BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION — the Anglo-American rock group comprising vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, TRAPEZE), drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN, FOREIGNER), Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, ALICE COOPER, BILLY IDOL) and blues-rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa — is officially "over" following Bonamassa's decision to exit the project. Hughes writes on his Facebook page: "Joe left and will not allow us to keep the name... Nice, huh? Jason, Derek and I will continue with a different name when the time is right."
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION released its third album, "Afterglow", last October amid a public feud between Hughes and Bonamassa.
The war of words goes back to early September, when Hughes began telling journalists that Bonamassa's solo touring schedule was preventing BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION from touring and fulfilling its potential. He stated that if the situation didn't change, "Afterglow" could be the group's last recording project.
Asked about the current status of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, Bonamassa told PremierGuitar.com earlier this month: "As far as I'm concerned, my involvement is pretty much done, and I'll tell you why: Originally, I did it for the same reasons I did the stuff with Beth Hart and ROCK CANDY FUNK PARTY — it was an excuse to play a different kind of music that I don't get to play normally.
"The first two records were a blast — the band is fantastic when the Ritalin kicks in, the ADD goes away, and everyone's focused. It's a devastatingly good rock band of the early-1970s type, and Glenn is a fantastic singer — just one of the best ever. So I did it and did a nine-week tour in 2011 that really, by the end of it, wasn't fun for me. It wasn't because I didn't like the cats in the band, but it was just too much — too much involved in getting people from place to place and getting the band onstage. Everybody seemed to be very tense, and it made my crew very tense, and it's not the way I like to tour. I run a family — I have 21 people who go on the road with me all the time, and if you asked them who was the cause of the least of their problems, they would say me. Unless there was no Diet Coke — then it's a huge [expletive] problem, and either I'm going to the supermarket or somebody else is. [laughs]
"But it just wasn't fun for me anymore. All the stuff that Glenn says in the media, essentially pinning it on me — that I was the reason for the band's lack of touring and the band's lack of future. It became rapidly not fun at all. It would be dishonest of me to get onstage and pretend like I'm having fun to please the band. I'm just not the guitar player for that band, but, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any out-of-work guitar players in L.A. that they can get. There are so many guys that can fill that role and I would be the first guy to queue up and buy a ticket. So that's my story with it. I'm happily not involved anymore, but I'm happy with the legacy that I left with that band and happy with the records we made. It was a great three years for me."
"Afterglow" sold 8,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 48 on The Billboard 200 chart.
2011's "2" CD from BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION opened with 8,000 units to land at No. 71.
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's self-titled debut album registered a first-week tally of 7,100 copies to enter the chart at No. 54.
Just like its two predecessors, "Afterglow" was overseen by Kevin Shirley, whose catalog of hit records for LED ZEPPELIN, IRON MAIDEN, AEROSMITH, JOURNEY, THE BLACK CROWES and many more has made him one of the hottest producers that rock music has to offer. Shirley — who had the idea of putting Hughes and Bonamassa together in a band together after seeing them jamming onstage in Los Angeles back in November 2009 — was previously described as the group's unofficial "fifth member."
Photo credit: Christie Goodwin