He’s played bass and sang on more than 70 albums.
He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, though he didn’t get to perform at the ceremony.
He’s lived a life entrenched in music for more than 50 years and still has the hunger to perform on a regular basis.
He’s Glenn Hughes, he’s a legend, and he’s coming to The Clyde Theatre in Fort Wayne on May 2.
Going in deep
Hughes probably has forgotten more about music than most of us will ever learn, but it seems a particularly memorable period in his life occurred when he joined Deep Purple.
Hughes was recruited to replace bassist Roger Glover after Glover left the band in 1973. While he could have easily handled vocal duties as well, David Coverdale, who would go on to form Whitesnake in the late ’70s, was brought in to replace singer Ian Gillan, who also left the band in 1973.
That group, which included guitarist Richie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice, produced three albums and some of the best Purple songs ever recorded, including “Mistreated,” “Burn,” and “Soldier of Fortune.”
However, it was a short-lived collaboration, as the band broke up in 1976, citing fatigue and the usual creative differences.
Hughes continued to perform and created a lot of music in the 40-plus years since that breakup, including collaborations with guitarist Joe Satriani, Tommy Bolin, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, and legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson.
He is a current member of Black Country Communion, also featuring Fort Wayne favorite Joe Bonamassa, and has released 14 solo albums over the years.
Despite all that activity, Hughes recently felt a need to return to his roots and decided to go out on the road with “Classic Deep Purple Live,” a show that brings the 1973-1976 Deep Purple era back to life.
Back to his roots
“For a while now, I’ve been in a touring frame of mind,” he told Ultimate Classic Rock in a recent interview. “I’ve been searching through my heart, and now all that’s done. I’m feeling stronger than ever, mentally and physically, and I feel that the time is now to go out globally and do these songs while I still want to do them and still can do them. The audience is expecting a show with the songs they’ve wanted to hear, and I’m grateful to be able to deliver them.”
In preparing for the commencement of the first leg of this tour last year, Hughes turned to YouTube in an effort to reacquaint himself with the energy and music of that era.
“The reason I’ve done it, for these songs, is to go back and look and listen to exactly what we were doing,” Hughes said. “I needed to go back and get the vibe, if you will. A lot of people think that I can’t get out of the ’70s. I’m just really getting into character and going and playing the songs, and wanting to go back and listen to and see how it sounded in order to take that to the stage.
“The songs will be live arrangements from the period of time that we were playing them live. Whether it was from the California Jam, Japan, Paris, Switzerland, or L.A., I just wanted to see how the band was playing. I thought it would be a great idea to sort of encapsulate those arrangements for the stage right now.”
Honoring the music
The reasons for doing this, he added, were personal as he has a lot of pride in what they produced.
“For me, I’m a live entertainer,” Hughes said. “I’ve always been one to not primarily stick to three minutes of a studio version. I always like to do a little something different. Remember, these guys in Purple were virtuoso musicians. Lord and Blackmore were at the top of the game, so bringing these songs alive, for me playing in the style of the band at that time, was really important.”
Clearly, this tour is momentous for Hughes as he wants to honor the music he helped to architect all those years ago, but it’s certainly not a swan song for him.
He’ll be 67 by the time this tour ends later this year, but he already has plans to spend some productive time with Bonamassa and company next year.
“We don’t do a lot of touring (in Black Country Communion), but that may change in 2020,” Hughes said. “I think we’ll make a new album and hopefully do some shows. What I know is that I am going to be playing and singing, because I need to do that. Primarily because I love to sing and play music. That’s what I love to do most.”
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