Glenn Hughes: The voice of rock is finally comfortable with his with his role in the rock music world and is delivering some of the best work of his career.

Hi Glenn, now's okay to talk for a few minutes?
Oh, yeah. I just got home in time.

Fantastic mate, thank you for that. How is HTP II coming then?
Well, I'm really excited by it because I wanted to make another record that was similar to the first one. It's probably more melodic than the first one and I wanted to keep it in the box of what the first one was, but this one has probably more music in it.

When I say more music, it's got more harmonic thread. Obviously you'll have to hear it, you'll hear it soon. It's a good follow up, Andrew. It's a strong follow-up.

I love the first one.
Yeah, the first one is the blueprint and I didn't want to go too far out of the box on this one, so it's got moments from the first one and it's got the big musical harmonies and its got the classic sound. We're really, really happy with it.

You've got your own solo album, which I've been listening to - I can't tell you how much I love it. It's just fantastic.
Andrew, I've got to tell ya… we know each other pretty well and the thing is for me over the last 10 years of making solo albums again, I'm trying to find... You know the curse, should I do this, can I do all these things, and I finally realized, like a told you a couple of years ago, I come from Deep Purple, and I finally realized that I've been around the world a couple of times since we spoke and everywhere I go, every single… whether it's the Far East or South America or Europe, I've got this big name from Deep Purple and the long hair and the California Jam and I finally realized, I'm not going to fight it anymore, I finally realized… If I'm going to have Glenn Hughes on an album, the name Glenn Hughes, it's going to have to be a rock formula that people will identify.

I've been listening to a lot of my older work from the '70s and I've been going, okay, if I'm going to make music in this era, I've got to make music, let's just say, I left Deep Purple and I'm going to make music I should've made when I left. It's actually carrying on from there.
In a way, but you see, the trouble is with me Andrew, I've go so many musical things going on in my head…

That's it's like I don't want to do inappropriate things in music that might confuse people, because the average listener is probably not going to hear where I'm going because I've probably advanced a lot as a songwriter. What I've been doing with HTP, and especially with Songs in the Key of Rock, is really making focused records, you know, for the listener who enjoys classic and melodic rock.

Well, you are an enormously talented singer as far as variation.
Thank you, bro.

I've always appreciated the fact that you can and do change style and are always quick to follow-up with something different again.
I've got to tell you something, I have been lately, the last 2 years, the most prolific as far as creativity goes with writing, I have a tap running in my musical vein that will not stop.

What do you attribute that to?
Opening myself to music in a way that I stopped… I've always been a fan of music, and all kinds of music, but I realized that I wanted to tap into something that was more melodic… I really wanted to go back into more harmony. It's all about the singing voice and what can I do with the voice and what can I produce with the voice. I've been trying since HTP, the first one, and with Songs in the Key of Rock to make a statement with the voice that I don't think many singers are doing anymore. I'm not saying good or bad, I'm just trying to use my voice in a way, and I've been trying to write songs in a way, that will enhance my voice rather than making the average rock track. I think I've been really pursuing songwriting more than ever. I've actually realized that that's what I do for a living and I really enjoy that process.

Now I don't have the credits for Songs in the Key, but you've obviously written all the tracks, but…
I wrote about like 80% of all of it. And that probably goes with HTP and HTP II. I'd say 70-80% and that's attributed to Joe, that he really entrusted me with the content. Like I say, all of a sudden I've started to write more. Because, I think, every artist goes through a period in their life of low self esteem, 'Am I good, am I this, am I that' and I finally broke through a barrier a couple of years ago and said, “I'm going to go for it, I'm going to write more songs.” I've always thought that I was a good singer, but I was always on the shelf, “Can I write songs, can I write great songs,” and I finally realized, you know something Glenn, you're a good songwriter, you should write more songs.

You're a damn good songwriter, and I must say…
I'm just saying… I can't really say, you can tell me that… I think what we're doing from Songs in the Key of Rock to HTP is not afraid of going into some harmonic things that we're doing that other people aren't doing in rock anymore. Remember in the late '70s we had the Queen thing going on, with all the big voices, and then Yes before that, and then of course, The Beatles before that. What I'm trying to do now is use the voices of me and Joe, or just me alone, that will bring listeners in and say, “This is good melody. We can actually listen to this.”

Fantastic. I've just been writing a review for the album actually and that is something that I've commented on, that your voice is… I mean, you've got hooks as far as songwriting, but your voice is an additional hook on every verse and every chorus, because you flow the melody through your voice.
I told Jeff Kollman, my co-producer, before we started on Songs in the Key of Rock, I said, “This album” … we've already written the songs and we're in pre-production, I said, “Listen, I'm really geared up to sing on this record,” and I said, “I really know what I want to do, so just let me go with it.” And just like I always do, it took a couple of days to sing it, that's all, it was really done quickly, he said, “How do you do that?” and I said, “I pretty much, I just let it go, it's all pretty much first take.”

Most artists that I know, Paul Rodgers and people, these guys are all pretty much straight in there and doing it. And Joe's the same way. Andrew, I've got to tell you. These are good, exciting times.

Excellent. I'm really pleased to hear that because quite often I get, more so these days, I get artists that are not as excited.
I'm excited by… here's the deal with me, I'm excited about what the future holds for me as a songwriter. As you know, we live in a society where in classic rock and melodic rock it's all old artists or what have you, or even some of the younger artists, we're not like the Flavor of the Month, but what I'm trying to do in this genre, I want to stay true to it, I want to bring some, HOPEFULLY, bring some quality into what we're doing. It's not just your 4 or 5 piece band with a lead singer out there. It's basically trying to get the right arrangements, the right instrumentation, and it's all vintage by the way, vintage sounds, not so much digital, it's also sort of analog instruments from the past, and trying to go for something… it's almost like, gosh, I hate to say this, but I think I might've said this to you last year, I think, with HTP especially, I think we're making the record that Deep Purple aren't making.

Yeah, well Deep Purple are under a bit of pressure to come up with a record aren't they?

Songs in the Key of Rock sounds like it could've been recorded in 1978 or something.
Yeah, you know, Andrew, I'm glad… well, I've said that to people and I was very clear on what I wanted as far as tones, vintage tones, with the drums and the guitar.

Yeah, with the Hammond organ going…
There's some vocals… there's probably a little more vocals on the record than the one before and I wanted to add another voice, Alex Ligertwood is an incredible singer.

Yeah, I noticed it had some good harmony to it.
He's great; he was with Santana for a long time. He's one of my best friends. I was very excited about the song content of Songs in the Key of Rock. I think there seems to be a bit of an upward thing going right now. You never know what's going around the corner in this industry, you just never know. All I can say to you as a friend, I feel like I'm going through a creative surge right now, and I'm actually flowing with it.

No connection to Deep Purple, but there's a saying about falling into good form – a Purple Patch - I think you're right in the middle of your own Purple Patch, which is obviously a very relevant saying when referring to yourself!
Andrew, I've been sober for quite some time now and I've been working sort of crazy for the last 10 years, but for the last 6 months since Songs in the Key of Rock, I haven't stopped. I haven't stopped writing/producing for other people. It just seems to be for me right now my period where I'm going through this vacuum of moving really fast. I'm pretty focused and I'm prepared for the next step, whatever it is. I think we've all got a twist of fate in our lives where God deals you certain cards, whatever they are. All I know, is I've gone through some periods in my life where there were some dark times, you know that, and now I'm coming through this period where I've been doing a lot of good for myself in the last 10 or 11 years and I think I'm going through a period where I'm living through a few promises where I feel in a spiritual place, in a pretty good place actually.

So, I think that's probably what's coming through the music.

Yeah, it's a very positive album. It's a feel-good album, I think.
I think it's a great start to probably a turning point in my writing and producing of records.

Wow, okay.
Like I said to you before, if I'm going to have the name Glenn Hughes on the front cover of a record, it's got to be from this point Songs in the Key of Rock and even Building the Machine, it's got to be classic rock, melodic rock, it's got to be defined for the listener that they know what they're going to get.

Great stuff.
Don't get me wrong because I love the funky Glenn, I love the R&B Glenn. It cannot be confusing to the listener anymore. It's got to be… and this is kind of in a business way as well, I have to be very careful.

Yeah, someone actually posted on my message board today about 2 hours ago and said they were looking forward to the album, they always love buying a Glenn Hughes album because they never quite know what they're going to get.
You never know. And that's partly because I didn't quite understand why I wasn't allowed to participate in the writing of all these genres, but people have rammed it down my throat around the globe, you're Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple we love you for that, we idolize you for that, and I'm going, “You know something, it's very artistic of me to try and rebel against that, but I can't do that right now.” I'm in a point in my life where people really look up to me to deliver that classic rock element.
So I decided they want me to rock, they want me to look rock. When I was going through that period where I had short hair, I was wearing the loafers and stuff, they were going “You can't do that,” and I said, “Yes, I can,” but now I understand. It's almost like you've got to suit up and look and be that. You know what I'm saying?

Even the gear you've got on the front cover… good to see the hair back…
It's long, man. It's getting really long.

You look like it could've come off the back of Stormbringer or something.
Isn't it wild?!

It's great!
And you know, like I say, I'm in a good place spiritually, we're half way through HTP II, which is just going to be a monumental piece of work.

I can't wait to hear it.
We're half way through the vocals, and we'll be done on Saturday.

Really? Wow.
Yeah, that's going to come out the end of September, you probably know that.
Andrew, while I've got you on the blower…

You're reviewing the one with “Secret Life” on aren't you?

No. I'll do the European review so…
Well “Secret Life” is on the digipack, it's the extra bonus track. It's got the song “Change”, like I wrote to you, “Change”. That's the Japanese bonus track.

So “Secret Life” will be on the European…
Have you heard that one yet?

Yes, I'm a big fan of that.
I love it. It's kind of funky and it's definitely got that blues… you know, I wrote “Lost in the Zone” for Paul to sing with me.
We were going to do a duet on this particular record but he went off to Mexico and split for a while.

As big a fan as I am of Paul Rodgers, I'm really glad it's only you on that song because I think that's my favorite track off the album.
Personally, I'm in love with that track.

I think it defines you as a singer. If I wanted to play someone a Glenn Hughes track, I think I'd be getting out “Lost in the Zone”.
You know something Andrew, for me, and coming from you, because I respect you…

Thank you Sir!
This means a lot to me because this personally is one of my favorites.

Great. Pleased to hear that. I can just tell… I like “Gasoline”, I like “In My Blood”, I like “Standing On The Rock”; it's just completely over the top.
You know, it could be that as the artist, I'm so close to these records I'm making, but when I was making Songs in the Key of Rock and working on the cover and the title, somebody said to me last week, “It's a great album title for this record”.

It is.
I could've told you a year ago what the album title was going to be because I always know the album title a good year before I make a record.
So I said, I want to make this record a statement and I better be on the money at least.

Yes. You nailed it, I think.
Let's look back; let's take, for instance, Ronnie Dio, another good friend of mine. When you look at Dio, like he's never really gone off course has he?

He's always been never the Flavor of the Month, but he's always been that hardcore, down the middle, sort of metal thing, and for Glenn Hughes, I've always loved making the different styles of music in the early '90s.

Well I love Feel as an album…
I do too, but I said to you earlier in the interview, I now realize, years later, that I've got now a focus and I really do, of where I am now and where I was last year, and I'm going to continue in this style because if I stay in one format and don't try and go out of the box, and it really is important now, I think there's going to be more success, or whatever you want to call it, I think I'll probably get more people coming to see me.

Yeah, I think so, yeah.
And on the other side of it, the artist, rebellious, crazy guy always wants to stretch out and go a little out of the box, and I can do that in other things like I can have a side project or I can guest with somebody.

But if I'm going to have Glenn Hughes or the Hughes Turner Project, it's got to be in a window where you and all the people that love me from the old period will dig it, you know?
And it's not saying that you don't dig Free, or you don't dig this or… it's all kind of cool.

Yeah. And From Now On… is still my favorite record. I think I tell you that every time I talk to you <laughs>!
For a while, I wasn't agreeing with you, but I started going back and listening to it 2 years ago, and my God, it's a good piece of work.

It's a great album. I still love it. I still play it regularly. I think Songs From the Key of Rock might slip in just behind that.
Well, for me I'm excited, I think every artist is excited with a new album; they're not going to tell you it sucks. I think you and like people that are in Burrn! magazine are going to give it a big, big review and all those at Frontiers are really freakin' out. I think a lot of people are expecting good things from this, Andrew.

Yes. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the press on it and stuff.
Oh, me too.
Man, I've got to tell you, I was speaking to Neal Schon about you last year.
You've been important for me… hey, man, there's a lot of people on the site, so when you're telling me that you dig my record, it's beautiful, and you'd tell me if you didn't dig it.

Thanks Glenn….very cool!
I think Andrew in this piece of work you can hear that I've gone to an extra length to get a focus and to get a songwriting and to produce it in a way… I went a little bit longer than I normally make a record. I was in the songwriting process a little longer and you can tell that I took more time on this.
And I think it's important for me now to… it's not really about a budget any more, although it is, I think it's important to get it better every time.
So the good news is, the songwriting hasn't stopped.

There are some moments on HTP II that are just going to blow your mind.

I can't wait to hear it.
There are moments like “On The Ledge” last time, there are moments on the record this time that are just going to blow your mind.
You know what we've got to do bro? Once again, we tried this 5 years ago. I've got to get over there man.

That's something I wanted to talk about. I've got a couple of people that might actually be a bit more advanced than just all hot air and talk about doing some shows.
Andrew, what most artists do nowadays, you've probably heard about some people, most artists, like a singer like myself or some other person, would probably go to Australia and play with a great band that was already there. And they would rehearse my songs appropriately.
I understand how the cost of getting 10 guys over from the U.S. is just astronomical, especially with no record company support. I think for me to get an underground swell going in your country, would mean me coming over 2 or 3 times.
And in that format of getting shit up and over there, and just working it in a way that we can work it.

Let me work on that because I'm determined to make an effort.
In Trapeze, when I was very young, the only way I got to join Deep Purple and the only way we were playing 5000 seaters, was word-of-mouth. And even to this day, people keep coming back because they've heard it from a friend.
Because we don't get the best press. We don't get a lot of promotion, so when I play it's always a friend brings a friend from before. It's always been like that. Once again, I'm very happy where I'm at.

You should be. You should be. How's Shape 68 coming along?
You know, Shape 68 is on hold. We haven't heard anything about that, there's no music going out to people. What it is Andrew, I'm trying to… what am I trying to say? Shape 68 is a project where I can be really loose and free with, where it's not really featuring me, although it is vocally. I'm not using my name out front and I've written some songs that aren't, let's just say, classic rock. I'd say they're more modern American rock.
Big on vocal, big on melody. Not big on heavy guitars, no solos. It's all pretty much the format of more popular music, without me saying it's pop; it's not. When I say radio, I don't want to freak you out, I'm not trying to get on the radio by making 3-minute songs. I'm just trying to make some kind of music that isn't something that I need to do. It's something that I put out for more artistically. It's on hold right now because I decided that the first 5 or 6 songs that I wrote probably wouldn't get a deal because they're too… if you know anything about American radio right now, it's so not right.
You've either got the Sum 41, these college bands that all sound like Green Day and then you've got the… it's like there's no room for the music I'm making.

It's much the same down here. There doesn't appear to be room for much. There's no variety on the radio is there?
No, because the music… it's more male Sheryl Crow-ish than… it's not Glenn doing Stevie Wonder, it's more American songwriter stuff. If you can strip it down to acoustic guitar and voice, it's not really anything other than just the songs. And my God, there's nothing on the radio like that.

No. It seems to be really hard for a male to cut a song anywhere on the radio.
It's very difficult.
I've written a song for Aretha Franklin in the last month, and over here we have this show American Idol, you probably have it in Australia.

We don't, but I know of it.
So it's probably coming, but I'm writing for one of the gals, one of the winners last year.

So I'm actually writing for like 20 year old kids and I'm writing for Aretha Franklin, so…

There's got to be some money in that.
It could be worse!

It could be worse couldn't it? I got some news yesterday and I'm glad I got it in time because I would've been mad if I couldn't have covered it with you. I'm a huge Mr. Big fan, and I'm completely flipped that you're singing 2 songs on that album.
Well, I've done “Alive and Kickin'”.

I just love that. It's one of my favorite Mr. Big songs.
And they made me do “Price You Gotta Pay” because they thought it would be good for me to do that. And I don't know if you know, but Paul has requested for me to sing a Mr. Big duet with him.
I got a call from his manager like 2 months ago to say that Paul only wants to do it with me and I said I'd love to sing it, but I haven't done it yet. I don't know if that's actually going to happen or not. It might, but they wanted… Paul has requested me to sing that song with him.

I heard he was doing that song, so I hope…
I thought he was going to sing the whole thing, but he wants to do a duet with me. I think it's very cool. I'd love to sing with him anyway, but we'll see. For sure those 2 tracks are done.

You've used the same band a few times in a row now; you've got a pretty tight outfit.
You know, I want to give JJ Marsh a mention. He's been with me since Addiction, so he's been with me for like 7 years and it's like the guy… look if I've used the guy for 7 years, then obviously I've got a thing going with him. He's really, really, really understands my writing and singing and we have a great connection together.

Does he play the majority of the guitar on this album? I know you've got Jeff on there as well.
We can talk about that. “Stoned” featuring Chad Smith, that's Jeff, “Standing on the Rock” is Jeff, and… there's one more bloody song… “Higher Places”, that's Jeff. All the rest is JJ.

Wow. Please give my very big compliments to JJ because he sounds like he's really on fire.
It could've been Free. It's like he really went back… I made him listen to Free. I made him listen to more of my influences because he's a huge Blackmore fan, as you know, and I made him go back and listen to more Free stuff and Traffic and stuff I liked. So we've got this guy that really understands the Blackmore, MKIII vibe and when we play live we do “Seventh Star” the Sabbath song and he nails that as well. He's really good at copying that shit.

Yeah. I love the riff on “Lost in the Zone”.
Oh, he's amazing.

It's just some really nice melodic playing isn't it?
What about that solo on “Written All Over Your Face”?

Isn't it great?

Yeah. The whole album is real quality and the playing…
When I think about that particular song; that's one helluva song.

It's a big song. What are we looking at, 8 minutes or something?
Yeah, 7 or 8 minutes. It's really hard for me to tell you this, but when I sang that song, the end of the song when I do that thing, I got so caught in the moment I was like almost bawling, I was like whoo. Sometimes when I'm singing I just totally lose control of my feelings, I get really lost in it and you can tell in that song, it was just a moment.

It comes through in that song, you can really….
Andrew, the best high in the world – is singing. I gotta tell ya.

I wish I could.
It's unbelievable, man.

That's great, Glenn. Anything else going on, if that's not enough?
I'm asked to do various projects from time to time and I'm having to pass on a few things because I'm just too busy and I'm trying to keep the reigns on my career. I'll do something sometime if it's appropriate. I've been told… it's really difficult for me because I love the… for the longest period I wasn't working much in the '80s, and all of the sudden I get all these calls to work and I'd like to play, you know. I like to play. It's like Neal Schon. We're the same. He's the same guy. We just love to play.

He's busy too isn't he?
I saw Paul about 9 months ago, and Neal got up and played with Paul and I'll tell you… Neal Schon, and you can tell him I told you this, he… it's like God walked Neal on stage and said play. I've heard every guitar player under the sun and I've known Neal for 20 years. He played one song with Paul, and he just freaked me out. When Neal Schon is on his game, there's nobody better.

What about you two guys doing an album then?
Well, I told him, “Hey, we should do something,” and he said, “You mean it”? And I said, “Yeah, just remind me about it,” and he said, “I will.”

I know he's trying to get something together with Sammy Hagar, which would be good.
Send him a copy of the record, because I can't do that, because I would just never do that, but send him a copy of the record.

Songs in the Key?
Yeah, I think he'd love it. You know, Steve Vai is playing on HTP tomorrow.

Oh, I was going to ask you if there were any guests on it.
He's playing… Chad played on a song I wrote called “Losing My Head”, which is another like Zeppelin meets The Beatles thing and Chad played drums and Steve plays guitar on the track. So I can have a promotional sticker saying “Featuring Chad Smith and Steve Vai on the track 'Losing My Head'”. The Japanese will love that.

Yeah, absolutely. Any other guests?
No. I'm going to keep it to those two.

The last time you had John Sykes on there, which was great.
I'm trying… the manager disagrees, but I'm trying to now make it more of a band than having all these guests.

I think the band idea is a good idea, actually.
Yeah, JJ's just totally blowing everybody away on this new record and I just asked Steve to come play one track for me.

It's a pleasure, Glenn. I've been a fan since the Blues album. I was actually a late comer, I wasn't around in the '70s, but I've gone backwards since and I've got every record you've done since and I think I've got every tribute album you've sung on.
You know what's important for me though? You really got on board with HTP. You really loved that record.

Yes I did.
And I think that Songs in the Key of Rock it probably gave me a lot of confidence with HTP to come out of the box a bit with a great record like Songs, and for you to get behind this record like you did with HTP is really good for us, you know?

Well, I don't say nice things about records that aren't good. I'm not just saying it. I really do think it's a great record and it's always a great pleasure to talk to you.
And you, Andrew.

So we'll hear another solo album early next year?
I'm going to do another one next year, sure.
You know me. I'm crazy!

Thanks for the chat and your time.
God bless you, mate. Say hey to your wife.

I will. I'll do that.
Okay, brother.

Thanks Glenn
Bye, Andrew