Black Country Communion: "If I wasn’t in this band, I'd want to be in this band"
They were a supergroup with the world at their feet, but they let their world implode. After a “long hiatus”, Black Country Communion are back, with a new album and a brand new perspective
It seems nobody told Glenn Hughes that lead singers are supposed to be fashionably late – for everything. On a recent Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, the veteran vocalist/bassist arrives at photographer Neil Zlozower’s studio before any of the other members of his band, Black Country Communion.
“I never went in for the prima donna shit,” he says with an elegant yet dismissive wave of his hand. “Believe me, I’ve seen enough of that behaviour over the years. I could give lessons if I wanted to. No good can come from it. Be a pro, I say.”
Guitar ace Joe Bonamassa is next in the door, and he quickly informs Zlozower that he’s on the clock. Bonamassa keeps to a tight schedule most of the time, and tomorrow morning he’s flying to Havana to shoot a documentary. “We’re going to do a reverse Buena Vista Social Club thing,” he says. “I’m gonna grab a bunch of Cubans and try to play the blues with them. We’ll see what happens. If it works, that’ll be great. If it doesn’t, well, it’ll be a different kind of film.”
Hughes and Bonamassa greet each other with warm hugs and spend a few minutes catching up on their recent activities. Their camaraderie is natural and unforced – and somewhat surprising, given the way the two musicians sniped at each other on social media back in 2012, a bitter public exchange that resulted in the fast implosion of Black Country Communion following the release of their third album, Afterglow. “We were like visionaries,” Bonamassa says. “Glenn and I invented mean tweets before they became presidential.”
The afternoon is drawing to a close as the four band members gather together for group and individual photos. After a series of indoor ones are snapped, the guys head outside and hang out on Sunset Boulevard as photographer Neil Zlozower continues to click away. Hughes keeps everybody giggling with a steady stream of ribald jokes, all of which seem to end with the same punchline: “Well, it isn’t gonna suck itself!”
So far there are no BCC gigs on the books for 2017, although the band ares scheduled to play three shows in the early part of next year – two UK dates and one aboard an ocean liner as part of Bonamassa’s annual Blues At Sea Cruise. Somewhat surprisingly, the matter of touring wasn’t a deal-breaker when Bonamassa first proposed the idea of re-forming. “We didn’t set any conditions of any kind,” Sherinian says. “We just said: ‘If we’re gonna do a record, let’s do it.’ There was no mandate for touring.”
Hughes, in the past the most keen member to tour, now says he’s adopted a ‘whatever happens happens’ credo regarding the future of Black Country Communion.
“The key to my life these days is that I have no expectations,” he explains. “I bear no resentments. I do this one day at a time, knowing full well that what we did on album number four made me a better human being. I’m going to keep doing things the same way. I’m so glad we did this one because it’s brought us closer together. I just feel blessed to play with these guys.”
So that means no more mean tweets? Hughes laughs. “No,” he says, “there will be none of that going on.”
“Here’s the deal,” says Bonamassa. “You can’t erase the past, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who takes shit to the grave. Fuck that. This goes back to that morning I sent the email to everybody. It’s like I woke up and said to myself: ‘Self, life is way too short to keep this burdensome shit going. We had fun in 2010. We had fun in 2011 and 2012, and we had a blast making the new album. So as long as that lasts, let’s keep doing this.’
“The world doesn’t need a bunch of bitter old coots making music by obligation,” he concludes. “You have that with other bands, but who needs it? There’s too much content out there already. But if a band wants to make music and they come out of the gate with the right record? Hey, the world can use that. I’m really proud that we’ve all gotten to this place together.”
IV is out now via Mascot Records