or associate with going down that path isn’t responsible for stepping up and trying to intervene.


  22. 22
    TruthHurts says:

    @ 17

    If it’s the Jai Alai Sports Arena show from February 8, 1976 that is being referred to, it is a great shame that (to my knowledge) no decent audio exists, because the band is on fire, especially Tommy who is playing with total authority – absolutely no question of him not being able to fill Blackmore’s shoes here……..

  23. 23
    Jerry says:

    It’s always interesting to read other’s comments. I think Glenn raises an interesting point when he comments about the diversity of the 3 Purple albums he did, and that some bands tend to stick to the same stuff.

    Anyone who has followed Purple’s career will know that the influences from the variety of members is broad. As it is with most musicians, who have eclectic tastes. The problem is invariably that the artist’s audience has very narrow musical tastes. Then the artist feels restricted.

    It’s why I believe that the vast bulk of the solo material from any of the Purple guys has never seen the same level of success. How many Purple fans enjoy funk, or classical for example? How many get as much pleasure out of Play Me Out or Durham Concerto as they do In Rock or Burn? My guess would be only a small proportion.

    Because of the Purple image it has always made it very difficult for any of them to cross over to the audiences that do enjoy the different genres the solo albums can be in. Jon seems to have acheived it recently with his classical work but it’s taken him 40 years! Glenn should be selling bucketloads of records to people who like artists such as Prince or James Brown, but alas breaking through to that audience is always difficult when you are in a “purple straightjacket”.

    Coverdale and Gillan’s early solo work didn’t appeal to the mass of Purple fans and it was only when they steered the style to a more narrow focus that they saw greater success.

    The most ironic thing is that Purple Records company slogan was “The Open Ear” and the band members embraced everything from Elvis to Stravinsky with their own personal tastes. It’s just a shame that most of the audience struggles to accept something that steps outside a specific sound. That’s the harsh reality in my humble opinion. 🙂

  24. 24
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Nick Simper, good one! : )

    Good posts by Tracy and Jerry.

    So much for new albumtitles :

    Purple Drama
    Purple Straightjacket
    The Open Ear.

  25. 25
    Roberto says:

    @23 I agree…musical culture is not the same for everyone…there are album masterpieces like ‘clair air turbulence’, ‘butterfly ball’ and others from Purple members which are not for everyone’s ears…

  26. 26
    TruthHurts says:

    @ 21
    Excellent post Tracy

    Glenn ending up with Tommy’s long-time girlfriend probably didn’t help either………..

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    @ 21/ Lord & Paice would have had the proverbial gut full by 1976 & no doubt would have been thinking ‘what have we done’? Meaning, trying to flog a dead horse! Being original members from 1968, they would have regrets about that band I would think. Plus, Hughes & Bolin would not have been friends at all with Lord or Paice, merely some sort of casual business partners for a very short time, so I cannot see why they Lord & Paice, would bother to get involved in any one persons personal chaos. They have there own lives to live & the huge responsibility of the Purple brand hanging around their necks at the time. It is all irrelevant any way, Bolin was on a one way trip to the abyss & Hughes is no doubt lucky to still be here today. That band was never going any further up the road.

  28. 28
    Manolis says:

    I am a hardcore Gillan/Lord/Blackmore fan as regards DP, though the Morse era has some tremendous stuff too. Was never into GH in DP, or most of his solo stuff. But with Tony Iommi- wow!

  29. 29
    Tracy Heyder (Zero the Hero) says:

    Sorry to disagree here MacGregor….

    The Brand as you state was way too big to walk away from in any responsible fashion. Yes, anybody can high tail it and pursue their own little spot light in the sun (none have worked out too well outside Purple). Anybody can turn the other cheek. Yeah, to each his own is the ‘no wave, PC way’. No spine, can’t whine. When MK4 came to be, Purple was still at a very high point and there was great demand for their music. There were 5 guys in that band. They chose to go on after Gillan and Glover, and then later Blackmore left. As I stated, 3 of the 5 should have taken a stand. Coverdale, Lord and Paice should have sat the other 2 down and given them an ultimatum. As I also stated, if the ultimatum didn’t pan out, dump Hughes, jump on Bolin for salvation and hire another bass player. In other words, GROW some BALLS and take charge. Unfortunately that seems to be the personality of the band other than Blackmore and Gillan. Blackmore ran the show when he was in and Nobody but Gillan faced up. Ever. That was then and then is now….

    Just as with the present line-up, nobody makes waves regarding taking the helm towards any direction. Gillan runs the ‘no show’ regarding album output (or lack of). Hence an 8 year waiting period for an album, while each member separately grumbles but doesn’t push. No Balls, no glory….(yet another Album title).


  30. 30
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 29

    But it passed and the seasons changed…….

    Like with the Morse era……..


  31. 31
    Tracy Heyder (Zero the Hero) says:

    Yes TH, you would think huh? But they seemed to get past that I thought, not for long though. Alone, dead in a hotel room…..maybe not.

    Yes PP, seasons do change. That’s a good thing. One change that would fair well in this climate would be some ‘back to back’ Purple albums.


  32. 32
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Let us be glad that there is so much more music than Purple alone.

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