Black Country Communion release the new album “BCCIV” on Friday September 22 via Mascot Records. BCC play Wolverhampton Civic Hall (2 January 2018) and London Eventim Apollo (4 January 2018). Further info: www.bccommunion.com
Ahead of the release of BCCIV I got the opportunity to talk with the legendary Glenn Hughes about one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. For fans of BCC it was a painful 5-year hiatus and also the obvious place to start the conversation.
RNL – Is it safe to say Glenn that the rumours of BCC’s demise were greatly exaggerated?
GH – Yeah, well you’re a press guy and with all due respect to the press when bands break up people run with it to get some sort of power you know, theres always some angle when bands break up or get together there will always be some story line. People may have thought there was some massive falling out, but in actual fact there was no massive falling out but the band simply couldn’t continue because Joe (Bonamassa) was too busy. I say that with reverence and great respect cos Joe is a solo artist as so am I.
So when it was clear that Joe was unavailable to tour after Afterglow, there were a couple of things on Twitter and everybody bitches on twitter, I was upset and I wasn’t angry just hurt and I just backed away from the car. I simply needed to take some time and then the band imploded, there were all kinds of rumours and gossip and myself and Joe didn’t speak for maybe 6 months or so, we eventually caught up and agreed that we needed to go our separate ways and we did.
RNL – Everydays a school day Glenn and I am sure when you look back on that experience there are always going to be limitations to a project like BCC as you guys are solo artists and you guys do have busy schedules’?
GH – The fact of the matter is that it is still that way, what I cannot do is come onto yourself and the rest of the press guys and say this is how it is and this is what we are going to do until we know ourselves what we are doing, we are preparing announcements over the next coming weeks about opportunities for fans to come see us live, and between you and I for sure I will try to get more shows where and when we can. I’m doing what Joe and I spoke about two nights ago, we will for sure try and get more shows out there where possible.
RNL – I was lucky enough to catch you guys live back in Dublin in 2011, I must say it was a brilliant experience, you were one of the most enigmatic front men I have ever seen live.
GH – Thank you! I must say my role in what I do onstage I get lost in part I play, I am a definitive character in BCC and I don’t know if I am the same character in my solo role. You know it changes everytime and even though I will be singing the same I seem to take on this physical energised thing that just takes over me. I don’t know what it is but I am clinically very critical of what I do and don’t do, one thing I can’t do is just stand there and do nothing! I like to make contact with the audience and carry the message.
RNL – So we’re now 4 years on from the last album how did the current project come around?
GH – So I just got inducted into the Hall Of Fame last April in 2016, and Joe called me up in New York and said, “When you get back to LA can we do dinner?” so we caught up on my return and Joe just said “Do you want to do another album?” and how would I I feel about that? I said I would love to do that because for me and for a lot of people we had unfinished business, we had definitely in my opinion another album to make but we needed a break and the 3 or 4 years we had gave us time to figure it out.
Joe suggested that the perfect time was now; I was very busy last summer as so was Joe as you can imagine. So we had a two-week window at my house in October before I went to South America. So we wrote the whole album in the two-week window and we wrote it alone and we both had a definitive idea of what the album should be, and I really wanted Joe to be more involved on this album and what I was reading into his eyes, very bright man by the way, I said “Are you in Joe” and he said “I am so in, I wanna make the best BCC album we’ve ever made” and I said ‘Lets do it!”
He came to my home eleven days in a row and on the eleventh day we had 18 songs, and we condensed the 18 songs to 11 and we went into the studio and recorded them.
RNL – So what was it like after the four year gap, was it hard to fall back into the BCC mindset and keep it cohesive?
GH – No, and I say that with respect. Joe and I had been seeing each other since 2012 and we’d had dinner a few time sand he came to a few Glenn shows and I’d see him at the merch stand buying T-Shirts etc so we’d kept an open door, and what we said when we got together on the 1st day at my house was we really needed to listen to the 1st album, so we ran over it a few times and tried to get back to why the band started and we kinda wrote ‘Collide’ to give us a reminder of where we were at the beginning, and then we moved and said to ourselves that we need a song like ‘One Last Soul’ so we came up with the ‘Over My Head’ song, we had ideas from listening to our back catalogue that we both didn’t want to take BCC out of its own genre. We didn’t want to do something that was too left field.
RNL – I can hear the unmistakeable BCC sound on the album but within there are definitely colours and flavours that are new to the album, I am assuming that was a conscious decision to freshen things up a bit?
GH – This album is more of a guitar album, not so orchestrated and more organic keyboards and this is more of a groove record as well, unless you’re a song-writer people may not understand this, but when Joe and I sit down with each other, realistically within 90 seconds of playing together there’s already a song coming. The way we work is I always leave the tape running at my house, we’ll start playing and I’ll say “what the hell is that?” and he’ll say ‘Whoa what’s that?” And we’ll roll the tape back and listen and little bits like the ‘Collide’ riff and that’s how these songs are written. I may have a big melody (As he sings “ Over My Head” and I giggle like a 16 yr old schoolgirl) which is very melodic and when you just a bit of a song, even just a tad you can write a song around that.
RNL – That particuar song ‘Over My Head’ stood out to me on the album as a diversion from the BCC norm off the previous albums.
GH – That was actually the last song I wrote for the album, because when I listened back to the album in its entirety I said to Joe we need a ‘One Last Soul’ kind of track, something with a big chorus and more media friendly and sound great on the radio.
RNL – Where and when did the actual recording process take place?
GH – January 2nd and we were supposed to finish on the 11th but I got a call on the 4th, my mum was really ill and by the end of that day I was on the plane. We recorded the album on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th and musically the album was done by then. I don’t know if you know what we do with BCC, we record live and we only do no more than one or two takes, the last day we recorded 6 songs and it was a very heavy day for me as I knew my mum was very I’ll and she didn’t have much time left. So I knew I had to get back to the UK, and the plan was if mum hadn’t been sick I would have stayed on and sang with Joe. My intention was to have Joe sing more with me on the 8th, 9th and 10th but that wasn’t meant to be and I had to go.
As you know things happen in life for a reason and there’s always equal and opposite reaction, and I had to be responsible, its not irresponsible to be with your parents when they die, for a man who has been clean and sober for the last 27 years I had to be there for my mum. As much as I wanted to be there to finish BCC I couldn’t think straight and I needed to get it done by the 4th to get on the plane.
RNL – You guys once again are paired with the 5th member of the band Kevin Shirley, you guys seem to have a very special relationship with Kevin, how would you sum that up?
GH – Kevin’s just part of the band, I’ve known Kevin now since 1988 he’s a really tough dude, straight to the point and honest but also has a soft side.
RNL – We spoke previously about your approach to recording on your solo album ‘Heavy’ where you concentrated on one song, finished it before moving onto the next. Did you apply the same approach with BCC this time around?
GH – Yeah we did, we pretty much had time for a toilet break and we got stuck right into the next track, myself and Joe would bring Derek and Jason in, we’d play through the tracks on our acoustics and they’d make notes and about 30 minutes later we would go and record it. We’d usually record it twice and I’d say that nowadays it takes roughly 90 minutes per song to do, no more that it’s very quick.
RNL – You had mentioned previously that ‘Collide’ set the pace for the album, do you usually fond that a track like that can be the catalyst for the rest of the album to follow?
GH – Yeah it usually does, it was the first song we wrote, Joe was coming down to my house and I had a feeling that he hadn’t anything prepared, and we just messed around and I came up with that “Da da da dum” riff and it just sounded like something we could work with, just like BCC.
RNL – From a personal opinion, what does a project like BCC give you that working as a solo artist differs from working in collaboration?
GH – The thing with BCC is that, and this is my personal opinion I am working with the top guys in this game, one of my best friends sons playing drums, one of the most progressive keyboard players alive and I have in my opinion, one of the greatest guitar players of this generation to my left on stage. We are a brotherhood; nobody should debate that because we are. That’s why I wanted the band to be called the communion, because I do believe that’s what we are, a spiritual term for what I believe we are, BCC is something I am very proud of.
RNL – So with the album dropping in the short-term what can we expect from you guys?
GH – I think there are a lot of people waiting for this album, the album drops in September and there will be a lot of moving and shaking, and we’ll be making plans to have things in place for 2018.
RNL – Well Glenn as always it was a pleasure talking with you, best of luck for the album launch and we look forward to seeing you guys back together again.
GH – My love to all my friends in Ireland.
Black Country Communion are pleased to announce two exclusive concerts in Europe during January 2018 to support the release of their new album “BCC IV”. The band will play Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Tuesday 2ndJanuary and London Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday 4th January 2018.
These will be the only two concerts the band will play in the UK and Europe. Planet Rock will run a 48-hour ticket pre-sale from 9am on Wednesday 2nd August. Order your pre-sale tickets from www.planetrock.com.
JANUARY 2018 UK DATES
PLANET ROCK 48-HOUR TICKET PRE-SALE
WEDNESDAY 2nd AUGUST 2017 AT 9AM FROM www.planetrock.com
Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Tuesday 2nd January 2018
Tickets: www.eventim.co.uk, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
24 HR Box Office: 0844 844 0444
Venue: 0870 320 7000
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North Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV1 1RQ
London Hammersmith Apollo
Thursday 4th January 2018
Tickets: www.eventim.co.uk, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
24 HR Box Office: 0844 844 0444
Venue: 020 8563 3800
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45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH
Black Country Communion