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Dave Ling

"We did have a couple of séances, but I didn't see any ghosts, though I know the place was haunted": Glenn Hughes on the recording of Deep Purple's Burn

Glenn Hughes onstage

Staffordshire-born, Californian-based bassist and singer Glenn Hughes continues to cheerlead his legacy as a member of Deep Purple via a tour for the 50th anniversary of their album Burn.

"It was 50 years ago, in the summer of 1973, that the Burn album was written at Clearwell castle in Gloucestershire UK,” says Hughes. “We all became one in this centuries old castle in the UK countryside, it felt like Deep were a new band, with David [Coverdale] and I as new members, we couldn’t wait to start working on new song. The atmosphere was electric, in such amazing surroundings.

“All the songs on Burn were written in the crypt/dungeon, underneath the great hall. We worked on a new song every day, and we were in the flow. Musically we would play, and work out ideas, and David and I would come up with vocal melodies that would later have lyrics. I remember it like it was yesterday." 

What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about either the Burn album or the sessions for it? 

Freshness. I had joined the band from Trapeze, and then David [Coverdale] joined seven weeks later. Everything felt brand new. There was a sense of chumminess and back-slapping. Even [Ritchie] Blackmore was a part of that. It felt very cool. 

Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, where the album was written, was supposedly haunted. Did you see any ghosts? 

There’s a famous story. Blackers and I were the first two to arrive. That night, as a gag, he rigged my wardrobe with speakers to emit all sorts of scary noises. He had a microphone next door and was going: “Whoo whoo”. We did have a couple of séances, but I didn’t see any ghosts, though I know the place was haunted. 

When did you last talk to Ritchie? 

Face to face, it would have been a long time ago. But we never had a falling out. He did ask me to join Rainbow six years ago. The night before I was leaving, Carole [Stevens, Blackmore’s manager and motherin-law] called to say they had found a singer who also played bass. I had wanted to go to New York and have lunch with Ritchie, look him in the eye and give him a hug, but I didn’t fancy playing bass behind an unknown singer… again. So I didn’t go. 

Why has Burn stood the test of time so well? 

We were in the dungeon at Clearwell, and each day we went down into the crypt and we wrote a song. There was no pressure. It was just five blokes in a room that has a lot to do with where the magic came from. 

Besides revisiting Burn, what can you tell us about the set-list on the tour? 

It’s all Deep Purple. Besides the songs from Burn, You Keep On Moving and Gettin’ Tighter [from Come Taste The Band] and Stormbringer will be in there too. I’m still deciding on a few selections. 

And what about excellent track Coronarias Redig, which was the B-side of the single Burn

I love that song, so I might throw it in at some point.

You recently left the Dead Daisies after twoalbums with them. What happened there? 

After meeting David Lowy [band leader and guitarist] in the spring of 2019, I agreed to come on board. I approached things with the Dead Daisies one song a time, one album at a time, one year at a time. But then the pandemic came and I started missing my own band and my own music. I was still happy with David Lowy, who I consider a very good man, but at the tail end of last year my manager began receiving offers for these legacy shows around Burn – really good offers – so I took them. 

But there’s no animosity? 

None at all. The Dead Daisies are continuing, and I’m really glad that [ex-Mötley Crüe lead singer] John Corabi is back. I have nothing but great memories of working with David Lowy. But primarily I am a solo artist, and I was missing the foundations of my music. 

What’s the latest with Black Country Communion? 

Joe [Bonamassa, guitar] and I wrote the songs a month ago, and in a few days we begin recording them at Sunset Sound Recorders, my favourite studio in Hollywood, with [producer] Kevin Shirley. Joe and I have ten days with our brothers Jason [Bonham, drums] and Derek [Sherinian, keyboards]. 

It’s ridiculously early in the process, but can you give us a flavour of how the album will sound? 

It will be called Number Five, I can tell you that. Joe and I wrote the music, but it sounds like Black Country Communion because the band is a collective. We’ve come up with what I consider a fantastic set of material. 

Joe told us that besides an appearance on his Keeping The Blues Alive cruise next March, there would be “a couple of other shows”. Will those be at around the same time? Everything wrapped up in a fortnight at the most? 

Here’s what I want people to know. I may have shot myself in the foot ten years ago [when Hughes and Bonamassa fell out very publicly over the latter’s resistance to touring the BCC album Afterglow], but even before that whole palaver I knew that Joe is primarily a solo artist. 

Now all of us are in a very different place, mentally and emotionally. I would hope – though I can’t promise – that there will be a series of shows. Joe and I have spoken about that, and both of us hope that for the sake of the fans and ourselves it will happen. 

The North American leg of the Glenn Hughes Performs Deep Purple Live tour is underway now, while the UK leg begins on October 10. Full dates and tickets details.

(Image credit: Glenn Hughes)
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