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1 November 2012 3,689 views 3 Comments

In this extract from an exclusive recent interview with Dave Lewis for TBL , Glenn Hughes discusses the state of play inside Black Country Communion and the recording of their album Afterglow which is released this week.

Dave Lewis: How did the recording of this album compare to the two previous BCC albums?

Glenn Hughes: Well we were scheduled to do two five day weeks in the studio but Joe was knackered coming from South America. So ten days turned into five days, so I said to Kevin Shirley, ‘’Surely you jest, we can’t make an album in five days?’’ but he replied ‘’Ye of little faith.” So we did get it done. I went to Malibu and did the vocals and before I went to Minneapolis, to my sister in law’s house, because I wanted to get away from LA and the phone and write the lyrics. As you know Dave, I never repeat myself on these albums, so I was very happy with the lyrical content.

DL: You mentioned to me that you felt your song writing on the BCC 2 album to be something of a dark nature – what mood were you in during the writing of this album?

GH: I guess I was a bit sensitive and  I’m talking about… well, freedom comes up on this album and acceptance, and the afterglow feeling for me is that we’d gone so high. I felt at peace on this record. There’s something that’s happened. I’ve disclosed everything now – anything after this for me now would be like gravy because I’ve disclosed everything you need to know about me. Not that every song needs to be about me but I don’t write about Satan and witches and goblins, I write about what goes on with us as humans.

DL: Looking over the tracks – it would seem Jason has been more involved in the song writing – things like This Is Your Time and Common Man – how do you rate him as a songwriter?

GH: He’s fantastic. The first song he came up I heard when we were in LA and when we had lunch together. Jason sat sat in his car and he sang a verse to Common Man without any lyrics, really just a melody, and I said ‘’This could be a really good song,’’ so I took it home and finished it for him. It was a bit like the way we did Save Me from the second album. For me to finish the song it was like an honour for me and so he wrote the music and I did the lyrics and we did the same with This is Your Time, which is another wonderful Jason Bonham song.

Phil Carson told me that before I started to work with Jason three years ago how very talented Jason is and I thought I knew that but now I really know it.

DL: If we can just run through some of the tracks starting with the opener Big Train:

GH: I was hoping it was going to be the opening track. I didn’t want to re write Black Country or The Outsider, you can’t have a song that sounds the same on every album, so I think Big Train lends itself to another kind of sound. It’s more alternative in a way and it signals the start of the album and sets the tone.

DL: Midnight Sun:

GH: There’s part of that song that was first jammed at the John Henry’s gig. We started to fool around on what would become Midnight Sun and that verse was taken from that jam session. Jason is very influenced by Keith Moon, so there is a Who feeling there.

DL: Cry Freedom:

GH: It wasn’t going to be a joint vocal but then I realised Joe had not sung on the album so I had him come back in the studio and sing it with me. It’s got that 70s Humble Pie , ZZ Top feel.

DL: Afterglow:

GH: I love this and I think it’s one of the greatest tracks I’ve ever written. For a songwriter, it’s pretty much got it all.

DL: Dandelion:

GH: Jason again, he really comes into his own here – he sets the tempos and he’s got a really good ear for the way that a song should sound.

DL: Common Man:

GH: There is a bit of a Stormbringer vibe about this. I wasn’t too conscious of that really – not until we started to record it and the bass line sounded like it could have been off that particular album.

DL: The Giver:

GH: The capo I used changes the sound. It’s actually a bit Zeppelin like in the way maybe Jimmy used a capo. I got sent mine and I put it on my guitar and within a few seconds I started to write that song. So it’s that devise that allowed me to write that song.

DL: The inevitable question – where if anywhere, do BCC go from here?

GH: For me, BBC has to be seen live in my opinion, but there are three other band members you have to talk to about that. As I said recently on the internet and got in to trouble for, I need to be in a band that plays live. A band is not a band if they do not do that – I know Zeppelin only played a few gigs towards the end but they had stuff going down. I need to be playing, I’m not knocking anybody or saying anything bad about anybody and I think Jason and Derek want to play, but Joe… well he is very busy and that is a problem. You could say me Jason and Derek are old school rock stars but that’s what we are but Joe is a lot different. He doesn’t like the attention, he doesn’t really want to be a rock star he’s blues man and I think he feels a little uncomfortable being in a rock band but I do know he loves the band.

As an antidote, when I was with Trapeze there was three albums, when I was in Deep Purple there were three albums, now BCC are at three album. Is this the end or as Jason says on the trailer we did, is it the beginning or the end? We don’t know.

DL: How would you summarise your experiences in working as part of Black Country Communion?

GH: Without being too self-righteous about it, what it’s done for me as far as on a personal level, well I’ve met a lot of great new friends. I’ve rekindled my friendship with the family Bonham – Jason and his mum Pat and on a professional level it’s given me a huge platform again. Winning the awards and especially in America being voted best new band on VH1 and being regular on TV which I hadn’t been for years .That’s all because of BCC.

DL: What have been the standout gigs and highlights?

GH: High Voltage, the festival in the Netherlands, Paris was incredible, Manchester was amazing, the little gig at John Henrys, that was the first time we had we ever played together as a four piece live.

DL: What are your top five favourite BCC tracks?

GH: Across the three albums, I’d say Black Country, Great Divide, Man In The Middle, Cold and Afterglow.

Dave Lewis interviewed Glenn Hughes on September 7th, 2012. With thanks to Peter Noble and Will Taylor.

The complete interview with Glenn Hughes can be found in the new issue of the TBL magazine issue 33 –  order now via this link:

Black Country Communion’s third album Afterglow is available now

More details:

Read Jeff Strawman’s review of the album on the excellent Achilles Last Stand website now at:

Here’s an official BCC clip on the making of the album:

Until next time…

Keep reading – keep listening…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

November 1st, 2012

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  • Maccaferri said:

    Goin’ Crazy about Midnight Sun? After readin’ about the album on Tight But Loose I took the plunge and bought Black Country Communion’s new offering “Afterglow”. Overall – good album, a very good album indeed said with one huge reservation and one minor one.

    The minor reservation is Hughes singing, I can’t make out the words and the words are great!

    Huge reservation is the third track – “Midnight Sun” – I need to ask how on earth can Kevin Shirley and Black Country Communion get away with this? Is it a case of conscious rip-off (or do I mean a ‘homage’) or unconscious plagiarism? “Midnight Sun” bears an uncanny resemblance in not one but two different sections to David Lee Roth’s classic track “Goin’ Crazy” from the “Eat and Smile” album. The album that launched Stevie Vai into orbit.

    Fact – you can sing the words to “Goin’ Crazy” to “Midnight Sun”. Why? Because it is the same key (played in D), same tempo and the same notes that’s why. Then there is a chord sequence that is identical.

    But that’s not all – it is not just the two sections that sound like a rip off – sorry I mean a ‘homage’, what really got me was not so much the section similarities but the blatant inclusion of a famous Billy Sheenan bass lick over Stevie Vai’s guitar solo in “Goin’ Crazy” being replicated note for note by Glenn Hughes over Joe Bonammasa’s guitar solo in “Midnight Sun”. These guys are professionals, this I do not think happens by accident.

    I can only presume that Kevin Shirley cannot have heard the Eat ‘em and Smile Album for some time… or then again… maybe he has. Interesting.

  • Greg Frazho said:

    Afterglow is a great album; the keyboards are heavier, the lyrics are just as endearing as the first two albums and the rock-n-roll ambience that’s otherwise lacking in a lot of today’s music is certainly front and center.

    I think Glenn Hughes makes some very good points in this interview. The band that tours is the band that stays relevant. You can’t be a studio band if you want to be taken seriously. I’ve seen BCC twice, both last year and both in California. I had the honor and privilege of meeting the entire band at a sit-down in San Diego and they were all gracious and down-to-earth. Thank you again, gentlemen.

    I strongly concur with Ian’s post above and I just thought of it the other day: if Jimmy Page is available and keen on touring, he would make an outstanding addition to BCC if Joe Bonamassa is indeed intent on leaving. As regards that, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can be in a band, or you can be in your own band, but realistically, you can’t do both.

    All the best to BCC and the entire extended Zeppelin family! Awesome interview, Dave.


    Greg Frazho

  • Ian said:

    Another great offering from BCC; they were excellent at High Voltage last year.
    If, as rumoured, Joe is leaving due to concentrating on his own solo career, the other three members would provide the perfect opportunity for one James Patrick Page to get together with and both tour/record.

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