GLENN HUGHES is a legend in rock circles, a curly haired bassist with a distinctive vocal, one of the icons of the genre. Famed for a substantial self-destructive streak in his prime, the man known as ‘the voice’ was a real manic rockstar, once beset with substantial drug problems as he performed with Deep Purple, Trapeze and Black Sabbath through the 70s and 80s.
Hughes was the bassist and vocalist in the Mk II and Mk III versions of his most iconic project, Deep Purple, sharing vocal duties with David Coverdale. Those were troubled times; he’s turned his life around over the last couple of decades, and thrown himself into musical projects, an air of ‘making up for lost time’ about his work.
“I talk to the Sabbath guys all the time, and I get on well with most of the guys from Deep Purple now” he says of his links with his past. “They’re slowing down with the music, but for me you can’t really stop this kind of life, man. I need to keep going.”
“It’s different, though. I’m a bit of a California hippie now. This whole thing is cathartic, brother,” he says. “I almost didn’t make it, but I’m in a really good place. I’m all about the love, the anger has gone. I’m playing to a mix of generations now. To parents bringing their kids to shows, and that’s really special.”
“I got myself straight and I’m determined to stay that way, I’ve changed my view on life totally. I’ll keep going until I drop, because I don’t know how to do anything else.”
“I’ll be playing the tunes from when I was in Deep Purple, the ones we wrote, and the ones I played over those years. You’ll get all the classics, and we’re doing a lot with them. They sound huge live,” he explains.
Deep Purple, including Hughes, were inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2016, and have mostly mended their differences that came about in part because of Hughes’ personal issues all those years ago.
“I thought it was overdue. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but it needed to happen, brother,” Hughes said of the Hall of Fame induction with his former bandmates. “It was a good feeling. Deep Purple have such longevity as a band, and sold 150 million albums. It’s good to be acknowledged for that, you know? It doesn’t really matter, at the end of the day, but it felt good.”
The live performance is still where things are most natural for Hughes, though. “We’ll be ready by the time we get to Ireland,” Hughes says of the tour, which stops off in South America and at a series of festivals over the summer ahead of the Irish dates.
“We’ll be playing lots of big stuff, like Smoke On The Water, that I used to play with the band all the time, and some stuff I’ve never done before from the Mk II and Mk III era.”
“I just want to make the most of it. This is a big thing, an 18-month tour, all in, that’ll go right into 2019. I want people to know what I’m doing now. I’m doing all this studio stuff, but when I’m not doing that, I’m doing things like we did in the 70s, with the audio and visual elements like back then. Things are arranged just like they were, and it’s one hell of a show.”
“I can’t wait to do this, it will be a real treat, something for everyone who’s into Deep Purple, brother,” Hughes concludes. “It’ll be special.”
Glenn Hughes and his band will perform classic Deep Purple tracks at the Olympia Theatre on September 30.
This article is a greatly extended version of one of my weekly music columns for the Dublin Gazette, reproduced here with permission. Note: this column is published in the Dublin Gazette several days ahead of on this website. The Gazette is a freesheet paper available across Dublin, published on a Thursday. Pick up copies at these locations.
View the article as printed below: