When an iconic musical legend makes plans to head to our little island you must do everything in your power to catch up with them, not only for a fantastic look at their life, but insights you’ve wondered for years, that you now have the chance to look into. With Glenn Hughes bringing the Classic Deep Purple Tour downunder soon, it only seemed fitting to grill the man and legend…
What has interested you in revisiting this Deep Purple chapter in your life?
“Simply because, over the course of the last few years, we were going to put our lineup back together with Ritchie (Blackmore; guitar) and Jon (Lord; keyboardist and backing vocals) and David (Coverdale; lead vocals) – (all of the 70s or Mark III Deep Purple era) and I about 7-8 years ago. But we just couldn’t get Jon on the phone, he wouldn’t respond to anyone’s phone calls, but then of course Jon got sick and [shortly after] died, and I went on to do numerous things. So as many people know [or don’t know] Deep Purple will finish touring globally in November of this year so I just figured it was time, being kind of the torch bearer – if you will; to do a tour and embrace the glory and wonder that we brought to the world, so I just thought it was the right time. I I may be so bold, i think if you want to hear these songs and anybody wants to hear these songs and see these songs, I might be the last man standing to do it.”
Deep Purple and the 70s era is such an incredible part of music history and so do you feel like it’s bit of a duty of care for you to carry on that legacy?
“It is a huge thing and I look at the songs i’m going to be playing and I must say that every single song I’m going to do is obviously Mark III and Mark IV (lineup eras) but there are a couple of songs we did with David, Ritchie, Jon and me, like ‘Smoke on the Water’ so we’re going to do the arrangement like we used to do for it, we used to do like uh a Georgia on my Mind (Ray Charles). So I’m going back to the 70s to the live footage and the live audio and I have to recapture the arrangements that we had back in the day.”
That’s really cool, I think bands like this have a huge back catalogue but there are certain stand-out periods of music that fans want to hear live.
“I think it’s an important thing for me to do. Look, I am from the 70s, I am that guy you know, what’s the point in doing a Deep Purple thing if I’m not going to be feeling that vibe from the 70s. i’ve let my hair grow again and just embraced it.”
So with shows from the current band lineup and other classic bands still touring, the age diversity of the crowds are extraordinarily diverse. What do you think when you see young teens at your shows?
“To be honest, Deep Purple fans go back to the early 70s and of course they’re coming, but they’re bringing their kids so all the hardcore fanatics are making fanatics out of [the next generation] – it’s in their blood.”
Last year you were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Was that a major bucket list item for a musician like yourself?
“The Hall of Fame for me or anyone who knows about it (especially in America) – it’s like an Oscar or an Academy Award, it’s like all that rolled into one. There are only 152 artists in the Hall of Fame in 41 years. They also asked me to be a global ambassador, I was the only one they chose from 2016 out of all the artists that were inducted, so I feel very honoured about that.”
What was the experience like getting inducted?
“Oh it was wonderful, the only problem was that my dad passed away the same evening back in the UK. I knew he was very sick when I was on stage, and I was very troubled by that as you can imagine. As a matter of fact I know that my dad was watching me from the royal box. It was a grand and glorious evening for David and I because about 5 or 6 Deep Purple people weren’t inducted but Dave and I were, particularly ‘cause of the work we did in Mark III was really stellar.”
I’m sure your father would have been very proud. I’m curious to hear, rockers like Gene Simmons have made comments in the past in previous years like “rock and roll is dead” and things like that. What are your thoughts on that, what are your thoughts on the current state of rock in 2017?
“Gene’s a good friend of mine and I know what he is saying because he’s talking business as far as record sales, ‘cause they aren’t what they were in the 70s and 80s. Record sales are down by a laughable 96% so that means guys like me and Gene have got to work harder on the road, whereas in the old days it was all about making music and making records and selling albums and making a business, that way, and of course, these days it’s a different animal.”
Finally, what can Aussie fans expect from Glenn Hughes this September?
“I’m coming very prepared, I’m coming with my band and this isn’t just a gig for me, this is a touring entity that can go onto other areas of the world, but this is something that we’re working on as we move along that is simple because if Deep Purple are finishing in November, then I think there’s a need for people to hear these songs in a format that I can deliver with my band. It will be stunning and dangerous and organic.”
Any final words to Aussie fans?
“Well there are VIP meet and greet packages, so if you want to meet me, i’d love to see you, it’s all online you know how to get there. Look forward to seeing you all and have a great couple of weeks until I get there.”
Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Glenn Hughes performs Classic Deep Purple – Australian Tour
Wednesday, September 20: State Theatre, Sydney
Sunday, September 24: Concert Hall, Perth
Friday, September 29: Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Sunday, October 1: Qpac, Brisbane