Call ’em The Soul Brothes – but we talk not only music style here. When, some years ago, Jon Lord said he wished that one day all the members of the DEEP PURPLE family get together, nobody thought that two wayward sons would do exactly that – and that it would be these two. With Joe always gravitating towards British music and Glenn towards American, the twain were meant to meet. That’s how HUGHES-TURNER PROJECT came to be. Thinking in more prosaic terms, both veterans appear to be putting as much in their collaboration as in their solo output, and “HTP 2” is a great album of many layers. And some of them shall be peeled off… Over to the guys.
– What’s more in HTP: giving people what they want or self-indulgence which is typical for every quality work?
Joe Lynn TURNER: It is important to seek a fair balance. You have to love what you are doing and also cater to the audience as well but at the same time to force the script is not good.
Glenn HUGHES: I think we are giving the people what they want.
– Glenn, were you surprised when Joe called you to play bass with him in Japan, which started the whole HTP thing?
GH: No, because Joe and I have been friends for years and we talk all the time.
– Where did you first meet each other?
JLT: First time ever? I believe it was in Stolkholm, Sweden. Maybe 1986 and perhaps when he was working with John Norum…
GH: …on planet X.
– I have a recording of one of those Japanese shows, with Glenn starting his part in the set with “No Stranger To Love”. What’s so special in this SABBATH song, the only one you keep singing?
GH: I hadn’t thought about it, really. I think it is probably the most suitable in the set.
– You worked together for the first time back in the early Nineties. Did any of the pieces you’d written back then end up on the HTP albums?
GH: No, I wrote all these songs recently.
JLT: No. Several of those songs have never seen the light of day and probably never will.
– How do you decide which song will do better on you solo album and which will benefit from being worked on in HTP framework?
GH: Well, I write for each album independently, so I never have confusion about what song is for what album.
JLT: My solo material is clearly different stylistically. When I am working with HTP, I try to write what I know would be best suited to HTP. It is intentional and both projects show many different and some similar sides of me – I did not want them to be the same-sounding and that is pretty obvious.
– There are clear snippets of soul in HTP’s hard rock. Would you like to deviate a bit and do some Otis Redding-like album once you’ve established the HTP name?
GH: I don’t think the fans of HTP would appreciate it – to make it too soulful would make people unhappy. I have to save any of that for my solo albums.
JLT: I do not think HTP will ever get that pure in terms of soul, although both Glenn and I are very influenced by soul artists, so there may always be that element present in the music. I think both of us do enjoy getting more pure in the other outlets that we have. For example, I have a possible project coming up where I will get to do some Otis Redding songs and other stuff like that. As of this interview date, I cannot discuss it but if there is new news it will be posted at www.joelynnturner.com.
– Both of you are huge fans of Paul Rodgers, one of my favorite singers as well. Did you ever think about having him as a guest of HTP?
GH: No. We think more of guitar players and drummers and such, but I think the guesting thing is a bit over now. I won’t do it anymore, it doesn’t make any difference to the fans – only to the record labels.
JLT: I really admire Paul, and while it would be great to work with him in some capacity, Glenn and I are already two singers ourselves. So, it just did not make sense for a project like HTP.
– Joe, when an artist release a self-titled album – if it’s not his debut, I mean – this implies he thinks of it as of his definitive statement. Is “JLT” the one? It surely grows into psyche with every new spin…
JLT: “JLT” is definitely an album with more of my personal involvement than ever before, I wrote a couple tracks solely on my own. In the past, all the songs on my albums were co-written with other writers. I also play guitar on “JLT”. As far as definitive… I think that is a label that is best attributed to an album when a person’s career is over and you have a chance to look back on their entire library. For example, Hendrix fans can say they have certain thoughts about what would be his definitive album. but when he was still making albums it was hard to say what was definitive.
– You’re a specialist in English literature – how does that inform your lyrics?
JLT: Yes, it affects the lyrics, and sometimes I try not to be too clever. (Laughs.) But it also helps in that tools of the trade to get point across come more naturally. I guess you could say it is a blessing and a curse.
– Glenn, you call the years of your addiction a wasted time but, judging on various bootlegs and demos like those with Geoff Downes, you were writing quality stuff. So were those years really wasted?
GH: I wasn’t enjoying life like I should have been, and when you aren’t enjoying life, you are wasting it.
– Joe, was it Glenn’s past addiction that inspired “Excess” from “JLT”?
JLT: No. I wrote that with Chris Marksbury. It applies to anyone who has a serious addiction issue. The guy we wrote about actually died and Chris and I knew him. He was closer to Chris than he was to me, but I still knew him and knew about the pain he suffered.
– Then, rap-ish “Let’s Go”: with this one, were you going back to that pre-KOOL AND THE GANG band you were a part of?
JLT: No… They definitely have a soulful bounce, though, I agree. I guess you cannot “take the soul out of the guy”. (Laughs.) Parts of the song actually started out as a commercial jingle for a USA fast food restaurant chain called Wendy’s. But it never ended up as a commercial so we took parts of that song from a writing session we had and expanded it to make “Let’s Go”.
– What’s the story behind “Thief In The Night” from your “Undercover” album co-written by you and Ritchie Blackmore?
JLT: That song was co-written by Rick Blakemore, one of my cohorts and very close friends in FANDANGO. It is a cover of a classic FANDANGO song.
– Glenn, you did many covers through the years. Which of the performances you like the best. I’d vote for “Video Killed The Radio Star” and Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed” where you seem to really share the sentiment…
GH: I have been performing [Neil Young’s] “Cinnamon Girl” lately and also [Jimi Hendrix’s] “Foxy Lady”: these are great to do. When I do a cover album I don’t get to pick the song, but I put my all into it.
– You’re going to be on a new PHENOMENA album. How is it working with the Galley brothers again? Like it was back in TRAPEZE days?
GH: I think we are all a bit too old to have it be like back in TRAPEZE days! But I do hold a special place in my heart for the Galleys. They know that.
– Did you ever think how your life could have turned out like if you followed the glory road with TRAPEZE? Was the DEEP PURPLE stint a blessing or a curse?
GH: I don’t dwell on it because that part of life has already been lived and you can’t change it, and I have no regrets for TRAPEZE or DEEP PURPLE.
– Joe, what does it take to split up very amicable with guys like Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen? You seem to be the only one who didn’t get fired by them but left on good terms.
JLT: I think that is because I always respected them very much, and even when we did have our issues they both inherently knew this. Plus, I have been told by many people – friends, musicians I have worked with, etcetera – that I am an “armchair psychologist”. I really know how to read people well, work things out with them and rarely hold a grudge. I am the type that can have an argument with someone but also try and make peace soon after. I try and see the goodness in people more than the bad side. It makes for a much more peaceful existence. I think people who know me well know this, and that is why we stay on good terms.
– Glenn, a dove and a fire in your hands on the cover of “Songs In The Key Of Rock” – what do they symbolize? Peace and war in your soul?
GH: They are cool.
– Where the depth of “Written All Over Your Face” comes from? I just can’t recall another example of such a perfect blend of gospel and rock.
GH: I don’t know. It is just inside me. I can’t explain it.
– Joe, how did you like the prog experience of working with the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT?
JLT: It was a great experience. I have always admired Alan. He is a legend and to work with him was very cool!
– Glenn, your upcoming DVD and a new CD: what surprises are in them?
At one point, the whole band strips down naked. You’re gonna love it.
Many thanks to Ms Lisa Walker for the interview arrangement.