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Old Apr-04-2002, 9:16 PM
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Shirean Shirean is offline

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Arrow Se001 Interview...

Lord of Metal interview from September of last year...

During your gig in Zaandam (Holland) in May this year, it seemed that you were having a lot of trouble with your microphone. What was wrong with it? You gave that sound engineer a hell of a time...

What happened was, each show on this particular tour we had a different monitor engineer. It’s really bad, because everybody keeps asking me about this. In all the years I’ve been doing this I always been nice and kind and professional, and I still am. It’s just that I was very sick at the time, I had a very bad cold, but Holland is very important to me, unfortunately I arrived too late at the venue to do a soundcheck, but I had my technicians check out all the P.A. (which I do every night, and when I got on the stage and started to sing, you could hear me in front, but I couldn’t hear myself on stage. It kept on going in and out, and it was ****ing me up. For about four or five songs I was a little bit upset, now they audience shouldn’t see that, and I felt really bad because of that, but everybody in their lifetime has a sort of a meltdown and mine just happened to be than.

You just mentioned you were sick, so I suppose that was also the reason you didn’t do an encore.

You know, my doctor actually was with me and he told me that I really should not be playing that night, but I did, with as a result I had to cancel a couple of shows the following week, For me it wasn’t a particular good memory, but these things do happen, I couldn’t really do anything about it, I should have cancelled the show and not play but I did.

You're voice is amazing, after all those years it’s still so strong, and now you’re telling me you were ill! Now I’m really curious how you sound like live when you’re not sick.

Well, maybe this is gonna sound strange, but my voice nowadays is actually better then it used to be. I really am in great shape, I don’t drink, smoke or use drugs, and I do believe that your voice can grow stronger as you get older. With some guys it don’t happen that way and their voices grow weak.

On your albums keyboards play an important role, but this tour you apparently decided to leave them at home. The obvious question of course is, Why?

I’m gonna tell you the truth here, and I told a lot of people different answers to this question, but the real answer is: I didn’t have any tour support, which means normally the record company will help the artist. You know, I don’t make a lot of money when I do these tours, so in lack of tour support I had to strip it down to a trio, and my road crew was stripped down to half, the whole production of the tour was very bad, and I was actually suffering from this. There are only certain songs I can play without the keyboards, and I’m gonna tell you right now Horst, this is not gonna happen again. This was the last time, in future I’ll play with whom I want to play, or I’m not gonna go on the road.

Rather a surprise for me was the choice of support act, Uli John Roth, the former Scorpions guitarist. Did you choose him personally?

Yes, we have the same management and label, but I rally love his work, and Uli is a really great guy, besides being a amazing guitar player.

If I’m not very mistaken there were only two songs played that evening from your solo albums ('The State I'm In' and 'Gone', both from 'Return To The Crystal Karma'), and the rest of the set it were all Trapeze and Deep Purple songs. Why didn’t you play more solo stuff?

I can’t do it with a trio, you’ve got to have keyboards and a second guitar. It’s almost impossible to play some of the songs in a trio. I try do to in rehearsals many songs from the other albums, but it just didn’t sound right, and I don’t wanna do something that doesn’t sound right. So I have to play what I can play, and let me tell you, another reason why I was upset was because I really wanted to play solo songs. But it’s very difficult, look, Trapeze is very easy to play, and some of the Purple stuff, but my own stuff is a little bit more produced and it’s difficult without second guitars and keyboards. If I would still play them with a trio they would be stripped versions. I want to play new material, I’d like to play only new material, I don’t wanna play the old material anymore, I’m getting tired of it.

Now during the Zaandam gig you announced that your new album (‘Building The Machine’) would be your last album in the Hard Rock format, and if I have understand it correctly, you’re pretty much done with Rock music and want to concentrate more on Funk and Soul.

I think another reason is that all this year I’ve been making very different kinds of music, I’ve been working on different kinds of music with other artists, producing people and doing other things and I guess I got caught up in that. The real answer to your question is: I shouldn’t have said that, because I honestly don’t know what my next album is gonna be like. It all depends, 'Return To The Crystal Karma' was the biggest seller so far, and ‘Building The Machine’, I think it’s a better album, and I think it will sell more, so if it continues to sell to my fans and newer fans than I will continue to make these kinds of albums. People try me to do other kinds of music, and there’s a possibility that I will do that, but I can’t really say if I’m gonna make Rock music anymore. It probably will be, because that’s who I am, people know me from Rock, so...

‘Building The Machine’ will be released this month, and as far as I can judge the music on the album has become a perfect blend of all kinds of music you like. I mean, I hear hard Rock, Soul, Funk, acoustic stuff, but most of all, it sounds so passionate and emotional. I guess you felt pretty good while recording this album?

You know, when I was writing the album I just felt strong. I was really excited about the process of actually writing the album, it was a great time for me. All the songs I picked carefully, I knew exactly which song I was gonna write each time. Every artist is gonna tell you like: ‘This is my best album blablablabla’, but I really feel strong about this album, every time when I play this one in the car I start to smile and go dizzy, it’s unbelievable.

Is the title ‘Building The Machine’ just a title, or is there a deeper meaning behind it all?

The meaning to me is that I’m building a strong and soulful spirit. It’s a spiritual feeling, I’m building a soul machine, something that is inside of me, that’s what I’m trying to say. On the cover of the album it looks like I’m walking upstairs, but it actually means that I’m moving up, just keep on walking.

The album contains eleven, pretty varied tracks which will appeal not only to Glenn Hughes fans, but to every Rock fan in general. Now two tracks sounded very familiar, one of theme’s the Deep Purple tune ‘High Ball Shooter’. Why did you record this one?

Here’s the thing, the Japanese are very, very much in love with Glenn Hughes and Deep Purple, and I’m still very popular in Japan, because of Deep Purple, and I was thinking to myself like: ‘I gotta really make this record, so people will know this is another Rock record, so let’s do a Purple song’. I just very quickly decided to do ‘High Ball Shooter’ and I was intending to just release it as a bonustrack for Japan, just simply an extra song. When I finished recording it, my co-producer, who never really heard ‘High Ball Shooter’ the first time around, thought it was a really good version of the song, so I thought like: ‘Ok, let’s put it on the album then, for it kind of works with the other songs’.

The other one is ‘I Just Want To Celebrate’, a song from Rare Earth, and that’s a band a lot of people might not know.

Rare Earth was the first white band that ever got signed to the Tamla/Motown label. They had like five songs that were all so like funky, you know, R&B Rock thing and funny enough I know the drummer very well. I particularly love this track, I always wanted to play it, and now I got a chance to put it on my album with Pat Travers. I had Pat singing with me and play it, I love doing duets you know.

Now Pat Travers is not the only guest on the album, for also a guy like Bobby Kimball (former Toto vocalist) is present. Did you ask them to contribute or did they just happened to be around or something?

I have another group most people probably don’t know about called ‘The Voices Of Classic Rock’, well Bobby and Pat are in the band. Bobby lives in my neighbourhood and happens to be a really dear friend of mine for a long time, and he asked me if I could write a piece for him to sing. Now normally I sing it myself, but I wanted to add Bobby’s voice on top of mine on the track (‘Don’t Let It Slip’). I just love his voice, and his voice adds a different texture to the song.

You just mentioned ‘The Voices Of Classic Rock’. What’s that all about?

‘The Voices Of Classic Rock’ is an organisation that started out playing to private parties at golf tournaments and stuff like that. In America every major artist from Don Henley to Elton John to Rod Stewart play for like Pepsi and Budweiser at parties, making lots of money. So, I gotta be honest with ya, we formed this band to do the same thing. There are six singers, we each sing three songs, and we normally play these corporate parties all over North and South America (sometimes in Europe), but now we’re planning to do concerts in larger venues so people can simply pay and come to see us. It’s something that just started out, and it’s really, really good.

Speaking of guest appearances, you yourself featured on countless projects, tributes and albums of fellow artists, how can you possibly find time for that between touring and working on your own albums?

Well, I’m an absolute workaholic, I love the fact that I have been given the gift to do my music, and in the 30 years I’m working I’ve met a lot of people, and I get along very well with a lot of guys, we play a lot, we sing a lot, and I get asked to do a lot of sessions. I live of course in Los Angeles were everything happens, as far as for session work, and my wife’s a TV producer, she does TV commercials, so I get to do that too. All I can tell you is that for a period of time in the 80’s I didn’t do a lot of work because I was drinking too much, or whatever, and I decided in 1990 that I it was enough, and since then I’ve been working my ass of.

I’ve heard your contributions to the a lot of other project, like lately the Nikolo Kotsev album (Nostradamus) and the solo album from Eric Norlander, but you always sound fresh, I never have the feeling that it’s a rush job, or like, ’I’m only in it for the money’.

Every song I sing for an artist, no matter what, I always give one hundred percent. I don’t just look at it as a job. I just like to sing. I’d like to think this: When I’m dead and I left all this work on CD, maybe people some hundred years from now will listen to it and say like: ‘Hey, this guy could really sing’. And I just love the process of singing, I feel very comfortable when singing.

More than playing the bass?

I think it’s pretty much the same, although I’m pretty much known as a singer, but yeah, I love playing the bass.

It’s no wonder you’ve been called ‘The Voice Of Rock’, but what do you think of that particular label, because you’re also into other kinds of music.

Oh yeah, you know, the KLF called me ‘the voice of rock’ on their single ‘What Time Is Love America’, and then the press started calling me ‘the voice of rock’, and then people like John Bon Jovi and David Coverdale and Joe Elliot, so I guess that people will always see me like that. I never call myself like that, you can call me like that if you like, but I’m not like such an ego maniac that I have to be called ‘the voice of rock’. It’s nice, I think it could be worse. Like being called ‘the voice of ****’ hahaha, but to tell you the truth, it’s OK, I’m not complaining.

Besides your musical activities you’ve also formed a record label called Pink Cloud. But is this label for Glenn Hughes music only or are you planning to release work from other artists also?

It’s an investment. You must understand when you got a record label, you have to put money into it if you want to make money. So if I’m gonna put money into other artists, promote them and buy their artwork and make the CD’s it’s has to be something of which I think is exceptional. Now there are other artists I’m talking to for releasing on my label but at the moment it’s just primarily Glenn, of course the Xmas CD which will be released this year again. Anyway, I’m talking with John Sykes and Joe Lynn Turner about releasing some stuff on my label but at the moment nothing’s confirmed yet.

Next to the release of ‘Building The Machine’ some other releases are planned, like a new album from Hughes/Thrall.

Yes, Hughes/Thrall will hopefully be released in the spring of 2002. We are one or two songs away of finishing it, and I just wanna say that it’s very, very heavy, acoustic, funky and trippy. It’s produced in a way that people will love, I think, hopefully, hahaha.

There’s also a project in the making together with Joe Lynn Turner, it the word is that you’ll hit the studio this month to record it. What can we expect from this joining of forces?

We started this in September, so it’s not quite finished yet. The band is called HTP, for Hughes Turner Project, and the album I can tell you, before we started the songs were ready, the songs are very much in the format of Mark III / Mark VI Deep Purple and Rainbow.

That’s not really a surprise of course!

We went to Japan last year, I went on the road with Joe, and we were so successful, you see, when you got two guys from a band like Purple together, it’s strong. So if we gonna do a band, go on the road and do an album, we should make it very clear what we’re gonna do. It’s not gonna be a modern Rock album, it’s going to be a very interesting return to that era of ’73 to ’79.

It’s at least something different than all the new forms of Rock and Metal emerging nowadays. Do you, by the way, keep up with all the latest developments in Rock/Metal?

Well, I don’t. I’m gonna tell you the truth, every band on the Ozz fest, or every band I hear singing with the tattoos and the goat tee beards, they all sound the same to me. I don’t really listen to it, because it’s boring. But I do like Limp Bizkit though, they’re pretty cool.

At the end of this year the album that you made with Manfred Ehlert is supposed to be released, and it's supposedly going to be more soul/pop orientated then we’ve ever heard from you.

You know, that album was recorded three years ago, it’s a project, and it was supposed to be kept secret who was singing, because it was not a rock album. It was indeed pop/soul orientated, but also some Dance and electronic. Right now we’re looking for the right label to release it, but because I’m singing it and it’s not Rock, people don’t understand it, and I don’t want to confuse anybody, I just like to sing. When we find the right person to release it, we shall, but until then it has to wait.

Well, nowadays it’s not strange anymore that Rock artists do something completely different.

Ok, and don’t be surprised when you see me next year doing an album with two other singers and an orchestra, that’s another thing I want to do. I’d like to do something like those three tenor guys, I’d like to do something with two other singers in a very dramatic orchestra way. I just like to do something different than as you know me.

Yeah, but my point is that about ten years ago it was very rare that artists with a Rock or Metal background did something beyond that format, but nowadays everybody seems to do it, for example Ritchie Blackmore and his renaissance albums.

I love those albums. You know, Ritchie always wanted to do that, I’ve known Ritchie for a long time, he always talked about doing this music, and I think it’s very cool, so if he wants to do that, God bless ‘m.

Computers and Internet have made a big impact on music in general, like in terms of promotion, distribution and things like that, but also increased things like bootlegging and stuff. Do you see Internet as a blessing, a curse, or something in between?

I think it’s a blessing. It could be something in between, but for me it’s been good. The bootleg thing sucks, because the album with Tony Iommi I did got bootlegged and that really upset me, we were halfway through it, and some tracks were basically demo’s, but someone stole a tape and wham bam, it was on the Internet. So, what can I tell you, it sucks. But for me and my fans it’s a good thing to get together.

Finally, the tour you did this year was basically in support of 'Return To The Crystal Karma', and it’s clear how you felt about it. Is there any chance you’ll tour in support of ‘Building The Machine’?

I’ll give you an honest answer. I told you that I was not gonna do it again without the proper tour support. Now you may ask the question: ‘Why don’t you get the right people to help you?’ Well, that’s what I’m doing at the moment, I cannot do again what I did earlier this year in Holland, and have a bad production and have myself upset again, cause it’s not fair, not to myself, and not to my audience. They’re all fantastic fans you know, and I don’t wanna put myself through the same **** again, my fans do not deserve that, and neither do I. So there’s the answer to your question, I won’t be doing any more touring until I sort that out. Now, you might see me tour with Joe Lynn Turner and HTP next year, because that will be done through different people. Right now I can’t talk too much about it, I’m in between things and taking care of business, but I promise you I’ll get things organised.
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Old Apr-05-2002, 7:32 AM
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Very interesting

Hi there,

thank you very much for sharing this very interesting interview with us. It's great!

see ya, Achim
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