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Clearwell ghosts never showed up

Louder Sound has a short, but fairly informative interview with Glenn Hughes.

What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about either the Burn album or the sessions for it?

Freshness. I had joined the band from Trapeze, and then David [Coverdale] joined seven weeks later. Everything felt brand new. There was a sense of chumminess and back-slapping. Even [Ritchie] Blackmore was a part of that. It felt very cool.

Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, where the album was written, was supposedly haunted. Did you see any ghosts?

There’s a famous story. Blackers and I were the first two to arrive. That night, as a gag, he rigged my wardrobe with speakers to emit all sorts of scary noises. He had a microphone next door and was going: “Whoo whoo”. We did have a couple of séances, but I didn’t see any ghosts, though I know the place was haunted.

When did you last talk to Ritchie?

Face to face, it would have been a long time ago. But we never had a falling out. He did ask me to join Rainbow six years ago. The night before I was leaving, Carole [Stevens, Blackmore’s manager and mother-in-law] called to say they had found a singer who also played bass. I had wanted to go to New York and have lunch with Ritchie, look him in the eye and give him a hug, but I didn’t fancy playing bass behind an unknown singer… again. So I didn’t go.

He also mentions that the upcoming Black Country Communion album will be called Number Five.

Read the rest in Louder Sound.

Here’s Glenn at the first gig of his US tour in Vineland, NJ, on August 16, 2023:

Video clips courtesy of Greg Jenne.

38 Comments to “Clearwell ghosts never showed up”:

  1. 1
    Jaffa says:

    Ah, the legendary Carole Stevens. Sometimes you just have to wonder.

  2. 2
    Rick says:

    @1 Wonder about what? Ritchie chose to back off from the big stages and travel and seek a more subdued and simplistic musical and family lifestyle. It’s a safe bet that he informed Ms. Stevens of how he wanted his musical affairs handled and felt she was more than capable of dealing with that. What more can be said?

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    May I quote Ian Paice, a keen observer of human nature with succinct judgement:

    “Ritchie is now playing acoustic folk music on guitar with his girlfriend and they are being managed by her mother, so I’m sure it’s all very professional.”

    Glenn in that last Rainbow line-up would have slammed everyone in that “band” – including a very rusty Blackmore – against the wall as regards alertness and freshness of playing as well as sheer gung-ho attitude. It would have become the Glenn Hughes Band with old friend Ritchie Blackmore guesting. One thing Glenn cannot do is stay in the background, either vocally or as a bass player. You either love him for it or need headache medication.

    I read somewhere that Glenn was sought out as a potential bassist by people in Ritchie’s organization (likely then that it was either Candice – his connection to the outside world – or her mom) and that he was supposed to have dryly remarked upon hearing about the fact: “Has anybody actually told Glenn that he will NOT be the singer? Better call him.” It just goes to show how little people around Ritchie today know about Deep Purple’s history and the erstwhile chemistry and machinations within the band (or Glenn Hughes as a current or historic performer). Embarrassing. Naïve. Much like Blackmore’s Night music in fact.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “What more can be said?”

    Uhum, how about:

    “Inviting Glenn into a band, but asking him to not sing is like having Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Phil Lynott or Sting join a band, but request them to stay quiet.”

    Which shows a profound understanding of pop music history, just sayin’. It’s a bit like Glenn Hughes’ management asking Ritchie to guest with Glenn, but just play rhythm guitar. I’m sure that would win accolades of fervent support from the Blackmore crowd for general sensitivity towards and in-depth knowledge of the Man-in-Black. Now just where might the insult lie with that?!

  5. 5
    Coronarias says:

    Ha Ha!! Uwe, I overlooked the “end quote” marks, and thought for a moment that Ian Paice had said everything in your post! Which would have been hilarious (I agree with it all), but most unlike our ever-diplomatic favourite drummer!

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    “Embarrassing. Naïve. Much like Blackmore’s Night music in fact.” Don’t you purchase BN music & attend a few concerts Uwe? Cheers.

  7. 7
    Daniel says:

    I agree with Uwe. It’s a good thing Glenn never got involved with the biggest mistake in DP history: Ritchie’s decision to go out as Rainbow with musicians from BN.

  8. 8
    Daniel says:

    Granted, this is a replication of how DP used to sound in the mid 70s, but I can’t help but feel it would be cool if current DP performed a show with the same type of free form improvisation and nerve.

  9. 9
    Gregster says:


    So I gave “You fool no one” a listen, & have to say that the whole band is awesome, very powerful & musical…The keyboard solo was incredible, & entered the “jazz-world” by having most of it played “outside” the natural / regular harmony, & it was matched just as nicely by the guitar solo too…The drumming was superb, even Paicey would offer a thumbs-up for sure. I couldn’t quite hear the vocal harmony, but I think its fair to say that all that was missing was DC.

    Well done GH. All will be impressed who see your show ! The tunes have the power of old being delivered 🙂 !

    Peace !

  10. 10
    mike whiteley says:

    There is no questioning GH’s commitment to the Mk III tunes,but it’s gotten a bit “same old,same old’ to me.
    Highway Star ?? I’ll pass.
    Happy Birthday to the gentleman who gave us that classic tune,as well as many others,Ian Gillan !

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    ”Don’t you purchase BN music & attend a few concerts Uwe?“

    Sure I do, your point being, Herr MacGregor? 😂 I‘d buy a Dolby Atmos mix of Ritchie‘s farts. Whenever BN are in Germany, I attend one of their gigs. It‘s been a while though since they last were. And I‘ve even witnessed a handful of very good BN gigs, but the cheese is never very far.

    But BN are at least able to play convincingly whatever ridiculous music they choose to perform. That wasn‘t the case with Reunion Rainbow which mangled classics.

    Had Glenn been with them, they would have had at least a singer who understands the lyrics of Catch The Rainbow and can put some feeling into them.


  12. 12
    Daniel says:

    I also think he should drop HS and I know what you mean by “same old, same old”. On the other hand, if he holds onto his promise, that this tour won’t go longer than the end of next year, this will be the last time to see extended and improvised Mk 3/4 material performed in a 70s manner. Hopefully it will enable him to build enough of a profile to allow him to do “an evening of GH” the next time out.

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    There’s no one else out there doing credibly Mk III stuff. I’m fine with him doing it and would appreciate it even more if the songs from Stormbringer and Mk IV were included as well. It’s not like he has been doing full Purple evenings for decades now. Without him we wouldn’t even know how Sail Away sounds live played by an ex-Deep Purple.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    @ 11 – You said embarrassing & naive, much like BN music. So I was thinking either you have had a change of mind recently in regards to their music & concerts or you don’t mind it being embarrassing & naive & are quite prepared to pay for that. Also I am not sure why Blackmore’s manager etc should know a lot about the chemistry, machinations & history etc of DP. Why would they apart from any business dealings re Blackmore’s past history in regards to royalties etc. Cheers.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    I have noticed over the years that Jack Bruce did guest with the odd band here
    & there & was only playing bass guitar & not singing. I don’t think it would be an issue for any of those bass players you mentioned Uwe & most likely others also. It was only for a handful of shows, not a recording or tour as such.. What was that Frank Zappa saying, ‘just shut up & play your guitar’. Having said that I have stated my humorous look at Glenn Hughes being allegedly invited into the ‘Rainbow’ cauldron before. It always seemed comical in a way to hear that. Not to worry, as long as it wasn’t JLT. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “I am not sure why Blackmore’s manager etc should know a lot about the chemistry, machinations & history etc of DP. Why would they apart from any business dealings re Blackmore’s past history in regards to royalties etc.”

    A silly assumption, forgive me. But perhaps Ritchie’s mom-in-law could have conducted a basic due diligence first, I would have imagined it to have gone something like this:

    CAROLE: “Richard, we still need a bassist for that Ritchie & the Rainbows reunion thing. Shall I give that Roger guy a call who played at that large concert you had in California in the 60ies? He seemed like the lively type, we need someone to move on stage, you know about your knees, honey! Candice can’t help you on this one.”

    RITCHIE (delayed reaction): “It’s Glenn, Carole, Glenn Hughes; Roger wasn’t at the California Jam. And it was 1974. I think. A camera guy crashed into me, it wasn’t my fault, but I don’t remember the incident clearly anymore, chronic headaches from it too.”

    CAROLE (unperturbed): “I’m so sorry to hear that! Whatever. Does Roger still play bass? Shall I then call him or don’t you like him anymore?”

    RITCHIE: “I’m fine with him. Glenn – his name is G-L-E-N-N, mother – is Glenn. Good bass player still. Just remember that he also sang with us back then and won’t be singing with us now. Your daughter in all her wisdom has reserved that slot for the Chilean kid she found on YouTube. Glenn’s voice wouldn’t be right, but he does like to be the lead vocalist too, so clear that up with him and say hi from me.”

    CAROLE: “Consider it done. I will give this Nicky a call and tell him we’re only paying for bass.”


    “You don’t mind it being embarrassing & naive & are quite prepared to pay for that.”

    Fact of the matter is: I indeed don’t. I’ve seen BN a dozen times or more, sure I cringe every time when Candice invites the audience for sing & waltzy sway alongs during Under A Violet Moon or, gulp, Renaissance Fair. I even find the horrific plastic foliage they adorn their stage with embarrassing. I also cringe at Whitesnake gigs and have driven three hours one way too see Joe Lynn Turner in a club knowing I’d cringe in places. And I sure did, but he also sang well. Hey, I love Nicolas Cage as an actor and he delivers cringeworthy rubbish all the time – disrupted by occasional brilliance of course!


  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Glenn has played on the last Satriani album – just bass, but that was an instrumental album. But how weird would it have been if Ronnie Romero had sung Burn without Glenn doing his parts, yet standing on stage?

    In any case, I don’t believe the idea originated with Ritchie, Rainbow’s stiff rhythms – name me one Rainbow song that has grooved since the Elf guys were kicked out after the debut – don’t really ask for a bass player with a funk feel. Bob Curiano aka Bob Noveau is actually not an unfunky bassist – he’s a similar player to IGB’s John Gustafson -, but his playing really didn’t fit the Rainbow songs, he’s too playful, rhythmically nuanced and melodic. All good traits of a bassist in many musical environments, but not in Rainbow, neither in their Dio nor their AOR era.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Yes I could imagine a conversation like that or similar. Especially as Blackmore can be so flippant at times, as if he would have been that worried about who played bass guitar. He never wanted a ‘Rainbow’ reunion in the first place did he? Although he would have been gunning for a low key ‘sideman’ on bass, the same as Jens on the keyboards playing a ‘supporting’ role. All pretty laid back in more ways than one. The backup singers gave it all away as to what was going down. Cheers.

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    He never looked the part, so he had no chance, but stylistically Gillan’s John McCoy would have been perfect for Dio era Rainbow and especially a perfect companion for Cozy. That would have been the ultimately thundering rhythm section.

  20. 20
    Rock Voorne says:

    ” The night before I was leaving, Carole [Stevens, Blackmore’s manager and motherin-law] called to say they had found a singer who also played bass.”

    Its been a long time now.
    I read tons of stuff in different shapes and forms since this peculiar “comeback” of an outfit, made up of too many, to my liking that is, unsuitable, stand ins.

    So I m not sure remembering everything right as it was confusingly spread trough the media.

    I always thought that quote to very weird. April Fools anybody?

    The first association I had was that something was lost in “translation” somewhere. I thought of this BN player who played and sang well and for some reason, not unlike the other BN members, I still have issues remembering his real name.
    Wasnt it Bard…..something?
    So, I sound crazy as well probably as well, I never ever took this allegedly story to be historically true.

    EVERYONE ought to know this cannot have happened, IMHO.

    There s indeed no logic inviting Glenn as just a bassplayer, and ofcourse it akwardness echoed Glenns entry into MK3, 5 decades ago.
    Although the blending of DC and GH gave it a special sound but we were (sic)always told that was never the idea of the rest of the band .

    So, now arises the insane question….Did Glenns vocal parts in DP come there and they just could not stop him?

    Mixed feelings on Glenn.
    On one hand he seems a never ending well of energy and seemingly not bonkers.
    Despite all the drugs and whatever happened on top of that.
    On the other hand I hear this naughty voice saying , like he did on stage overhere , in 2018, ” You know I m crazy.”

    I need a drink now.

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Even Blackmore confirmed in an interview that Glenn had been contacted to play bass on the Rainbow reunion and that he (Ritchie) had to put his foot in because no one had told Glenn he would not be singing.

    In 1973, however, it was never under consideration that Glenn should remain mute (“They told me I would not just be doing ooohs and aaahs.”), he was coaxed into Purple with the perspective that he’d be singing alongside Paul Rodgers, one of his heroes. When that fell flat, DC had to be found, because Ritchie wanted a vocalist with a deeper, more “manly” voice too.

    The twin lead vocal approach was a defining feature of MK III, all lead vocals on Burn (the album) were shared by David and Glenn save for Mistreated. Ironically, most people who had not yet seen Mk III live at this point failed to realize initially that on most of Burn two lead vocalists traded lines with each other. Roger’s “non-singing bassist with hat on stage”-image somehow stuck and carried over into early Mk III. I too initially thought that Glenn’s voice was just David singing higher. Once I belatedly realized that there were actually two guys trading lead vocal lines, I found that fascinating in a hard rock setting. Deep Purple we’re all of the sudden a bit like Three Dog Night (a band I also dug) or Grand Funk Railroad where Mark Farner and singing drummer Don Brewer would also trade lead vocal lines or harmonize (Don takes the first verse, Mark the second, the third verse is call and response between them, the chorus is sung by both, with Farner taking a Glenn Hughes role to Brewer’s deeper voice):


    Mk II’s weakness live was the total lack of backing vocals live. While Led Zep and Sabbath operated like that too (all the while multitracking the vocals like hell in the studio), bands such as Uriah Heep, The Who, Nazareth, Status Quo, Wishbone Ash, Grand Funk Railroad etc all offered more variety in the vocal department and/or stronger harmony vocals. I think Ritchie wanted some of that with MK III – and perhaps also the lead vocalist role divided between two people so that an Ian Gillan would never again compete with him … divide and rule! 😂

    In a 1976 NME interview Ritchie replied to the question what he thought of Mk III’s two-pronged lead vocal attack in hindsight: “It worked well on record. On stage it left much to be desired.”

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Was’nt it Bard…..something?”

    Dichtbij, RV, nah dran …

    Sir Robert of Normandie (because Ritchie met him at the Normandy Inn, a tavern on Long Island) = Bob Noveau = Bob Curiano = ex-Willie DeVille bassist



    Sometimes, he does material more pertinent for these pages …


    He even has a bassist called Ritchie!


  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    The solo lead vocalist conundrum & I was only thinking about this earlier today before I read Uwe’s recent comments. The one lead vocalist scenario does bring a sense of tedium with it, rather limiting after a while. So the big three suffered from that & one band still does to this day. Breaking up the vocals can be good thing & some bands had the luxury at times with different members singing their own songs (usually but not always). Early Floyd, The Beatles, The Moody Blues, some of Queen songs, Supertramp & the list goes on. Some lead vocalists can get a bit too much at times, Yes with Jon Anderson however at least with the 70’s classics they played extended pieces of music to give a break to the too much lead vocal thing. Ian Anderson in Tull suffered from being the only lead vocalist & of course too much flute at times. A picky bunch are we not? Well I’m not, he he he, perish the thought. Cheers.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    ‘A thousand Bob’s I have known’, thanks for that, enjoyed it. Cheers.

  25. 25
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I believe that when the 60ies turned to the 70ies there was a time when harmony vocals and dual lead vocals were deemed somewhat uncool and old-fashioned (too Everly Brothers or Beatles or Beach Boys, too twee in general), especially by bands with a more improvisational instrumental focus. You had a lead guitarist, you didn’t have a rhythm guitarist anymore, and you had one singer who sang mostly alone (and didn’t have to rein himself in to not mess up harmonies), in the studio he would double-track himself to thicken the sound (Ian Gillan, Ozzy, Robert Plant, hey even Joey Ramone all did that for their signature sounds) or add harmonies. Of course there were always bands that put a focus on vocal variation and harmony, think Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or the Eagles, even Status Quo, but that comes at a price, you lose the lead vocalist as the easily identifiable front man focal point and bands such as Zep, Sabbath + Purple lived from the lone lead singer/lone lead guitarist double-image (in Purple’s case augmented by Jon as the “lone lead organist”).

    But come the mid 70ies, there was a movement to bring harmony vocals back into rock music, Queen, Boston and all those other early American AOR acts were progenitors of that. And I believe that Purple’s move to a double lead vocal attack and choruses that were from now on sung in harmony in Mk III showed Ritchie picking up on that vibe too. He did listen to the radio.

  26. 26
    Gregster says:


    IG, even in the early days would use “doubling” on the vocals at different times. This is singing the same part & melody but combining it with a different track to fatten the sound so that softer-sung parts sound soft but cut through. eg, “Never Before”…

    And the reformed Mk-II studio albums are full of vocal harmony parts…But yes, they weren’t brought forward live with back-up singers.

    If the song is enhanced with a harmony part, why not use it ?…If not, that means it didn’t need it lol ! Besides, IG is the first to state that DP are more inclined to be an instrumental band.

    Peace !

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    I thought Blacker’s listened to Bulgarian short wave radio & also from other locations in Europe. He may have been caught between the different era’s. Seriously though I know what you mean. A few popular songs here & there in those days (1970’s). There is a ‘commerciality’ at times with Dio era Rainbow. I think I mentioned this a few years ago. The younger (40 years) violin player I talked to didn’t know Rainbow at all. I did that collection of the Dio era for him & the first thing he said to me was that he could hear in the the Dio chorus melody vocal style, that later day popular rock musicians used much more. Do You Close Your Eyes, Lady Star Struck & the phrasing in Stargazer & also some of the earlier first albums songs, that ‘commercial’ hook style on the vocal. And I didn’t put the song LLR&R on that disc, that would have been too commercial I think. I knew what he meant & he was a much later listener to mostly American hard rock bands, the 80’s & into the noughties. I don’t know if that describes the situation very well at all, something like that. Cheers.

  28. 28
    Coronarias says:

    “Purple’s move to a double lead vocal attack and choruses that were from now on sung in harmony in Mk III”
    Well, yes, Burn, You Fool No-one, and on into MkIV with excellent harmony vocals. So you have to conclude that when it came to Highway Star and SOTW, Coverdale and Hughes just couldn’t be arsed! Lots of painful recorded evidence for this…..

  29. 29
    Gregster says:

    Coronarias said…

    qt.”So you have to conclude that when it came to Highway Star and SOTW, Coverdale and Hughes just couldn’t be arsed !…Lots of painful recorded evidence for this”…..

    This depends sometimes on your sense-of-humor, & if you don’t mind an epic song being compromised…I listened to “Live in Graz” earlier today, & nearly peed-my-pants with laughter at Glenn going for it singing “Georgia” on the tail-end of SOTW… And it does offer unspoken reason as to why RB left for greener pastures too.

    Peace !

  30. 30
    Uwe Hornung says:

    True, Coronorias, neither Coverdale nor Hughes ever developed a feel for Highway Star or Space Trucking – mostly terrible. I think their SOTW version was worthy (DC singing the first verse, GH the second and both then singing the first again, dropping the third; they both can’t be blamed for not having witnessed the fire, it’s an autobiographic song) and Lazy ok, but other than that …

    Why Mk III never resurrected Hush is beyond me, it was popular in the US and DC & Glenn together could have really done something with it vocally. Plus just imagine Glenn with his funk feel doing the rhythmic underpinning to that song!

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    But I love Glenn’s Georgia!

  32. 32
    Gregster says:

    @30…I’m pretty sure that DC & GH have said a few times over the decades, that apart from not actually being DP fans at all, they understood that a few trademark songs had to be played, along with the new ones. And generally, I don’t mind hearing Mk-II songs being sung by MK-III, when done respectfully. And if the line-up(s) had of continued, possibly SOTW would have been the only necessary old tune to stay-on.

    “You fool no one” could easily replace “Space Truckin” as the closing lengthy instrumental centre-peice, though they were played together at gigs. Possibly incorporating all-of-the older tunes into a 10-minute+ medley / instrumental number would have satisfied fans, whilst sparing us Georgia too lol !

    Peace !

  33. 33
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I remain adamant in liking Glenn’s Georgia!

  34. 34
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I always wondered why they never let David and Glenn attempt Child in Time (I’m aware that DC toyed with the verses at the earliest Mk III gigs before Burn had even come out). DC could have done the verses in an atmospheric way, Glenn had the range for the falsetto oohs and aahs no sweat. That would have been interesting, Glenn could have falsettoed his balls off!

    I’m with Gregster, I don’t mind new line-ups playing something old, especially if they put their own spin to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With Mk III though you never got the feeling that they were really committed to doing the Mk II stuff well, the renditions were often under-rehearsed and slipshod.

    But the blame for that does not rest entirely with the new boys; Ritchie, Jon and Ian weren’t into the Mk II songs all that much either anymore (or perhaps felt that they just didn’t sound as good without Big Ian and Roger), they had probably played them to death in the last 18 months of Mk II. There was a bit of going through the motions performing them with Mk III whereas the real enthusiasm was reserved for the newer stuff.

  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    “DC could have done the verses in an atmospheric way, Glenn had the range for the falsetto oohs and aahs no sweat. That would have been interesting, Glenn could have falsettoed his balls off!” Damn Uwe, the cream in my coffee just curdled as I read that. First thing in the morning too. Cheers.

  36. 36
    Gregster says:


    qt. (Uwe) “DC could have done the verses in an atmospheric way, Glenn had the range for the falsetto oohs and aahs no sweat. That would have been interesting, Glenn could have falsettoed his balls off”!!!…

    MacGregor replied qt.”Damn Uwe, the cream in my coffee just curdled as I read that. First thing in the morning too. Cheers”.

    And GH replies ( from live in Graz )”I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts”…

    Peace !

  37. 37
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Hopefully as robust and hairy too, Glenn.

  38. 38
    Uwe Hornung says:

    You must combat that anxiety of loss, Herr MacGregor.

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