Glenn Hughes Releases New Album Resonate - Autumn 2016

Photo credit - Georgina Cates

Iconic. This is a common adjective used to describe Glenn Hughes and we at Rock Today couldn't agree more. Releasing his first solo album for 8 years, Resonate, it was with a huge amount of excitement and anticipation that we delicately removed the promo CD from its sleeve, loaded it into the Sony and pressed play. It's an album Glenn chose to write and produce himself and it's reported to be his most ‘grounded and rounded’ rock album. Well, we wanted to understand what that meant. The opening track Heavy provides the perfect introduction to the album with its instant impact. It's a grinding, anthemic track which simply exudes soul and passion. My Town is next up and we’re hooked. With a pounding 4/4 time snare, polite, involuntary head-banging begins. Resonate’s 11 tracks deliver an immersive experience that reflect all the ingredients of a great rock record. Whilst this is primarily hard rock, there are more sedate, reflective moments in When I Fall and a cool funk performance in Landmines. In closing track Long Time Gone we are reminded how one man and an acoustic guitar can be a very powerful experience. Above all, what’s clearly presented throughout the whole album is pure passion and soul. It's an alloy of over 40 years of success and life experience condensed into what is quite simply a masterpiece. Grounded and rounded it certainly is. 


So we've heard the album and now it's time for us catch up with Mr Hughes himself.  to hear about how Resonate came together. On a gorgeous sunny day in LA, Glenn greets us with excitement and proud. We get comfortable and prepare ourselves to hear how Resonate came together...

It was some time ago, 2008 to be exact, when you last released a solo album, (First Underground Nuclear Kitchen) but November sees the release of your new album Resonate. You took the conscious decision to write this album alone. Why was this and how did everything come together in terms of having enough material and the right material for a solo album? 


I think if anybody has been following my career as far as the writing is concerned, I think it's known that I spend the majority of my hours writing music. Maybe 30 years ago it wasn’t as prevalent that I was writing all the time but these last 20 years I've written more songs than I've ever written. The reason I wrote this album alone is not because I absolutely wanted to but because I was alone in my home recovering from knee surgery. My band don't live in Los Angeles and I was in the studio going about my business and realising, you know, I'm writing these songs and I'm finishing these songs and I think I've got what I need for an album. I've got everything I need to make an album so I thought let’s just go in and give it a go. When I went into the studio and played them to the band it worked and they were all very happy with the outcome and of course producing this album gave me a bit of a conscious decision that I knew what I was going to do and how I was going to arrange it. So this is the first album I've done that has been completely written from start to finish by myself. There could have been other albums where I'd done the same but this is the first one and this will give me the encouragement to do more like this.


You've mentioned that Resonate is the most grounded and well-rounded rock album you've made to date. What does that actually mean and how will fans recognise this in the album?


I think when they listen to it they will understand that the Glenn Hughes that people know - whether it's the very heavy Glenn Hughes or the groove Glenn Hughes or whether it's the guy that likes to sing with the quiet voice or whether it's the guy that has the real rock edge voice - I think it's all on this album. It's all of that and I think it's a little bit of everything. But it's a very dark album in places, both musically and the lyrical content is very dense. The content lyrically is about life and death and what happens in the middle. I don't like fictional music in songs, I don't like fairy tale stuff. I write about healing. I do like to write about recovery and healing and to be of service to those people who need help, you know. I've got to carry the message. When I got clean and sober all those years ago, I turned my life around and that message has always been about love. You’re the messenger and what is your message. Well that message is love. Some people won't get that. I'm a very focussed individual at this age. I'm most definitely a man, I'm not a boy anymore! I'm very, very happy with how it turned out. 


You were joined in the studio by your old friend and band mate Chad Smith who has played on two of the tracks: Heavy and Long Time Gone. What was it like working with Chad again?


It's always great. Chad and I are neighbours in LA and we see each other all the time. He's like a brother to me, he's my best friend and I'm godfather to one of his children. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. I come from a very, very small family in the north of England so having close friends like I do with Chad in LA, a huge city, it's important to me. I don't look at Chad as an iconic musician, which he is. He's just a super good man, a great father to his children and I learn from that. Everybody's my teacher. And when Chad sits behind the drums and plays with me, it's all on. It's like a carnival of music. He's a very musically intelligent man, really smart and funny as all hell! Funny, funny guy and we get on famously. What Chad brings into my music is so much love and affection and so much bad-ass energy. It's just incredible you know.


You have created an incredible record in Resonate. Your fans will already have heard the tracks Heavy and My Town, 2 high energy tracks that open the album, but let me say that these tracks are absolutely representative of the quality of material that exists throughout the whole record. To say every track could be a single would absolutely be a fair statement. You must be really proud.


I know that in my comfort zone and this is an album that made me comfortable and uncomfortable. It's almost like the album wrote itself . It was written by me but it wrote itself in my studio while I was recovering from knee surgery. I'm very happy that the album turned out so focussed and it's such a good rock album in a time where the world needs good rock music. In America the rock industry is really dying. It's incredible. So for me to live in LA, which is one of the greatest cities in the world where rock music isn't as prevalent as it is in South America or Europe, is slightly different. But my album is an album that I think will do well and I think people will respond to it. People have wanted a Glenn Hughes rock album for quite some time. I I think they will appreciate this work. It means so much to me.

Back in April you were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of the MK III and MKIV line up of Deep Purple. What does it mean to be inducted and how proud were you? 


The Hall of Fame is an American thing. They have a baseball Hall of Fame, an NFL Hall of Fame and they have The Oscars and The Grammys. There's only 332 inductees ever in the Hall of Fame and I'm one of those. The Hall of Fame reached out to me in May and asked if I would become an ambassador for them. I was the only one this year that they chose to be an ambassador so it was a huge compliment. It was a great evening for myself. David (Coverdale) and I went together and it was great for us to be on that stage and to be accepted by the music industry. A lot of Deep Purple members weren't inducted. We didn't get to choose who got inducted, a committee of people did that so I stay out of those results, but I'm really grateful that I was inducted.


Has being inducted actually changed anything for you, either the way you approach your work or how you are viewed by your peers in the industry?


Nothing has changed for me. I think it's changed in America because as you know the Hall of Fame is very much an American tradition and getting into the a Hall of Fame in America your profile is raised quite a lot. So it's really helped me on the touring schedule in America selling tickets for me. It means that I get to be seen more and I'm seen more on TV etc and I'm getting offers to do TV shows and this and that. So it has opened the door but it has not changed my perspective, my ability to write music or changed my stance as a musician. I'm still the same guy I was before April so it hasn't changed me at all. I'm just so super grateful and honoured to be a part of that great establishment.


You've had a full and eclectic career in rock in the sense that you have been a solo artist, been part of a partnership with the collaborations you've had with specific artists and been a member of full bands. Thinking about your new album and tour, how does being a solo artist differ to being part of a bigger jigsaw and which do you find the most fulfilling?


Oh god it's all of it because for me, I sense that Black CountyCommunion will be the last band I'm in. It's a funny thing that we are making Black Country 4. Joe (Bonamassa) is coming over today and we're completing the writing this weekend. So, for me to be in a band like Black Country is really very important because I'm working with people I really love and they're my friends. And then working on my own with my own band, my own team, my own managers is also rewarding because it's all about the music I come up with and it’s all about choosing the right people to play with. But it really helps me in both aspects, being a band leader and then being part of a band of great virtuosos. I've changed so much in the last few years since my heart operation and this and that. You slow down, you mellow out and you realise I'm just an ant on a log trying to get down a river. I'm not steering the ship anymore. It's like I’m part of this thing called life, you know. Just to be part of life and to be of service and to help people get through another day is the important thing. I used to be a taker and now I'm a giver. It's really, really that important. When I was very young all I wanted to do was take, take, take, take, not realising that all that would lead to abysmal times and now at this stage I'm at now, it's time to give back. It's really important for me.

You've mentioned Black Country Communion, a band that after 3 very strong albums came to a fairly abrupt close in late 2012 despite having the potential to be stratospheric. You have been quite open about how you didn't want the band to end and have continued to talk about how it was a very special experience for you. It's great that you're now working on album 4. Tell me about the sequence of events that brought you all back together.

Well it was very simple. In 2013, Kevin (Shirley – producer) called me and asked me about a reunion for 2014 and I said well I can't now because I'm working with California Breed with Jason Bonham and each year Kevin reached out and it's kinda funny because it hasn't been the right time. But Joe called me around the Hall of Fame induction to thank me and congratulate me and he was so sweet. So Joe and I got together for dinner in LA. We thought it would be an opportunity this year to go in the studio, well at least plan to go in the studio. So what we've been doing up until this weekend, we're now completing the songs that will be on Black Country 4. And by the way, we would have known a month ago whilst writing the album if we didn't have the right songs. So without shooting myself in the foot, what I'm saying to you is we’ll go in the studio when we feel there is going to be a really great Black Country 4 album. So in January we are in the studio and the album comes out in May. So in November I have Resonate, possibly the greatest album I've ever made, and 6 months later Black Country 4. So I'll have 2 albums in the next year so it's just an incredible moment for me.


It's perhaps early days but do you see the next Black Country Communion record to be a stand alone project or do you see the band back as a going concern?


I'm going to be honest with you because there was so much ill feeling. People were talking about us and whether we'd fallen out. No, there as never any falling out! We’re doing this one album at a time. Joe is very busy. Everybody in the world knows Joe has an extensive solo career. I'm doing the same with my thing now. I've been working solid since June and that's going to continue. For me my first thing is my solo career as Joe's is. We will try and find time to do Black Country when there is time, whether it's every year, every 3 years or every 4 years. It's just a matter of time. I think everything  is really all about the timing. Everything is so dependent upon time, place, windows of opportunity. That's what happens and let's just see what happens.

As our conversation draws to a close, it's with a clenched fist that we reflect how truly great Resonate is. We firmly believe Glenn Hughes has delivered one of the rock albums of 2016. Resonate is available now! For more information visit www.glennhughes.com. In the meantime, enjoy the video for load single Heavy.