Australians and New Zealanders are in for a very special treat, as Deep Purple alumnus Glenn Hughes (vocals / bass, Deep Purple mk III and IV) will be premiering his Classic Deep Purple tour in our countries. Hughes is very keen to talk with us about his longstanding love of Australia. “I’ve always really enjoyed working in Australia,” he tells us. “I shouldn’t say ‘worked,’” he hastens to add, “that’s a stupid word. Performing and doing what I do, to Australian people. I have a long history of playing Australia, and I love the country, I love the people. Whilst I was on tour in May, I had been thinking of doing something like the tour I’m doing. I think it’s time to start doing that. I mean, I’ve never really gone back and done a whole show of Deep Purple songs. I’m not one to go back that much. I’m always one to move forward or stay in the moment, I’m not really one to reflect so much on the past. But I think that time now is apparent where I need to do that, for my own need to get back to the fans who have been waiting for so long to hear these songs. It’s never going to happen that you’ll see me with Ritchie Blackmore and my buddy David Coverdale, and Ian Paice, it’s long gone now. So it’s time for me to celebrate those songs and play them appropriately to people who really want to hear these songs, because they’re very important songs in rock history.”

Hughes even has an Australian in the band, keyboardist Lachy Doley. “In my opinion, the greatest live keyboard player on the planet,” Hughes jumps in with great excitement “I met him through Jimmy Barnes ten years ago. I was writing an album with Jimmy at his house and I met Lachy there, and I said, ‘My god, who the hell is this guy on keyboards?’ And then I did a DVD shoot in Australia at the Basement in Sydney, and Lachy came and played with me, and we’ve been close ever since. And he played on my last solo album last year in Europe. The only person I thought could play these songs so well and have Jon Lord remembered would be Lachy. Lachy is truly a real, real, real, super, super wonder player.”

Thinking back on the time when Deep Purple was known as “the world’s most dangerous band,” Hughes reflects, “We were a very volatile band on stage. Ritchie’s guitars were always getting smashed, and Jon used to throw his organ around like it was a mouth organ, a harmonica,” he chuckles. “So you never knew what was going to fly off the stage at any moment. It was a very strange place to walk,” he remembers more quietly. “If you walked onto a Deep Purple stage, you were most likely to be hit with something. I say that with all sincerity. It was a very dangerous place to be. And that’s something which I think is missing in rock music,” he asserts, the passion filling his voice. “You’ve got to keep it real. I think you’ve got to have drama. You’ve got to have character, and you have to go up to the edge and look down and go, ‘Okay, whoa, it’s pretty far away down there, but I have to bring it,’ you know? I think music should be a little dangerous and, well, a lot dangerous actually. I think it shouldn’t be perfectly tied in a pink bow. I think it should be raw, and rough and tumble.”

Hughes has led an incredibly diverse career, much of which he wrote of in his 2011 autobiography, Deep Purple and Beyond: Scenes from the Life of a Rock Star (re-released as Glenn Hughes: The Autobiography). Since then, a lot has changed. “I’ve had open heart surgery since then, I’ve had two new knees put in. I lost both my parents and a couple of dogs, a couple of cats. Those are the things that have happened to me personally,” he speaks candidly. “I’ve had a lot of career changes, I’ve had a lot of successes with my band Black Country Communion. I’ve been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve won other awards, classic rock awards. And you know, I’ve kept on. I’ve kept on the path and I’ve carried the message around the world. For me, I say music is the healer. It really is, I think. We live in a very dark planet right now with what we’ve got going on in America, with racial upset and political unrest, and we have to be very, very careful on this planet because we’re heading down the wrong path. So music is the healer,” Hughes says with conviction. “I keep saying it. When people come home and they’ve had a really difficult day at work, most people, they close the door, they draw the blinds and they put their headphones on and they escape into the music. And I’m glad to be of service for that. I just want people to know that’s part of what I want to do. I’m going to give my work back to people.”

Hughes reflects on his induction into the Hall of Fame, “A lot of people wait for that award their entire careers, and I’ve been doing this now for almost five decades. Deep Purple are one of only 152 artists in the Hall of Fame, and to be alongside my heroes The Beatles and The Stones, of course, and Stevie Wonder and Prince and Neil Young, and of course my friends in Led Zeppelin. It’s a remarkable achievement. As you know a lot of bands, a lot of really famous bands, don’t get in. I don’t know why. It’s just that Deep Purple sold so many albums and made so much great music. We’re just very honoured to be part of that establishment. I’m also an ambassador for the Hall of Fame as well. They asked me to become a global ambassador, and I’ve done a lot of work for them over the last 18 months.

Hughes also played on the album Seventh Star, marketed as a Black Sabbath album featuring Tony Iommi. Given his history with Iommi, Hughes offers some thoughts on “The End” of Black Sabbath. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they do another show in the next couple of years for a charity. Tony is one of my best friends. He’s now at home, but he’s been touring for the last couple of years. He’s beat cancer, he’s in remission, which is fantastic. He’s just coming to grips with family life, and he’s a lovely, lovely, kind human being. Remember now, I’m from the 70s, I’m from the Purple, Zeppelin, Who, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath camp of guys who are all friends, and some of us aren’t here any longer. It really breaks my heart to think of the people I’ve lost. John Bonham, one of my best friends, and now I play with his son. So I’m so glad to still be alive and to do what I do.”

Looking ahead, he tells us, “I feel that 2018 for me will be a year of progression as far as my touring. Like I said, I don’t like to go back in my career and do stuff I’ve done before. This is the first time I’ve ever embraced these songs in a show, a whole show of these classic songs, and I’m going to be doing arrangements that were partly arranged in the 70s and some new arrangements, but everybody will know what songs they are, the melodies are exactly the same and the musicianship will be the highest quality. I’ve got Lachy Doley playing keyboards in my band, he’s an Australian keyboard player who in my opinion is the greatest keyboard player alive, an amazing guitar player from Los Angeles Jeff Kollman, my drummer a European guy called Pontus Engborg. I’ve got an amazing band. We interplay pretty intensely, so it’ll be a pretty intense show. Each show will be slightly different, playing the same songs but we like to jam, and we love to get it off. I love to do what I do, and it’s very apparent.”

With the tour only a month away, Hughes finishes, “I’m just super excited that I’m going to premiere this tour in Australia. When you premiere something, something that you know is going to be quite successful, it’s always good to start in a place where you feel like you’re coming home, and I have a really strong feeling about Australia. I have for a lot of time. I love the country, I love the people, and I’m anxiously waiting to get back there and start the tour.”