PlanetMosh recently conducted an interview with legendary bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, CALIFORNIA BREED). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PlanetMosh: Your latest project is called CALIFORNIA BREED. First of all, where did the name come from?
Hughes: The hardest part is that everyone's got the name now. If we'd decided to call it PURPLE TIGER, for instance, someone will probably already have a band by that name, so we as a collective of the band members would discuss on the phone and someone would say, "I've got a really cool name," then we'd Google it and find someone's already got it. So Andrew [Watt, guitar] said last September, six months after we got into this, "Why don't you look at your lyrics book and maybe there's a word there?" So I went through it and there were things like "Avalon," things that I really like, "King Arthur" and stuff, then I came across in "Solo", which is a bonus track, the line "California breed acceleration," kind of a fast-moving California dude, which kinda I am, been living there three quarters of my life. So, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, very dark and industrial but very rock, CALIFORNIA BREED very light, purple, orange and yellow, amber and magenta, and very rock. It might sound like a different breed but it's a definitively rock album.
PlanetMosh: You'd worked with [drummer] Jason Bonham in BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. Was it when the band ended that you decided you wanted to work together more?
Hughes: We knew immediately, even before the band broke up. Because there was some speculation before the band broke up, Jason and I were resigned to the possibility that BLACK COUNTRY wouldn't continue, before it didn't continue. I've known Jason since he was in diapers, his dad and I were very good friends. I have a lot of famous friends who are drummers, but they're always busy, it's like the Joe [Bonamassa, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION guitarist] thing, he was busy. So Jason and I decided we would stay together and form something new.
PlanetMosh: Who was it who came up with Andrew Watt as a recruit?
Hughes: Julian Lennon, one of my dear friends, was in L.A. in February 2013, the day before the Grammys, and I was with him. He said, "There's someone here I'd like you to meet, a young man called Andrew Watt from New York City." So I said OK, and Andrew came over and spoke about his love of how this guy plays, or how this guy writes a lyric. I gave him my email and said to send me some music. After the Grammys, I went to Minneapolis, and I got an email from Andrew with three songs. Not CALIFORNIA BREED's type of music, but more Americana singer solo songwriter stuff, and I heard a good writer, a good guitar player, and a good singer, three things that are important. So Jason and I thought it would be a good idea to choose him instead of choosing a famous guitar player, who would bring into the band baggage of his own band and the unavailability to play. People have said to me before they hear this music, "Oh you should have got that guy, or that guy." Well that guy is busy, and I think what's brave about Jason and I choosing Andrew is that he's an unknown but uberly talented young guy — I mean, I'm 39 years older than him. I think when people hear the album, they won't hear the generational gap.
PlanetMosh: One thing that stands out is that all the albums and projects you've worked on sound different. Is that something you've done deliberately?
Hughes: No, I've said this many times over the years, I've said that I have never made the same album twice, starting from TRAPEZE, all the way to now. Every BLACK COUNTRY album was different, every PURPLE album was different. There are bands that have a certain style, like MÖTLEY CRÜE. I'm good friends with Nikki Sixx, and when you hear MÖTLEY CRÜE's albums, you know it's a certain development. With AEROSMITH, it's been slightly different, and with me, although it's me singing, it's different to BLACK COUNTRY. When I closed the door with BLACK COUNTRY, it was not easy to walk away, but I had to walk away because Joe wouldn't play, so what are we waiting for? I'm not one to sit and wait because my time on this Earth could be 30 years or it could be 30 minutes, I just don't know. People around us are dying. I said to my wife that I was going to move on, and she said, "Honey, you can do what you want. You don't have to prove anything to anybody because you've done it all, and anything you do from this point is just gravy. Don't expect anything, just go out there and do what you do, because you have a certain amount of people who understand that you do your thing." I didn't want to be like any other singer or any other bass player or writer. I've got this sound now.
Read the entire interview from PlanetMosh.
"Midnight Oil" lyric video: