LifeStyle / Messenger News (Australia)
April 15th, 2009 by Jeff Crawford
Glenn Hughes knows the ‘80s were there, he just can’t remember them.
The former Deep Purple bassist/vocalist lost more than a decade on a blinder of booze and drugs that started in his Purple heyday and almost obliterated his solo career.
These days he calls sobriety the "greatest gift" in his life and he’s more active than ever.
"With the horrific ride I was on, let’s say from ‘75 until ‘91, I don’t, and this is going to sound silly, I don’t remember the 1980s,"’ Hughes says.
"I know I did a couple of things. I made a Black Sabbath record, I did a couple of soundtracks, I worked with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, but I don’t truly remember it."
"This is a mindblower: Between 1977 and 1992, I did 17 or 19 concerts, that tells you a lot. I do 18 concerts a month now."
"I could not, for the life of me, break away from the hole I was living in, surrounded by the hell of addiction."
"The great thing about it is that I survived it and I have an amazing life beyond my wildest dreams."
That blur of substance abuse was the result of joining Deep Purple in 1974, in what has become known as Mk III of the band, when he replaced Roger Glover and David Coverdale stepped into Ian Gillan’s shoes.
He played on acclaimed Purple albums Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste the Band, but even after the death of guitarist Tommy Bolin (who replaced Ritchie Blackmore in 1976), Hughes didn’t heed the warnings.
"When Tommy passed away, from a cocktail of morphine and heroin and valium and stuff like that, it was no laughing matter. But I couldn’t back away, I couldn’t stop abusing myself with alcohol and drugs. I said 'I’ll stop when I’m 30, I’ll stop when I’m 32'."
"When you’re 21 years old, you’re in the biggest band in the world, you’re playing to millions of people, you’ve got it all, you’ve got the drugs, you’ve got the women, you’ve got the cars, it’s all thrown in your face when you’ve barely turned 21."
"This is a time when roadies had their own roadies, we had our own Lear jets and it was larger than life."
"When you’re a guy from the north of England and you’re thrown into this, it’s crazy."
The 57 year old returns to Australia this month to lay foundations for further visits, promising a classic rock set list that dips into his days with Purple while acknowledging where he is now.
"I think the count is about 15 (solo) records. Everywhere else in the world I play, I basically play new songs."
"But I’ve been advised to do this set list, which is actually a wonderful set list."
"I’ve gone back to my roots, brother. My music is very soulful and funky and that’s the music I’m making now. The music I’m playing in the set will be rock but you’re definitely going to get the soulful, funky playing. It’s really what I want to do and that’s going to shine through."