Glenn Hughes' story is one of redemption.
Beginning with Wolverhampton hard rockers Trapeze back in 1970, to scaling the heights in Deep Purple, joining the British rock legends along with vocalist David Coverdale in 1973 to record the classic 'Burn' album and in '74 performing at the massive Cal Jam festival in front of over 200,000, to spiraling downward into a murky sea of cocaine and alcohol addiction (one which not only almost destroyed his career, but very nearly took his life), to finally pulling out of the pit on Christmas '91, coming back stronger than ever. Truly an event to rejoice for rock fans everywhere.
Not only a superlative bassist, Hughes also possesses one of the finest voices in rock history, leading to him being dubbed 'The Voice Of Rock.' A voice which also has had him appearing on albums by artists as diverse as Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, even British techno/house band the KLF who, with Glenn on vocals, scored a U.K. # 1 hit in 1991 with the single "America -What Time Is Love?" Since recovery, Hughes has recorded at a fevered pace, during the past 14 years releasing 8 solo studio efforts, 3 live albums, 2 studio releases and a live album from HTP (a collaboration with ex Rainbow/Deep Purple vocalist Joe Lynn Turner) and 2 albums with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in Iommi/Hughes. Add in the classic album 'Hughes/Thrall,' with ex-Pat Travers guitarist Pat Thrall, countless sessions for bands such as Whitesnake, George Lynch, John Norum, Motley Crue and Brazen Abbott, to name a few, as well as appearances on several tribute albums, you wonder when Hughes has even time to sleep.
Keeping up the pace, this rock legend has a brand new studio solo album on tap, his 10th, 'Music For The Divine,' scheduled for June release on Frontiers Records. Featuring contributions from Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante, along with guitarist J.J. Marsh, the record, which Hughes describes as "probably his strongest release ever," showcases his writing and musical talents in a new light, yet is still chock full of the hard rock and funk elements that are sure to please longtime fans.
The Lizards, from New York City, are a throwback to the days of the heyday of 70s heavy, blues inflected rock. Drawing on the tradition of bands such as Mountain, Deep Purple and Cactus, as well as funkier elements, the band is a breath of fresh air. Featuring vocalist Mike DiMeo (Riot), drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult), bassist Randy Pratt and guitarist Patrick Klein, they've been building an audience the old fashioned way -- via touring with not only Hughes, but other classic bands of the likes of UFO, King's X, Frank Marino, Travers & Appice and Vanilla Fudge, with a forthcoming U.S. tour with guitar maestro Uli Jon Roth on the horizon. A testament to the band's talent is the fact that none other than Robert Plant was sufficiently moved to join the band during a gig in Stourbridge, England in 2004, a topic covered in further detail below.
What these two have in common here is that it can finally be revealed, on the Lizards' forthcoming 5th album 'Against All Odds,' the followup to 2004's critically acclaimed 'Cold Blooded Kings,' Hughes makes a significant contribution, writing with the band and appearing on the album, which promises to be a record poised to take them to the next level, both artistically and commercially. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with both Glenn and Lizards bassist Randy Pratt for this exclusive interview concerning the pairing of these two great talents, also covering a lot of history as well in the process.
Special thanks goes to Billy James from Glass Onyon PR for coordinating, and a BIG thanks go to Glenn and Randy for doing this interview.
Interview and text by Nightwatcher
April 25, 2006
Nightwatcher's House Of Rock : Glenn, you have a new album coming out scheduled for release on June 9th, 'Music For The Divine'. What can you tell us about that, and how does it compare stylistically to your last studio effort, 'Soul Mover'?
Glenn Hughes : Primarily, I think what 'Soul Mover' did, it gave me the incentive to make a better record. I think every artist is going to say, "This current release is the best one," but I think with 'Soul Mover' I took more time writing the songs. Chad Smith from The Chili Peppers was involved in that record, and we took some more time writing and arranging. Double fold, twice as much, maybe three times more intensity was put into 'Music For The Divine.' I wrote for this record with having orchestration involved, like strings etc. I also wrote a lot on acoustic guitar, so there's an element that we haven't seen before on my records. Where it's more organic. It's basically real organic instruments with strings. Hardly any keys at all. Song-wise, it's probably my strongest release ever. That's including anything in Deep Purple. I think this is the strongest release from me, as far as the songs are concerned.
Songs for me, are the most important thing. Passion is very, very strong on this record. It's the most cohesive, honest, artistic record I've ever made. When an artist says that to an interviewer, or anyone in the media, they're getting themselves set up for a fall. But, the fact of the matter is, I'll stand behind it, because I think everyone who's been involved with the record...engineers, Chad, John Frusciante, all our families... we really stand behind this record. Chad Smith is so into this record. As you know, the Peppers have a new record coming out in a couple of weeks. His efforts on mine are equal to what he's done on his own. If you spoke to Chad, he'd tell you the same thing. We're all seriously excited about the Glenn Hughes thing at the moment. It doesn't suck having two members of one of the biggest bands in the world on your record. They're all good friends. We're all fans of each other.
My career, my life before my career, my life in general is absolutely phenomenal, because my lifestyle is so different. Everything's changed in my life. I'm really, truly at the best place I've ever been in my life at the moment. I think the record, when you hear it, will really speak volumes. I think it really tells people about my life. I've had many crazy things happen to me. I think I'm on the other side of those crazy things right now. I think it's a celebration period. Spiritually. I'm not talking materially, or physical material things, because they're a loan from God. Material things can be used up, and spat out. Spiritual things are more important to me.
NHOR : That's true, eventually all material things will fade away, and they can be gone in an instant...
GH : Yes, and I've had all that. I've been very blessed in life to have had greatness, as far as being thrown into the public eye, and I've made a jackass out of myself, then I've had another great career later on in my life. It's really remarkable.
NHOR : Going into that, in a recent press release you talked about the "Amazing changes that have happened in my life since 'Soul Mover' " having given you the creative output and encouragement to make this album. What were those changes, and what influence did they have upon your music?
GH : Walking through the fear, of being frightened to let people know who I am, musically. People who are around me all the time, like my family and friends, know that I'm a decent and honest person, funny and a good listener. But I think what I've been frightened to do for so many years is let my audience know. I think some members of my audience know the depth of my writing. But the general public that doesn't so much know, they know that I was in a band called Deep Purple, stuff like that. It's been okay for me, but I've actually, with the help of Chad Smith, been able to... he's pushed me and said, "You have to make a record, and make music from this point, as an artist would paint a picture. A true, honest, genuine, artistic statement in everything you write and record." Because it's going to be lasting forever. So, what I did on this record, and what I've been doing since 'Soul Mover,' I tried not to listen to record executives, or too many critics, or anything.
There's about 10 different Glenn Hughes's that people want to hear. There's the rock one, the funky one, the soulful one, the pop one, the ballads, the blues... and those elements are all Glenn Hughes. I've been trying to please everybody for so long. The change in my life is that I've said, "I've got to make music," and I'm very much in love with other artists. From The Beatles to current music. I'm really a fan, and I'll be a student of the voice and the guitar forever. forever. I'm always going to be looking for greatness in other things, and to work with other people. But in order to do that, I have to really shed my skin and show people who I am. That is what's been occurring since 'Soul Mover.' Everything I do as far as, say, sessions or writing for people, I've got to really show them myself. I think I was a little frightened before.
NHOR : Do you ever feel pigeonholed in terms of what you feel you can release due to your hard rock background? That perhaps it won't be accepted if you try something new?
GH : No disrespect to my friends in Japan, but you know Deep Purple were as big as The Beatles in Japan in the 70's. We sold more records there than The Beatles. My career in Japan was very, very high profile. A lot of critics in Japan have always signaled that I should only make records that sound Deep Purple-ish. With the Hammond organ, and the Stratocaster, and the certain timbre of the voice, that's specific and appropriate for that market. I'll tell you, I made five records in that kind of fear. Because my core audience was very far eastern, you know? Then I started to realize, I'm not growing. I've got to really be me.
I started to resent the fact that I was being pigeonholed. If I'm working with Tony Iommi, I'm going to be making bone crunching, hard driving, really intense rock. If I'm going to be working with Dave Navarro, it's going to be more modern rock. If I'm going to be working with John Frusciante, it'll be more alternative, modern pop, across the board whacky. If I work with Jerry Cantrell, it'll be that. It all depends on who I'm going to work with. With The Lizards, I went in and wrote with those guys, and that turned out to be that. I think that if an artist is allowed to paint in the colors that he sees, I think it's really horrific for people to say, "You can't paint in those colors because we expect you to paint in that color."
NHOR : So, you feel a sense of freedom in that aspect that wasn't previously there before?
GH : I do, and I'm not angry, I'm not upset, I'm liberated, by my own paint brush if you will. But, I must say, from hanging out with The Chili Peppers quite a lot, especially with Chad and John... this is a band, as with Bono and The Edge, and great current artists, they really are artistic in the way they paint. I really do appreciate that. Watching people of this ilk work closely, and working with them on my record, really has shown me that I can let people know more of who I am as a songwriter. I think people know about my voice, they all know about Glenn Hughes' voice, but what I really want to be known as now is as a songwriter as well. I think that's evident now, it sounds kind of egotistical, but it's really liberating, and really, really given me a whole... I think I've been quoted as saying this, but this album has changed the way I write. It really sincerely, deeply from my very core, has changed the way I write.
NHOR : Do you ever feel like it's difficult coming up with something new?
GH : Since I've been sober... clean and sober, in '91... I think prior to that, I could not really focus on writing because I was too much into my disease. Since I've been clean and sober, it's almost, and I'd say it's more evident since the millennium, it's almost like the faucet is on, I'm really going, and I can't turn it off. As my friends tell me, you should take advantage of that, you should write. My wife will tell you this, I'm in the studio all year long. Even on the holidays. I was in the studio this morning. Because I can't stop writing. Some people will never hear it, and even if my album wasn't heard by anybody, it's changed me, because it's shown me more of who I am as a man, as a friend, and a husband.
NHOR : As long as you have the creative juices flowing, it's best to keep on going...
GH : I have. And when I did Randy's record, and I must say, Randy Pratt, for me, is one of my dear friends, and he's also very talented. I want people to know this. Randy's been bubbling under now for quite some time. When I went out to work with him, I sat down with him and his band, checked it out, and I said, "You know something? This is going to be interesting." We started to write, and they allowed me to come in and paint the way I paint, and it was appropriate.
For me, writing the song, and a lot of friends of mine who are successful songwriters, I watch them and I write with them. It's a fine art, it's a craft. I may have taken it for granted before, I may have just been in my studio, churning out a lot of songs, but I wasn't particularly paying a lot of attention. Maybe I was just going for a certain vibe. But songwriting, in the sense of the word, is a very, very intense and beautiful art form. It's only just recently that I've recently... and it's never too late, I've written and published over 500 songs. But, it's only as of late that I've really, really been given the gift to slow down and go, "You know something? Let's enjoy this process." I think it's great.
NHOR : Speaking of that... Randy, The Lizards have a new album coming out, 'Against All Odds.' How does the sound of this album compare to your last one, 'Cold Blooded Kings'? Is there any stylistic difference from last time?
Randy Pratt : Yeah, it's different I think. At least half the album is blues based, riff rock like we're known for. But, even that stuff has gone through some changes. When we met Mike, we had most of an album written and recorded actually, ready for our old singer, John Garner, to go on. He actually sang on 5 of the songs. Then Mike came into the picture. Admirably, he did them as they were intended. Then, we went right on tour. We went to Europe 6 times last year and played 100 gigs. We didn't do much creative writing with Mike at that point. When we did, it became evident that his keyboards were going to take a prominent, upfront role in the music. Mike's a great keyboard player. He's not only a good player, he's kind of a wild player, as you'll see on this album. He's got some little Jon Lord-isms in there, even though he doesn't claim that's one of his influences. He doesn't just stay in the pocket, he's got some chops. So, we started writing stuff that we jokingly said sounded like The Allman Brothers meet Deep Purple. A lot of heavy keyboards. There's some extended, arranged jam type stuff, in that mode. Keyboard dominated stuff. There's a couple other songs that are almost like Genesis meets Rainbow. (Laughs) With a lot of orchestrated keyboards. So, that's different right there. The long, extended jam type stuff is probably stuff we haven't done much of in the past.
NHOR : Do you feel that Mike DiMeo being involved in the writing process from the beginning this time has allowed you to take it to the next level musically?
RP : Yes, it allowed us to define the new sound, definitely. We do get together pretty often. His background is, he likes the heavy rock, the old fashioned stuff like we do, but he also likes instrumental music. He listens to stuff that's kind of progressive in a way, and he tries to push himself on the keyboards. I think he's better suited for this music than Riot, in my opinion. I heard the new Riot album, and it's great, they're awesome musicians, but I think Mike is doing almost a Rob Halford type thing. That's what I hear in that band. I like that, but I think this is more earthy. I like those bands, I love Judas Priest, but soulful isn't the first word that would come to mind, even though they are, I guess. It's just more show bizzy and drama. (Laughs) Shakespearean maybe. I think Mike's more of a black culture guy, and that's kind of what he's bringing to this band. Which we love.
NHOR : At this time can you give us any titles and perhaps a rundown of any of the songs that will be on the new album?
RP : I'm going to do it from the top of my head, because I don't have it right in front of me. There's "I'm No Good," " Can't Fool Myself," "Ariel," " My Dark Angel," "On a Wire," "Take The Fall," "Revelation #9," "Up The Stairs," "Bad Luck Is Come To Town," "Eleven," and "The Arrival Of Lilah."
NHOR : Are any of those going to be epics like "Down" on 'Cold Blooded Kings'?
RP : Yes, there's epics, and there's some surprising things. There's a couple of the "Allman Brothers meet Deep Purple" vibe things. "Revelation #9" and "Can't Fool Myself" are almost 10 minutes long. Bluesy vocals, with extended, dual guitar/keyboard riffage going on, very convulted. Then, "Ariel" into "Dark Angel" is really one song. That's probably 10 minutes. It goes into a beautiful, choral, vocal thing with string, keyboard things. I don't know what to compare it to, but it's heavy and orchestral I would say. "Take The Fall" is the classic, romantic, piano ballad with string. With a big string section. The girl who did strings on it was in a band I was in before called Star People. She's written string arrangements for two #1 songs, one for Sheryl Crow and one for The Dixie Chicks. She played with both those bands, and she also arranged strings on the 'Rule' album for us. I think this is better because a lot of it is just Glenn and Mike singing to piano, with this gorgeous, over the top string section thing happening. It's not just pad, it's lurid. (Laughs) That's kind of an odd piece, I think people may go, "Huh?" Although, it's kind of classic to have the heavy rock band do the piano ballad, that's allowed. Then, "Up The Stairs" is the funk song, with the horn section on it. That's another Glenn and Mike duet. Glenn duets with Mike on 4 songs. Then, "On A Wire" sounds like Free kind of, and it's got Glenn and Mike singing. There's a couple of short, rockin' songs, that's one, and "I'm No Good" is like that. "Bad Luck Is Come To Town" is another. Just kind of short, punch you in the nose type songs. "Eleven" is kind of a romantic ballad, with lots of lush string, keyboard stuff in it. I think it's gorgeous. It's probably my favorite one on the record, actually. Although it's an odd piece for us. It almost sounds like one of those big 80's pop bands like Spandau Ballet or Depeche Mode. I don't even know which one it sounds like, but it's got kind of that vibe I think. Except we've heavied it up obviously. I think it's kind of gorgeous. Then, "Lilah" is almost like a tribute to The Who, I would say, although we don't really sound like The Who that much, but we're trying. (Laughs) It went through our filter though.
There's a few epics on there for sure. The album is 65 minutes long. I didn't do any harmonica on this one. We wrote a cool harmonica piece, with me just playing harmonica and Mike playing keyboards. We've written it, but at this point I don't think there's the will to get it on the record. It's already mastered and everything.
NHOR : It sounds like it's more diverse than anything you've done so far...
RP : It is, it's very diverse. Although, I went back and listened to the last album, and that was more diverse than I remember it being. But, this one's more diverse, definitely. Musicianship-wise, I think it's a step forward. Both playing and ambition-wise. A lot of people like the first album. My wife likes the first album the best of all of our albums, and Bobby Rondinelli wasn't even on that one. I think it was simpler, more groove oriented, not so cluttered with solos. A lot of girls like that kind of music better, and that's the way we started. We pushed ourselves to be better players. Sometimes you think you're doing better, then somebody goes, "I like the old thing better." So, you never know. (Laughs) You have to do what comes naturally. You can get off track sometimes, but you just have to allow it to happen I think.
NHOR : Glenn, how do you feel that your contributions to the Lizards album turned out?
GH : When I went in there, Randy played me a couple of things that he wanted me to finish. Three things I finished with him, and I wrote a song entirely for him. I wrote a song with the band, from scratch. So, there were three different elements there. The song I brought in, they recorded. The song that I sort of helped them write, was called "Take The Fall". That's really good. There's three other songs that were kind of more groovy and funky. Which is my element. That's the background I like the most. They allowed me to come in and just do my thing. It was sort of a very free thing. I think the combination of all five of us was strong.
NHOR : What was it about their music that led you not only to agree to guest on the album, but also co-write songs with the band?
GH : I think the organics, and the actual sense of honesty. They're not looking to... and this is why I like Randy and the guys, they're not looking to be the latest trend. They're looking to make honest records, and honest music. I think, on a song level, the songs that I participated on, and the songs I wrote with them have got a certain vibe. You can tell that I participated in it. I think Mike DiMeo's a really underrated singer. I think people need to know more about Mike. I think they will now. I think, hopefully, my participation on this record will get him and the guys more media. Although Randy's a good friend of mine, I get offered a LOT of sessions, and I have to turn most of them down, because I can't have my voice out there on everybody's album. Because it's too much. But I was really, really blown away when I actually started to listen in the studio to what they wanted me to help finish, or write with them. It was really, really satisfying for me.
NHOR : Randy, how did you get hooked up with Glenn, and how do you feel the tracks he sings on turned out?
RP : As Bobby Rondinelli said, the guys were a little bit dubious about having a superstar come to the house and hang out with us. That he'd have a good attitude. When he left, Bobby grabbed him, put an arm around his shoulder and said, "Man, you were everything anybody could have ever wanted you to be. For us, you made it a really fun experience." Glenn was gracious, generous, super creative and super fast. Just a real pro. He stayed at my house, I have two houses right next to each other right here on Long Island, he stayed there, he even walked my dog in the morning. He joked with us, got into the Brooklyn accent for us and everything. He was really generous with Mike, encouraging him a lot, even when we were on tour with him. I sought Glenn out, because I spent the whole 70's, when I wasn't even really a musician, daydreaming about Glenn Hughes. He was just such a mysterious character after leaving Purple, because of his drug abuse. It was kind of hard to imagine what he was doing. I just thought about him a lot, and as I met people in the music business, I tracked him down, and just kind of put myself in his face. (Laughs) He was cool. Even when he was high, he was just a cool guy, not an asshole.
We were on tour with our old singer in Europe, and our European agent knew that I liked Glenn Hughes, so on an off day he flew us over to see him play with Joe Lynn Turner, and we talked about touring together. Then we did, for two months. My wife was along, it was fantastic. We didn't spend a whole lot of time talking with him on tour. He's very focused when on tour, and I didn't want to distract him. But when we did talk, it was very cool. So, we went to New York, and he kind of took us under his wing. He completed a bunch of those songs. The big piano ballad... and three of the four songs he sang on, he's getting a writing credit on. He wrote big, important stuff on them, very quickly. I wrote that piano ballad song from a dream, the band loved it, and we thought, "Man, this is really important, we have to take care of this." It needed another part, but we didn't want to mess it up by doing something that's not appropriate. There was almost a classical vibe to it. It wasn't coming easy to us, and Glenn just sat down with an acoustic guitar, with Mike at the piano, and almost the first thing that came out of his mouth were these gorgeous second and third parts of the song. So, that's the way it was with him. He was very quick to throw stuff into the music. I wish he didn't play bass, I'd make him an offer he couldn't refuse. (Laughs)
NHOR : So all the songs Glenn wrote with you, those are all duets with Mike?
RP : Yes, they are. He wrote a song for us, which we haven't completed yet. He played bass on that one, and I wouldn't allow him to pick up the bass again while he was here because he made me feel inadequate. (Laughs) So, we have another song in the can, that we're going to put out on our next album, called "Miracle Man," that Glenn wrote for us. That's also a duet with him and Mike, but the difference is Glenn's playing bass on it.
NHOR : Do you have a release date for the album yet?
RP : Somebody's trying to get us a record deal in Europe right now. I don't know if that's going to slow me down. I'm rushing to finish all of the artwork inside the album. The cover's done, the photographs have been taken. The girl who pieces our artwork together is really good, and I don't want to rush it, I want it to be beautiful. We've got some great pictures of the band and stuff, so I'm hoping that's all completed this week. Then, I guess we could send it to the printer at that point and make that be the release date and send promos out. I'm hoping we'll move up a notch with the record deal situation this year. I don't know if that would affect us doing a release date over here in the U.S. I don't have the exact release date, but we can call the release date when you have a finished product in your hand. When you can buy it on our website. In that case, definitely within a month. We'll have it available through us, then the record deal we can work on with that.
NHOR : When you go on tour, is there any possibility that Glenn might join you for a date or two to sing those songs live?
RP : Certainly. I mean, God, if it could ever happen, I would do anything I could to make it happen. We're supposedly doing a short headlining tour of Europe in September. That might change, but our agent is putting that together for us now. Glenn, right in that period, asked us to tour with him and Pat Thrall. Hughes/Thrall are completing another album, and they've asked us to go on tour, but I don't think we can do that. If they're in Europe in September, I'm crossing my fingers, that would be spectacular. Even for just one gig. I'd bring a professional video crew in for that one. (Laughs)
NHOR : What about it Glenn, any chance you might join them onstage for a gig or two?
GH : I would think so. Like I say, for two reasons. #1, Randy's a friend, and # 2, even though he's a friend, I'd have to really be into the music, and I know he'd really appreciate that. Because we all felt, when we were making this record, all five of us liked what we were doing. I like what I did on The Lizards, I like my participation, and I like what I did with Mike. The voices sound great together. I think it's a great, organic sounding record. It's a very honest record. I think if Randy were to call me, we'd discuss it. I'm sure we could work something out.
NHOR : It sounds like it was a really enjoyable experience for you doing the album with them. Randy was just telling me that you actually stayed at one of his homes while you were there writing and recording...
GH : Yeah, we would finish laying the track down, we'd actually finish in the afternoon, then I'd go have dinner with Randy and Mike. Then I'd spend a couple of hours writing lyrics before I went to bed, or actually first thing in the morning. I get up really early, so I don't like to go into the studio unprepared. I like to have it all complete. I also like to have two or three different ideas, melody wise. But I think with The Lizards' material, the songs they wanted me to complete with them, I came up with pretty much in the studio as the backing track was being played. I think that was kind of a kick for us all, because Randy's a big Glenn Hughes fan from the 70's. I think he's a big Trapeze fan. That's really great, because that was a very organic, original trio. So, I just think that Randy and the guys have come up with a really good record, and I just hope it gets the shot that it deserves.
NHOR : Another release that you're working on is with Pat Thrall. You've been working on 'Hughes /Thrall 2'. How far have you gotten into that project, and in what vein are you going musically with the album?
GH : We started this album about six months before 9/11, in New York. I live in Los Angeles, and Pat lives in Manhattan. I went there for two weeks. One week, then I went home again, then about a month before 9/11, I went there again. I recorded for 2 weeks with him, going monday through friday, we recorded around nine songs. Then 9/11 happened, and everything went crazy. I didn't go back to New York for awhile. Pat got very, very busy. Pat's an amazing guy in the studio. He's a Pro Tools expert, and editor. He'd be working with Kevin Shirley, who does Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes. A lot of sessions with those guys, even stuff with Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and George Michael. He became very much into that.
So, we sort of took it from the front burner and put it on the back burner. Pat Thrall, in the last year, has moved to Las Vegas, which is a neighbor city for me here. The tremendous amount of encouragement from my fans around the world, really wanting us to make the second album, was amazing. I spent two more sessions with Pat in Las Vegas, I was there about a month ago. We've almost completed the album now. We're about two songs short. We've done about fourteen songs, and we're going to have a complete tracking list finished in June. We're going to be mixing in August, with tentatively a January release. If you liked the first record, the first record was bold in content, with a very eccentric take on rock music. It had all the elements again, of Glenn Hughes, which are funk, rock and soul. It had all the elements of Pat Thrall's amazing guitar technique. The second record, the new one, is the same in that context. But 25 years later. Remember now, and my friend Robert Plant said this in an interview last year, when he wrote "Stairway To Heaven" he was 21. Although it's an amazing song, Robert Plant wouldn't be writing those kind of songs today. We just move on.
The fact of the matter is, the Hughes/Thrall album, the new one, is way more mature. It's organic again, there's a lot of acoustic stuff on it. I'm doing more acoustic stuff on it. It's very, very funky, and very, very heavy. The content is even more stark and dramatic than the first record. Pat and I are very much more together now. (Laughs) I think the production's going to be very, very strong. It's going to be a little different from the first one. The style on each track is going to be very various. Obviously a very intense acoustic track, then the next track might be very R&B, then there might be a super funky track. But there's a lot of textures on this record. Without there being too many overdubs. I think there's a texture between organic and electronic. There's a lot of great vocal harmonies. I spent some time getting some really intense vocal harmonies. There's a lot of aggression on the album. There's also some really late night, jazzy, New York vibes. It's a type of record that a major record label would look at and go, "What can we do with this?" Because it's so out of the box. It's not in a box at all, and that's the kind of music I like to make. I don't make records for bubblegum reasons.
NHOR : It sounds like you've gone for a very eclectic type of album this time around...
GH : It's very eclectic, man, it's probably the most eclectic album I've ever been on. Didn't mean it to be that way, but I go in tangents in the studio, especially with Pat, who can keep up with me. I drive him crazy, but the tape is running all the time we're in the studio. Once again, it's probably the most eclectic albums I've ever done. We don't have any titles for the album yet, we haven't even finished recording yet. But the album is very, very strong. Very, very musical.
NHOR : Speaking of the first Hughes/Thrall album, that album's been remastered and it's due out in May, is that correct?
GH : It probably won't be out until June or July, because Pat and I have actually re-recorded 2 songs. One from the first album, which never made it, called "Pay The Price." The other song is "Trying To Take My Love," which is on a bootleg that you might have heard from '83. Those two songs have been redone, we're just adding drums to them in the next couple of weeks. Then we're going to add those two songs to the original remaster. Those will be the bonus tracks. I think it would seem ignorant and irrelevant to put an album out without bonus tracks. I think it's rude to the fans, and I wouldn't want to do that. I was going to put one bonus track, but Pat and I have decided to put two. It makes more sense. Hughes/Thrall has a fan base already. I think every musician I've ever met, and I'm talking black, white, yellow or red, has bought that record. They have a copy of 'Hughes/Thrall 1.' People love that record. A good friend of mine, Randy Jackson from 'American Idol,' who also produces Mariah Carey... I'm asking him to play bass on it. He's a major Hughes/Thrall fan. There's a lot of great musicians who are Hughes/Thrall fans.
NHOR : Since you brought that up, as a vocalist, what do think of shows like 'American Idol'?
GH : I think it's great. 'American Idol,' it started out in Britain as 'Pop Idol,' then Simon Fuller, not Simon Cowell, brought it over here. The Brits always seem to come up with these great shows. Really truly, I really think we haven't really seen... I think Ruben Stoddard was a great singer, Kelly Clarkson's a good singer. I think there's a lot of great singers in America who we'll never know, because they didn't even know it themselves. This current crop aren't killing me. I think the girl that's in there now, the good looking one whose mom's a coach, is very good. But I think there's probably way better singers that are out there. I really do think it's great that we can have young kids get on TV and become stars. The music industry's different than it was in the '70's. It's all manufactured now. You're told what to wear, what to eat, they write the songs for you. You don't really have any say so. I could not imagine being in that situation. But there are some young kids coming up in America who are very talented. I really love it, I love hearing greatness. Whether it's from my generation or from a new generation, I'm a fan of music.
NHOR : What are your expectations, Randy, with this album, sales-wise?
RP : I have no illusions that we're trying to tag along and grab a little chunk of a dying industry here. And the fact that the music industry isn't interested in anybody older than 25 years old, even if you're The Beatles. (Laughs) Okay, maybe The Beatles or Led Zeppelin can get a record deal, but I think we're trying to invent a way that we can get in and make things happen. We tour with a lot of reformed classic rock bands. We just played with Ten Years After here in New York, Montrose, Mountain and all these bands. As Carmine Appice told me once, "It's a blessing and a curse to have these hits." Basically Carmine said, "You guys are lucky, you can play whatever you want onstage." But it's harder to get yourself to headline status. We've done 200 gigs here with this over the last couple of years, and we get a great response wherever we go. But the older audiences don't seek out bands, and go drive to see them, like young kids do. They see on the marquee, "From Woodstock : Ten Years After," and they go: "Oh The Lizards are great," But, are you going to look on the website and find out where we're playing next time? These 50 year old people, they don't do that. (Laughs)
It's hard, in Europe, the one thing that I thought was better for us was that they take classic rock a little differently over there. They don't treat it like an oldies thing as much. And the younger people seem to get into it more. We're going to keep doing it, that's all I know. We're always trying to expand it. We're really more into it for the thrill, the art, and the personal gratification. It's not like, "Oh, if we don't make this much money we're going to quit." The only alternative for guys like us is to play in somebody else's band, like try to get into Foghat or something. (Laughs) I'd rather stay in my basement and just play in a bar in town here. We've been lucky, we've had tour support, and been able to travel around the world to great response. We got a 4 star review in a recent Classic Rock Magazine for an album that I thought was a rush job. It makes you feel like you've got it, so just keep doing it, I guess. That's what we're gonna do.You can call it new classic rock that has nothing to lean on, as far as the hits. We're just trying to be a vital band. Just keep pushing hard enough that we can't be denied.
NHOR : Do you see the market opening up any for new, original classic rock bands?
RP : I keep reading, like on the cover of Rolling Stone... everywhere, that the music business says they're going down 9, 10% a year. In all the polls, 70% of the people say it's because the music sucks. I'm not going to say the music sucks. I'm liking a lot of shit out there that I hear.They also say that every year, 15% more young people are the buyers of classic rock. The classic rock bands are the big concert draws, because people think they're great. That's why they call it "Classic." (Laughs) I would love to believe that we could ride in on that somehow, and make something good for ourselves. As the music business implodes, and young kids start listening to classic rock, maybe a band situated like us, with some history by that time, who knows? I just want to be ready for it if something opens up for us. We rehearse a lot. We rehearse 4 times a week if we're not recording. Even if there's no tour or anything, we're just sitting down there writing. I have a recording studio in my basement, so as soon as we finish a song we record it. We're halfway to the next album. I'm not saying any of the songs will be on the album, but we've got them. We've got this great album of covers that I wish we could focus on. We write so fast it's hard to take the time to learn a cover.
But I love the covers we did. We have 5 songs recorded towards the covers album that are just killer. I talked to Bobby Rondinelli about it, and said, "We've got enough for an EP, do you want to just put that out?" He said, "Why don't we just put an album out, don't rush it, let's make it happen naturally." I'd love people to hear that, there's enough music for them to hear. I think the next project, now that we've finished this album, we have a tour with Uli Roth here in America, a short one. We're going to get ready for that, then finish this DVD for which we recorded 4 shows in for last year. One here, and three in Europe. It's going to be a compilation of those shows I think. It'll be a big step up from the other DVD's. We had 9 cameras on one of the shows, one's a big outdoor festival. We'll finish that, then we can look at learning another cover for the covers album. The way we were doing it, we'd learn one cover, tour it, then come back, record it, then learn another cover and tour that one. Now that we're not touring quite as much this year, that's getting to be a much more frustrating pace to finish that one, but we'll see. We've got songs by Detective, Boomerang, Free, Stray Dog, and we did a John Lee Hooker song, which we made sound like AC/DC. (Laughs) It's great.
NHOR : Any update on when the DVD will be released?
RP : The shows have been recorded, and we've got a mix on a couple of them. I'm waiting for the Sweden Rock Festival film footage. I have the audio, but the video's still not here. That's kind of holding me up a little. Somebody's got to sit down and say, "This is the best version." It's pretty much the same set at those shows. Except a few songs different here and there. At Sweden Rock we did an hour and twenty minutes. So, we've got to say, "What's the best version of each song?" Then take it and chop it up so it looks good. The video's been edited on the shows already, except for the Sweden Rock one, so we're kind of well set up to dig into it, I've just got to hopefully get that film footage in the next week or two. It's great, definitely. Great performances, everybody's hairpieces look great. (Laughs) I'm only kidding. There's a show in Germany that we did with UFO, nine cameras, one on a crane. It's a good variety of settings, it's cool.
NHOR : Glenn, one of my favorite albums that you've been involved in is Trapeze's 'Medusa.' That's certainly an underrated classic in my opinion, which should've been a huge hit when it was released. What do you recall about making that album, and how do you feel that it holds up today?
GH : That was the second album that John Lodge (Moody Blues) produced of Trapeze. He did the first one, the black and white one as well. That's the first record that I sang on, really, as a lead singer. Possibly because we were down to a trio. It was all on my shoulders to sing the songs, and I had a very young, soulful rock voice back in '71. That album, and 'You Are The Music,' are the key elements of my youth. The intensity of the British trio, which we were. With my participation, and listening to the great singers like Stevie Wonder.
For me, 'You Are The Music' is a more profound songwriting record. It's probably a better record for me, songwriting-wise, but I think the heralding of "Medusa," I wrote that song, and I like the fact that it starts off kind of acoustic, then gets really heavy. It's kind of a blueprint of my style of writing as a rock writer. I think the album, with songs like "Jury," "Medusa" and "Black Cloud"... these songs are big, big rock songs. I think "Jury" is an amazing song. And "Seafull," that's another great song. I think for a guy, and I was only 19 at the time I recorded that record and wrote it, you've got to think, a 19 year old guy can record an album with that sort of intensity, it's kind of spooky. I'm really proud of that album. That album actually, at a time in 1971, was selling more records than The Stones in Texas. Just from Texas alone, we made the Billboard Rock Chart. That was the start of a great career for me. Trapeze broke America through Texas. We actually were very, very popular in the Southern part of America. That was great for me.
NHOR : What was that like for you, coming into Deep Purple in '73, doing the 'Burn' album, and then not too long after in '74, playing at the Cal Jam in front of over 200,000 people?
GH : Well, I'd just come off of a big tour with Trapeze in '73, a spring tour, and we were selling out 5,000 seat theaters every night. We were doing really well. I was coming off of that, and I was starting to feel some confidence. Not arrogance, but I was confident in my work. Then we got David Coverdale in the band two months after I joined. Watching him grow... he'd never really been on a concert stage before. It was difficult for him, but he handled it very, very well. The California Jam for me, I've said it before, but I was born to play at that gig. I felt comfortable on stage. I've always felt comfortable, either in front of 1,000 people or 100,000. For me, it's just something I feel comfortable in. I really do feel at one with the instrument, like my voice and bass guitar. It's almost like being a jazz player. I get lost inside myself, and my music. There just happened to be about 200,000 people watching the event.
NHOR : Have you watched the DVD, 'Live in California 74' that just recently came out? Do you think that turned out well?
GH : I have, I watched it at Chad's house. It's fun. Yeah, it was from 1974, a Dick Clark production, and you have different camera angles, because we had participation in the event. We actually owned the rights to that. I was really happy with how the outcome was with that. I think it's a really good testament.
NHOR : Some have put forth that the whole finale, with Ritchie smashing his guitars, exploding the amps and including attacking the cameraman, that it was all planned beforehand... what's the story on that?
GH : The whole thing with the blowing up of the Marshalls was planned. But we didn't know what it was. It was actually dynamite. But we really didn't know ahead how he was going to do it, nobody was told. We didn't know he was going to throw all that shit in the audience. We knew he was going to smash his guitar, but that happened every night with Ritchie. But the reason why he hit the cameraman's camera was because onstage, Ritchie had an area, to his left vision, stage right, where nobody could stand there. No girlfriends, no wives, only his roadie. Because he just didn't like people being on his left. When we went onstage, our producer told the producer of the event, "Don't have a camera come over to that side, because Ritchie will do something." And eventually he did.
It cost us about $18,000 to fix that camera. Let me tell you though, we sold a lot of records after that. It wasn't planned. He actually did try to shove the neck of the guitar through the lens. He missed, but he dented the camera very heavily. He really, really, really wanted to hurt that guy. Blackmore, he's pretty crazy. I'll bet a lot of kids got knocked out because of those guitars flying into the audience. He threw them in there. He hit me with a guitar one night. He told me never come across the drums to his side of the stage. Of course, I wanted to know why, and I did one night. He threw his guitar up and whacked me across the back. That's crazy. That's part of who he is, and I love him for it.
NHOR : When did you know that it was over for you in Deep Purple?
GH : I think it would be the final tour, with Tommy Bolin. Things started to go crazy. I think there were a lot of things going on. There's a lot of things going on behind the scenes that not many people realize. I'll just say that it was sex, drugs and rock & roll. All those key elements were the things that broke the band up. There's things going on behind the scenes, with drugs, with wives, girlfriends, things going on that were pretty fucked up. That's what broke the band up. David Coverdale and I were going in a different direction, but I just think that the band Deep Purple was getting tired. I think it needed a long break. I think it was a good time to break the band up. Myself, I think I was really kind of disillusioned. I really started getting into cocaine, and I started to want to play more funk. That was my thing, and it probably let the scene down when I sort of got lost in my disease, and didn't really know it. It kind of really took me by surprise. I've made my amends to the members of the band. It's life. Me doing the drugs back then, and getting clean and sober in '91 has made me a better person. Unfortunately, a lot of people my age in the 70's were very fucked up.
NHOR : There are a lot of people who would be very interested in seeing a Mark III reunion of Deep Purple, with you, David Coverdale and Ritchie Blackmore reforming with Jon Lord and Ian Paice for either some live shows, or even perhaps some new recordings. If the circumstances were right, would you be interested in pursuing something along those lines?
GH : I think David and I would do that. Speaking on behalf of David, and David and I have already spoken about this at Christmas. I think, at some point, you might see some kind of rumblings of this in the press. While Gillan, Glover and Paice are still out there, I don't know if it's ever going to happen. I think if that ever comes to a head, where Deep Purple kind of stops touring with the two Ians and Roger, who are very nice people by the way, it might happen. I wouldn't want to step on anybody's toes and do something that's inappropriate. But I think that if you got Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice together, it probably would be a very big tour. I think it would be remarkable. David and I have already discussed how great it would be for he and I to sing together. But it would only be in Deep Purple. And, it would only be with Ritchie Blackmore. At my age right now, 53, things have to make sense. I don't want to do something that is wrong now. As far as wrong being perceived by the press right now. Finally, especially the British press, they're finally behind me, and they're watching very closely everything I do. I've got to kind of get things in perspective.
NHOR : So, you don't want to do it just for the sake of doing something...
GH : Let me just say this to you. I'm sure there'll be an extreme amount of money involved in that. But really, at the end of the day, for me, I have to go to bed at night and sleep right. Being as Chad calls me an "Artiste"... now that I'm an "Artiste," (Laughs) I'm joking... But, now that I'm writing music that I think is artistic, I wouldn't want to jeopardize my current flow of writing.
NHOR : Have you ever seriously discussed anything like this with Ritchie?
GH : I haven't spoken with Ritchie about it. I haven't made that call, nobody has. I think he's enjoying his thing with his wife. I just think that, at the right time, at the right moment, the right place, it could happen. Is it today? I don't think it's right now. Is it next year? Who knows? But I think it'll be in the next 2 or 3 years if it's going to happen at all.
NHOR : Do you think, in your opinion, that he'll ever come back to a full-fledged rock situation like that?
GH : I think truly, the money that will be offered on the table will be so grossly over the top, that I think anybody that would turn it down would have to be a fool. On an artistic level, I think Ritchie's got one more rock record in him, one more rock album or tour. I think then he would gladly go back to his wife in the medieval music that he does well. But I'm not putting all my energy into something that may never happen. In fact, you just mentioned it, but I haven't thought about it since last Christmas. It's something I don't really think about. If it happens, it happens. Like I said, if I work with Tony again, tour with him... if it happens, it happens. More important is working with Chad Smith, my musical partner and my co-producer. When Chad's not working with The Chili Peppers, we're inseparable. We work together non-stop. Chad Smith and I have a very strong bond. Hughes/Thrall, for me, is a very strong thing. Pat Thrall is one of my dearest friends. We really do push each other musically.
I only want to work with people who are loving and nurturing. I can afford now to say no, or "I don't want to work with this person or that person." Because I might feel that they're the wrong person to work with as far as the way they live their life.
NHOR : Randy, how satisfied are you regarding the Lizards' progress so far?
RP : I'm pleased at what we have done. Musically, yes. Progress, business-wise? I don't know, I don't think I had unrealistic expectations. If anything, I'm a little pessimistic about the potential for a band like us, business-wise. As far as what you grew up thinking happens to rock stars. I wasn't disappointed with that, that quote "business" that we've created. I'm really in it for the music. We've had great tours and people have liked us. I judge us more by, say, reviews and crowd response, the way clubs treat us. That's kind of my world. Sometimes I feel like, is a band like us really IN the music business? It's like we're just a great band of musicians, who practice a lot, write great stuff, and put out records. If Rolling Stone won't write about you for whatever reason, are you really in the music business? Do you even exist? (Laughs)
NHOR : When I was talking with Carmine Appice recently, he also said pretty much the same thing, that he didn't even feel like he was really part of the music business anymore, that he wasn't sure about how to market anything these days...
RP : Carmine Appice? He's a good man. I'll tell you something, for a guy who used to fly around in jets... we'd go out and tour with him, the tours were great, but occasionally you'll be in the middle of nowhere, and it might even be a bit depressing here and there. He's just up and smiling, he just wants to play, man. He'll fly across the country just to play one song with a band at a big festival. He just loves it. He sits in my studio.. and he's a smart, talented musician, an artist, not just a great drummer. He's seen me in all different settings. I'm playing harp on the new Cactus album that we recorded here. He sat down there with his singer, and they wrote twelve vocal parts in two weekends. And they're great. It sounds like The Black Crowes meet Cactus. It's great, and Carmine had a lot to do with it. Even when I put the harp parts down, he goes, "Try this, try this." He envisioned it these ways, and he was right. I have a lot of respect for him. I let them use my studio, brought the guys in, put them up while they did it. But then, that's one of my favorite bands. Like, from Cactus came Van Halen.
NHOR : Having heard the new Cactus album obviously, is it still in the same style of heavy blues rock like it was before?
RP : Yes, it is. It's the same, and the groove is still there. It's just not quite as... Bogert's more 'in the pocket.' McCarty's not quite as gratuitously flashy, but you won't say that you're disappointed. It's not like they sound like old men at all. It's just a little more commercial version of Cactus. With, say, like Rod Stewart on vocals. It's a little funkier. I can't say that I like it more, or less, than the old Cactus. I didn't like ' 'Ot & Sweaty'. This is definitely more like the original stuff. My prediction is you'll like it. They've got a deal, I think. I think they had to rush it out of here to get to the record company last week, so they just finished it.
NHOR : You're also going to be at Sweden Rock with them this summer, for the reunion show, right?
RP : Oh, man, I can't believe it. I'll believe it when I see it. (Laughs)
NHOR : Glenn, "Coast to Coast" is obviously a very important song to you. It's even the name of your fan club. Is there a story behind the song, and what does that song mean to you on a personal level?
GH : It's a song about hope. I wrote it in my mother's kitchen, in '72. I wrote that song and "Will Our Love End" in the same afternoon on my Gibson 330. I remember it very distinctly. In one of my sort of melancholy moods, I was writing about my love of playing live. When I started in Trapeze, I was 19, 20 years old, playing primarily in America, playing to college kids, to young kids in theaters across America. Seeing the light go on in their eyes when we turned them on, and it's great now when young bands do it with young audiences. That song is a testimony to the youthfulness of Glenn Hughes' songwriting, and the way I perceived touring. That if you try hard enough, you'll succeed. For me, to succeed is to live life honestly and thoroughly. I think I've lived my life really thoroughly and intensely.
NHOR : I'd certainly be remiss if I didn't ask you about your dear friend Tommy Bolin. How do you feel he rates amongst all the guitarists you've heard, and what is your most cherished memory of Tommy?
GH : As a guitar player, he had a weird style. He had a be-bop, jazzy, sort of American influence that was very evident to me that not many people realized. His love of reggae was very popular, too, with him. He wasn't a metal guitar player. He wasn't really a rock guitar player. He was an eclectic mix of... I can't even say who inspired him, guitar-wise. He never even spoke of other guitar players. I think he spoke of percussionists, and Miles Davis. I think he might've spoken of other musicians, like Jan Hammer. He turned me on to a lot of other great things. Tommy and I were probably going to write music together. We wrote a song together once, that nobody's ever heard. The day he got the gig with Purple, he moved into my home in Beverly Hills for about a month. We wrote and lived together, and we'd go party together. Tommy and I were the party boys in Purple. I didn't have a brother or sister, so Tommy was like blood to me. When people mention his name, and my name, it's always synonymous with each other, because we were the "Terrible Twins." We did everything together. We were the "Toxic Twins" in a way. But, we also were very sensitive people, very kind and soft. We had a very child-like side.
Tommy died way too soon. See, I remember him as being my best friend, that also played guitar. I don't remember Tommy as, like, the "Guitar God." He was my best friend who actually died. I just wish that I could've seen it coming. I was very depressed when I realized how he died, and why he died. Nobody really helped him. I have to say that, although I was fucked up back in '76, if I would've been in that room, and seen Tommy like that, I would not have left him. I would've done something. I could not have just done that. I'm still angry 30 years later. I'm privy to all that, because I've seen all the paperwork, I've done interviews with Rolling Stone, with English press, major magazines, I've said why I think he died. It's disgusting to me. They were all too fucked up to help him. It's mind blowing to me. I can remember being at the funeral, I remember it like it was yesterday. It's very sad to me, and from time to time I do benefit concerts for the Bolin Foundation. I like to keep Tommy's name alive.
NHOR : Speaking of your own battles, what happened between you and Gary Moore during the recording of 'Run For Cover' that made him lash out at you after the album's release?
GH : Very simply, Gary hired me to come to London to participate on 'Run For Cover.' I brought with me Gary Ferguson and Andy Johns from the Hughes/Thrall record. Because Gary's a major Hughes/Thrall fan, so I brought the producer and drummer, and we basically reincarnated like a Hughes/Thrall scenario. The three of us, four of us with Gary. You know, it wasn't that I was strung out on blow, I think it was maybe that I was not focused on the articulateness of making a record with a high profile guitar player. Gary was very popular in the mid 80's in England. I probably was not firing on all cylinders, and he was right to let me go. But the manner in which he did it, and the manner in which he evoked a lot of tension in the press, and a lot of fans... we have since made amends to each other, about 8 years ago in Sweden. We met each other again in a restaurant.
But in '85, it was really brutal what he did. What I did, was I let him down. I was trying my best, but I just couldn't... Look, playing in a band in 1985 for me was getting in the way of me doing blow. It was just getting in my addiction's way. Me and Tony had the same thing. I was more interested in getting high. You can ask Steven Tyler the same question, or Nikki Sixx, or Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, and they'll say exactly the same thing as I've told you. And Eric Clapton, we were all hell bent on killing ourselves. We were all very selfish, we wanted to get high, we wanted that euphoric thing that we all got from coke or heroin. I was no different. Unfortunately, I let Gary down, and I've apologized to him for it. But he attacked me viciously. I've never really said anything really wrong about anybody in any article.
NHOR : Since you have patched things up, do you think you'd like to work with Gary again?
GH : I don't know. I'm the kind of guy that after I've worked with somebody, I've moved on. I think it's more important to have a cup of tea with Gary than play with him. I might ask Gary to play on one of my records. But about forming a band with Gary, I'm not too sure. I haven't seen Gary for 8 years, but I really do love him. He's a great guitar player. We just sort of fell out really bad in '85. We still haven't had that great, great sit down talk that I'd like to do. But he's a big boy. We're men now. We've got families, and we're different people.
I'd much prefer to do something with Jeff Beck. In '94, Jeff's record company Sony contacted me about working with him. His manager came up to see me, he saw me work, and I was supposed to do a Jeff Beck record in '95. And, of course, I'm still waiting on that call. (Laughs) But Jeff's the most amazing guitar player I've ever seen. I saw him last week in L.A. It brought tears to my eyes. I said to him after the show, "What planet are you from? And, can I come visit you?" It was just mind blowing. He's the greatest.
NHOR : You mention the drug usage, and from '76, and during this same time, you were in the midst of a heavy drug and alcohol addiction all the way until '91, that nearly destroyed your career. How did it get to that point for you? Was it something that gradually crept up on you?
GH : Selfishness and self-centeredness. I think that comes with being in a very big band, and me being the only one in the band left -- because Tommy died -- that got involved with cocaine. Cocaine in the 70's... you see, it was okay in the 70's to actually do a line of coke with an executive at Warner Brothers. A high-end executive. It was okay to do blow in toilets, and people seeing you.
Of course that changed in the 80's. Unfortunately, I couldn't fucking stop. So I got a name of a guy... I never was really seen in public that much doing coke, I was reclusive. I never left my house. I never left the bathroom. So I became reclusive, and I was very strung out on coke. Consequently, I could only do sessions like Hughes/Thrall. I did a few gigs, but I could do, like, 'Seventh Star', and a couple of gigs with Tony. I could not play live because I was chained to blow, and I was not in great shape.
So, I think after many, many years of beating myself up, looking at myself in the mirror going, "What the fuck are you doing?" It culminated in 1991, on Christmas Day, with a massive turnaround of just driving myself to the hospital, on December 26th, and checking myself in. Going through treatment at The Betty Ford Center was the most amazing thing for me. I just had to have had enough cocaine in me. Probably over a million dollars in coke I snorted. I just had to have had ENOUGH to say, "You know something? It's not working anymore." I started doing so much blow that I could eat and sleep on it. It stopped working for me. For me, turning my life around, and finding God, was a very important thing.
NHOR : Did anybody ever during that time try to sit you down and talk to you and pull you out of that? Like, "What the fuck are you doing man, you're killing yourself?"
GH : Everybody. Gary Moore, Tony Iommi, every record company executive I ever knew. I was warned many times. I lost my job with Gary Moore. I lost my job with Tony Iommi in Sabbath. Due to the fact that I couldn't keep up. I wasn't professional enough. I wasn't fulfilling their desires for me to work with them. Now, it's a different story. People can't keep up with me, I'm a workaholic maniac. I can't fix the guy I used to be, I can't go back and fix that. But I'm a better person because of it. I've made amends to everybody that I've hurt in my life. Hopefully, they've accepted that. I think every drug dealer I ever bought drugs from is happy that I'm not doing drugs anymore. Because I was a walking 9-1-1 call.
NHOR : Is there anybody in the current scene that you see going down that same route as you did? If so, what would you say to them, if given the chance?
GH : Well, there are, but I can't really name names, because it's something I can't do. There are some high profile singers out there right now that really need help. They think they're doing okay, but they're not. I think there's a certain craze with heroin, or crack, that's really destroying our youth. More importantly our youth than our singers and musicians. The drug culture, in the U.S.A., it's so out of control. We can't stop the drugs from coming up here. How can we stop it? How can we stop that shit coming? We're just losing the war. There's no way we can stop it. The more parents tell the kids to stop it, the more they want to try it, right?
NHOR : True, that's kind of an age-old situation, probably from the beginning of time...
GH : You know, I do my part. I'll go and talk to kids at schools. I've done my part. I've been to institutions, I've gone and lectured, I've done my thing. I've told people about MY story. I get letters from people thanking me for the message. I think in the last 15 years, there have been over 20 people who have written to me, personally, thanking me for helping them quit drinking or using cocaine or something. I'm really grateful for that. It's all for fun and for free. I don't expect any praise for that. All I'm doing is helping other people stop doing this horrible nightmare.
NHOR : What do you attribute being able to pull yourself out of that pit? Was that giving yourself to God?
GH : Only one thing, and that was God. No human power could've gotten me clean and sober. You couldn't have done it, my parents, nobody. Nobody could stop me. It was a life changing moment of clarity that changed me. I looked in the mirror, December 26th, and I saw someone that wasn't me. It was almost like demonic possession, if you will. I saw a face in the mirror that was so grotesque, so strange looking, it scared the shit out of me. I think fear is something that's important. I think that if we're fearless instead of fearful... fear is a big common denominator within my life. I'm driven by it. I don't like to say that, I'm either in faith or in fear. Today, I'm in faith. But fear is waiting outside doing push ups in the car park.
NHOR : There were so many in the era that you came up in that succumbed to the rock n roll lifestyle, such as Tommy, Phil Lynott, Bonzo... what was it that made the outcome different for you ?
GH : Well, those 3 guys were friends of mine. Bonzo was a really good friend. I think that they were... I think John really, really was depressed. I think no one really understood how depressed John was. He really was not happy. He never wanted to leave his family at home. I think he had a problem with depression. It was a very, very sad case. John was an alcoholic.
The most amazing thing that has happened, since John's death, is that Jason Bonham has totally 100% changed his lifestyle. Jason has been clean and sober for 4 years. He's done amazing things with his life. I'm so glad. He's a beautiful guy. Bonzo was the greatest rock drummer of all time, and the most misunderstood man in rock. He was a very loving family man that had problems when he drank. When he drank he became manically depressed. Some chemical reaction happened in his brain. As did with Chris Farley and other friends of mine.
NHOR : A lot of that also occurred because that was expected of them, to be the wild, out of control rock star...
GH : John was also very much into Keith Moon, and Moonie was like John's hero. They always tried to out do each other. I was out with those guys quite often, and they were like maniacs. But when I drank, or when Keith Moon or John Bonham drank, we're different to other people. Something goes on in our brain and we become other people. There was a good chance that eventually somebody's gonna die. I'm just one of the very lucky ones that didn't die. If you knew me back then, I was hell bent on getting fucking killed. It's a grandiose lifestyle. When you're a cocaine addict, and an alcoholic, in the public eye, it's grandiose. People are giving you coke. There's chicks, the fucking lies, it's a slippery road.
NHOR : Randy, in 2004, Robert Plant came up and jammed with The Lizards during a gig in Stourbridge, England. How did that come about, and what was that experience like for you?
RP : That was like a dream. I was backstage in this little beer soaked place in Stourbridge, England, and my road guy comes in, and goes, "Somebody here wants to meet you guys," with a big smile on his face. Then Robert Plant just pushes his way in the room, with a big smile on his face. It was just us, it wasn't The Fudge. I knew that he knew The Fudge, and he just started talking a mile a minute. I was just kind of swimming in my head. (Laughs) I was self-consciously trying not to start throwing my arms around him and kissing him or something. (Laughs) I just asked him some obscure questions, and he was great, man. He was just so cool, so down to earth. Friendly, happy, kind and generous. We played our set, and there weren't that many people there, maybe a hundred people or something. They told us that in England tribute bands are so prominent that nobody really thought it was The Fudge.
So, he comes up to us, grabs my arm as I go offstage and says, "Brilliant!" Jesus Christ, we've got a great picture of us together with him and stuff. Then I'm outside, I said, "I'd better get a poster from this gig." So I started to peel one off the wall, and my guitar player, Patrick Klein, runs out and says,"Tim Bogert got sick!" Tim Bogert's very sickly. He got sick on stage. They had to stop the show in the middle. I said, "Okay, hold on." Because I knew we were going to do a jam, to make up for it like we always do. We're in like a huddle backstage, and there's Robert Plant IN the huddle. I have that picture in my mind right now. You can tell I'm as big a fan as I am a musician. Carmine's like, "Well, what are we going to do?" I just knew he was going to jam with us. He's got this serious look on his face. Carmine says, "Do you know Cactus's version of Parchman Farm?" He goes "Yeah!" So, we get on stage, and he knew it! He nailed it. The Cactus version, which is NOTHING like the original version. So Led Zeppelin must've listened to Cactus. He knew it, and he was doing the poses, swinging the mic around, and I was like, "Holy shit!" I have this picture of me, I'm playing the harmonica at one point, I'm closing my eyes, wailing on the harp. I open my eyes and he's staring at me with this serious look, and I'm just going, "Holy shit, I can't believe it." I almost reeled back. My wife sat there in the audience taking pictures on the cell phone. We've got a lot of pictures and video. I'd put it out on our website, but he wouldn't want that, so I'm not going to do it. He gave a cute little speech at the end, then it was over. I dreamed about him for about a week after that. It was amazing.
NHOR : Did Robert ever mention to you about possibly appearing on a Lizards album?
RP : I didn't keep in touch with him. That was a weird moment he caught us in. We had Vinny Appice on drums, John Garner was probably on his way out. I tried to tell Carmine, "Get him to sing on the Cactus album, he'd probably love it." He seems pretty obsessed with being modern. I don't know if anything reeked of 'retro' that he'd want to do it. It never crossed my mind to ask him that, to be honest with you. But certainly, he's welcome to do it if he wants to. (Laughs) Anybody from Led Zeppelin that wants to sit in with us, I'll play harmonica.
NHOR : Glenn, do you currently have any plans to collaborate with Tony Iommi again?
GH : We're talking about making... well, actually we're going to write some songs. With Tony and I, we always start off writing, and we just make a record. I think, possibly again this year, we'll do some more writing. My schedule, from next week, starts to get heavy. That's good news for me, because, as you can imagine, I like to be busy. My main concern right now is 'Music For The Divine' and 'Hughes/Thrall.' Those 2 records, for me, and helping Randy promote his record is also important. Those 3 projects, for me, are kind of important at the moment.
NHOR : What about a tour? I'm sure there are a lot of people who would love to see you and Tony tour together, at least for a few dates...
GH : I think I'll tour with Tony when this Sabbath situation sorts itself out with Ozzy. I'm not sure what they're going to do. I think as long as Tony's touring with Sabbath, and actually, confidentially, I don't know if it's ever going to happen again. All I know is that Tony wants to form a band with me, and go out and play. But as long as the Sabbath thing is hanging out, and sort of looming, it's difficult to give him the headspace of starting a new project on the road. I'm sort of giving you an exclusive on this, because this is a conversation we had this week. I don't think we'll ever play live until possibly we make another record. That might not be until next year. I say that because we've been offered some really great concert and touring things, as far as festivals, and we haven't accepted them. What that's telling me is that Tony probably needs to put some closure into the Sabbath thing with Ozzy, or whatever. I don't know too much of what's going on with Tony, other than we're very, very, very good friends, and we will work together again. It's just a matter of when and how and where.
NHOR : It's just working out all the particulars then?
GH : Yeah, I mean, I think with Ozzy in Sabbath it's still kind of going on... kind of. So I think when that sort of goes on a specific hiatus, or indefinite hiatus, then something will happen.
NHOR : Out of all the bands you've toured with, Randy, which one has been the most fun for you?
RP : To be honest with you they were all good. I would say the Mother's Finest audience did not accept us over there as well as the other audiences. We had some great shows with them, and I thought were a pretty funky hard rock band, but their audience were more like, "No, we only like the black guys doing it." (Laughs) They were great, they were kind of like Trapeze, and I really wanted their audience to like us. But I think we were a victim of reverse discrimination. (Laughs) We definitely got along with them, the two bands really liked each other. Personally, that was a fun thing. We bonded probably the most with Vanilla Fudge, and Mike wasn't even in the band then. Because Carmine and those guys were here, recording in my place, we were all pals. So we had a communal jam at the end of their set. We kind of were on the tour bus together. We did a long tour with eighteen people, our wives and everything, and we got along great, it was amazing. We were happy with all the bands. We toured with King's X a while, and we didn't even have a word with them until the last of the tour. Then they came in, and they were sweet as hell. It wasn't like snooty or anything. Bands just keep to themselves.
NHOR : What has been the most memorable live performance for you?
RP : On the Glenn Hughes tour, I remember we toured two months, and I remember we played this place called Vlynn, Yugoslavia. Our tour manager said, "Look guys, this is a poor town. The food stinks, but don't complain about anything, these people have no money. Just know that when you go there." We go in, they feed us like kings, they spent the most on merchandise of any town we ever visited on any tour. They practically swarmed the stage. It was amazing. That was a memorable show. I think there were so many great shows. We played in Cyprus, and the audience started pogoing the minute we went into this boogie song. These little punk kids were acting like we were superstars. That was pretty cool. Sweden Rock was gratifying. That felt like payback for a bunch of tours in Europe. A lot of the clubs we played that really loved us were just little places in Europe. Like The Blues Garage, in Germany, a place called Rockland, out in the woods in Sweden. People there are just totally great fans. Those are great shows. I remember we were touring with Vinny Appice on drums, I think that was almost calculated to get Bobby to quit Blue Oyster Cult. (Laughs) Right before we went on to do this big video shoot that we did, that we put out for a DVD, we did this thing, and Vanilla Fudge and The Lizards were in this room. There was a bunch of drum stuff. And we all just, without even looking at each other, picked up drums and went into this kind of insane drum battle between the whole bands. Then we kind of put our heads down, went onstage and did this performance. We were a little bit nervous, because Vinny'd only been with us for three weeks before the tour. It was just a release thing, a magical memory for me. Carmine, Vinny Appice and both bands. John Garner, who's a great drummer... it was just this spontaneous weirdness. (Laughs) I think that was probably the best gig of the tour, and we got it on video, too.
NHOR : Speaking of John Garner, what's he been up to since he left the band? I remember reading awhile back that you were working towards releasing some of the Sir Lord Baltimore tracks from the unreleased third album from the band?
RP : To be honest with you, I think John's one of these guys... he had a lot of complaints about the way things were going. Yet, as evidenced by his output since he left the band, it's easier to complain than it is to come up with your own ideas. (Laughs) He hasn't done anything since he left. He plays with his friends, I guess. He's an amazing, one of a kind singer. I'm really happy to have done that stuff with him. I love Sir Lord Baltimore. And there is a third Sir Lord Baltimore album that was done in 1975, that was never completed, that I tried to... since those guys didn't want to sing those sleazeball lyrics that were so cool on that album, they tried to re-write them with some kind of uplifting stuff, which was a mistake in my opinion. We did get a cool album together, with Tony Franklin on bass and everything. It's in the can, but it's not finished. I don't have a working relationship with John right now. I don't hate the guy or anything, but it played its course. He wasn't really healthy enough to tour the way we wanted. That was the main reason it stopped.
NHOR: So you don't think that will ever see the light of day?
RP : I don't think they want to put the '75 stuff out, because they probably don't have ownership of it. The stuff that they re recorded... I would never say never. It's different from the other stuff, but I think they moved forward. The '75 band could've been huge, but I think John had a drug problem at the time and kind of ruined it. This one almost has a modern, Van Halen, Kiss type of rhythm style to it. It almost sounds like Glenn Hughes with a Brooklyn accent on vocals. The chops are much better. It's intense, it's great stuff they did on the third album. I actually love it. It's as different from the first one and the second one as the second one is from the first one, let's put it that way. It's a three piece again. I actually have the guitar he's pictured with on the second Sir Lord Baltimore album hanging on my wall. I would actually like to, on our covers album, do one of the songs from the third album.
NHOR : You also recorded an album with guitarist Randy Holden from Blue Cheer. What's the status of that, and is that going to be released?
RP : We actually recorded a couple of albums. The first two that he did through me, if not in my studio. My friend Elliott, who's also in The Vagrants now, here in Long Island, is supposedly in Blue Cheer with him and Paul Whaley. Now I know that Paul Whaley and Dickie Peterson are touring as Blue Cheer. I got Randy the trademark for Blue Cheer. Which freaked out the other members of Blue Cheer. But we didn't intend to not let them use it, it was just so Randy could do, it too. Dickie talks like he wants to play with Randy, but he won't do it. Randy's one of the most soulful musicians I've ever met. I don't always agree with how he goes about doing things, but I won't take that away from him. They're just picking at the album right now. Randy's wife is one of the most successful artists in the country actually. He kind of manages her affairs. He's lazy about being a rock star. (Laughs) The 'New & Improved' album he did with Blue Cheer is brilliant. Not only is it brilliant, it's brilliant when there was nothing like that at the time. I call him "The evil white Hendrix."(Laughs)
NHOR : Glenn, you've had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest guitarists in rock history throughout your career -- Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, Tony Iommi, Gary Moore, and even now Dave Navarro, Pat Thrall, John Frusciante, even J.J. Marsh, who's your current guitarist. Who out of all those do you feel has complimented your vocal style the best?
GH : It's different. I think they've all been great. I think Pat Thrall has understood the full Glenn. I think J.J. Marsh, my guitar player in my band, really understands me, too. We nurture each other. He lives at my home most of the time. I think, if I'd been sober, Gary Moore and I would've done a great thing. Vocally and guitar-wise, it would've been great. Iommi/Hughes is always great because I bring something out in Tony's thing that he hasn't done in Sabbath. I think if you asked him that question he might say something cool. I think when you hear my new record, 'Music For The Divine', what I've done with John Frusciante's pretty awesome. I think the song I wrote for him to play on, there's something going on with the guitar and voice that's just awesome. I think that's another great thing.
NHOR : A little known fact to a lot of people, Glenn, is that in '95 Glen Tipton asked you to come down and sing with Judas Priest. How do you feel that would've turned out if you'd joined them at that time?
GH : If I thought that I would've been... I think my voice is one thing, I just think the persona... I'm really not a metal frontman. I might be a hard rock bass playing singer that can sing, scream and do all that great stuff. But the persona of fronting an Iron Maiden or a Judas Priest is something that wouldn't work for either party. The fact of the matter is, I could actually act, and do it, if I really put my mind to it. Because now, I'm sober I can do anything. But I wouldn't want to fool myself. Let alone fool the fans. I could have wrote a record with Glen and K.K., they're really great friends of mine. I just think it would've been wrong. I think the guy that came in, Ripper Owens, was more appropriate. Although he's very much a Rob Halford clone. Rob's a dear friend of mine. I think it would've been too close to home. Those guys are like family to me.
NHOR : Along those same lines, you've worked with so many artists throughout the years. Are there any projects or bands besides what we were just talking about with Priest, that have asked you to sing for them, but you turned down due to it just not feeling right to you?
GH : No, not really. There's been nothing really. In sobriety there's been only one. Earth, Wind & Fire asked me to sing with them at Earth Day in 1992, but it got rained out in New York. That would've been great. I'm always into doing things like KLF in England, they were a hip hop/acid house band, and I sang on their record, and it went to #1. I'm also interested in doing things like... I'd like to sing maybe with an opera singer one day. Or sing in a jazz thing. Something that is entirely different. Something just whacky. There's a part of me that's very eccentric, musically. I don't like to do the obvious. I was working with Bowie in '76, he was going to produce 'Play Me Out.' I said, "I'd really want to sing a song with Stevie Wonder." And David said, "Why would you do that? You guys are so similar, you sound like him." He said, "Why don't you sing with Barry White or something, don't sing with Stevie Wonder." I don't want to do the obvious. I'd like to do something obtuse.
Like I say, I'd have probably made more money and a bigger fortune if I'd taken direction from more people who wanted to box me in a certain box, and market me. There was a moment there, in the very early 90's, that I could've done a Michael Bolton type record, and it would've been great. But why would I want to do what Michael Bolton's already done well? Michael Bolton, I don't know what Michael's doing right now, but it wouldn't have been correct. It's almost like saying, "Will the real Glenn Hughes stand up?" And the real Glenn Hughes, at 53, is finally standing up. Better late than never, you know.
NHOR : It's quite apparent, Randy, just by listening to any of The Lizards' albums, that a lot of your influences are the heavy bands from the early 70's, like Cactus, Purple, Mountain, Grand Funk, Captain Beyond... what do you feel is the main difference between music of that era versus music of today?
RP : I think two things. I always tell people that the main difference is, that was the last period when the blues was still right in the middle of it. Where the guitar players in these big bands probably saw Muddy Waters play somewhere. They got it, they understood the blues. In the 60's, I remember Alvin Lee, a very soulful guitar player, used to take a lot of shit from hippies that he was too flash oriented. When guys worked on their guitar chops in the 60's, they were working with a minutia of vibrato. If you listen to guys like Paul Kossoff, Leslie West, Mel Galley or Tony Iommi, or even Jimmy Page, those guys weren't playing a hundred million notes most of the time. They were doing bends that kind of made your skin crawl. What happened, right around the Van Halen period, was the beginning of 'Show Biz Rock.' Which is cool, I kind of liked it, it was fun when it came in. Then that grew into "Music College Rock."
I have, by great effort on my part, avoided learning music. Chordal stuff, I'm kind of coming up with chords now, I don't know theory or any of that stuff. I just sit there and practice, see what comes out of me naturally, from my influences. It can be limiting, but the whole key to this jazz, music college shit, is you've got to sit there and memorize tons and tons of stuff. That's not going to influence you? They say that it shouldn't ruin you as an artist, but you're memorizing all the same shit the other guys memorized, right? All the same scales, all the same shit. They don't custom tailor all the education programs. That happened too. The chops factor went spectacular. But something, originality and unpredictably, got lost. Also, step by step, the control of the support industry for music got taken away from crazy artist hippies, and given to accountants and lawyers.
Clear Channel was the final nail in that coffin. When they did that, they mistakenly said, "This is kid's music." The adults had been ripped off already, they weren't going to allow themselves to be, like a fresh kid would. I read a great quote by John Mayer, they asked him what advice he would give to the music business, and he said, "Stop signing seventeen year olds. I could've made an album at seventeen, and it would've sucked." Maybe there's a seventeen year old genius out there, Stevie Winwood might have done his best stuff with Spencer Davis at fifteen, sixteen years old, but that's not typical. To make that the whole philosphy of your business, basically they just dumbed it down, it's all show biz now.
NHOR : Well, it's much easier to manipulate and control someone who's seventeen or eighteen years old...
RP : Yes, check this out. Frank Marino is a guy that we toured with on our first tour. Frank said Sony came to him at that point and said, "We want you to sign this contract. We're going to put out a big 4 CD retrospective of your work." The contract basically said that he wouldn't get any money from it, and he couldn't sue them. He just went, "You evil bastards. This is why I quit the music business." So they listened to him, and said, "So, you want to sign it?" He said, "No, I'm not signing it. What, do you think I'm crazy?" They said, "But Frank, you're out there touring, this will help you." They're just going back to all those classic rock guys and trying to get them to sign off on that kind of shit. We don't have to pay them, let's fuck them one more time. It's unbelievable. He's probably the best guitarist I've ever seen in my life.
NHOR : Glenn, looking back on your career thus far, what album, out of all your releases would you say is most representative of, and means the most to, you?
GH : I think this one. Because, musically, it's the most fulfilling one I've ever done. It really is. It's the songs. I think any artist would say that the new record is their best, but I'll give you 5 albums from my 35 year-plus career that have stood out. I think 'You Are The Music..We're Just The Band,' 'Play Me Out,' 'Burn,' 'Feel,' 'Soul Mover' and this one. Remember, I've recorded over 80 records. I think those 6 stand out for me as being key moments.
NHOR : So you'd rank 'Music For The Divine' up there with 'Burn' and 'You Are The Music'?
GH : Oh yeah, and you know, bro, I can't wait for you to hear it. Because when you hear it, I want you to take it in, and listen to it in a way that.. just listen to it, and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's deep. It's got all the qualities of an artist that's gone that one mile further. Just spent that little extra time developing a record. It's almost like, and I've never said this before ever, this is my first record. So it's like I could've called it 'Glenn Hughes.' It would've said it all. It's fully a rebirth. It's got all the elements, more so than ever before. It's super funky, and I play a lot of guitar on it as well, which signifies the 'Play Me Out' thing, which is the funky wah wah, very, very funky. I can't stop being funky. That's who I am.
NHOR : Speaking of that, it seems that, in the past, you've alternated between straight forward hard rock releases and decidedly more funky efforts. Was that a conscious decision on your part?
GH : That was fear, man. There've been many people who've brought that up in interviews before, and I'll tell you why it's fear for me. Because there's a certain element of people out there who want to get funky. Used to be, not anymore. They'll go, "Oh God, he's starting to get funky again." Then I go back to rock, like 'Addiction.' I go really heavy, then I go back to funky on 'Crystal Karma.' But now, it's like people, I can't help myself. You are listening to an artist who's funky to the core. In fact, I'll go as far as saying I can't help being funky anymore. It's like, if I play rock, it's going to have some groove and funk to it. It's not going to be square anymore. Unless I'm working with Tony, then it's going to be more in the box of what Tony's thing is. The rhythm section's going to be more square. But if MY name is on the front of an album, you'll be dancing to it. It's gotta be funky. You can do something to it. You won't be able to sit down.
NHOR : Randy, what can people expect when they come out to see the band live?
RP : A well rehearsed band who's really into what we're doing and dresses well onstage. We're trying to work on a stage show. I don't say that we're the greatest in terms of presentation. We're having cantankerous discussions on that element right now. It's like some of us feel like anything artificial, we're not interested in. Personally, I'm not a great performer. I don't move around as much as I would like to. I think Mike's almost like me in that way. We're trying to find ways that feel natural to us, to expand. I think Mike cuts a good shape onstage. The problem is, a lot of these shows we play, we open up for other bands, and there's literally no room onstage to move much. So that's a legitimate comeback from his point of view. We're trying to find our balance in that respect. I don't want to be a "musician" band. I would like to be a rock n' roll show. I think when we do this headline tour onstage, we'll have room onstage, and we'll play longer, so we'll work that up a bit. That'll be out first attempt on focusing on that aspect. We're in an interesting situation, we have a lead singer who's a keyboard player on half the material, and isn't really interested in being a "rock star" in that way. So we're trying to find a balance on that, I'd say. He's got the right idols, definitely.
NHOR : With Mike being also in Riot, do you foresee any conflicts between the two bands in terms of touring?
RP : Well, we didn't want him to have to quit Riot, but I told the guy in Riot, "If you book a gig first, unless it's in the middle of a tour, I won't book a gig then." We respected them. But then, he started making what I felt were unreasonable requests of Mike. I just said, "Look, I like Riot, but I don't like them as much as The Lizards." So I think they're getting a new singer, I think he's actually performed with them. I don't care if Mike goes on tour with Riot, as long as it's not when we're supposed to tour. We all do other projects, but The Lizards is the priority. This year won't be as busy performing as last year was, but even if it's half as busy it'd be nice.
NHOR : Looking back, Glenn, what is the one thing that you have any regrets over, or wish you could go back and change?
GH : 'The Last Concert in Japan' with Deep Purple and Tommy. We were all very drunk. It's been released 3 times, and it's bloody awful. The band is drunk, I'm horrible, it's the worst performance for me, ever. That's the only thing I'd like to change.
NHOR : Do you have any input in any of the reissues and releases they've put out, by the Deep Purple Appreciation Society?
GH : No. I wish I did. I say that very resentfully. I don't have any. The Paris gig from '75, that's a good one though. I'm also hopefully going to remaster and remix the 'Burn' album next year. I'd like to actually do that one myself. I'll put my name in the hat to do that. For some reason, with 'Burn,' I wasn't too happy with it. I'd like to be involved myself.
NHOR : What has been the biggest thrill of your musical career so far?
GH : Playing my first American tour with Trapeze in 1970. The first gig was at The Forum in Los Angeles. With The Moody Blues and Spirit. It was sold out, and it was amazing. That, and playing places like Carnegie Hall in 1970, when I was only 18.
NHOR : Do you listen to anything in the current music scene? Are there any bands that have impressed you, or you're really into lately?
GH : I don't really listen to a lot of new music because I'm so busy writing my own music. I think what I do listen to, though, I do go to the U.K. a lot, I'm there again next week, I listen to... obviously Coldplay or Athlete, or bands you might not know of, or currently what's going on over there. I listen to a lot of modern rock songs on the radio over there. I think My Chemical Romance, the American band is really good. They sound interesting. I like things that are unique. Coldplay to me are unique, as U2 were unique, as Pink Floyd were unique, as Yes were unique. Or as Deep Purple were unique. I'm naming bands who were bluprints of their style. As The Who were unique, as Led Zeppelin were unique. I'd like to tell you 5 bands like that, of that ilk, that are new now, but I can't. Because I don't know of any band that is that mammoth that's going to be the next Led Zeppelin. Because there isn't going to be one. Not in my lifetime, I don't think so.
NHOR : What's next on the horizon for you, Glenn? Can we look forward to an upcoming tour to support the album?
GH : I'm doing a handful of festivals in the next couple of months in Europe with my band. Then I'm going to go to Australia in June and write with Jimmy Barnes, the Australian singer. He's a very successful singer in Australia. We're going to write some music for his record. In August, I'm going to tour South America, and then at the end of August I'm going to start my European tour. Which will end in October. Then, obviously, we're getting Hughes/Thrall ready for January.
NHOR : At the end of the day Glenn, how would you like to be remembered?
GH : As a man who turned his life around. I'd like to be remembered for my music certainly, but I'd like people to know that I turned my life around. I was on the edge of the gates of insanity. I was actually looking down at death, and I just pulled myself up just in time. That's really important, because if I hadn't done that, I would've been dead. And there would've been no music. But I think the best is yet to come from Glenn Hughes. I really believe that this record, 'Music For The Divine,' is the best record I've ever done. I'm really happy to be a part of Randy's record as well.
NHOR : Is there anything else that you'd both like to say to all the fans out there?
RP : Anybody who considers themselves a fan of mine is deep in my heart. Thank you for just existing and taking me into your life. Thank you very much, it's a compliment. My whole life is dedicated to living up to that honor.
GH : I'd like to say thank you for all the support over the years, and keep your eyes and ears open for Glenn Hughes in 2006.
For more information on Glenn Hughes, and what he's currently up to, go to www.glennhughes.com
For more information on The Lizards, go to thelizardswebsite.com