GLENN HUGHES On BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION Recording: JOHN BONHAM's 'Spirit Was With Us'

September 20, 2010

In a brand new interview with Glenn Hughes conducted by Nightwatcher's House Of Rock, the former DEEP PURPLE/BLACK SABBATH legend discusses his current gig as the frontman of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, also featuring guitarist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham (UFO, FOREIGNER, LED ZEPPELIN) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, ALICE COOPER, BILLY IDOL). A short excerpt from the chat follows below.

Nightwatcher's House Of Rock: Lyrically speaking, which songs on the album are you most proud of?

Glenn Hughes: "The Great Divide". I could tell you the whole record. Let's just talk about it. "Black Country", simply because I'm throwing down that "I am the messenger, this is my prophecy... I'm going back to the Black Country". When I sing this, it means I'm going back to the core of my being, where I was born, in the Black Country. The Black Country, for all intents and purposes, means the birthplace of hard rock. PURPLE, ZEPPELIN, JUDAS PRIEST, all these bands were born there. So I'm really.."I speak to the millions, from city to shire...We come from the heartland...We walk through the fire...We rise to the measure...A line in the sand...It's cold on the mountain...And this is our land..." I'm getting chill bumps, because I'm really standing up and planting the flag of a rock n' roll band. I've never wrote a lyric so forged in granite before. That is rock. "One Last Soul" is a winning song. It's for winners. You know, "You're the one last soul, you can win it". Basically it's a song for winners. It's something I don't really write about all that much actually. Rock n' roll is supposed to be dark, and stark. But this is a shining beacon of light for people who want to win. "The Great Divide" for me is probably the most spiritual song on the record, because I'm telling people that I'm back. That I've clawed my way back up to that mountain top, and I'm on the great divide. I'm looking out across America, and I'm looking at something that's beautiful. I'm here, I'm back, it's nice. I'm here with my friends. I'm saying I don't believe in superstition, and I'm going to let my conscience be my guide. Basically it's an in the moment song. It's a beautiful piece of music. It's everything that I wanted it to be.

Nightwatcher's House Of Rock: A lot of attention thus far has been given to your vocals, on the tracks which have been previewed thus far, and quite rightly so, as they are top notch. But your bass playing is also incredible. You very much lock in with Jason on this album, and it's a hard driving groove which moves the songs in a very organic manner, which isn't forced, it feels very natural. What was it like working with Jason on this album, after knowing him pretty much all his life?

Glenn Hughes: Here's the thing. I've played with all the great rock drummers. I played with Jason's father. So here I am, 40 years later, playing with his son. I've known Jason from before he even remembers me. I've been his "Uncle Glenn" forever. Now I've been given the keys to take care of John's boy. I'm very protective of Jason. We have a very strong family thread because of his dad. Locking in with Jason... The first song that we recorded was "Stand (At The Burning Tree)" that first day. When we counted it off, and he came in playing 1/2 time, it was like "Okay, this is just supposed to be this way". He's a very musical boy. He challenges you absolutely. And I love a good challenge. I also love the fact that we can agree to disagree. (Laughs) For instance, there's a song on the album called "No Time". I wrote that in half the time that you hear it. At the end of the session Jason just started playing, picked up the groove, and moved it 40 bps higher than what I had it. I was infuriated at first. I was like, "How can you do that?" But when you listen to the way he plays it, it's like, "Okay you've got a point". This is a band where we challenge each other. It's not all tea and biscuits. We're four fiery people. So that also shows.

Nightwatcher's House Of Rock: With his style of drumming being so close at times to his father's, was there ever a time when it was like the spirit of John was overseeing the recording?

Glenn Hughes: I said that his dad was in the room. Don't forget, I believe in the hands of fate, and karma, and the Buddhist aspects of things, about there being no mistakes in this world. Everything that happens was supposed to happen. I do believe John's spirit was with us. I have to believe in that, in those good things. You see, I knew a different John Bonham than the one most people read about, the crazy John. I knew the family John. I knew the guy who was digging up the floor in his house and stuff. So that's the one we talk about. Jason's father was with us on this recording. He's with us every day. John's with us all the time, and that's the way we like to think. Jason and I spend a lot of private moments talking about those moments. It's a very beautiful thing, and I'm super-protective of that boy.

Read the entire interview from Nightwatcher's House Of Rock.

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