Glenn’s in a purple patch

Nov 2019 Glenn’s in a purple patch

By Martin Hutchinson

FORMER Deep Purple bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes returns to his homeland to perform his Deep Purple Legacy show.

Glenn was poached from the funk-rock band Trapeze in 1973 when just 20 years old, and as bassist and co-lead vocalist with Deep Purple, spent the next three years touring the world and recording three legendary albums: ‘Burn’ (1974), ‘Stormbringer’ (1974) and ‘Come Taste The Band’ (1975).

Deep Purple split (for the first time) in 1976 and Glenn released his first solo album ‘Play Me Out’. He went on to join Black Sabbath for the ‘Seventh Star’ album and fronted the blues-rock supergroup Black Country Communion with Derek Sherinian, Jason Bonham and Joe Bonnamassa.

“I didn’t know that Ian Gillan was leaving Purple,” Glenn tells me from his American home while listening to his beloved Wolves on the radio.

“Ian [Paice], Jon [Lord] and Ritchie [Blackmore] kept coming to see my previous band Trapeze over a nine-month period in 1972. I just thought they were fans of the band.”

In the early days, Glenn’s influences were varied.

“Yeah, influences change all the time. I was into The Beatles and The Stones; then my girlfriends’ brother ran a disco in Walsall and he only played music from Memphis and Detroit – mainly R’n’B. So mix that with rock music and that influenced me.”

Glenn speaks fondly of his time in the band.

“Yeah, it was fun, and it was mainly a new band. When I joined, there was talk of Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) replacing Ian Gillan, but they brought in David Coverdale and I was co-lead vocalist. Everything was on a grand scale and the shows were fantastic.”

Some people found it hard to get on with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, not Glenn though.

“I got along with him fine. It was strange though, as Ritchie always had his own dressing room while the rest of us shared. I never paid it too much attention really, but he was very isolated.”

And Glenn tells me that there were many reasons that the band split in 1976.

“I just think everything took it’s toll, the women, booze and drugs especially. We were all growing up and changing musical direction. Also we didn’t realise how sick Tommy Bolin was. [Tommy replaced Ritchie Blackmore for the ‘Come Taste The Band’ album, and died in December 1976 aged 25, just none months after Purple split].”

Glenn says philosophically: “Every band goes through changes.”

Even Glenn fell foul of the booze and drugs.

“Yeah, it was a bad time, but I’ve been clean for 22 years now.”

Deep Purple reformed in 1984 but Glenn wasn’t asked to be a part.

“No, but then again I wouldn’t have joined. I was happy with my solo career.”

Glenn then tells me how the idea for the show came about.

“It was just after Deep Purple (and me) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I was approached by many people to do a ‘legacy’ show. It’s been a long time coming. We started planning it two-and-a-half years ago. I seem to be the only person to be doing the Mk3 and Mk4 songs.”

Midlands-born Glenn says he is pleased to be coming back to perform in his homeland.

“Yeah, I sure am. I’ve been living in America for 40 years, but I’m a British dude. Plus my missus likes to go to London.”

Apparently there will be no Glenn Hughes solo material on the show, it’s all Deep Purple.

“That’s right, legacy songs only. It seems the most appropriate, and I will be doing some songs that I didn’t originally feature on like Smoke On The Water although it was always a mainstay of the live shows I was in.”

And are there any songs he is particularly looking forward to playing?

“Wow, there’s so many damn songs, there’s You Can’t Do It Right from ‘Stormbringer’ and Burn – I’ve been singing it for 45 years. And there’s a song I wrote with David Coverdale called Keep On Moving. It was written for the ‘Burn’ album but was held back until ‘Come Taste The Band’.”

And Glenn’s future plans?

“Well, before and after the British dates, we’re off to the South of France recording a new album and we hope to be touring the UK again next year in my own show.”

Glenn Hughes performs classic Deep Purple live at venues around the country during November.