Glenn Hughes' track-by-track guide to Resonate
Glenn Hughes' new album Resonate is out this week. So we asked him to take us through it, one track at a time
Glenn Hughes wrote his first solo album in eight years during therapy for knee replacement surgery. Titles Resonate, it’s the former Trapeze/Deep Purple/Black Sabbath singer’s 13th album under his own name.
“I knew as I went into this album that it would be my return to rock,” says Hughes, conscious of his legacy upon the world of funk, “so in some ways it wrote itself.”
Resonate is out on November 4, and can be ordered now.
Heavy was among the first songs I wrote for the album, and it set the tone. As unlikely as it might sound, everything was written on an acoustic guitar. I had the riff [which he hums down the line vociferously] but I kept the verse really simple and the chorus opened up. It’s groovy but it’s damned heavy. Maybe ten years ago it would have just been funky, but this time I wanted to spin things around.
I don’t know if I’m singing about Cannock [his birthplace], it’s probably more about Los Angeles as I’ve lived here for forty years. It’s just a Glenn riff thing that you might have heard before in Black Country Communion or California Breed, but it’s a meaningful song for me because I’m ranting about how grateful I am for my life, which I live very much in the moment.
[Tuning-wise] it’s a Drop-D song. I wanted a dirty, heavy song, something in the vein of Can’t Stop The Flood [from his 2001 solo album B_uilding The Machine_]. It needed to be mid-tempo and groovy. I captured that, though the psychedelic mid-section came together on the spot in the studio, and we threw in the Mellotron as a kind of Beatles element. Kevin [Shirley, producer of BCC] would not have allowed me to do that, but I pulled it off.
Let It Shine
It was one of the final songs to be written. It’s Drop-D but the riff is in A, so the fuzz really resonates. I love the Hammond organ on it, when Lachy [Doley] hits the major seventh on the verses it’s so LA but very melodic. I’m talking about healing, growing and faith. It’s a very, very uplifting song, one of my favourites on the album.
I wrote Steady for the band California Breed at Jason Bonham’s house in Florida. It wasn’t finished in time for that album but I completed it for my own. My initial plan had been to record as a trio, but I added Lachy Doley who, let me tell you, is the greatest live keyboard player in the world right now. It’s a bold claim but I believe it’s true. What he plays at the beginning of Steady is a tip of the hat to Jon Lord.
God Of Money
For years people have asked whether I’ve done anything purely for money, and I really have never put finance before art. This song is a rant about the people that do so. You can hear from my voice how pissed off the subject makes me feel. I played the riff to Jerry Cantrell [of Alice In Chains] who said, ‘Fuck me, that’s dark’, and there’s no darker riff-master than Jerry.
This one’s a little harder to explain than the rest. Maybe I’m singing about something from my past that there’s been talk and gossip about for years and years. It might be Purple-related or whatever, but I’ve kept my nose clean and stayed out of the subject. How Long, for me, is a song about truth, but also letting things go. It felt good getting it off my chest, you can hear my anger.
Landmines in life, for me, are anything that’s bad for me. They’re there for all of us to step on but we manoeuvre through our daily existence; we learn lessons, take hits and then we get back up again. Landmines is about taking those knocks and never being afraid of moving forward. It’s got a swagger to it. I’ve used lots of different vocal timbres on this album, and this one is unique.
When I Fall
I have been in grace, a more spiritual person, since my heart operation [in 2013]. I’m calmer and more sensitive. I can’t be around people who shout or cause a commotion. I’m very grateful I’m still here. When I Fall is a song of happiness at so many things, including the fact that I still have the voice I was given as a child. I’ve been through so much in the following years, that’s little short of a miracle.
Stumble & Go
It has a real flavour of New York. I played it to one of my best friends, John Varvatos, who bought CBGB the legendary club in New York's East Village, because of its Big Apple flavour. I’m not a punk rocker but I’d like to think Stumble & Go has an element of Rockin’ In The Free World [by Neil Young] – it has those basic three chords E, D and C. It’s simple and has an edge to it.
Long Time Gone
As implied by those lyrics about footsteps in the sand, it’s a song about walking with God. I’m not trying to offend people by talking about religion but I’m always walking with God. I spent a long time gone – hence the title – but I’m back and he’s with me every day. The groove reminds me of Trapeze, baby. I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever written, a great way to close an album.