GLENN HUGHES Talks DEEP PURPLE's Rock Hall Induction - "If Burn Would’ve Been A Stinker, I Don’t Think We Would’ve Been Inducted"
May 9, 2016, 6 years ago
Steve Miller’s backstage rant was the story of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but over here at BraveWords’ headbangquarters, the party went long into the night due to long-time favourites ‘round here, Deep Purple finally making the grade. And even they had a modicum of intrigue attached to their induction experience, revolving around a couple of things: a) which band members are part of it; and b) will Ritchie Blackmore show up? (he didn’t).
Anyway, it was about time as far as BraveWords and millions of fans were concerned, as well as Deep Purple Mark III and IV member Glenn Hughes, who was inducted along with front man of his fine era, David Coverdale.
“So the Hall of Fame, you’ve got to know this, Martin, you go back to 2011, I think we were nominated three years out of four,” begins Hughes. “And I want to make you laugh here. Because I spoke to Geddy Lee about them getting inducted, and we didn’t get inducted. But who got inducted instead of us? Flavor Flav. And I say that to you laughing, because, man, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, these guys—and there are one or two gals on the board—it’s almost like there’s always a band in there, and no disrespect to hip-hop at all because actually I quite like hip-hop believe it or not, but it’s like, what the hell is going on here, people? But this year, number one, you’ve got Steve Miller, my old friend from the early ‘70s, and you’ve got Chicago, my old buddies Cheap Trick, all these guys I’ve known since the ‘70s. You’ve got a class of ‘70s acts, and you’ve got these other acts, who say they are rock...”
“...and they might be rock. But there’s always one band every year where you go, wait a minute, that’s country. Isn’t that jazz? Isn’t that hip-hop? Me, I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s hilarious! That there’s all this back and forth between these camps. I’m far on the other side going there’s room for everybody or anyone in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I just think the board’s got a serious sense of humour here.”
But hey, at least it wasn’t strictly the Mark II lineup—Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover and Ian Paice—getting in. At least they expanded the parameters a wee bit and grabbed Glenn And David (and actually Rod Evans, perhaps in an attempt to bring him out of the witness protection program!). Personally, I thought Steve Morse was a big conspicuous absence as well, but...
“Well, I have to be careful how I answer that, because how was Rod Evans inducted but Nick Simper wasn’t? I don’t get it. It’s like if Coverdale got inducted and I didn’t. I don’t have any like friends or ins on the board, except one guy. But I think they are very savvy. The Hall of Fame look at number of units sold that year, number of tickets sold; numbers—it’s all about the fine detail. I mean, Mark IV didn’t get inducted. I don’t think Come Taste the Band moved enough units that year. I think David and I spurred the band on after Mark II, and Burn was a Top Five album in over 40 countries. If Burn would’ve been a stinker, I don’t think we would’ve been inducted. I think a small group of people thought only Mark II would’ve been inducted. But, you know, Rod Evans getting inducted for ‘Hush’ and Mark II getting inducted for a good four or five songs, and you know, Mark III? With Burn, that album was a monument. I think Burn was the second-highest album, studio album, after Machine Head. So hence the induction of David and Glenn.”
And where the hell was Ritchie? Must have had something better to do...
“I have to be very careful again here, Martin. Because there are camps of people set up, and there’s all kinds of shit going down. I say this to you: five or six weeks ago, I heard from someone inside the Deep Purple community. I’m talking about... there’s about 20 of us involved in the band, accepted in it. And one who works for me and one who works for Ritchie... there was word that Richie was attending. If you want to go on the timeline of Glenn Hughes from a month ago, I said this, very carefully, ‘Oh, I’m so glad I hear that Ritchie will attend. So great. I’m so glad for the fans.’ Right? And I was met with some answers from Ritchie’s wife. We didn’t argue about it. She said, ‘You should’ve come to the source.’”
“Martin, you know, you’ve been doing this a while, you’re a good journalist—Ritchie doesn’t pick the phone up. The only way you can get Ritchie, if you don’t mind me saying so, it is by carrier pigeon. You know, it’s just... I just heard a rumour and she shot me down in flames like that. ‘You should’ve come to the source.’ Well, I’ve been trying to get to the source for 41 years but I can’t get there. I just thought it would’ve been great for the fans. Iconic guitar player, lovely man—never fell out with Ritchie. Ritchie just doesn’t socialize with ex-members of Deep Purple. He has a fan base, and it’s great for him. I just thought it’d be great for the fans, and to keep it all in the family. That it would’ve been great for him to show up. But he didn’t show up and God bless him. He just didn’t think it was an appropriate thing to show up. Well, he was invited by the Hall of Fame. He had two seats at the table. He just chose not to attend. I’m not angry at Ritchie or Candice or Ritchie’s mother-in-law. It’s none of my business. I just thought it would be great if we could’ve all sat at the table together and had one big hug. But Ritchie just didn’t want to do it.”
The concept of induction must have been a little touchy for Ian Gillan as well, given how he’s had some ill words for the Hall in the past...
“I spent some time with Ian Gillan, something we hadn’t done for a long time,” begins Glenn. “Ian, you know, I don’t think, Ian Gillan is fake at all. I just think he took it all in, day of the show, and realized that it certainly was an honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame—it’s a huge thing. Ian Gillan doesn’t have a fake bone in his body. And Blackmore either—no fakeness at all. They both spoke their minds and we all got inducted, including Ritchie. And including Jon Lord, may he rest in peace. We all got inducted and I thought we handled it pretty bloody well. I was just grateful to be accepting an award on behalf of a band that has sold 150 million albums. It’s like Roger said after the show to me: ‘Damn it, we do deserve to be in this Hall of Fame.’ And I must say I’m really honoured to be inducted with David. And thank God that Burn did create a genre after Mark II. We held the baton and ran with it. Mark II, Mark I, Mark III and Mark IV fans, thank you. Thank you to the fans of Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, David Coverdale, Ian Gillan, Tommy Bolin, Rod Evans, Joe Satriani, Joe Lynn Turner, Nick Simper—all of those people thank you so much. You know, Steve Morse! Don Airey. I think I’ve covered all members now, right? Thank you to all of the fans, all those who made music with Deep Purple, all genres, all generations, thank you so very, very much. And thank you to all the fans who voted.”
But that doesn’t mean retirement for the Purples, or for Glenn. The “Voice of Rock” is finishing up a new solo album, and then he’s going to tour it, in both Europe and the US.
“Right. I’m now... given my father’s just passed away, I’m going over there for a week, to the UK. But I have some music done for a new Glenn record, heavy on groove, heavy on content lyrically, very, very heavy musically, although very light in places. It’s not going to be street cred funk like the last album was eight years ago. It’s going to be darker and more… It’s going to make people move, you know? And my lyrics of course will be about what’s been going on with me. So there’s going to be some stories to tell. I’ll give you the timeline. That will be recorded last week in June, first week in July, and I will be mixing the second week in July. I shall be home the second week of July for one week of recovery before I start touring the United States, August 9th, in Annapolis, Maryland.”
Last question, and it’s a Hall of Famer flamer: what did Glenn and his Purple buddies think of Steve Miller railing against the Hall and its treatment of the musicians and their guests?
“What Steve said backstage, I’m on the fence about it, because he was rambling on about having to pay $10,000 per guy to get his band in there. And you know, look, this is my two cents. I’ve known Steve since ‘71. He is very opinionated, like we all are. Steve Miller is getting inducted as Steve Miller. You know, from what I can understand about this, it’s like, Steve Miller is one guy. You see what I’m saying? It’s like, David Bowie got inducted and he had a band that played with him too. But apparently what went down was Steve had to pay out of his own pocket for each member to be flown in. This is what I’m hearing. So, you know, I feel for him, because it’s a lot of bloody money. And he was outraged by it. And I thought it was a good bit of pomp and circumstance for the press. He got some coverage. But I must say, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the chairman and all the board members I met were so kind to the members of Deep Purple. And so, so respectful. But I also understand Steve. I completely understand it. He was out of pocket about $150,000 on the night.”
“So here it is in a nutshell,” continues Hughes. “Steve Miller got inducted as a solo artist, although it’s technically the Steve Miller Band. It’s not Steve Miller when he goes out and plays. It’s a band, although Steve is the star. I’m just thinking that he was upset that only he… Because everybody else got tickets for themselves and their wives. I’m just thinking Steve had a bit of a moment where he flared up a little bit and he took it to task. And I’m not Steve and he’s not me. And I’m sure if I would’ve had to shell out $150,000 that night I would’ve been pretty burnt-up too. But hey, it was a damn good show. Steve, in my opinion, he and his band were absolutely fantastic. And he didn’t take his anger onto that stage. He was a full professional. You know, I’ve known Steve prior to me joining Deep Purple and he’s been so gracious and kind to me. But yes, Steve does have a button. And when he pushes that button he can go a little dark. As I can too. Look, man, artists, they have switches, and when you throw that switch, it’s like, oh my God, let’s get out of the way for a minute here. But what I will not do is disrespect anybody—artists or Hall of Fame board members—because the class of 2016 was a classy event.”
And finally, who does Glenn think is long overdue for induction?
“Gotta get the Moody Blues in there. If I can get them on the ballot, you know, we’ll see, because those guys are responsible for me talking to you right this minute. I mean, most board members, they’re not young. The Moody Blues. You know why? Because they’re still playing, really. They still play, and Justin and John and... God, they’re like family to me. Who else needs to be there? Jeff Buckley, man. I mean, I could go on—Joe Bonamassa. He could be the youngest inductee ever, because he started so young. Joe Bonamassa needs to be in there. I love Joe; love him to pieces. And he absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. You know, there’s so much room for so many great artists, and it’s the fans who take the beating, Martin. We as artists don’t take a beating; it’s the fans—they take the beating.”
(Top photo courtesy of Glenn Hughes’ Facebook; bottom photo by Gene Kirkland)