There is little point in waxing lyrical about the skill and prowess of either Glenn Hughes, whom we are proud to interview here, or Black country communion – the bassist and vocalist’s full-time band (and he is keen to emphasise that BCC are a band) as they need no introduction to the millions of fans that they have quickly gathered across the globe.
Following a rocky start, the four piece (also comprising Derek Sherinian, Joe Bonamassa and Jason Bonham) quickly convened the classy “1” album alongside producer Kevin Shirley and the expectation was that a tour would soon follow. However, the band had other ideas and following a few, rapturously received shows they launched into album number “2”; a head-scratching decision in these days of music-as-fast-food-consumerism where every band spends forever touring their debut album, surviving headline slots by throwing in covers and allowing a good half hour break between main set and encore ; unless you read the interviews with the band stating that they wanted to go out with enough material to blow the audience, and any other band unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, clear out of the water.
The result is “2”, the eagerly anticipated follow-up which, following three days more or less glued in my CD player, I can confirm develops upon the original in almost every way imaginable. Bolder, darker and plain heavier than its little brother “2” sees the band flexing their muscles and Glenn’s voice, never a weak point on any album he has appeared on, seems to be even more godly than ever – powerful, versatile and utterly unique.
We were allowed the opportunity to send a few questions to Glenn on the eve of the album’s release, the answers to which are presented below and we hope that this brief interview will shed some light on the mindset of Black Country Communion as they embark upon the second chapter of their remarkable story.
“2” is coming hot off the heels of your debut release – you are clearly fired up at the moment – what do you find inspires you?
With “2” I wanted a darker record, most certainly in my lyrics. I have lived a very colourful life and there were dark times.
With four such strong personalities in the band, who does the bulk of the writing and are there ever clashes of opinion about direction or style?
I took four months away from touring solo last summer. I didn’t want to go in the studio unprepared. Kev (Kevin Shirley, the producer) and the guys gave their blessing for me to go ahead and write.
Expectations for BCC are, and always have been, very high – does that add to the pressure or does it help you to thrive?
Absolutely raises my game. I love a challenge. I never want to stop spiritually growing.
The tracks that I’ve heard thus far indicate that this is going to be a very rock orientated record – is that the direction you’ve consciously been heading in or is it just a result of the four of you jamming out what feels natural?
We are a Rock Band. We could quite easily stretch into other genres, but we make Rock records, for Rock Fans.
It was time to address some things that happened in my past, hence the darker lyrics. We aint playing in the sandbox here. It’s blood and guts stuff.
You’re appearing at this year’s High Voltage festival – do you enjoy doing festival slots like this or do you prefer to headline?
I like the big occasion. I love festivals, and playing to new fans who may not b too familiar with BCC. It’s all about the present, yesterdays gone.
What can we expect from the BCC set?
We have a lot to pull from including drama, relentless grooves, light and shade.
With such a quick turnaround for album number two, do you already have a game plan for the future…and possibly a third album?
Well, there will be a third record… when? I wanna savour in the moment of “2” and the tour.
Obviously all the musicians in BCC have other commitments – does that ever cause issues with regards to getting everyone together in the band?
No, not really. My main focus is establishing our band, and Brand. I’m the guy carrying the flag. I ain’t no shrinkin’ violet. It’s life and death to me!
The vibe from the first album and even more so on the tracks I’ve heard on the new record is that of four musicians really sparking off each other and having a blast in the process – is that an accurate depiction?
“1” was an idea, “2” is a Band. We are full on. We are the monster in the closet.
In what ways do you consider the new album to be a progression from the first?
“2” is the big brother to “1”.
Are there any modern bands you particularly dig who have provided some element of inspiration?
I don’t really listen to any new stuff, unless someone makes me listen…then it’s usually interesting.
You’ve been heavily, and personally, involved in promoting this album via tweets and the like – you just seem so excited about the music you’ve made…
This Band is the air that I breathe. I love these guys. This was meant to be. Musically, you can’t hide in BCC, or you’ll be found out.
The term supergroup always seems to imply a rather transitory nature and yet it seems, from the outside at least, that BCC are a solid unit who want to go the distance – would you agree?
Supergroup..hmmm.. I get why people call us, and any artists who have had success. It’s a soundbyte.
How long did you spend in the studio recording “2”
10 days… 10 beautiful days in Hollyweird. It took me damn near 10 weeks to come up with the first BCC logo!
Any final words?
We are here to Rock.. to engage you. We are you, and you are us.
Black Country Communion’s new album “2” is released by Mascot Records on June 13th.
Black Country Communion’s UK tour kicks off on July 23rd.
Special Guest is Michael Schenker.
Llandudno Cymru Arena (July 23)
Leeds O2 Academy (July 26)
Newcastle 02 Academy (July 27)
Glasgow O2 Academy (July 29)
Manchester Academy (July 30)
Further info: http://www.bccommunion.com
Ticket Hotline: 0871 2301101.
Photo credits: Jason, Glenn and Joe photographs courtesy of Christie Goodwin. Derek Courtesy of Simon Jay Price.