Congratulations–I see your book is Number One on the Amazon Rock chart.
Glenn: Yeah, I’m… uh, speechless really! I tried to be open and honest and I think it just struck a nerve with people.
I was reading the part where you mention doing the music for the “City of Crime” music video with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. So I dialed it up on YouTube and saw those two rapping and dancing while you were wearing goat pants and….
Glenn: Ah, man. To be honest I was on a major crack binge. I was the last to show and they gave me the goat pants. Which was appropriate at that time! Tom and Dan were very lovely to me though. Nice guys.
Then I watched the recent Black Country Communion Live in Europe , and I was blown away by your bass playing and singing. And you look frickin’ twenty-five! Rock and roll was a great comfort to me as a kid and I gotta tell you, it gives us a lot of hope and joy to see so many of our heroes still out there like Gene and Paul and Angus and Ozzy – and Glenn Hughes – still doing your thing with that kind of fire.
Glenn: Well thank you for that, brother. I was buddies with Gene back when he was dating Cher and one thing we shared was that it was impossible to do this unless you had some sort of conviction, that inner — whatever you want to call it — spirituality, love of the music, work ethic — you have to have that inner drive. Or there’s just no way.
Yeah, but how do you do it health-wise after forty years in the business?
Glenn: Lots of sleep and plenty of water. I eat healthy and run a lot. Good genes, I s’pose. A lot of my mates died years ago–drugs and alcohol, and you just can’t keep going that way. And I try to stay connected and live in the moment, you know? I let God in and let him run the show. Because when Glenn Hughes runs the show – that’s when the bad shit happens…. I used to watch my dad planting flowers and think, “How boring. How can he stand that?” But I’m 60 now and I spend a lot of time with my dogs and my family, in the garden.
You give spirituality a lot of credit for your sobriety after your bout with cocaine. What was the rock bottom point for you?
Glenn: For me it was that moment in the back of an ambulance. I’ve overdosed – again — and I’m telling the driver “I’m not like those other people you carry…” and he turns and says, “Shut up, you piece of shit drug addict.” The reality of it just hit me. That was my wake-up call. I got into meetings, started reading books like A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C. and Sermon on the Mount. I don’t want to offend any of your readers and some people might think it’s cornball but I’m alive by the grace of God.
Where do you think your career would have gone if not for cocaine?
Glenn: Oh, that’s a tough one, mate. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I could have gone on to do much greater works. But you can’t let that eat you up. Everything’s ordered, I believe. Everything for a purpose. One thing that’s sure in life is pain and change. I didn’t understand then but if you get in enough pain you will change. But you know, I think I’ve bared my ass and beat the devil and proved myself to be honest. I’m not as interested in comebacks or career redemption as humanity and the human experience.
Tell me about Starship 1 because I saw that picture and tried to imagine what the inside of that plane must have been like.
Glenn: You have to remember that in the 70s everything was grand. It wasn’t unusual for 100,000 people to show up to a rock concert. Excess. The Stones, Zeppelin and Purple, we’re the only ones that had that plane. Let me tell you there were no fire marshals on there…. Lots of shagging. Debauchery. It was the era.
I was listening to your version of “Ave Maria” and trying to imagine your take on “War Pigs” during your stint with Sabbath. Which song did you dread performing most?
Glenn: Well, I was fearful of my own shadow. Not as much coke then but vodka – hiding behind the beard and makeup. I told (Black Sabbath guitarist Tony) Iommi, “This is like James Brown fronting Metallica!” The only piece I really enjoyed performing was the song “Black Sabbath”.
What do you think about the Sabbath Reunion?
Glenn: Geezer is my neighbor and he came over, um, let’s say a little inebriated… So I knew he was spending a lot of time with Tony and I knew it was going to happen. I’m happy for Bill (Ward, drummer of Black Sabbath), such a sweet man. They’re working class guys from the Black Country and Ozzy, he wants to give back to his old mates and share the platform he’s been given.
I gotta ask about the Deep Purple Reunion.
Glenn: We used to talk about it a lot but until Richie (Blackmore) gets his head around electric guitars again it’s just not going to happen. So it’s a moot point now. David (Coverdale) and I are still very close so there’s a good chance we might do something.
It’s a TNB Music thing, at the end of an interview we do a bit of either/or. Just for fun.
Glenn: G‘head, mate.
Blackfoot or Molly Hatchet?
Glenn: Ah, Blackfoot, yeah! No knock on Hatchet, they’re great, but Blackfoot.
Kool & the Gang or The Bar-Kays?
Glenn: Ooh, I love them both. Kool and the Gang were a little more pop but Bar-Kays, they had that groove, man.
Ozzy or Dio era Sabbath?
Glenn: Well, one was my dearest friend and the other I’ve known all my life. Dio was just such a good mate. It’s like Eddie Trunk said — both were valid. Both deserve to be Sabbath.
Absolutely. Bootsy or Lemmy?
Glenn: Bootsy! Lemmy’s my good mate. As a human, Lemmy. On bass, Bootsy is the man.
Led Zeppelin IV or Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life?
Glenn: Songs in the Key for the music. When that came out I was hanging with Stevie and he was a mentor to me in many ways. Zep IV for the memories. Bonham must’ve played that for me a hundred times before it was released and I’ve got some great memories from that. So one for the music, the other for the memories.