GLENN HUGHES Talks About His New Band CALIFORNIA BREED
Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society
When it comes to rock and roll bloodlines, one would be hard pressed to find an active artist with a more impressive resume than bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, who currently fronts the British/American rock band, California Breed. Having spent his subsequent years working with the biggest legends in music, as a solo star, and guesting with everyone from Black Sabbath to Earth, Wind & Fire – up to his most recent collaboration in Black Country Communion, which included Jason Bonham. When Black Country Communion disbanded Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham had a strong desire to keep playing together. They’re only challenge was finding a new guitarist worthy of their musicality.
Easier said than done for these stars who between them have worked with some of the greatest guitarists in history – including Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Gary Moore (R.I.P.) and Joe Bonamassa, to name just a few. Then fate took a hand in things when Glenn’s friend Julian Lennon introduced him to the astounding talents of a New York City guitarist named Andrew Watt.
We wanted to get the lowdown on how California Breed came about. What better way to do so than to go right to the source. In this case, Glenn Hughes. We spoke with "The Voice Of Rock" himself, Glenn Hughes about his new band featuring, Jason Bonham on drums and guitarist Andrew Watt better known as CALFORNIA BREED. Here's what Glenn kindly shared with us...
The album sounds amazing! Are you pleased with how the album turned out?
GH: "Very pleased! I want to make the music that is in my soul and with Jason and Andrew, I'm back playing rock music with real rock musicians. Jason is great, just like his Father. Let me be perfectly clear, Jason Bonham can now hang his hat next to his Father. I knew Jason's Father, he was one of my best friends. I told Jimmy (Page) that Jason's playing on the album is amazing and its the best he's ever sounded. Also, when I heard the vocals, it sounded to me although I don't want to be twenty-two, my vocals sounded very young and energized. I didn't want to sound like a teenager, but I just felt really energized by this. I want to promote this album, I want to promote all these songs. This is the kind of album that doesn't have any filler. Every song to me is vitally important."
How does California Breed differ from past projects you've been involved with?
GH: "First off, I love Black Country Communion. That band disbanded in 2012. BCC was the last band I was in before starting this one. Every project or band I've been in for me is different. In the case of California Breed, I did not want to have a Jon Lord or Derek Sherinian thing. I wanted California Breed to be different. For anyone who knows Glenn Hughes, I never repeat myself."As far as finding the right guitarist to complete the band. You and Jason could have called upon a number of seasoned players. Instead You chose a relatively unknown, Andrew Watt from New York city.
GH: "We could gave gone another route. We could have gone with a famous guy, but I said to Jason, 'it would have affect us with a 10 percent chance of touring versus a 90 percent. Both Jason and I have worked with a number of great guitar players. We did not want a guitar player that sounded like Blackmore , Iommi or Bonamassa, who are all amazing players. We decided to get someone new and who was really talented. We really got lucky with Andrew."What was is it about Andrew that won you and Jason over?
GH: "Not only is Andrew a great guitar player, he is a great songwriter as well. So we made sure we found someone, ten weeks after BCC broke up, it was my friend Julian Lennon who introduced me to Andrew at the Grammy's last year. Literally, the first day me and Andrew got together we wrote two songs. One was ‘Chemical Rain’ and the other was ‘Solo’, both of which are now on the finished album. I was so moved by the music, I said, ‘We’ve got to record this!’ That’s when I called Jason...Cut to autumn 2013. Recording with Dave Cobb at the producer’s own studio in Nashville, added all the finishing touches."How would you describe Andrew's plaything style?
GH: "When you think of all the great guitar players that came out of the 80's like Van Halen with his hammer on technique or Yngwie's fast playing style, they were left handed players. Andrew is a right handed guitar player. He may have been born in the 90's but he plays like he's from the 60's. His guitar playing is more along the lines of a Angus or Malcom Young and Keith Richards."
Awesome, when it came to writing songs for California Breed, what was you're writing process like?
GH: "When I'm writing music for my solo or like BCC, I write in my own studio. When I'm writing something, I know when it going to be good. I knew that when I wrote the songs in BCC. When I started to write for California Breed, in a week I wrote, "Sweet Tea", "Breathe", "Days To Come" and "The Grey", those songs I wrote in a week, they came rushing to me. That's when I brought Dave Cobb in. Before I went to Nashville, I would play the stuff to Dave over the phone."Speaking of Dave Cobb, you mentioned that you had him add all the finishing touches to the album. How did you find out about him and what made you choose him to produce the album?
GH: "A friend of my is a fashion designer, Jon Barbados. About three years ago, I was hosting a party for him and at the party were a bunch of celebrities and news people. I saw these young guys in the corner, I walked over to them because they looked like they were in a band. It was either Jay or Scott came to me with a CD and said to me, "We're in a band called Rival Sons." They knew I had a radio.show at The BBC in the UK and asked me, "Would you mind playing our song, "Pressure And Time" or your show?"Were you aware of who the Rival Sons were?
GH: "I had never heard of them. I told them, "If you guys are Rock, I'm going to play it for you." So, I played the song and said, 'These guys are bloody good, who produced these guys?!" So, I found out it was Dave Cobb who produced them, so I Googled him and found out that he worked with Shooter Jennings and James Johnson. Keith Urban told me about him, all good stuff. So I called him up and told him that I was working on new project with Jason. Being a huge Zeppelin fan, Dave said he would love to be part of it."
So, what was it like working with Dave Cobb?
GH: "I really love Dave Cobb and I love Nashville. I knew recording this album live with Dave would be staggering. I've always wanted to go back to tape. The last album I did tape on was, Hughes/Thrall in '82. We got Cobb on board six months before we went to Nashville. So, I knew how Dave worked by the time we got to Nashville. I did not know he was going to record me live. When I was doing the album with him, I knew we were recording the vocals, but I did not know what I was recording was going to make the album. Jason and Andrew recorded the album and I over dubbed the bass. When I over dubbed the bass I said to Cobb, 'Now I'm going to sing." He said, "No you ain't, you already sung the album." We didn't have any playbacks. It was totally the reverse of what I’m used to, but I went into that aggressive rock soulfulness and everything down to the whispers, it was all done live!"Sounds like you had a blast working with him..
GH: "I enjoyed myself so much, just going for it. People have always told me that I was first and second take singer. If it takes more than that then it becomes a job. I don't want it to be like a job, I want it to be like an art form. Me and Jason didn't want to sound like anyone else, we already sound like ourselves, but we felt we needed some fresh energy and Dave absolutely brought it.”
Looking forward, or should we say, can't wait to play Live with California Breed? Summer Festivals this Summer in Europe and America?
GH: "It's definitely going to be a busy Summer. I'll be in South America next month. Jason is got some things he will be doing. Then at the end of this month were playing the Whisky A Go-Go. We are going to be doing a Europe and America tour. I believe we're going to start mid-September head on just going for it.Glenn we can thank you enough for talking with us. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
GH: "I really put my art first. I really, really put my art first. I know if I do that and it's genuine and honest, it's frank and its real, then I know that everything else will be taken care of."
Amen to that! There you have it folks! California Breed's debut showcases the talents of these amazing artists, and the combination of these three talents makes for one hell of a memorable listening experience! That’s the thing about breeds. They go all the way back, in order to bring forth something new. Be the first to hitch your horse to the California Breed wagon. They’re heading straight for the bright coloured sun.
Thanks Glenn for sharing! - The Dedicated Rocker Society
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