Building The Vocal Machine


Hey Glenn….so how are things with you anyway?
So everything's good man, the reviews this week are strong so I'm just, I don't know, startled. All I can tell you know is, I just made another record and people are digging it.

Yeah, absolutely, Absolutely. And I'm one of them.
Oh yeah? You know, Andrew I've got to tell you, I guess being married and having no… I didn't want to listen to anybody's advice on what my album shouldn't be like. I get a lot of people, trust me, telling me what to do. Like for instance, you can't, you know, be funky. Or you can't have echo and you can't have background vocals. And you shouldn't have any chicks. And you can't have any horns. And whatever you do, don't have… I get people all the time suggesting. And I just locked myself in my studio and I wrote songs. Off the record I said, I wonder what Trapeze would sound like doing this or let's put an acoustic track here. Let's put some real Hammond on there. Let's, let's put some more vocal on the record, let's have more vocals. Let's um… I just had fun.

Yeah. It sounds like it.
It's a good album. It's mournful in places because there's two songs about people that died. But it's, it's a very… I mean look at Kip Winger's stuff, some of the stuff he's done has been mournful, but it's good, your know?

Oh absolutely, absolutely.
I just got off the phone with him.

Ok. So you guys are friends?
Yeah. Well, I'm going to give you an exclusive. You might be seeing something from the two of us in the next two years.

Yeah, we're actually talking at the moment, but I mean, we're thinking about putting our heads together. The music obviously is going to be, what it's going to be, it's going to be Kip and Glenn doing… and it's going to be a mix. But we are actually talking about it and Rod Morgenstein and Andy Timmons are the other two geezers.

Oh wow! What a powerful line up.
Yeah, we haven't... Once again, we haven't written anything. Kip's writing now and I've got some ideas. But we're really, really into pursuing something special.

Yeah. Kip's got an interesting sound on his own, his solo sound these days. You two mixed would be very interesting.
Yeah well, you know, I like his lush arrangements and I like… see I dig…, you know he's had a lot of bad luck in the last few years, we know that. And I'm akin to the soul of him. Not the soulfulness of his voice, but the soul of who he is as a man. And I admire him as a man. I get asked so many times, write with this guy or write with… and all these prats out there you know. But you know, I don't have any time to work with anybody that's not loving and nurturing. And he's a lovely bloke. But it's been a heavy week. This is the last interview and it's been great because some of the interviews I get normally, some of the people are difficult, because of different languages they are really difficult. And they're like, rude.

Oh really? (laughs)
Oh, some of the Germans are rude, yeah. But, all in all, every interview and review have been very strong. And they want to know what I did differently. And I said well, I just wrote some more music. You know I just wrote and I sang. You know I have that gift where sometime… you see I'm living inside this body and people go, 'how do you…God, you're Glenn Hughes.' I say, what do you mean? I said like, I'm just a human being for Christ's sake. I just happen to sing because God chose me to sing.
And it really is that simple you know. I mean I have been blessed with this, with this beautiful gift that, let me tell you, I tried to abuse that for so long. In the eighties you know. I was so out of my head. And I had no idea what I was doing to my soul. I was in like an empty, you know, tank. And now I've got this life ex… and here's the deal, I have so much life experience to draw from in my music. And I don't, as you know sing about weasels and goblins, I sing about human conditions.

Yes you do.
And it all is coming from deep, deep down.

Whatever sort of part of your life you moved onto, I just think the songs on Building are really a strong collection of songs.
Yeah, and I'll tell you what. I hate to say this but the next one, I'm even going to get even more melodic.
Not because you've got melodicrock, I'm not saying that to appease you. I've got to tell you that I sometimes in the last 5 years have gotten lost in the performance of how great a singer I'm supposed to be or how many great licks can Glenn sing. I am trying to not derail myself on the ride by keeping to a great melody. I keep forgetting it's the tone of my voice that is strong. We all know that I can sing rips and all that stuff and I can do all that stuff with my voice. But I'm coming home now to a place of – this is a great tonal instrument. Just that one note can change people's lives. Just the one single note, you know, like Paul McCartney has that great tone. That's what I'm coming… in my older years, I'm coming to grips with the voice. Not just the rips and the ad-libs and all those screams and those long, winding notes. Which like the Mariah Carey syndrome. You know what I'm talking about?

Yes. Yes I do.
So, you know, some of the album smacks heavily of a young Glenn Hughes in like “Out on Me” and “Slip Away”. Those performances I could… an 18 year old kid. I was blown away when I sang out on me. I'm going, listen to this little bastard. I sounded like a child. I'll tell you, I have not felt so enthused singing on a record in since probably Play Me Out.

You know what? You really can hear it. When I put this on I could really feel a spirit in the record.
Even in ”Can't Stop”, the first track, when I go up-down the second verse It's like it's whoa! It's like, a guy that really means it. And let me tell you Andrew, I'm not kidding you, all of these songs, pretty much first takes.


You know I don't really sit a home mapping out the structure of the melody, what I'm going to do. I just, well I sort of blues it out you know. It's a beautiful thing to have that thing.
Whatever tools we're given. I mean the tools I've been given, it's taken me almost half my life, more than half my life to realize that I sustain my soul by singing, either to one person, or one thousand, or ten thousand, or twenty thousand. I write music to sustain my soul, to make me a better person. A Glenn Hughes that isn't writing and producing is not a happy guy. And I've got nothing to give back to the human race. And I do change people's lives. It might not be millions anymore. But people do get affected by my music.

They do. You've got a very vocal fan base.
I do. And they are very sweet. And even the die hard, let's call them the die hard Purple fanatics that have grown over the years to love the funky, ballad Glenn too. Because if you like Glenn, you've got to know Glenn comes from Trapeze. You know, and that was 30 years ago. And I'm so proud of that man. When somebody says to me, I'm a Trapeze fan. That really tickles me.
When somebody says, I'm a huge Trapeze fan, whether I'm a Purple fan or a Sabbath fan. I go, Oh my God, you must know who I am. You know? Coverdale got his copy two days ago and he's very, brutally frank with me. We talk about all of my releases and he was blown away by it. And I was really happy 'cause he really criticizes. In a very good way, we talk about our records.

I like David a lot. Actually I did a really good interview with him.
He's a good interview. He gives great interviews.

Yeah he's very intense, but he's also got a…. he's aware of himself. Got a good sense of humor.
He's gearing up right now to doing a record. I think he's told you we're going to do a duet.

Oh, on the record. Are you really?
Yeah, well you can go to his …, he's talking about it on his web site, so it's not going to be a secret.

Yeah, great, great. I'd love to see you two do a record together.
Andrew, you know the deal is for me, and this is the beauty of it. You interview lots of artists. And you'll ask the question, 'Well what's up coming up for you?' And they'll probably tell you what's coming up. I know what's coming up for me.
You know JLT's coming in this week and we're going to do the album. But what's coming up for me in the next two or three years is I don't know, but it's going to be fun. 'Cause whatever it's going to be, I'm going to be there for it. I shall be present and correct, standing at attention, ready to go.
Whether it's with David or Kip or whether it's with another KLF type crazy venture or whether it's a bloody opera. I'm up for it. And, the deal is, I'm not chasing the double-platinum success I had in Deep Purple every year 'cause I'd kill myself. It's that Dorian Gray thing. I'm going to be fifty-years old, I feel fucking great. People say I look great. And the thing is, is that… Did I tell you that story of David Lee Roth, years ago. About five-years ago. We're having dinner and he said… I'd lost all this weight. And he said to me, 'Man,' he says. 'You can lose like another twenty pounds, you like, you can hit those notes you used to hit.' I said David, I can hit them and more. I said, well, what about Pavarotti, for Christ's sake? He was looking at me like, it's like a physical thing. Singing for me isn't about that. It's about, deep within. It comes from somewhere so deep. It comes from generations of life. There are certain singers, that obviously you know, in your feeling that sing from somewhere that is so deeper than most people. They draw it from somewhere, you go, 'Where are they finding that?'

Ah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Right? Like for me, where does Jeff Beck find those notes? A certain, whatever. A certain soccer player. How did he do that? It comes… It's just deep. And I don't mess around with that. So what I do is, I flow with it knowing, there's something coming here. And whatever it is, I'm present and correct. You know what I'm saying? I'm actually using it now as the tool that God gave me. Now I'm not talking religiously crazy Andrew. I'm telling you that the world now knows that the s????????? Glen uses is a little deeper than most peoples, singing wise. So it comes from a place were it's special. And I tell you, Andrew, I'm a humble, grateful man for that.

I can tell. I can absolutely tell. I can tell the difference between what you're saying now and what you said the first interview I did with you about three years ago maybe now.
I remember that. The Way it is, right?

You were sort of searching a bit more then. You're sounding more comfortable now.
At that time, I think I'd just done The Way it is, or I was making it. I took a two and a half year hiatus from Addiction. The Addiction album damn near killed me. I was revisiting the period were I got sober and the album was so dark.

It is dark.
I'm telling you I got ill making that album. And I was hard pushed to promote it. I promoted it and I was sick, I had my band… at that time I wasn't playing bass I had this 5 or 6 piece band we were going out and playing it. And some of the songs were so exhausting. Drawing from that experience, I don't want to live that way again, that song was damn near frightening to sing. That's why Building the Machine, although some of it is mournful, I found it to be refreshing to sing, you know, refreshing.

Yeah. You sound revitalized. That's probably the best word.
Revitalized and comfortable in one's skin. Comfortable again…um, I'll tell you, I've come a long way these last ten years of sobriety that It's like…, the spin of the coin Andrew is, is I should be dead for Christ's sake. You've seen these Behind the Musics, these Motley Crues, 'Oh I was dead, I turned blue'. Well you know sort of the same thing with me, you know, I came back from the dead. And I'm not, you know, wearing like diamonds and dripping with gold and wanting you to think I am some sort of super god. I came back in a spiritual path. Which I don't really talk about that much, but I did. And low and behold I met a wonderful woman and I've got great friends. Rock and roll is not going to kill Glenn Hughes, like it's killed many of people. You know like the Phil Linnots and the John Bonhams and you know the drugs and the alcohol have just killed the '70s legends. All of those, Jim Morrisons and Janis Joplins and Jimmi Hendrixes you know.
You don't see so much Kurt Cobain, you don't see so much of that anymore do you? Hopefully I won't be one of those statistics, I won't be a statistic like that.

Yeah, never. You've got another 50 records left in you.
Well, you know, it's scary isn't it? Because I'm producing…I think since I've got sober, I've been on about twenty, twenty odd records. Eight of my own, well, nine of my own and then tribute records. You know I've done, in the…, since I've spoke to you last, I've done…Christ…in the last four months I've done an Aerosmith tribute, a Queen tribute and a Nazareth tribute. After I said I was never going to do any more tributes, I did three in like a week.

I've heard the Queen one.
How is that?

I haven't got a copy of it.

Haven't you?
No. I'll call Bob Kulick.

Yeah, I had to buy one from Japan myself. I still enjoyed it a lot. And the Nazareth one, I have not got yet.
That's 'Piece of my Heart', the Janis Joplin song.

Oh, that'll be good.
And the Aerosmith song, I've got to tell you the truth, it's a song that wasn't a hit in the '70s. And I can't remember what it was called. Something about kings or something. Well they chose that track for me 'cause it was like an obviously not a Glenn Hughes…, I just turn it into something new. Steve Lukather to play guitar. It's great. It'll be coming out in the next year or something. Kind of cool.

Yeah, ok. Well they're good fun to do aren't they?
Ah, you know, Bob Kulick's the tribute king.

He's the best producer of them isn't he?
He is for that you know, and I get to play with like Steve Lukather and all those guys. I like those guys. People say to me 'what do you do that for man, you're taking away from your record sales.' Bullshit! In the big picture, it don't mean a diddly squat.

No, I agree, it doesn't.
'The mystique of Glenn Hughes…' Well I should be dead already. Let me sing. Let me sing for Christ's sake.

I tell you what. I did my own little compilation of a bunch of tunes that you'd covered. You know, from tribute albums or from whatever. And there are some really fantastic versions of some songs on there. I mean just to hear you sing 'Whiter Shade of Pale'.
Of that's a nice moment. Did you get the live version of that?

Because you know, Keith Emerson, and Mark Benear and myself recorded it live in San Francisco two years ago. I thought you might have got a bootleg of it.

Oh ok. No.
There's not a bootleg going about but there's a live album coming out with that song on it and I sing 'The Talk is Sweet' and there's about…, there's 12 cuts that Keith and I are going to put out, I think in the spring. The live version is great too. It's a great live version of that song.

Yeah, fantastic song, it really suited you. And I also liked 'Video Killed the Radio Star'.
Oh that's wonderful. I was, I think, sick when I sang that at Jeff's studio. I love that. You know, it was his idea to strip away the… to just have the piano. It was just totally… 'cause that was a quirky song wasn't it?

Oh absolutely.
And then all of the sudden, here comes this melodic voice, like an angel singing it. I thought it was very cool.

Oh it was, it was. I enjoyed that one immensely. And I must say, I probably told you this before but still as much as I love all of your records, my favorite is still From Now On.
Well to tell you the truth, I didn't listen to From Now On for a number of years because I thought it was. Let me just say this honestly to you, I thought it was an unhip album. Probably because I did it with players that were very, very good, but very technical in their way, and not at all soulful. And here's the kicker…I didn't listen to Burning Japan Live for the same reason. Because everybody thought it's a great live album, and it is vocally, it's great. But then again, I, six months ago, started listening to those two albums and I was bowled off my feet. With the song content, number one. And the… it was a… From Now On is a great album. So I've actually gone on print and said, you know, I take it back. I was wrong. It's a great album. And I'm actually thinking about playing some of those songs live again.

Oh great, great.
'Cause, somebody sent me a video of some of the stuff from somewhere… some footage of me singing some of that and I went…this is a good record.

Yeah, it is, it is.
It did really well you know. It was a big one. Some have said that if I'd have kept on that path, probably would have done more with my career. But you know, because I don't have an A & R guy like a John ????? nor a huge Columbia records or you know, ten producers on my album. I'm not Aersomith. I get to conceive an album, produce it, arrange it, write it, sing it, play it. Because that's who I am. It becomes a little bit much sometimes.

Yes, I can imagine that.
I would love. I would love to have the money and label that would afford me to have a top-notch producer. Somebody to come in and produce me. 'Cause man, you know, it would be wonderful. I would love to be produced by someone. You know, I'm telling you, a lot of artists wouldn't say that. But I would love it. To have a label, a big label and a producer come in. Lilly, that is not very cool. My dog is eating shit, again. Come on outside, outside, outside Lilly.

(Laughing) What kind of dog have you got?
She is a long-haired Chihuahua. Now when I say that, she probably would freak if she heard me saying that she eats shit but she is the cutest, physically, the cutest looking dog. It's not like a Chihuahua in the aspects of bulging eyes and small. She's got long legs, beautiful blue eyes and she's white with fawn markings. She's like a little princess, with her little diamond collar. But she eats her shit. And it drives me and my wife fucking crazy! I mean, she'll do it and we'll go and get some toilet paper to wipe it up. And before we can get it, she's eaten it. Now I'll tell you, it's horrible. And it happens all the time, and we have people over.

But all I'm doing is keeping busy, and keeping busy means that, I believe… see now one thing, I really want to you remember this… I'm not chiseling away to get double platinum. It would be nice to have platinum records you know. And a guy at Columbia, this big cheese at Columbia said to me a month ago, he said, “You possibly Glenn, in the rock genre of your peer group, you're probably one of the only guys at your age that could actually come back and have huge radio and TV success doing rock if you really, really, really found the right label, producer, manager, etc.” And you know something? He's probably right. So I say this to the universe: I'm welcoming a label and a manager and producer to come in and put the ship together. David Coverdale my dear friend, will tell you the same thing. He's a very wealthy man. But I'm sure David…, I don't know where he's going to go, I think he might produce himself again. But you know, we're all in the same boat, the guys from this generation. The Limp Bizkits of today are ruling because twenty-year-old kids don't want to be me and David, they want to be Fred Durst and all those other geezers.

It's a shame thought, isn't it? But if you look at it, it's just near the top and it's about the MTV music awards that were on the other night.
Listen, that was absolute… I waited to the last second saying, OK, somebody blow me away.

Yep. And they didn't did they?
You know Andrew, it was absolutely…it was a bloody… Here's what I'm predicting. I might be wrong. I'm predicting and this is, as you know, the Led Zeppelin catalogue is mammothly successful. I'm predicting because people, young kids now are being told by their parents go listen to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or Deep Purple or something like that. I'm predicting the age of the rock gods, guitar players and singers is coming aback.

I hope so.
It's got to man. Because rap is huge, is never going to go away. It's going to be huge for the next fifty years. But rock music as we like is teetering. It's on the brink of sort-of doing something. But this Limp Bizkit stuff it's like bubble gum, for me.

I predict that the song-writing, singer guy with the guitar player foil, you know good looking. Doesn't have to be eighteen, could be thirty, thirty five, is going to come back.

I hope so.
Stripped down, bass, drums, guitar, vocals, a little bit of Hammond organ.

Oh yeah, good ol' Hammond.
You know why? Because it's everything. Be it clothes, be it whatever, it comes full circle. It comes full circle. So you never know where we're going to be. I mean, all I know is I'm plugging away. I'm singing, I'm writing, I'm producing. I've never been so creative. I don't hardly get any sleep. People say, 'How do you sleep'? I say I don't get a lot of sleep.

(Laughing). And next week you're back into it again.
Joe arrives on Tuesday, we rehearse on the 15th, 16th, 17th and we start cutting the 18th. And we're done the 12th of October. The album will be released world wide, February.

Called 'HTP' and the album will be called HTP. The songs I can tell you now are pretty much, 90% of it…, there's always going to be one song on the record that's a bit of a twist for Glenn, but it's not that much of a twist. There's one epic song but the rest of it is… you could actually find… For me I wrote in a way that it would definitely fit on a Deep Purple or Rainbow record in mid '70s to mid '80s.

Wow, you know that sounds pretty cool to me.
Yeah, and it's going to be authentically produced in a Fender Stratocaster, Hammond again, acoustic drums with Glenn and Joe trading vocals. Two songs, one song sung by Joe, ballad, alone. One song sung by Glenn alone, ballad and then the rest is Glen and Joe at toe-to-toe going at it.

That's what we want to hear!
It's just the two lead singers, you know there ain't really anybody done it since me and Coverdale. So you're going to get it with me and Joe, and let me tell you, Joe's no slouch.

Oh I know that. I just got his new record.
How is it?

Ah, great, really.
Is it good?

Yeah, good, rocking album.
I was in New York when he was cutting it. It's called Slam, right?
I heard a couple of cuts while I was in the studio and it sounded great. That guy Akira is coming to town, he's playing a couple of songs on our record too. That guy Akira is a Blackmore influenced.

Yeah, he's quite a swift player.
He's good.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Look Glenn, that's about… anything else you want to throw in? I think that just about covers it.
You know, I'm… this is personal to you. I just…it's really good since you started your company that you've got a lot of people go there and it's very influential. I want to leave this on a personal level, to say, the first time we spoke you were very nice to me and I'm a huma…I'm just you know…rather than... I want you to know me as a friend. I just happen to be a singer. I think it's very cool we have this relationship where you can call me anytime, that you know that.

Thank you.
Remember this. I should be dead. So every day of my life is a fucking gravy. So I have been given this tremendous gift of life which every day I wake up going, Yeah man, I'm fucking still here!! So just remember me for being like that. And I'm glad you like the record and there's way more to come.

All right, Glenn, thank you.
Thank you brother.

Great talking to you again.
And you bro'.

c. 2002