Glenn Hughes Resonates

Posted February 2017 

glennbackcoversingle copyI don’t know what songs kids play air guitar in their rooms these days but “back when I was their age” (did I just say that?!), one of the bands on my air guitar short list was most definitely Deep Purple. Their Made In Japan album was, by far, THE album (if a kid couldn’t play anything else on guitar, they could play the intro to Smoke On The Water) and when their studio album, Burn, came out, Purple fans emptied store shelves of it. 

The band has had four different line-ups (referred to as Mark I, II, III, or IV) and have reportedly collectively sold over 100 million LPs globally. The bassist in Marks III and IV was Glenn Hughes who, along with other members of Deep Purple, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. 

While on the subject of the RRHOF, I contacted its CEO, Greg Harris, for some comments about the legendary bassist.

“An overall thought is what an incredible rock and roll life and what an incredibly warm and open person. It says a lot to be such a great stage presence in rock and roll, through and through and having been so well traveled. He relates to people. I’m very impressed with his friendship and generosity to everybody. If you think about his lineage in the bands he was in before Deep Purple itself and then afterwards, it’s just amazing. So, whether or not you knew the name of the guy playing bass in some of these bands – that unmistakable sound is Glenn Hughes.”

When I asked Greg if Glenn had been involved with the Hall with regards to contributing any memorabilia, he said, “He has. He’s been, first and foremost, involved with the induction. Then, subsequent to that, he’s actually served as our Hall of Fame ambassador at a few events. He’s such a great spokesperson for the museum. He was generous in providing items for the exhibit. With such a long career and so much movement, he doesn’t have a lot of things left from those early days. But he shared with us a real period piece: a pair of platform shoes that he wore during the Deep Purple era.”

Mr. Harris closed his comments about Glenn by adding, “Not only is Glenn an inductee into the Hall of Fame but he has also become a member of the Hall of Fame family. He truly has been a great ambassador and he and his wife, Gabby, are just terrific individuals.”

glennbw copyGlenn not only played in the Deep Purple, but he

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Derek Trucks

Posted January, 2017

tedeschi trucks band 001 photo creditduo general 3For the uninformed, the Tedeschi Trucks band is one of the best blues rock jam bands touring the planet today. You can take that to the bank so just go right ahead and buy their three studio albums (Revelator, Made Up Mind, and Let Me Get By) and their live album (Everybody’s Talkin’).

For a little background, the band is led by husband and wife team, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, and are backed by ten (originally eight but things have a way of growing in a band like this) of the best musicians jamming today. Derek was considered a child prodigy on the guitar not long after buying his first six string when he was seven years old.

In the years that followed, Trucks made a name for himself with his own band as well as playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy (when Derek was thirteen), Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, and many others. His reputation also led to repeated guest spots in the Allman Brothers band, who his uncle, Butch, co-founded. The guest spot ultimately led to a permanent position from 1999 until the band split in late 2014.

Susan Tedeschi is an amazing blues guitarist in her own right and is the primary lead vocalist in the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  If you haven’t heard her sing and play ‘Midnight In Harlem’, you’re missing out on a real treat.

But I digress.

Susan is a Berkley grad and her talents led her to opening gigs with icons like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, John Mellencamp, and many others. As the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Derek, Susan, and the band have delighted audiences all over the world and even at the White House.  Along the way, they’re building an ever-growing fan base that is sure to serve them well in the years to come.

I recently chatted by phone with Derek just before the band performed their last of three shows at Boston’s Orpheum Theater. I wanted to talk about their latest CD, Let Me Get By, and their current tour. The status of the latter is what I first asked him about.

“It’s been good, you know? Tonight’s our last show of the year. We’ve been hittin’ it hard this year. It’s been a great year but it’s been pretty intense. We’re pretty excited – maybe go out with a bang tonight.”

When I followed up with asking how this tour was different from past tours, Derek said, “The one

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Billy Gibbons

Posted November, 2016

Photo by Levi PervinPhoto by Levi PervinRock and blues fans get their music from all over the world. One favored and revered band started almost fifty years ago in Houston, Texas. That band is ZZ Top who became known as the “little ol’ band from Texas.” They have been making huge, monster hits ever since their landmark album, “Tres Hombres,” and never looked back.

I’ve never had the privilege of seeing the band perform. The only time I’ve ever seen them in person, in fact, was at Stevie Ray Vaughan’s funeral in 1990. Because the band is performing at Knoxville’s beautiful Tennessee Theatre, the opportunity presented itself to ask the band’s iconic Billy Gibbons a few questions.

To say that I was thrilled would be an obvious understatement.

Our brief exchange took place while Gibbons was in France. Flattered that he took the time to answer my questions, I made sure that they were short and sweet, starting with asking how many tours their current tour made for the band.

“In total? The word “incalculable” springs to mind because the truth is it's a definite uncertainty when one tour ends and the next one begins. The best guess places it somewhere in four digits yet, again, that’s just a guess.”

And how has touring changed for ZZ Top since the first tours?

“We’ve graduated from a rented station-wagon, stuffed full of gear and band members to streamlined touring coaches which makes for a rolling home when we’re not at home. The streamlining is now way better keeping in touch with the outside world. During the outings in ZZ's early years, we were last to know our albums were playing on radio and were starting to hit hard. Now, it's all about onboard Wi-Fi, re-runs of black-and-white Perry Mason, and full-service kitchen preparations on wheels. Way back then, complaints were few as we were getting to groove with the folks getting into what we were puttin’ down. That groove continues to rock on and fortunately the pathways these days are straight ahead.”

When asked what can fans expect from shows on this tour – especially during the

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Rich Robinson In Flux

Posted December, 2016

richrobinson credit alysse gafkjen001 cropPhoto by Alysse GafkjenIn the fall of 1990, I was driving from Raleigh, North Carolina, through the mountain of East Tennessee/Western North Carolina, listening to a static riddled FM rock station. The night was dark and Interstate 40 was steep and I was pushing to get to my grandmother’s place after a week of training.

After enjoying song after enjoyable, familiar song, something came blasting out of the car’s speakers that I hadn’t heard before. I turned the volume up and tuned my ears in to this fabulous tune I was hearing. The band was a new group called The Black Crowes and the song was a brilliant cover of the Otis Redding hit, Hard to Handle. Like millions of people that year, I became an immediate fan of the Georgia based band.

Formed by brothers Rich (on guitars) and Chris Robinson (vocals), the Black Crowes enjoyed twenty-five years of success (including over 30 million albums sold) before the brothers decided to go their separate ways. One of the results of that parting is Rich’s new CD, Flux. Raw and gritty, the album is what rock is all about.

It was about that album that I had the opportunity to chat by phone with Rich while he enjoyed a day or two at home during a tour break. Responding to my question about fan reaction to the album and supporting tour, he said, “So far, it’s been a really good response. Everyone’s been really cool. Crowds have been really enthusiastic about the new songs so it’s been great! I think that people feel that it all works together. I try to look at everything thing as a large piece, you know what I mean? How does this fit into the overall spectrum of what I’ve done? To me, I think it fits right in line with everything and, again, I’m really happy with it.”

Regarding how the work on Flux was different than all of the other albums he worked on, Rich responded, “I’ve always written the way I write. I go in and the music kind of dictates what it’s going to be – the song that comes dictates what it’s going to sound like; what’s going to happen, and that’s a cool thing to me. The way I create always comes down to what’s this going to bring out, ultimately. Just kind of get in there and see how it goes and not try to over think it.”

Technology has had a tremendous impact with some artists as to how they work and record in the

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Lawrence Gowan Of Styx

Posted October, 2016

 

styx reducedFew bands have impacted the seventies and eighties like Styx. With monster hits like Lady, Renegade, Come Sail Away, Too Much Time On My Hands, and many others, it’s no surprise that the band’s music still permeates airwaves and stereos all over the world as well as being prominently placed in movies and TV shows.

The current configuration of this iconic band consists of founding member and bassist, Chuck Panozzo; co-founder/guitarist, James “J.Y.” Young; Tommy Shaw (who joined the band in 1976 as a guitarist); drummer, Todd Sucherman (with the band since 1995; Ricky Philips (rhythm guitar and bass, joining the band in 2003); and Lawrence Gowan, keyboardist/vocalist who joined the band back in 1999.

Of the replacements, Gowan undoubtedly had the toughest role in stepping into the big shoes left vacant with the departure of Dennis DeYoung.

Fill ‘em, he did, and quite well, thank you. Already a huge, chart-topping artist in his own right in his native Canada, Lawrence was quite up to the task.

I recently spoke with the band’s keyboardist and vocalist, Lawrence Gowan, to discuss the band’s new DVD, “Styx Live at Orleans Arena Las Vegas” as well as the latest happenings with the band.

I started off by asking Lawrence if, in his wildest dreams, he ever imagined joining a band like Styx.

“In Styx, I think that’s one of the best cards that life has dealt me. I thoroughly enjoyed my

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