Faith and Hope from the Voice of Rock

  • this was in the Express & Star on April 16th.

    i flew to lanzarote for 2 weeks the next day so only posting now.

    Faith and hope from voice of rock

    “Let’s just say I’m gonna be there and do my thing,” sniffs the guy on the couch next to me, writes Debbie Bennett.
    He’s had a rotten cold but is quite unperturbed about this affecting his vocal performance in London in a couple of days time.
    Glenn Hughes -­ former singer and bassist with Trapeze and Deep Purple, is chatting to me during a stop-off to see his family in Cannock, a couple of days before the Childline Rocks concert which took place in March at the IndigO2.
    Glenn was the special guest for the charity gig, and shared the stage with his old friend and Deep Purple comrade Ian Paice on drums and Thunder’s Luke Morley on guitar.
    A true original, Glenn Hughes carved himself a distinctive vocal style, blending hard rock, soul and funk. The band KLF famously dubbed him The Voice of Rock after he provided the astonishing vocals for their mega-hit America: What Time Is Love.
    But Glenn is best-known for his work with the bands Trapeze and Deep Purple in the early to mid 1970s, both of which were true pioneers in the hard rock genre.
    And his Trapeze background is another reason for Glenn’s UK stop ­to spend time with his oldest and dearest friend, Mel Galley, the former Trapeze and Whitesnake guitarist who is terminally ill with cancer.
    “Here’s what I want readers to know about Mel,” says Glenn with an audible quake in his voice. “He’s my oldest living friend. I have many acquaintances from school, and kids I grew up with, but Mel is my oldest friend.
    “I don’t have any brothers or sisters, but I can tell you that he’s a member of my ‘family’ and he’s a really dear friend to me. And we also happened to play music together.”
    Glenn and Mel sang and played together with the rock outfit Trapeze from 1969-73 and the band grew to be very popular in America.
    “We ruled the world in our own musical concept. We wrote great songs, and we grew up as boys together. So for me to spend this time with him has been invaluable. We are very, very close.”
    “And Mel’s got a lot of dignity. Let that be the blueprint for anyone who’s gravely ill. He’s given me so much insight and hope, for when I ‘go over’.”

    His legacy is going to be intact with Glenn Hughes. “I’ll make sure that people remember Mel Galley for as long as I live.”
    Mel is three years older than Glenn and they attended the same school but Glenn idolised the teenage guitarist and would sit and watch him play.
    “He was my idol. He was playing electric guitar, while I was still playing with a toy pistol. I would sit at his feet and watch him and he probably didn’t realise this, but we spoke today about him recognising me as a 15-year-old boy in a band called The Mail, over in Burntwood. He came to see me play and he wanted me to join his band.”
    “He was my first hero,” Glenn continues. “It was Hendrix, Clapton, Harrison… and Galley!”
    “I come back to Cannock every year to see my parents, and I always visit Mel. He will always live on in me.”
    Glenn has lived in Los Angeles since leaving Deep Purple in 1976 and it was from his new base that he carved out a prolific solo career. His first album, Play Me Out, was an eclectic mix of styles and set the stage for the diverse path his career would take.
    Glenn went on to work with many different artists, bands and projects throughout the 1980s, notably Hughes/Thrall, Gary Moore, Phenomena, the Hughes Turner Project with Rainbow frontman Joe Lyn Turner, and even Black Sabbath.
    But despite his success, these were dark times for the singer.
    “The 70s were great for me, then there was a period towards the end of the 70s where, let’s just say, I took a different route. I went down the wrong road.
    “I made records­ Hughes Thrall, Black Sabbath, Phenomena, Gary Moore… but I don’t remember them. I don’t remember the 1980s at all.
    “So, in 1992, when I started making records again, and started to grow spiritually, I realised by the time around the millennium that I was sober, I was clean, and there’s a message here.”

    Glenn’s battle with drink and drugs during the 1980s is something he speaks of quite freely and feels that his release from that is a true gift.
    “It was Christmas 1991 and I woke up after a bad few days. I looked in the mirror and didn¹t recognise myself.
    “I went to the hospital and was diagnosed as being an alcoholic/addict. I turned myself over, handed in the keys to my life, if you like. The solution in my life is recovery. Too many people have died along the way.
    “Too many of my friends Phil Lynott, John Bonham, Tommy Bolin, to name a few have died because they didn’t get into recovery. I did, and I’m extremely grateful.”
    His fans will be equally as grateful as Glenn releases his new album F.U.N.K. (First Underground Nuclear Kitchen) the first week in May.
    Tracks include Crave, a meaty, funk rock number with great harmonies which make the most of Glenn’s trademark vocal power He softens his voice with ease for Imperfection, a soulful slow jazz sound, in contrast to the uplifting mix of funk and soul in We Shall Be Free.
    And for those who want to hear those new songs live, Glenn will appear at the Robin 2, Bilston, on June 6, with his band.
    “I want all my friends and fans to be there because I’ll be promoting my new album,” he says, proudly.
    “Every artist will tell you that this is their greatest work but, for me, this truly is the work of my life. It’s undeniably Glenn Hughes music.
    “I’ve gone back to the elements of what I did in Trapeze with You Are The Music, We¹re Just the Band.”
    Glenn spends most of his home time in his studio, humming lyrics and sounds into a dictaphone, or while jogging along beach ­but he had a clear idea of the sound he wanted for F.U.N.K.

    “I knew that I was going to have horns on the album, that I was going to have a new guitar player, that I was going to write more songs alone. It was a feeling that this was going to be a special record, not a follow-up to the last album.
    “It’s a new beginning. When people hear it, they’ll know what I’m talking about.”
    Having such a vast back catalogue of hits with various artists, you would think Glenn’s show would churn out the old favourites ­Deep Purple’s Mistreated, Burn, and Stormbringer; Trapeze classics Coast to Coast, or Medusa.
    But Glenn insists his true fans just want the new stuff and he remains loyal to that.
    “The new songs are what I’m all about. Because I’m a solo artist, I don’t have to play all Deep Purple songs. I can play new exciting music.
    “And when I do the Robin it will be a lot of brand new music.”
    The Rock & Blues Custom Show at Catton Hall in July is another must for Glenn fans. The organisers have been asking Glenn to headline at the big bikers¹ bash for several years and this year he’s agreed.
    “It’s a big show,” he beams. “There’ll be 20,000 people and they wanted a British rocker to headline.”
    “It’s great that they came to me. They’ve been asking me for four years to do this. And this being the special anniversary of the event, to do this is a big thing.”
    The singer shows no sign of stopping with a massive world tour lined up over the coming months, and at 57 this is no mean feat unless you’re as strictly health conscious as Glenn.
    “At this age my body tells me what’s right and what’s wrong. People asked me how come I sing better now than 25 years ago. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs. I get eight hours sleep a night.
    “I want to be remembered as the musician who made a million dollars, lost it all and made it again. And, although I’ve done well for myself, that is not the reason I’m happy - what makes me happy is the songs.
    “I don’t ever see me retiring because, when I write a song, and deliver it in the studio, then after three months the album comes out, I get to play ‘My Children’ live, and see people connect with my songs. That will keep me going.”
    Glenn brings his new album sounds to the Robin 2, Bilston, on Friday, June 6. Tickets are £20 in advance, £22.50 on the door.

    :ghcp: "It's in my blood"

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