GLENN HUGHES - BUILDING THE MACHINE
Glenn Hughes has always crossed musical boundaries. Since 1973, the year when he was enlisted by Deep Purple as their new bassist and vocalist, catapulting him into the limelight of a hysterical rock scene practically over night, Hughes has brought out numerous solo albums, stylistically at the interface of rock, metal, funk, and soul, while making his mark as a studio guest on countless projects by other illustrious musicians. Hughesâ€™ current album is called Building the Machine â€“ another colourful mix of diverse styles, with Hughesâ€™ characteristic voice standing out repeatedly. Fans and media have given British-born Hughes the well-deserved nickname â€˜The Voice of Rockâ€™, a moniker that once again proves to be well deserved on Building the Machine.
From the powerful opener, â€˜Canâ€™t Stop the Floodâ€™, which comes along with some thunderous riff work and a resounding organ, demonstrating that Glenn Hughes is a very contemporary musician who is not about to be outdone by the new guard of ambitious rock and metal artists, and the funk rocker, â€˜Insideâ€™, which would have suited the repertoire of Jimi Hendrix, to the mythical, experimental â€˜Beyond the Numbâ€™, Building the Machine is an arch of stylistic expression, spanning different moods, eras and genres. The new version of the Deep Purple classic â€˜High Ball Shooterâ€™ (from his masterpiece Stormbringer) underlines his undiminished penchant for straightforward rock music, while the grooving â€˜I Just Want to Celebrateâ€™ â€“ recorded with the assistance of Pat Travers â€“ reminds the listener of the great Rare Earth era. The riffs and rhythm of â€˜Out On Meâ€™, on the other hand, could easily have been penned by the Stones or the Black Crowes in this or a different manner, while still bearing this versatile musicianâ€™s unmistakable signature. â€˜Donâ€™t Slipâ€™ shows Hughes as the custodian of undiluted funky tunes, while the song lives, next to the typical Fender guitar sound, mainly off its bass groove (also recorded by Hughes). â€˜Feels Like Homeâ€™ and â€˜Big Skyâ€™ â€“ both delivered with an acoustic guitar and a lot of passion â€“ display the full sensitivity of Hughesâ€™ vocals and guitars, just like â€˜I Will Follow Youâ€™, which features some fine piano sounds courtesy of John Beasley (Miles Davis, among others) and quotes some definite blues references.
Building the Machine was recorded in Los Angeles, the current band consisting of guitarist J.J. Marsh, drummer Gary Ferguson and keyboardist Vince Di Cola. The new material was produced by Michael Scott, who made a name for himself with his work on Van Halenâ€™s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Next to the aforementioned John Beasley, Hughes enlisted the support of his friend guitarist Brett Ellis and former Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball for background vocals (â€˜Insideâ€™ & â€˜Donâ€™t Let It Slipâ€™). All those who had a chance to witness the bandâ€™s enthusiasm during their recent European tour already got a taste of Glenn Hughesâ€™ amazing form on Building the Machine.
Born on August 21, 1952, in Cannock, England, Glenn Hughes left school at the tender age of sixteen to play in various local groups. One of them, an outfit called Finders Keepers, changed their name to Trapeze and went on to rise to world fame. The bandâ€™s illustrious line-up (apart from Hughes, the band included Whitesnake guitarist-to-be Mel Galley and drummer Dave Holland, who went on to join the Judas Priest camp at the end of the Seventies) brought out a total of three albums, with particularly You are the Music, Weâ€™re Just the Band (1972) causing a sensation. September 1973 saw the two Deep Purple members Jon Lord and Ian Paice turning up at Trapezeâ€™s shows, checking out Hughes as a possible replacement for Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, who had both left in June of that year.
The strong-voiced musician followed the call of Deep Purple, turning down an offer by Electric Light Orchestra. Vocalist David Coverdale was enlisted simultaneously to replace Ian Gillan, and Deep Purple reached another zenith of their creative power. The Burn album is without doubt one of the best Purple releases of all time, and its successor Stormbringer was similarly impressive. Particularly the complementing combination of frontman David Coverdale, whose bluesy timbre suited the new tracks extremely well, and Glenn Hughes with his seemingly unlimited vocal range, turned out to be an unbeatable team. â€œDavid Coverdale is without doubt a great shouter, but he couldnâ€™t do the high passages, which is where I came in. As far as Iâ€™m concerned, we were the perfect combination,â€? says Hughes, looking back with pride on that era of his career.
Hughes also manoeuvred Deep Purple into a more funky, open direction and was probably one of the main reasons why guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left the group in 1975 to found Rainbow together with Ronnie James Dio. Blackmore was replaced by the former James Gang guitarist Tommy Bolin, who helped to record the album Come Taste the Band (1975) and brought out his amazing solo offering Teaser that same year.
Tragically, Bolin died of a heroin overdose in Miami, Florida, in December 1976, which meant the end of Deep Purple. â€œTommy was my best friend, he was like a brother to me,â€? recalls Hughes, loyal to Bolin to this day. â€œI had no idea he was using heroin. His death was the biggest shock of my life.â€?
The end of the band was the beginning of Hughesâ€™ extensive travels through pretty much the whole hard â€˜nâ€™ heavy scene. The list of bands, projects and solo albums by other artists in which he participated over the course of the next 25 years seems almost endless. From Black Sabbathâ€™s Seventh Star (1986), Run For Cover by Gary Moore (1986), Face the Truth by ex-Europe guitarist John Norum (1992), and the Sacred Groove solo album by Dokken guitarist George Lynch to backing vocals on Whitesnakeâ€™s Slip of the Tongue (1989), XYZ (1989), Motley CrÃ¼e (1994), Lynch Mob and Wave Of Emotions (1996), the solo album by former Poison guitarist Ritchie Kotzen or his participation in Nostradamus, the current rock opera by Bulgarian guitarist Nikolo Kotzev, Hughes has always been a popular studio guest. He also caused a stir with his involvement in the US mega hit â€˜America: What Time is Loveâ€™ by KLF, a project initiated by ex-Echo and the Bunnymen manager Bill Drummond to mark the 500 year anniversary of the US.
Among the list of impressive metal releases, the first two albums of the Phenomena trilogy, which Hughes lent his unmistakable voice to, deserve a special mention, just like his co-operation with Pat Thrall, Stu Hamm, Carmine Appice, and Paul Taylor on â€˜Killer Queenâ€™, a track for the Queen tribute Cold Queen. Next to his involvement in the Nazareth homage, Piece of my Heart, Hughes recently played a celebrated show in New York, alongside John Cafferty, Jimmy Jamison of Survivor, and Bobby Kimball, and will be featured on the impending CD by Italian guitarist Max Maganini.
His own solo albums have also been hugely successful. Another legendary release was entitled Hughes/Thrall (1982), which he recorded with the former Pat Travers Band guitarist Pat Thrall. Equally impressive was the 1994 album Burning Japan Live, a great best-of album which he recorded with three former Europe musicians (plus two Swedish guitarists). The more sedate, soulful sounds on Feel (1995) and the subsequent Addiction (1996), or Hughesâ€™ forays into the world of blues music (L.A. Blues Authority and Blues, both 1992) featured slightly lower on the decibel count, but were none the less just as impressive. Very much to the delight of his more rock-oriented fans, Hughes has returned to the realms of solid hard rock with The Way It Is, Return of Crystal Karma and particularly his current release Building the Machine, which gains that special intensity thanks to its excursions into the spheres of funk and soul.
Can't Stop the Flood * Inside * Out on Me * I Just Want to Celebrate * Don't Let it Slip * It Feels Like Home * High Ball Shooter * When You Fall * I Will Follow You * Beyond the Numb * Big Sky