Tuesday, September 21, 2010

For Black Country Communion release, band plays secret London gig

Glenn Hughes;
photo by John Rahim
The members of Black Country Communion have been running the publicity rounds in support of their album release. Black Country was released in the United States today on the J&R Adventures label. While Jason Bonham is flying back to the U.S. straight after the band's London debut in front of 100 people at a secret show, singer and bassist Glenn Hughes remains in England where he'll begin touring right away.

The singer took some time today to update Lemon Squeezings on the success of last night's gig and how it came about. "We were in New York a couple of weeks ago doing the same thing, and we wanted to do a media show in England because the band's strength, we believe, will start from England, and it has today," said Hughes. "It's looking really strong here."

A small assembly of contest winners and media personnel attended the show, which was held at a rehearsal studio in London. The U.K.'s Planet Rock Radio broadcast the show live as the band ran through eight songs on the disc, including their remake of "Medusa" from Hughes's old band, Trapeze. "It was great, really successful, and it's really looking strong right now. It's all go. It's all Black Country Communion, baby," he said enthusiastically over the phone early in the London afternoon.

He believes they've achieved their goal in England for the time being, until they return next year for a longer trip. "We needed to do something in England, something in New York, and this is what we needed to do to get a foundation, a buzz going," explained Hughes.

He says he felt a good vibe among the band members, who in addition to Bonham on drums also include Derek Sherinian on Hammond organ and keyboard as well as guitarist and sometime singer Joe Bonamassa. Just as on the album, Bonamassa sometimes grabs the lead vocal on songs and trades back and forth with Hughes to great effect. "Joe didn't particularly want to sing on this album, but I want to make it clear to the people listening that I want Joe to sing," said Hughes. "Joe's got a wonderful voice."

Bonamassa sings on his solo albums, including his Black Rock release from March, so he's no stranger to the microphone. The Black Country Communion track "Song of Yesterday" is one the Bonamassa wrote and has commented has the same style that could have landed the track an appearance on one of his own discs.

Hughes, who shares vocals on it, said he is glad to have it as a part of the Black Country Communion set. "'Song of Yesterday' is an amazing song, and it'll be a crying shame if he didn't sing it," he volunteered. "I'm a really big supporter of having a couple singers."

Joe Bonamassa and Glenn Hughes;
photo by Robert M. Knight
For one thing, he is quick to remind anybody that he is no stranger to having swapped vocal turns with other musicians many times in the past, particularly in Deep Purple. "I've shared the stage with a few singers, but I think David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes set the mark in the '70s for the dual lead singer thing. I've always liked to be in bands where there are two singers. A lot of lead singers want that mic all the time. I think it's great having a different timbre, a different tone coming in. It switches gears to a different singer. I think it's great. Lennon and McCartney, baby!"

Hughes even goes as far as saying vocal partnerships have been abominably lacking in the rock scene for a while. "Humble Pie did it well, but there hasn't really been a dual lead singer thing for years! And I'm quite happy to share that microphone with Joe, anytime he wants to."

Onstage, the fourpiece locked in and jammed when necessary. They may have played at a faster pace than on the record, and it seemed their jams on the album stretched out further than they did on the tiny stage. This didn't stop them, however, from doing exactly what sounds natural at the end of their AC/DC-esque track "Sista Jane": segueing into a bit of "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who.

On their album, the track ends just after Derek Sherinian plays an organ part that is undeniably reminiscent of the extended solo keyboard part that occurs twice during the Who song. In their concert setting last night, Bonham came in with some drum fills and led the group into completing the "Won't Get Fooled Again" outro to finish the concert.

Asked about that moment in last night's show, Hughes said it's a tip of the hat and a bit of fun. "Jason started the whole thing. It was Jason's idea to throw that out there," he commented. "And he plays it so well. He plays like the bastard of Keith Moon and John Bonham in one!"

As for the band's future, Hughes said plans are already developing to go on tour in 2011 and 2012, perhaps playing some festivals at first. As for his commitment to the Black Country Communion album now available everywhere, Hughes asserted, "We firmly believe in the music that we've created."

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