By Tom Craig –
The Dead Daisies are bringing their latest lineup and first US tour since 2018 to Columbus’ The King of Clubs on July 2nd and Blue Note Harrison on July 10th. Ohio Music Experience had the good fortune to chat with the band’s Hall of Fame Vocalist/Bassist Glenn Hughes to discuss the new tour, their new release Holy Ground and much more.
Ohio Music Experience: Hey Glenn. It’s Tom Craig from Ohio Music Experience.
Glenn Hughes: Hey Tom. How are you?
Ohio Music Experience: Very good, sir. Thank you for taking the time this evening to speak with us. What have you been doing throughout all this?
Hughes: Like most of us, I’ve been home, as you can imagine. And I’ve been using that time to write more music and that’s what I’ve been doing, exercising, keeping my mind and my body in shape and been writing new music, which is what’s all about.
Ohio Music Experience: I’ve listened to the new album Holy Ground and man what a great disc. How did that all come about? And when did, when did you guys start the writing on that?
Hughes: I joined the band in August of 2019. And when I came in, David Lowy asked me to write some songs, which I did. And we got together in August at Sunset Sound Studio in West Hollywood. I only recorded three or four demos. And then in November of 2019, we moved to the south of France to a Chateau where we recorded, what would be the album you now know called Holy Ground. So in between August to November, we wrote as a unit, the rest of the songs. And now all those months ago, the album has been waiting to come out for so long. And of course the album came out in late January and it’s got amazing reviews and we’re so happy that things are going well.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. There’s some really great music on there. I mean “My Fate” and “Far Away” at the end, boy.
Hughes: Thank you.
Ohio Music Experience: And how did the shout out to Steve Marriott with “30 Days in the Hole” happen?
Hughes: Like, this is a great story. I got to the studio in the south of France and I saw the chalkboard of the songs that got wrote already. And then there was a cover song and it just happened to be a song which my dear friend, Steve Marriott wrote, I’ve known Steve oh a long time. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly so many years ago. So I looked at it and had a little bit of a chuckle, because if I’m going to sing a Steve Marriott song, I’m going to be performing. It has to be with a lot of respect. So the song is in honor of Steve’s legacy and memory, of course.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. It’s a great version, really.
Hughes: Thank you.
Ohio Music Experience: What’s your favorite on the album?
Hughes: You know Tom, they all speak to me. I wrote the lyrics and melodies to all of it and some of the music as you know. But they all speak to me and isn’t it crazy now, Tom, when we listened to Holy Ground and those songs were written before the pandemic, nobody knew about that. When you listen to the lyrics like on “Unspoken” and some of the lyrics I wrote, you go, are you sure Hughes didn’t know about this?
I think I’m not laughing, but I’m chuckling to myself because I do write about what’s going on in the world. And it’s a beautiful piece of music and I’m really glad people are groovin’ to it. So my favorite song, the “Like No Other” is one of my faves and funny enough, the last song “Far Away” is also.
Ohio Music Experience: And yeah, I’m glad you mentioned “Unspoken” because that struck me as well when I listened to it. Did he have premonitions?
Hughes: No, but long story short. I tried a change in lifestyle 30 years ago, changed everything, the way I lived and breathed. And I decided when I changed my lifestyle, let’s just say, I stepped out of the fast lane.
When I started writing music again, 30 years ago, I said, I have to have a message to tell people here, let’s write about fact. Let’s not write about fiction. Let’s write about things about the human condition, which we all go through in any stage of our life, where we find ourselves. And we walk through that fear and we let go of attachments. And we detach from things that no longer serve us purpose.
So I wanted to have that legacy, if you will, of writing music that would help other people get over certain things in their life. Celebrating the love and the happiness and, and glorious splendor of our planet, but also getting past the gory details of being frightened or being frightened to let go. And my job is to try to help other people get on with their life?
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. How does it feel to be reconnected with Doug? Because he was out with you back in 2015, wasn’t he on your solo tour?
Hughes: Yes, he did. He came out with me for four or five months. We went to South America and we went to a huge European tour and I’ve known Doug since 25 years now. And we were very close friends and, it’s so happenstance. Now I’m working with him again in this band called the Dead Daisies. So, Doug is a dear dear friend of mine, a very talented human being as you know. So it’s really great to me to be working again with Doug.
Ohio Music Experience: Awesome. So I’m sure you guys are probably working on set lists and things like that now.
Hughes: Yeah. We’re in New York right now doing just that.
Ohio Music Experience: What might fans expect song wise, that might come from your past to appear on these set lists?
Hughes: Well what I won’t do Tom, I’m not going to give too much away, but when we play a couple of those things, people will know what they are. They’re huge, huge, huge songs. I think, and that we’ve been rehearsing all the songs in the last you know 10 days here in New York. And it’s a great set list of brand new songs. Of course from Holy Ground.
Ohio Music Experience: Sure.
Hughes: Some older Dead Daisies songs, you have to do that. It’s important to take the older Dead Daisies songs and bring them into the fold like with the new band. And Holy Ground songs are so important for this band at this genre of where they’re going. So we’re really happy to say that it’s all going really well.
Ohio Music Experience: I’ve always considered you one of the most recognizable voices in rock. Vocally who were some of the people that shaped or molded your vocal style when you were listening to music and coming up?
Hughes: Well, I’m at an age in my life all you got to do is Google Glenn Hughes age of course. I grew up in the north of England and where I came home from school one day around about five o’clock. And I saw this band from Liverpool on the tv. I had no idea what it was or who it was? But I was watching with my grandmother and I said to my grandmother, I was playing trombone in the school orchestra. And I said to my grandmother, Nan they’re playing wooden instruments. I think they’re guitars. Is there any chance I could maybe get one of those for Christmas? And it would have been McCartney Lennon who were my first influences.
And then a little while later, I started listening to what was coming out of Detroit. Hence, Stevie Wonder (a dear friend of mine today) and Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, the soulful Americana. That’s what I was groovin to. So you throw in some rock and roll, you throw in some Beatles and you throw some Detroit and you throw in some Tamla/Motown, you stir it up and that’s what you get with Glenn Hughes.
Ohio Music Experience: Well, that takes care of the influences. Who of your contemporaries do you love listening to?
Hughes: I don’t get a chance to listen to a lot of music when I’m writing. Rival Sons, my friends, dear friends, from Long Beach, they’re great. And the rest are so many bands out there that I haven’t heard yet, but I’m always wanting to hear something remarkably strong. So it’s a different world now, Tom than it was all those years ago. And when it was bands, record companies and stuff, now it’s difficult for people to get off the ground, but I’m always wanting to hear brand new music from brand new artists.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. It seems like we have more avenues of music, but less bands and artists get heard. Do you feel that way?
Hughes: Yes, I do. It’s a strange. And we’re living in these times we have to embrace this, or we will get left under because this is the way it is. We have to accept music and the arts, the way it’s going. And it’s all internet based as you know. And a brand new artist can come up overnight. Whereas, years ago you had to work hard five, six, seven years to get anywhere at all. And now artists can have success within a month. So it’s a different, different league.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. It really is. You speak of Motown and we know all the grooming that took place with some of those artists and that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Or labels taking a chance on somebody and helping them grow.
Hughes: It’s not impossible Tom, but it’s difficult for a new artist to get leverage now. As I say, one or two breakthrough out of nowhere, and they have got sort of an overnight success, I’d say overnight, not completely overnight, but they have a lot of success really quickly. And the ambition of those artists needs to maintain a good management and representation to enable themselves to stay in the moment and stay on top because you can have one artist do really well. And then the next thing they’re gone. They don’t have a foundation to build on. And that’s where record companies used to be helpful. And now that doesn’t happen anymore.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. Real quick and this is kind of on a personal note, but I enjoyed your solo works. And one of my favorites was Soul Mover.
Hughes: Oh thank you.
Ohio Music Experience: And I just wanted to say that and get your thoughts on what it was like when you recorded that one?
Hughes: Chad Smith from the Chili Peppers plays on all of my solo albums. That was the second album he played on. I mention Chad’s name because he really wanted us to play (myself and my band) live. Maybe we were doing the doing it to Pro Tools before Chad came in and he said, why don’t we go back to the way you used to do in Deep Purple, which was playing live, not like one guy playing his part, then the next guy playing his part, let’s just play live. And ever since that album Soul Mover, we were really live in the studio. Things kicked off and you can actually feel it on the album Tom, I don’t know if you can feel that. Very live sounding. Some of the vocals are actually sung while I was playing bass as well. It took about a week to make it which normally takes about a month to make a record. It was a spontaneous piece of music.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. It gave me that impression when I first heard it and still it’s one of my favorites.
Hughes: Thank you. One of mine too.
Ohio Music Experience: Has Dave [Lowy, guitarist and Aviator) gotten you up in any of his airplanes yet?
Hughes: Yes. I’ve been up on one.
Ohio Music Experience: Have you, which one?
Hughes: The main one, he’s got two or three, but it’s the one that he flies his family around on and the one he uses for the band.
Ohio Music Experience: Oh, okay. I thought maybe the Spitfire.
Hughes: No. No he’s been threatening on that. Today actually, he’s going to be coming out to LA for three weeks in July where he is. I think that’s going to happen because he really is talking to me about it, so I’m looking forward to that.
Ohio Music Experience: Well, we can’t wait to see the video footage on that one from the cockpit.
Hughes: You know about David he’s really, really, really loves to fly.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah.
Hughes: Yup. He’s a pilot and he really, really loves it. And so do we.
Ohio Music Experience: Well, I see that you’ve only got a handful of dates so far that take you into mid-July. Are you guys planning anything else after that?
Hughes: Yes, we are. I guess I can unofficially announce that we are doing nine shows. Tom, as you know, starting on the 23rd at the Kelsey Theater in Lake Park. And then we go to Nashville and you can see on we go about nine shows and then we were supposed to go to do 12 shows in the UK. And it would appear as of today, the quarantine may prevent us from doing that. Because you have to stay in a hotel for two weeks, which is a long period of time. So that may not happen now Tom, but we will be back again mid-September to start leg two of the North American tour which will be 22 shows.
Ohio Music Experience: Very cool. I’d like to give you two names and have you give me a sentence on each one of them If I could?
Ohio Music Experience: Ritchie Blackmore [Deep Purple, Rainbow]
Hughes: Funny fellow, I say not funny because he’s a real character. Unlike there are many characters in rock and roll. Artists who are or actors if you will Blackmore one of those fellows, very mysterious fellow. Difficult to pin down and figure out what it’s all about. But Richie was a prankster. He loved to play practical jokes. When I did an album with them, called Burn. We were making the year. We were actually writing in an 800-year-old castle in England.
Came into my room before I went to bed and he hooked up speakers and microphones and made ghost noises at three o’clock in the thing me out of my coming out of my closet was these ghost noises. And this castle was haunted for sure. And when that was going down, I wasn’t sure what it was going on, but I knew something was weird and I figured this got to be the guitar player. Isn’t it?
Ohio Music Experience: That’s a funny story.
Hughes: And the list goes on and on with him. It was all, Richie’s a prankster in the mid- seventies even today, but in the mid-seventies, there was nobody as good as he was.
Ohio Music Experience: And number two, Tommy Bolin [The James Gang, Deep Purple]
Hughes: Well there you go. There’s my brother. There’s my brother. This is a great story for you Tom. When Tommy auditioned for Deep Purple in maybe July of ‘75. He came down and I was a little late and I ran into the studio and I saw a guy about 12 feet from me with green, orange and purple hair. And I was taken back by his appearance and I walked over to him and I whispered in his ear, if you don’t get the gig, you’re still coming home with me. And he did. And he came back. He came back to my house where he stayed for three months and I don’t have any brothers and sisters Tom. So I took Tommy in like a brother. We’re the same age, albeit a few weeks, the same age. And we were, I don’t know if you know this but we were very, very, very, close friends and I dearly, dearly miss and love him every single day that I breathe the air in.
Ohio Music Experience: Yeah. Articles that I’ve read you get that impression that you guys were really close.
Hughes: He was a kid, a sweet kid from the Midwest as you know.
Ohio Music Experience: Yes. What do you think time-wise you guys are going to be doing at these shows?
Hughes: I think normal Tom, it’s normally about 90 minutes. And again, the songs we’re really, really promoting the new album as every artist does when they’ve got a new album out.
Ohio Music Experience: As well you should, it’s fantastic.
Hughes: Yeah. It’s been, if I can say this to you, this is the most sales The Dead Daisies have ever had and globally as well. So me being the new guy, we all worked very, very hard on this and we have so much work to do to maintain what we started. And the rest will be history.
Ohio Music Experience: Wow. Awesome. Very good. Well, Glenn, my sincere thanks to you. Hopefully we’ll get to meet at the show.
Hughes: I insist on it, let me say a word to all your listeners and people that read the mag. I look forward with the deepest part of myself to perform for you and sing for you. Please come and check out the show with the new Dead Daisies. We’re so excited to give this to you. So please come on down and say, Hey to me, please come on down.