Archive for the ‘Classic Rock – Interviews’ Category

I thought it would be good fun to add one of the old interviews I did back in the day to the blog (again) since it is obvious that the classic stuff (Purple, Sabbath, Coverdale, Dio, Turner, Nightwish, Priest, Toto etc) is a major draw. I located a press cutting from September 2 1989 (LT, Jämtland County) with Dan McCafferty of Nazareth so that is 30 years ago right about now (not sure exactly what date they played in Stockholm, but I met Dan at a hotel outside of the city, that much I remember). If I had a camera with me I have no recollection of it now (I do recall an earlier photo shoot some years before, but I sent them to CREEM Stateside and never got them back). Nazareth had their 17th album “Snakes´n´Ladders” out at the time. The shots used in the article was from a gig in Östersund back in 1984 (credit to Hans Ohlsson). I just snapped a quick shot with the article surrounded by some classic albums for this post. In any case, here is his opinions and answers to some of my questions.


– The press bores me at times. They have ignored us and given us bad reviews for so long, but that does not stop the kids to come to our shows. I think the journalists forget that it is just entertainment. What colour your hair is should not matter, the fashion of the day. I have had people ask me “Are you not going to quit soon?”. Then I say something like, “Look, we have done this since you were in school and we are still here”.


– I have given up on the press but the radio is another matter. It looks like the radio ignores you if you have been around for a while. That is sad because we need air time as much as everybody else in this business. An album can live or die depending on the radio.


– We may not have been angels but we always avoided the hard stuff. We toured with Deep Purple in the States in 1976 and I worried about Tommy Bolin. He was a beautiful man and a good guitarist but he did not want to listen to people that warned him about that shit. I tried to talk to him and he said “Jimi Hendrix did it and look how good he was”. I said, “But Tommy, Jimi is dead!”. I actually saw Hendrix early on and it was way better than the last time I had a chance to see him. Tommy Bolin was one of these guys that this business just eats up. It was a good tour for us, we did better than Purple really.


– The band started in 1968 and the first album came out in 1971. I guess we really established ourselves between 1973 and 1976. We have had our ups and downs and a few lawyers got rich on the way. We got totally screwed by two managers on different occations. Now we do not even know how many records we have actually sold.


– We go out for about six or seven weeks now, then we take some time off. Longer tours are not good for you. You get sick of it and that goes for the crew too. On the last couple of albums we have concentrated on material that works live. When we did “The Catch” (1984) a few years ago we really thought it was a bold direction. Then we started rehearsals for the tour and it did not work. That taught us a lesson. We try to catch as much as possible live in the studio now. It is all about being properly prepared when you walk into the studio.


– We still live in Scotland in this small town. The music scene has always been good there. Some people have succeeded, like Big Country and Ian Anderson. I check out the younger bands if I can. We tend to meet bands more than we see them live, in hotels, airports, trainstations… When I have time off I do ordinary things, I paint the house, spend time with the kids, go the the movies.


– A necessary evil. Some videos out there have budgets that are criminal. Five bands could record an album for that kind of money so you start to wonder. Some artists live on videos. Rock acts are still building their careers through touring, meeting the audience face to face. We tried to make an effort to get the new live video to look good. It felt right because some of the songs are quite serious. I am not trying to force opinions on people, but we have songs about nuclear weapons and how crazy it all is. “Donna – Get Off That Crack” from the new album is a song like that. An anti drug song.


– We will do this for as long as we enjoy it. Or as long that we have an audience. We have learnt that the band comes first, not the individuals in it. If somebody is in a bad mood we just give him some space. Let him read his book at the hotel or whatever. In a couple of days it will be fine. Some bands split as soon as they have a few arguments. We figured it out a long time ago. For us, Nazareth is a way of life.

(My shot of said article & the classic albums)

Interview by Mike Eriksson (1989)



Rockers are, generally speaking, pretty decent people. You will not hear about problems at major rock festivals like you will about certain other events, that is just a fact. On top of this, many musicians are involved in charity and good causes and that has only increased over the years. Case in point, Ronnie James Dio was heavily involved in good work that he seldom got credit for or even talked much about. But he was right there when he saw that he could help. People in Los Angeles probably knew more about that side of him than his general fanbase around the globe, and I think this goes for many well known stars and celebrities in the rock field. Which leads me to Velvet Insane guitarist and band leader Jesper Lindgren, who comes out of my neck of the woods (Östersund, Jämtland County), a man that is definitely of this particular sort of ilk. So much so that he has his own annual event called Stjärnfall (translates roughly to Shooting Stars) for charities in Östersund, a choice that comes from him having a big heart as he sees injustice and causes that needs help when money is in short supply. This years event is coming up on November 17 and therefore I decided to shed some light on this young man and his incredible journey. I mean, this is a great guy and he deserves some attention.

So what happened here is that I basically asked him to put his thoughts into words and send it over to me so that I could get some background as I intended to write this piece. What I got was so good, so detailed and so honest that I could use chunks of it for the article without really adding much. So what you see here is the end result, and I did offer Jesper a chance to check it out before putting it up here on the blog. So all in all, this is as real as it gets and I am honored to be able to do it here. If you read this all the way through, you will see why.

Early days

– “In my case, my driving force comes from having grown up in a home in which creativity was important, more so than sports. We were three kids and we expressed ourselves through music, art, reading and creating. Always creating. If you wanted a record you had to save. From this I learned how to appreciate the value of money and that you should be nice to people”.

– “School was a lot tougher. I felt like an outsider and I was sort of pushed to the side. When the other kids dreamt of getting the latest phone or the latest gadget, I was dreaming of becoming a rock star, wearing clothes and makeup like Marc Bolan. There was a great longing as I listened to my parents records, Elvis, Slade, Dr Hook. This sense of being an outcast accelerated in 7th grade and I even stopped eating for a while. My secure place was my boyhood room, with the posters of Kiss, David Bowie and Def Leppard, and all this great music. I listened to glam rock and other forms of rock. I practised on my guitar for hours every single day, just practised, practised, practised. It was the same in school, I spent my time in this musical bubble. I was one with music, everything I did was geared towards that interest. I was the guy that practised all the cool poses in front of a mirror, just dreaming. When I was 14-15 I got my first band together and my status in school was elevated, I was suddenly ”the guy that played the guitar”, or ”the rock star””.

High School era breaks and setbacks

– “So we recorded our first EP and did concerts. I made sure that everybody got a copy of that record, I really went for it in a big way. In High School, I felt that I had lost my way, I did not enjoy life much and I probably had a lot of unresolved issues that I carried with me. There was this pain inside. At 16, I met my first manager, He was booking HEAT to Östersund and said that we could be the openers. The concert never happened but we decided to work together. At this point, I had tried to start a new band but failed, so the manager and myself went back to the old band to give it a shot. There was a lot of big talk, big visions, big promises, but nothing really happened. It bothered me that nothing seemed to work and it had a very negative impact on me. I took it very personally”.

Julia and Michael

– “By 2012, in my third year in High School, we lost our friend Julia at school. She had fought cancer and I recall arriving at school one day and the flag was at half mast. Lots of candles and that smell. Our class assembled in this room, there was quiet music in the background and we talked about Julia. It was during this period that I decided that I had to do something. I wanted to pay tribute but I also wanted a way to open up myself, to be able to express in action what I could not with words. So on December 22 that year I set up Stjärnfall for the first time, to celebrate Julia and to give the proceeds to the proper charity. It was a wonderful night with good support from the local scene and although I felt very tired I also felt that I had finally done something that I could be proud of. My band had been part of it and we had filmed our show. Later, me and the singer sent copies just about everywhere, to magazines, musicians, managers, record companies. It payed off when Michael Sandén, whom worked with Mando Diao, Crashdiet, Backyard Babies and Hellacopters, got in touch. He wanted to sign the band and it was all this talk about the future again that I had heard before, but that could now surely become a reality. I put him on a pedestal, he was Jesus. The guy that would make it all happen. But later that summer he went to the UK for a tour and overdosed. My world chattered, I felt guilt, panic, angst and sorrow. The band folded, I stopped playing. I even stopped dreaming. I spent that period feeling sorry for myself and I was angry. But I eventually came to the conclusion that I wanted to celebrate Michael since he had had such a belief in us and so came the idea for another Stjärnfall, this time in his honor. I wanted to fight for what I believed in, so I set up this show and for that I needed a new band, which became Velvet Insane. I wanted it to be a bit androgynous, like my early heroes, and I wanted the music to be energetic, melodic and without fear. And this is what I have been doing ever since, and we have toured the world, seen chart success especially in the US (the band won an award in Los Angeles) and I really feel we are doing it on our terms”.

Inner demons and success

– “I spent 2014 and 2015 trying to get everything in place, and to allow myself to feel good about myself. Not to let small setbacks halt everything, but to allow it to grow without listening to the little demons that I had carried for so long on my shoulders. In 2016 I resurrected Stjärnfall again as a way to show a friend in a bad relationship that there were help available. The proceeds went to Kvinnojouren, an organisation that helps battered women that are in need of protection and help. I had seen this wonderful soul getting abused, raped and beaten. I could not reach her and this concert was my way of doing something. In 2017, Stjärnfall worked with FATTA, an organization that works against sexual violence. It was a natural continuation of the previous event. A friend of mine from the school days had been raped and I was so angry. I went for it bigtime and it was larger than on previous occations. It went down well, but I nearly kind of hit the wall. The day before Stjärnfall I had been involved in another event with Thomas DiLeva and Lisa Miskovsky and I had yet another job, a talent show for youth, coming up within days, among other things. It was just too much. I cried a lot, I was shaking and I could not eat. And to make it work I had to put up money myself which added to the stress. It was a learning experience”.

Love and happiness

– “Now I feel that I am back again, more prepared than ever to take on new challenges. I have found this calm inside. In a way, Stjärnfall is not only a way for me to help others, it has also been a way to help myself. To meet the inner demons face on. To live. It has been a vent for me. This year, Stjärnfall is about openness and love, it is a night for everybody. This year the proceeds will go to RFSL and Östersund Pride and the support is bigger than ever”.

– “Now that I sit here and write these words, it hits me that I would like to thank some really special people. My parents, for always supporting me, my thoughts and ideas, and especially my mother for her keen eye for good music and stage clothing. Jonas Eriksson for always being my right hand man, Anna Ulin, Håkan Borgsten, Sven Mörén, Louise Öhnstedt, Andreas Karlstrand and the rest of the ”Fager gang”, and to all the wonderful people that have been supportive and always been there. The future looks pretty darned good from where I am standing”.

Stjärnfall is likely to see a return next year for another cause, but coming up next is another exciting chapter for Velvet Insane, with a brand new album and a new burst of work around the globe to start before Christmas. But that is another story.

By Mike Eriksson (Trinkelbonker)

(My live images)


I interviewed most of the guys in Whitesnake when the band visited Stockholm for the first time on May 7th 1981, and this is the chat I had with Jon Lord (I posted the interview I did with David Coverdale quite recently on this blog). I had the Deep Purple Freak Society club going at the time and I recall that a guy at EMI wanted to be kind to me – this was my first meeting with an international band – and when you had guys that had been in the mighty Deep Purple in front of you, it opened doors. I certainly realized that there was a lot of fun to be had and I do think it changed my life drastically. A gentleman from Finland (from a radio station I seem to recall) also asked a few questions, I can´t really remember exactly which ones now. Several quotes have been lifted from this interview for books and records (“Phoenix Rising” comes to mind, they in turn probably nicked it from Dave Thompson´s “Smoke On The Water – The Deep Purple Story” book from 2004  – no credit, which pisses me off). The interview was first printed in Deep Purple Magazine issue 23 back in the day. I actually thought that I had put it up here on this blog but a fan from Russia got in touch and asked me to post it (thanks Rad Losev for letting me know, I hope you will enjoy it!). I think this interview is up there with the best, Jon certainly opened up. If memory serves me right, I think my old Jon Lord interviews are up on his official site as well. But the time has come to post this on Trinkelbonker now and I certainly think it deserves to be out there.

What do you have to say about the Rod Evans Deep Purple con?

– Well, I don´t want to swear on the radio. It was a very silly thing to do, an example of poor judgment I would say. He was an idiot. He was misled by people that wanted to cash in on the name, with no regard to quality. They didn´t care that it could hurt the name, the reputation that we spent years in building. We felt very sad about that. Had we not fought them according to American law for six month´s they could have recorded as Deep Purple, which would have been the worst lie…

A disaster...

– Yes, to them it would have been a disaster.

And to the name…

– Yes, because people would have bought it thinking that it had something to do with music. But enough about that.

Who says that Whitesnake can not call itself Deep Purple?

– David Coverdale, Ian Paice and myself. Basically because the last three years… eh, well Glenn has left the organisation, and Tommy Bolin is dead. So it makes sense to call it something else. We will never use it again either, fancy buying the rights? (laughs).

Lets go back to the early days. The infighting you went through in Deep Purple. Who started all that? Was it Ritchie?

– Most of the time, yes. Ritchie suddenly decided that he didn´t like Ian Gillan´s voice, which was silly, certainly in the light that he has such an obvious talent. Who else could have done “Child In Time”? And he suited our way of writing stuff. But in time… everything started with a riff…

So this evolved slowly?

– Yes, and then came the time when Ritchie started to hide behind his Fuhrer-mask and at that point Ian Gillan started to entertain the thought that it was time to move on and do something else, which in the end he did. It was so sad. We said “Can´t we take six month´s off?”, but Ritchie left anyway.

That was Ritchie, which happened later. What reason had Gillan for leaving? “Lack of progression” was mentioned at the time.

– No, no, no… but it was easy for him to say that at the time because people would believe him. Progression doesn´t just occour, “Oh God, look how we are progressing!”. It takes time and it happens almost undetected. For instance, it is obvious that quite a lot had happened between “In Rock” and “Machine Head”. But it was easy to claim and it was a time of many problems and opinions, but we lived in each others pockets for quite a while so that should be expected. But you also have to have something in common to live that life. You are supposed to work together and make things happen on that stage. If you can´t do that you have a problem.

It seems now that Ian Gillan was very upset after the split. He left the music business for years after Deep Purple.

– Ian was a primadonna. On stage he played a primadonna and offstage he was a primadonna. And then Ritchie… eh, I don´t want you to think that there was a problem between Ian and Ritchie, everybody in the band was involved in this. But Ritchie always had a fixed mindset, always with very strong opinions. So he became a primadonna. And when we told him that he was in fact part of a group he used to say “So what?”. So to avoid friction we used to say “OK” a lot. In the end he became the person that people thought was the most important part of Deep Purple, that he somehow personified what was Deep Purple. It was a mistake to give him that. But I think he was quite bored with rock when Ian left, which happened in Japan in August 1973. But Ian Paice and myself tried to perk him up. At that point we had seen Glenn Hughes in Trapeze. He was a fantastic singer. Later, when it became known that we were looking for a new singer we were swamped with tapes. We tried to listen but we really had a hard time finding anything decent. And one day, and I swear that this is true, I picked up a tape and said “If this isn´t any good, forget it”, and it was the tape from David Coverdale.

What kind of music was it on the tape?

– I´m not sure, it might have been one of his own songs. The song was nothing to remember for very long but the voice was exactly what we wanted. I remember that there was a horn section and that you could hear people talk. So we made another two albums and then it all repeated itself.

Did you really want to continue when Ritchie left?

– We were under pressure. The office, the record company, the publishment company. And surely there had to be somebody out there in this big world that could fit us well. We had always been a hard working band, because that was the way that we wanted it to be. When Ritchie left in, eh, 1975, we had been working like that for seven years, which is a long time. We were living in California and David had heard Tommy Bolin play and he said “He is amazing, unbelievable”. So we asked him to come over for a jam and he said “Yeah, I would love to man” and he came over, with colored hair and things in it, and with this amazingly beautiful woman with him… and we all said “He´s in the band!” (laughs). She was so amazing, we all said “Can we borrow her for half an hour?” (laughs). He played with us and it was great.

How well did he function in the band? Was it as good as it had been?

– He could have done if… eh…

He hadn´t been a junkie?

– Yes. We didn´t know that he had problems and how could we have known? And that was the sad ending of the whole thing. I mean, he was so talented, he could be brilliant. Some nights he could stand there below the spotlight and he could be amazing, a wonderful run could come from nowhere. He was an active person, young, good looking. It could have worked, had it not been for the problem with the arm.

Did people want Deep Purple to carry on even after that split?

– Yes, actually they did. But we said “Look, we have given this everything that we can, we have given you eight years of sweat and hard work”, and that was it. But we never said “Never again”, we just put it to the side. “Let Deep Purple rest for a while”.

And we keep hearing these rumours…

– So do we.

Who is spreading them?

– I honestly don´t know. Nothing has emerged from this band. I mean, David, Ian and myself has even publicly declared that we are not interested in reforming Deep Purple and that we don´t want people to think that it comes from us. But maybe a certain guitarist that has a habit of wearing funny black hats and lives in Connecticut… maybe the rumours are coming from Connecticut? I really don´t want to see a reunion for the wrong reasons. The only thing I have heard so far is people saying “Hey, we are going to make a lot of money… lots and lots of money”. But I have made enough. I´m not a millionaire, but my life is OK. I live a comfortable life and I enjoy myself in Whitesnake. I don´t want to see Whitesnake killed off just… and I don´t want to play those songs anymore. It would be like taking a step back and that doesn´t interest me.

What do you think of some of these records that we see now, like “In Concert”?

– We have no control over that at all. We have tried and Ian Paice did some re-mixing for the compilation “Deepest Purple”, but they would have released that anyway. So now we say “OK, so you are going to release a new album? Then let us know about it so that we can give you our help, a new mix or whatever”. Because it has all been released, there´s nothing left in the bag.

How about “Last Concert In Japan”?

– You mean the one with Tommy?

Yes. Word is he couldn´t even perform that night, and now people can buy that.

– Money, money, money. We have no control over these songs until, eh, 1987, and then it´s “Bye bye Deep Purple”.

There is talk about releasing some bootlegs now.

– Yes, and in a way you could say that it is very flattering. It means that we had great success and that it meant something. My personal advise to anyone that is going to buy one of these titles is, check it out in the store, listen to the quality of the sound, look for the source… because it could be a load of crap. Sorry, eh, rubbish!

How about a few words on Tony Ashton that was involved in your next project?

– Oh, I love him, he is my favourite.

What is he up to now?

– Eh, Tony´s life would make a great movie. A series of disasters. He went broke, which was very sad. He never thought that the tax people was for real, thought they were a fairy tale, which they are not. And one day he had them at his door.

When did you first meet him?

– In 1969, we shared the same management company. I still think that Tony is one of the finest performers Britain has ever had. But he had this nervous breakdown, which is why we had to stop the Paice Ashton Lord thing. He was just a nervous wreck. He couldn´t face the public again. He is writing music and doing advertising work today, and I think he is happy doing that. It could all change one day, he has written some music that could well be a huge deal when it comes out.

How was the breakup of PAL?

– As I said he had lost it by then. We were going to record a second album but then he didn´t even work in the studio anymore. Ian Paice and myself paid the bills and it was a lot of money.

Did you want to form a new band after that?

– PAL finished in 1977 and I didn´t do anything until 1978.

How about offers?

– Sure, but I had a nervous breakdown as well. I sat at home and felt sorry for myself. And the longer you do that the harder it is to walk out that door again. I stopped writing, playing, listen. It happens to a lot of people.

So did you view Whitesnake as a chance to rehabilitate yourself?

– (laughs) I hope not. I have always been a good friend with David, apart from a little fight that we had once in a German magazine, which meant nothing.

You don´t like to write songs?

– I don´t think of myself as a great rock´n´roll writer. With a guitar you can come up with a decent riff in minutes. You can´t do that with keyboards.

Any projects in the pipeline?

– I have written music for another solo album. I´m very interested in English music from 1600-1800. I´ll try to utilise those influences and incorporate them in a more modern way. I have no expectations that it will sell, I just hope that it will pay for itself. Cozy Powell and Simon Phillips are going to play on it. I was going to use Bonzo from Led Zeppelin but of course that is impossible now. The songs will feature different stars and it is all written. I don´t know when I will have the time to do it. Which is the same old problem that I always used to have. But I didn´t do anything for two years and that was hell. As long as my legs will allow it I will continue to tour. It has nothing to do with age, if you have the energy and the will it will not be a problem. But you have to convince yourself that you really want to go up on that stage and make people happy. To make them sing. It has to have some meaning. If you have that self confidence, you´re fine.

You said in an interview once that playing extended solos bored you. How do you view this today?

– I play a short solo now as well, but not Bach and Tscaikovsky because I don´t think that the people want to hear that.

How about playing something from “Sarabande”?

– I usually listen to what the bassplayer and the drummer is doing and then anything goes, which is a step back to how it used to be in the early days when rock´n´roll was one with improvisation. I find that interesting, it´s a challenge.


– Not necesserily, but something is going on that keeps you awake (laughs). But sometimes everything works out great and that is wonderful. Today, I want to stick to the traditional role of a keyboardplayer – and this is not my idea or anybody elses – I just want to roam inside the big picture. And on top of that the drums, the guitars and the bass can deliver. It is like a huge orchestra. But I always looked at the keyboards as something of a small orchestra. We´ll see tonight if you agree with me.

(Jon played a snippet of “Sarabande” that night – nice!)

What is it like to work with Ian Paice, who surely is the best drummer in rock?

– I have always said that I have considered myself lucky to work with Ian. You can´t be in top shape every night. Maybe the journey have tired you, or maybe you feel a bit ill. OK, you may want to appear to be in good spririt, but there are bad nights. You know, up with the arm and “Hey, hey”, but you feel bad. But Ian is always so full of energy, “Come on, yeah, push, push…”. I have worked with a lot of drummers but nobody has his enthusiasm. That´s why I love him.

Yes, he worked hard even on that final UK tour of England with Deep Purple, when the rest of you had given up.

– Yes, but then we had a drug addict on one side of the stage and an alcoholic on the other, and Glenn was pissed out of his mind.

Is it true that Ritchie wanted you to join Rainbow?

– Five times.

And it doesn´t interest you at all?

– No.

Would you use him on your album then?

– Sure, but then he would have to do what I told him to do (laughs). I really don´t want to be a background musician, and I wouldn´t even be sure that I had a job because he fires people more often than he changes his underwear. You would never know who would be in the band, whom you would socialise with. Because it wouldn´t be with Ritchie, you never see him. It could be Freddie Mercury. I will never understand why he had to change it. Cozy Powell was a great drummer and Graham Bonnet is an amazing singer. I considered that band to be a very good one. He should have kept it. I just did some work for Graham´s solo album and he told me that the problem with Ritchie was that he kept telling him how to sing all the time.

David Coverdale has said that he thinks that Ritchie may end up being the Frank Sinatra of rock´n´roll.

– (laughs). That´s funny, it could happen.

He never changes his style.

– No, but he changes the band, but not the music. But I don´t want you to think that I have anything against Ritchie, that´s not true and I like him. I find him very hard to work with but I like him. I also have great respect for his talent, but it hasn´t moved in the last five years. He plays pretty much what he played back in 1975 but in my opinion not as good. And I think I know why. He doesn´t have to fight anymore. The moment he encounters another opinion, he change the band. So the energy might get lost in that situation. He just avoids conflict now, like the one he had with me in Deep Purple. I wasn´t about to let him have all the spotlight and that resulted in all the duels that we had, which became a trademark for Deep Purple. He doesn´t have that now in Rainbow. The only guy that used to be like that in Rainbow was Cozy Powell.

Do you think that Deep Purple still had that energy when Tommy Bolin was in the band?

– When he could play, yes. But that was like one night out of five. It was a sad period and I really don´t like to talk about it very much.


– He destroyed himself and that was a tragedy. But Ritchie annoys me, he doesn´t try hard enough. He doesn´t give anybody a chance to inspire him. He always wanted to be on top of the world and now it continues. It was sad that he had to leave Deep Purple.

* * * * *

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

Michael Eriksson & Gentleman from Finland (1981)

Photos (to the best of my knowledge): Patrik Hökby

* * * * *


On October 14 2012 I presented an interview with David Coverdale that I made back in 2000 when he was in Sweden to promote his “Into The Light” album, and I think it´s fair to say that this post has been a Top 5 draw to this blog on a weekly basis ever since. So today, to celebrate that David Coverdale is performing in Stockholm once more with Whitesnake tonight, I thought that it would be good fun to add my first chat with the man. This occured on May 7 1981 in Stockholm and it was a big press do at the Mosebacke Pub with about 20 people and the entire band present. My chat with Jon Lord is up on the blog and is a bit of a classic (plenty of quotes from it in books etc), here comes the talk I shared with two other journalists (I was just a fan club guy – I was running the Deep Purple Freak Society thing at the time), Per something or other, and Ola Wahlsten. I published all the Whitesnake interviews that were made on this day in my Deep Purple Magazine publication, in issue 23 (Jon Lord cover, see top picture). This is a translation of my translation back in the day. Enjoy!

I started my chat with handing over a gift to David, the Miami 1976 show with Deep Purple, hoping to stear the conversation in this direction I bet (no such luck as I would soon find out, David pretty much stopped that avenue from being explored right off the bat!).

David / – Ah, bootlegs…

Mike / – Yes, and the quality is pretty good.

David / – Thank you very much, cheers!

Mike / – Is it true that Tommy Bolin recorded all the Deep Purple shows for his own collection?

David / – No, I don´t think so. I really don´t know.

Mike / – Wouldn´t it be nice if a concert, like Miami, could be issued as kind of an official bootleg?

David / – Not really, we wouldn´t want to release anything that hasn´t got studio quality.

Mike / – You probably own tapes recorded when you first jammed with Tommy, are they good?

David / – They´re great, the playing was very good. But the quality is not good enough for me to see people pay hard earned cash to hear it.

Mike / – I would…

David / – Yeah, but that doesn´t matter. We get really upset with all these records that are being released that has got nothing to do with the members of Deep Purple. The record company is getting stuff out that we don´t like. Of course the fans would love it, but we would prefere that the public listened to the official stuff, the records that we put out and had artistic control over. But I would like to talk about Whitesnake now because Purple was like six years ago or something.

Per / – Your latest LP, “Come An´Get It”, are you happy with it?

David / – Yes, it´s pretty much the first complete album. The band is getting tighter, especially on stage.

Per / – Why did it take so long to record this LP?

David / – Well, we toured a lot. The actual recording didn´t take more than four weeks. We popped into the studio a few times in between gigs.

Per / – You´re writing all the lyrics, right?

David / – Yes, all of them.

Per / – Some of them are quite original. “Til´The Day I Die” seems to be about a rather sensitive person?

David / – Yes, songs like “Soldier Of Fortune”, “Blindman” and “Til´The Day I Die” comes out of my own feelings. If you listen to this song you´ll notice that the quiet part is the more sad bit, but then the band kicks in so you got two sides there.

Per / – It´s a bit different from what you hear from Heavy Metal bands…

David / – Wrong! Whitesnake is not a Heavy Metal band!

Per / – You don´t want to call Whitesnake a Heavy Metal band?

David / – I know that it isn´t.

Mike / – Have you ever considered to perform “Only My Soul” live?

David / – Well, we did it once but it´s an old song and we´ve got new songs that we want to play now. A new song always makes the band work harder.

Mike / – I really think that it´s one of your best songs ever.

David / – Yes, perhaps we´ll rerecord it some day, like we did with “Blindman” on “Ready An´Willing”.

Mike / – You wrote half the new album, does this mean that the others are busy doing other things?

David / – No, we had more songs but these were the ones that we decided to use. We´re writing new songs all the time. Bernie (Marsden) just recorded his second album, Jon (Lord) is doing his thing… We just arrived in a situation were my songs had to go on the album. But everybody seem to be OK with it.

Mike / – How were you received by the German public?

David / – It was amazing, much better than expected. We´ve not toured a lot outside of the UK and Japan because we wanted the band to be complete, and that happened when Ian Paice joined in 1979.

Mike / – Your first trip to Germany was as openers for AC/DC…

David / – Yes, we had a ball…

Mike / – Maybe you were better than them, and…

David / – Oh I don´t know about that. I like AC/DC a lot as people and they gave Whitesnake a good opportunity to be seen in Germany at that time…

Mike / – How long did you play as openers?

David / – Maybe an hour and fifteen minutes on the first tour, now it´s two hours.

Per / – What do you think of the Heavy Metal bands of today?

David / – Saxon is OK, but Whitesnake has got nothing to do with that scene. We play a different style, not just crash, bang all the time. And I´m not a Heavy Metal singer, I´m a blues singer. We play loud but there´s a lot of blues in there and we find that interesting.

Per / – You wouldn´t put in some other stuff, like reggae?

David / – We can do anything we like in Whitesnake.

Per / (something about the business side)

David / – I´m not involved in this for the business, I´m in this because I like to play music. When I started Whitesnake everybody said that we had no future. The record companies said that our era was over. But we did our thing and when we booked the clubs there were more people outside than inside, so the record companies and the press was wrong. Whitesnake is not a fashion thing, we´re musicians that enjoy to work together.

Mike / – I take it you didn´t enjoy the American tour with Jethro Tull that much…

David / – Jethro Tull isn´t rock´n´roll anymore, it was more like a cabaret act.

Mike / – How do you think the next US tour will be?

David / – The next tour will be… umm, I don´t really know… I would much prefere to concentrate on this tour for the moment. But I´m sure the next tour will be better for Whitesnake, at the very least we got people to see who we were in the cities that we did play. It´s not like the first tour was like a disaster or anything, people went “Ah, Whitesnake…”.

Mike / – Where in America is Whitesnake happening right now?

David / – I would say the East Coast and Texas.

Mike / – Were Deep Purple bigger there as well?

David / – No, Deep Purple was big everywhere! To this day, Deep Purple is the biggest band in the Soviet Union. I´m not joking, the Russian embassy in London contacted us and gave us the news a couple of months ago. Feels a bit strange.

Per / – You´ve been doing this now for a while. How has things changed?

David / – It goes in circles, all these fashion acts… you know… a few years ago there were hundreds of them and some of them are big in America now so they stay there. But Whitesnake is not a fashion band, and we´re certainly not old fashioned. And what is progressive rock anyway? A band can be seen like a marriage, the longer you stay together the better it gets, or worse…

Per / – Looks like Heavy Metal bands like yourselves has got a problem with the press in England. The NME…

David / – NME don´t want to meert us and we don´t want to meet the NME. It´s totally not interesting for the both of us. When they write about our shows they do it in such a derogitary way… here, kiss my fist! They disregard our songs, our public and my person. So they can stay at home, the main thing is that we´ve an audience that don´t.

Per / – How important is the US market for you?

David / – It´s very important. You don´t sell too many records anymore in smaller markets, and Whitesnake has just started to generate a profit after years of hard work. It´s very expensive to keep Whitesnake on the road so we need to sell records. Everything is more expensive these days, like the new album cost us as much as the first two we did to record.

Per / – So how important is the business side of things?

David / – Well, the support of our label in very important. We´ve had three hit singles now but we never looked upon those tracks as hit singles when we recorded them. They were for the albums. The right songs were picked by the label. Our first hit was “Fool For Your Loving”, I wrote that for B.B. King but decided to use it myself.

(At this point I show David a magazine of mine with a shot of him on the cover taken in Copenhagen in 1977)

David / – Where was this taken? At the hotel? I remember that.

Mike / – You said back then that you had talked with Ian Gillan about doing an album together with him with old rock´n´roll tunes…

David / – We talked about that, yes, but nothing came of it. I also said that I wanted to get it on with Princess Anne, but nothing came of that neither (laughs).

Mike / – Is it easier to tour with Whitesnake than it was with Deep Purple?

David / – We´re more like friends in Whitesnake. With Deep Purple we all travelled by ourselves. Deep Purple stopped functioning as a group, but I really would like to stop talking about it! I liked it, but I´m enjoying myself more now.

Per / – In Sweden your kind of music is often connected to violence.

David / – People will react as they please and there´s not a lot that I can do about that. Naturally, I don´t want to see people getting into fights with the police. I wrote songs straight from my heart and then we just hope that people that come to see us are there to have a good time. But our kind of music do seem to be more popular in industrial areas, in which people need to get some aggressions out presumably. Like in California. We really don´t see any violence at all at our concerts, people just sing along and have a good time. There exists some groups that misuse the power that they´ve got, but I never did. It doesn´t interest me. We just want our audience to have a good time. Our audience understands us well.

Mike / – This contact between yourselves and your audience is very important to you…

David / – Sure.

Mike / – But what would happen if it gets to be really huge, like with Purple… Could that destroy the contact you´ve got now… If 100,000 people buys a ticket…

David / – Then we´re at a special kind of situation. If 100,000 people buys a ticket, it means that 100,000 people wants to see you. In England, we´ve done some really big concerts now, like 20,000 people. We´ve checked out every part of those places to ensure that the fans can see us and hear us properly. If we find a bad spot we close it off. This upsets some people but fuck´em, you know…

Mike / – What´s some of your favourite songs of the new album?

David / – Most of them really. “Wine, Women An´Song” could have been improved. To me this is the most succesful, the most complete album so far. “Trouble” was 60% there, I mean, it was good but personally I thought it was 60%… “Lovehunter” would´ve made a great four track EP… “Ready A´Willing” was 80% and the new album is probably something like 90%.

Mike / – You write songs all the time?

David / – Well, almost…

Per / – You said you toured a lot?

David / – Yes, until I had the accident with my leg last year (December 1980). I´ve got my moves back now.

Per / – You never get tired of it? First Deep Purple, and…

David / – No. If I feel a bit down I just think of the time I spent after Purple when a contract held me from doing live work. I couldn´t do any concerts after Deep Purple for two years…

Per / – Contracts?

David / – Tactics and bullshit that had nothing to do with music. It was what it was but if I feel down now I just think about this period when I just couldn´t do anything but hang out.

Mike / – You did joing Nazareth on stage one night.

David / – Yes, but that was about it. Except for the fact that I recorded two solo albums. I like the songs on them but the sound was not that good.

(At this point, journalist Ola Wahlsten joined in)

Ola / This huge tour must be a strain on your voice…

David / – I´m under orders not to talk right now! This morning I met a specialist, the same that ABBA has, and he said I had to cut back on alcohol, cigarettes and to get some more sleep. I don´t sleep very much.

Ola / – How many concerts do you do in a month?

David / – I don´t know. It´s something like two gigs, day off, three gigs, day off, two gigs etc. We´ve got a bit of a problem tonight, our road manager is going nuts. We can´t get all our gear in, we can´t even do a soundcheck, so we´ll see…

Ola / – Isn´t it fantastic that you can sell out your show tonight when Bruce Springsteen is in town as well?

David / – That´s great! It was such a long time ago since we (Purple) played here, and it´s nice to see that people still care about what we do. When Whitesnake has played people go “What was that!”. The biggest problem is all the change that you´ve got in your pocket. You pick up your wallet and, German Marks…

Per / – Is there any differences between audiences in countries like the US, Europe and Japan?

David / – It´s wrong to say that the audiences are different but people think that it´s different in Japan. It´s not. They can´t say “Lovehunter”… “Wrrovehunter”… “Ain´t No Wrrove In The Heart Of The City”, which is very sweet. The people are the same everywhere and it´s the music that stands for the connection. We could probably play in Africa and it would work, but we couldn´t have a conversation due to the language.

Per / – Is it possible to communicate with thousands of people in a concert hall?

David / – I don´t know. Probably not. When we play we just want people to have a good time. A concert isn´t good just because it´s sold out. I´ve been in situations in which I´ve been really uncomfortable on stage but the audience has been great. If the gig is good, if the public is happy, if I feel good… If it´s a party, then it´s alright.

Mike / – Queen just opened up a new market in South America.

David / – We thought about it 10 years ago, eight years, with Purple. We said “Naw…”.

Mike / – Do you think that was a mistake?

David / – Well, we still make mistakes…

Mike / – Is it correct that Japan is your strongest market?

David / – No, that would be England.

Mike / Really?

David / – We sold 200,000 LPs in two weeks in England, so… The album went into second place and the single is at 17 right now.

Ola / – It looks like “Don´t Break My Heart Again” could be your first hit in Sweden.

David / – Yes, it´s quite a surprise. I´ve been in town for two nights checking things out and I heard it at a discoteque. It´s played all over Germany right now. So people are dancing to Whitesnake now, who would´ve thought…

Per / – This new wave of Heavy Metal, isn´t it just a repetition of what Zeppelin and other bands were doing a decade ago?

David / – That´s what I was talking about when I said that everything goes in cycles. When Whitesnake started everybody said that we wouldn´t have an audience but we did. That woke the label up and that actually helped to kickstart this whole thing that is happening now. I like Saxon and Def Leppard. The only thing I don´t like is that the music sounds 10 years old. I want to beleive that they´ve got ideas of their own, that´s what I find the most annoying. But they have the energy.

Per / – I read an interview with John Entwhistle in The Who and he said it was the old riffs over and over again.

David / – Yes, but from this circus you´ll find some good bands. The cream will rise to the top and Whitesnake has got a lot of cream…

* * * *

By Michael Eriksson, Per & Ola (1981)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

* * * *


This interview with Glenn Hughes was made on July 2 1996 a few hours before a concert of his in the town of Uppsala, Sweden. He had a new album called “Addiction” coming out within days and there were also a couple of Deep Purple MK 3 live albums (recorded in 1974 and 1975) released around this time. I first met Glenn Hughes backstage at a Judas Priest concert in Stockholm back in 1987 and interviewed him on several occations from then on – first for magazines like Metal Hammer, later basically just for my DEEP PURPLE FOREVER magazine. He was always very frank and open with me, I felt that we had a very honest thing going for a few years and it´s nice to look back at this period now. This is one of these chats and with me I had a few friends – Lennart Hedenström (who at the time had a Glenn Hughes webzine called Coast To Coast – this was his first time meeting up with Glenn in person. He would later work on the official Glenn Hughes website, basically building it from scratch) and Staffan Eriksson (webmaster of the DPF fan club site). This interview was published in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER 15 and this is actually (can you believe it!) the short version! A week after this chat, Glenn Hughes did a tour in Japan for the “Addiction” album. Hold on to your horses folks, you are in for quite a ride – there´s plenty of good stuff in this one! Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Toto, you name it…

* * * * *

(Glenn starts up the chat with these words) – Before I do an interview with someone from the PR tells me what they are going talk about and I have the answers already. You are always asking me things that I honestly am being very honest about. (to Mike)

ME: I know that.

– I may look back at this and go “Why did I say that?”. You´re getting the honest…

ME: You know if there´s something that you don’t want to be printed…

– No, there is nothing. Because I want the people that like me or like my  music to know who I am. There shouldn´t be any secrets from me. In fact  there´s not one secret I don´t think anyone of you… I have told everybody my darkest things. Let me tell you one thing, I think the darkest secrets are the ones that kill you! I think a secret… I can´t have any secrets. I have a big mouth. I open up my soul to everybody. [laughs] I have said some stupid things in the past. When I was “ill” I said some things but you know… I have nothing to hide anymore. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

ME: It´s always a pleasure to interview you. That´s for sure.

– Did I make the cover this time? (pointing at the new issue of DEEP PURPLE FOREVER)

ME: There are quite a few pictures there.

– Good boy. (laughs)

ME: It’s the (Deep Purple) MK 4 story in there. I worked for some time on that.

– This is… It´s all in Swedish?

ME: Yeah.

– I will have someone translate it for me.

ME: While on the subject of Deep Purple, there are going to be three live albums released this year with MK 3.

– On Simon’s label RPM?

ME: Ummm… no, let me see the new live in Europe is on…

– From MK 3?

ME: Yeah.

– Good, good, good, good, good!

ME: Well, there is going to be one double CD from Connoisseur Records. From the last few concerts with Ritchie.

– OK.

ME: Alternative takes. And I was going to ask, these releases… are you informed or do you sign anything or are they just a surprise to you?

– Surprise! I was told this, by Per Holmgren, about a month ago, that they were going to release them. Truthfully, when you mention anything of my work with Deep Purple I think of “Ahh, royalties”. Umm, first and foremost for me… “was the work good”? The only disappointing work that I have ever done with Deep Purple was “Last Concert In Japan”. For all obvious reasons… we were all shit-faced. That to me was the only time I considered to have been any bad work. So everything I have done with Deep Purple I think is pretty decent, bootlegs or not, I don´t care.

ME: I guess you have seen the California Jam CD that is out now?

– No.

ME: It´s on EMI Records.

– This is great news for me! Is it worldwide?

ME: Yeah. Should be selling a few copies. Frankly, I´m surprised you didn’t know about it.

– I didn´t know about that. That´s great. I sure will let my accountant know about it. (smiles)

ME: Let´s spend a few minutes in the past before we talk about the current things. Here´s a question about the 70s. I read somewhere that Tommy Bolin had asked Robert Plant to sing with him at some stage. Was that just a rumor or is that something that you know about?

– Robert was introduced to Tommy by me. They had a friendship happening  there. As far as any working relationship I didn´t know anything about that. It´s possible. Might be a rumor but it could be possible. Tommy, as you know, was very varied in his musical taste. I don´t think that Robert might have done it, but… it probably would have been interesting.

ME: With the Zeppelin connection, I wanted to clarify a thing that happened in New York on the last tour, with John Bonham strolling up on stage…

– Yes, absolutely…

ME: OK, what happened exactly?

– John Bonham and I have a history together. We were friends. Trapeze was John Bonham’s favorite English rock band, and he used to take me to gigs in his car, and he would jam with Trapeze on the encores. So John was a very good friend of mine. The night we played at Radio City Music Hall, in NYC, the second night, he was very drunk, and he wanted to come on stage to tell the audience about the new, “Song Remains The Same”, film coming out. So he got the microphone, and he was very drunk, and he started playing around, you know. And after that it took me… Well, something happened really bad that night. I mean he was out of his mind and he started getting a bit strange.

ME: So he felt bad the next day perhaps?

– Yeah.

Staffan: Can I ask a question about “Stormbringer” and “Come Taste The Band”? Was there any material that are still unreleased.

– No, I think what most bands did back then was that we rehearsed twelve songs and recorded them. We didn’t really have any extra songs. We knew what songs we were going to record. It´s different now. There´s so many songs to choose from. I´d love to think that there were extra songs but there really wasn´t. There might have been a few suggestions for “Come Taste The Band”, but they didn’t make it.

ME: How about demo material? Did you record anything at that stage?

– No never with MK 3, with MK 4 that would have been appropriate, but we never really had the time.

ME: So Purple really went into the studio and really wrote and did songs…

– What we did, every time we went into the studio. We went first to Clearwell Castle with MK 3. Both times before “Stormbringer” and “Burn” and we wrote the songs.

ME: And recorded them the same day also?

– We wrote them, we rehearsed them, and then we went to Munich to record them. And with “Come Taste The Band” we went to SIR studios in Hollywood, which was then called Pirate Sound, on Sunset Boulevard. We wrote and we rehearsed and then we went to Munich to record. We wrote what we considered the best twelve songs for the album, or how many songs there were.

ME: Well that´s it for the old stuff I think. Could we start talking about the current happenings around the time of “Feel” perhaps?

– Yeah.

ME: Now let me see… Did you change the record company in Japan after… The “Feel” album was the first on that label, right?

– No, “From Now On…” was the first.

ME: OK so you are still on the same label in Japan since that time. I heard a rumor that they have asked you to do another live album. Is that true?

– Yes.

ME: OK, but they already have one!

– The first one was done two years and two months ago…

ME: Are you up for it?

– “Am I up for it”?

ME: Yes?

– You haven’t heard the new album have you?

ME: No no no…

– I think when you hear it, you´ll understand why I want do it. It´s a very strong rock album. I consider it to be, I think, the best rock album I have ever done. So I thought “Well, if this is a good album, a rock record…”.We´ve discussed this, you and I, about me doing other kinds of music. I want to do about maybe two more rock albums and then I want to move into something a bit different, and I think some of this new stuff should be recorded while I´m on tour playing it.

ME: I think up to this point that, generally the favorite album that people have is probably the live album. Have you heard about that?

– Yeah. I love it.

ME: Have you thought about the songs, the old songs…

– Yeah definitely, I have chosen the songs I would do live. It would consist of a lot of Trapeze and maybe one Purple song. I try to stay away… There´s only so many times umm… There´s only so many songs that I can play of Deep Purple and they are the songs that I wrote or sang on. I wouldn´t wanna do anything further than that. The thing is, and you can understand this, in the future I want to start taking away the old songs and only play new songs. It´s gotta be that way. I can´t keep doing “Burn” forever. I can´t keep doing it.

ME: No. I gather that, if a Japanese company wants you to do a live album, they want you to do… They probably want something… Have they sort of…

– No, they haven´t suggested anything. What I will do is, I will record five or six brand new songs from “Addiction”, and the rest will be a Hughes/Thrall song and a Purple… You will probably know which one because I will be doing that live tonight.

ME: I think another live album will be nice as long as it´s a different one.

– I promise you… I promise myself this, I´m not going to make a “Burning Japan Live II”, but if it does come off I know who´s going to play (on it) and it´s going to be great. I understand by the look in your eye and the tone of your voice, you probably would be worried of me doing a new album and another live album. The Japanese, love live albums and they pay me really well. I felt that “Burning Japan Live” was for a classic rock, Glenn Hughes type of fan that likes Deep Purple, would love the album. But I have to now change it and do something different.

ME: Lennart told me this morning that there were some funk songs recorded originally for the next album that were perhaps not popular with the record company. Are they finished songs or demos?

– They are demos that could end up as bonus tracks for the future. One of the songs is called “Against The Grain” and the other is called “Down The Wire”, which I did with Richie Kotzen. I wrote them and recorded them in his house. The thing with me, and you know this, I have got two sets of music. Let´s call it the Deep Purple sounding rock, which is easy to play for me. Simple! And I have the things I´m growing with all the time which is like Rock and Jazz and Funk and Soul, which to me is Glenn Hughes. It’s all me. It’s definitely me. At some point I’m going to have to say good-bye to one or the other. We gotta be honest with each other. Let´s just be really  honest now. I´m not in Deep Purple and this is a working unit that does reasonable well. I´m a solo performer and I want to compete. I´m going to throw a few names that might have you go “WHAT?”. I want to compete with Elton John and George Michael. I want to compete with these people that sell millions of records. I´m not gonna be doing it making this kind of music. You know that. For art´s sake it would be interesting to do this kind of music or this kind of music, but I want to sell millions of records and I believe my voice is capable of selling those records.

ME: OK. Here´s a question that might be… Are you writing softer and quieter songs on the side?

– THANK YOU! You definitely… yes, yes, I´ve got a handful of songs now that I think are the best songs I have ever written. I have played them to a few persons and they like them and…

ME: But they are not for this particular phase?

– Definitely not. What I have done, and I haven´t told anyone this in an interview, I have made a commitment… and I´m not good at making commitments, ’cause if you listen to “From Now On” and “Feel” they are two completely different  albums… when “Addiction”… the Japanese record company said to me “why can’t you make a record for the people that like Glenn Hughes to rock?” and I thought “do I have to do that? Why can´t I just play like… “Feel” and do everything I like?” So I said “OK I´m going to make an album of rock music”. So if “Addiction” sells well I will do another one, but I can´t keep making rock music… you know to me if you don’t sell more than 100,000 copies it´s a failure. And you know, for me, in the end of the day I got to look at what´s in five years time. To start now it´s gonna take five years to do what I want to do. I can´t… You know… with all the respect for the Deep Purple fans, which I have, there´s about five million fans that I don’t have, and I´ve got get to those people. But I think that my real fans will like the other music as well. I think so.

ME: Yeah I think so. No question about it! Could you perhaps mention a title of any of those songs so that we can recognize them when they do appear in the future.

– Yeah, there´s a song called “Lay Me Down And Heal Me” and there´s a song called “I Can Prove It” and there is more stuff I haven’t finished yet.

ME: I will keep my eyes open for those titles.

– Yeah, and, you know, there is some stuff I have done in the past that I might… I might get together with Geoff Downes and write some more songs. Have you got some of that stuff? (asking Lennart)

LH: Yeah, and I love that stuff. It´s almost only keyboards and your voice.

– Yeah, and that´s what I want to do. What I have been doing recently is, I have been buying a lot of CDs and listening to the competition… we can call it the competition if you like. I´m not feeling comfortable making albums that only 50,000 people are going to buy. I mean I want to make a lot more records. So I have been listening to what´s been going on musically, and what´s going on musically is, to me, there is a lack of singer/songwriters right now. And I gotta break through. I can´t keep “schlepping” around the world playing clubs. It´s.. you know… Ian Gillan might like to do that but personally I don´t dig it. I mean I meet some people and they say “What are you doing playing in this place?”. And I think “Yeah, what am I doing playing this place?”.

ME: It´s kind of strange, because we obviously hear soul music on the radio every day. So you should be on the radio every day too, but it may take a while to establish… the right record company perhaps.

– Well, that´s what we are talking to right now. There´s about three record companies in America that are interested making the other music. And this week I´ll, possibly, sign a new record deal with an American label for “Addiction”. So we´ll have a release in America. So things, since the last time we spoke, have got better. But it´s taken a while. I told you the last time I didn’t expect things to happen right away.

ME: Last time we spoke you said you wanted things to happen a stage at a time.

– Yeah, but it´s been slow. It’s been very, very slow. The question is when am I going to make the transition or move. The last couple of years I have been making a very good living with the Japanese record company, and they have been making it very hard for me to make a move, you know. But I think I should do another live album with them and I´d like to do another rock album and then I´d like to think of moving on to something else.

ME: Have you considered doing a duet with a female singer? Have you approached someone, or?

– Anne Wilson from Heart wants to do one. I know she´s been interested in doing that, but this has been like, in the last five years. She´s sent people to talk to me.

ME: Is that for a Heart album?

– I don´t know. Maybe for a movie or something? There´s a million girl singers I´d like to do things with. You know, we have to look at the two different careers that I have. Sometimes it´s been a curse because people say “I wish Glenn would either do rock” or “I wish he would do the other”. To me, my real dream is why can´t I do it all? Did we ever talk about Sting and about what he is? You know he came from the Police which was very, very popular. When I left Purple there was a time when I didn´t do anything, which was unfortunate. But for me, when I say to a record company “Why can´t I just do funky rock jazzy soulful songs”. And they go “No, we want you to sound like you were in Deep Purple”. And that says to me, why can´t I just be able to grow. Like this guy (Sting). So it´s taken me a while and it´s been very frustrating. One thing that I don´t want to do is make a wrong move, in the next couple of years, because that could be fatal. But I know one thing, I´m only one song away… one small song away from achieving a great success.

ME: Let´s talk about the lyrics you have on the new album then. So you may  feel a little bit frustrated…

– Have you read them?

ME: No I haven´t, but can that frustration be heard in the lyrics?

– On the album, which is a very confrontational album… you see what I have done on the new album… it´s called “Addiction” for obvious reasons… it´s an album that… I wanted to be a bit more serious about my lyrics on this album. Wanted to a be bit more in depth and to have someone understanding what I was singing about, rather than singing about boy meets girl. What I did was opening my own wound and for my own rehabilitation, after five years of being clean, I wanted to go back and look to see what I have been doing. And see if it could help me as a person. So some of this stuff is very angry and some of it is very sad, but it´s a very good album.

LH: Would you say then, that it is a very dark album?

– Very dark. For me it’s very dark. And I have to ask myself… I always think “What would other singers do?”. When I was singing with Black Sabbath I said to myself “Would Paul Rodgers be singing this?”. And I said “No he wouldn´t do that!”. So every time I sing something that´s dark I have to ask myself “Would so and so sing this?” and I have to keep telling myself “No, but you can sing this yourself. You can make it your own!”, you know. So it´s a bit special.

ME: Do you think the lyrics came out dark, because you felt perhaps that you were forced into an album like that.

– In some respect but the lyrics were dark because my mother was very ill and we thought she was going to die. I had a virus for two months with a F102/C40 temperature for two months. It was like I couldn´t get out of bed and I was making the album and I was very depressed. It was one of these periods where I was under a lot of pressure. Some of the titles were like that.

LH: You were talking before on how you want to get on with your solo career.

– It´s frustrating that’s why.

LH: Yeah. But just a hypothetical question…What would happen if a major band asked you to join? For example on the level of Van Halen or Toto or whatever. Would you even consider it?

– It´s been suggested that… One of those bands has asked me to join, but not this year. Umm I´d like to tell you “No, I wouldn´t do it” but I would have to say “I would possibly think about it”, because… I have told Mike this, and every year I see him I get cleaner and more and more in the world, I feel… if my fans are upset because they didn´t hear from me for 15 years I´m more upset for not being able to work. So for me I want to, let´s just say… The one thing that I really do admire about Ian Gillan, he’s a good singer, but one thing that he´s always done is that he has kept busy, and Roger Glover, they´ve always wanted to do things. Some of it hasn´t been that good in places, but I admire what they do. I really do. And for me, I want to keep working, but I don´t want to make that wrong move. You hear what I’m saying? Because every time I meet somebody of that nature (person in band that wants Glenn to join) they always say to me “Why don’t you come singing with us?”. I say “That´s really nice, but…”. The answer to your question is, I probably would do it if I saw… let´s just say that now I look at life in different terms. I look at a project now for me it takes a year to do and it normally takes three or four albums of a solo performer, like David Coverdale and the early Whitesnake, to happen, to grow. So I´m still early stages yet. But this “Addiction” album, I´m going to be honest with you, is an album for me that is going dictate to me what I should do after this.

LH: In a way, when you talk about “Addiction” it sounds like a one-off. And not like you´re going to continue in that direction.

– Well, I have a follow-up theme for the album. Let´s just say that the album does better than “Feel”. And I am talking about Japan first of all because that´s where I sell most of the records. Umm then I will follow it up with something in the same sort of direction. If it doesn´t do particularly well, and I might change my mind again next year. You see the thing is I´m not as fortunate as the rest of the guys in Deep Purple. I don´t have a large bank account. So it´s like I have to look at… and I have said this to you I´m a business man now, and I have to think… now when I make this new album in order to put money away to make this other album. That´s what I am doing. I´m putting a lot of money away to be able to make my own record. I´m deciding what to do. I mean…

ME: So if a band like Toto or Van Halen asked you to join and you could still have your solo career then it might be an option you think? Is that possible in business terms you think?

– Yes definitely. For instance the Tony Iommi album I´m doing, is going to feature, I shouldn´t say this, but it´s going to feature four or five very, very big name singers on it, contemporary alternative singers, that are going to sing with me and I´m going to be writing the music. So this could be something that is also interesting.

GH: (Looking at Lennart) Have you heard anything through the internet?

LH: Yeah, Bill Hibbler e-mailed and said you have been writing with Tony Iommi.

– Yeah, I can´t say their names right now because… there are four or five very, very famous new artists that want to do the album with Tony and they want me to play and sing on it with them so…

LH: What we heard was… the rumor, from the beginning, was that you and Rob Halford were to sing on it.

– He´s possibly one of them, but there are some other people as well. For me, this whole thing about the Glenn Hughes continuing story of… when I went into treatment five years ago because of my addiction I wasn´t able to live correctly, and I had no money because I spent it… everything, because I wasn’t well, and since I´ve been well I made quite a lot of money, but I´m putting it aside for my own reasons to make the right kind of music to buy a studio in my home and…whereas before I used to throw money at… as Ian Paice did say it used to go through my fingers. What I´m doing, and I hope everybody understands, that I´m now very, very clear… that I know that in the next two or three years I´m going to make the transition into being a radio artist rather than a… you know, it´s very sad to see some artists of my generation who are going around 200 days a year doing these clubs, and they don’t have the opportunity to have this voice, or whatever, the gift that I have, to be able to change direction. And I tell you who did it very well, and the name I´m going to bring up, you know, you may go “huaaaa”, but Michael Bolton ten years ago was a hard rock singer, and then he changed into this thing. You must remember that twenty years ago… most of the Deep Purple fans now are probably old now and not in the fan club anymore. For me, there are a lot of people that don´t know who Glenn Hughes is, and the people I have to get to are, you know… For instance, when we were doing… I mixed “Addiction”, Soundgarden’s producer came in and he said “who´s that? Wow! this is unbelievable!”. So to get all the new generations of people into me… I believe it´s only a matter of time and it´s only a matter of luck, faith and being in the right place in the right time that will do it. I have a lovely gift and I love to sing but how much better can I get every year? Somehow I´m singing better every year. I mean what´s it gonna be like when I´m 50?

ME: OK, you live in Sweden a few months of the year and you live sometime with your mother, in England, I think. How much time do you spend in America now?

– Six months a year. I´m on a tax thing now. When I was in Deep Purple I was three months in Italy, three months in England and six months in America and I´m on the same thing now in Sweden, England and America.

ME: Of course it must be a lot a easier to get in touch with the right people in the States?!

– Yeah, I´m having a network of new people I have met in America who are the… let´s call them the new breed of A&R guys. I have met through, and this is wonderful, through my “being clean and sober” (lifestyle) I have met at alcoholic meetings some of the very highest executives who love Glenn Hughes. So being clean and sober is not only good for me as a person but it´s also good for me as a musician! But I tell you what, it´s taken five years to get the respect back. Five years!

ME: You have been asked by a few bands in the past. Is it true that Glenn Tipton wanted you to join Judas Priest?

– Last year! He asked me to come down and sing. Eddie Van Halen told me last year… He said to me that, when they were auditioning Sammy Hagar, that if I would´ve been clean and sober I would´ve gotten the gig!

ME: Any more offers like that that we haven´t heard of?

– Ummm… no! Nothing that is interesting. Just the odd super-group, that I would never do again.

ME: One thing that is interesting is that when you did the rock albums, you did it with a certain set of people because you had to.

– That´s right.

ME: But, in the next phase of your career do you have, sort of, your eye on a particular musician that you really would like to work with.

– Umm yeah… There are two guitar players possibly three that I would have work with me. Guitar players isn´t a problem. My whole thing is… with the solo… like that kind of career like a Phil Collins type of thing it´s just session guys in the band. With the rock thing it must be individuals.

ME: So it´s going to be a little bit easier.

– Yeah. You know, there´s a couple of songs, titles, that I have told you about and you’ll never see these floating around because, I recorded these two years ago, and it is the only time I´ve never made a copy and given it to anybody because they are very special! When you hear the songs you´ll understand why. They are very good. We said this last year, I said “It’s only a matter of time for me” and I say that with all optimism because I really honestly believe, the way I´m singing and the way I´m as a human being something has got to happen… if it doesn´t happen it´s not the end of the world. I have been in the biggest band in the world. I have got the platinum albums. I did California Jam. You got the memories of Glenn Hughes. It´s not like I´m going to die. It´s that I´m… I believe that God, and I know a lot of Swedish people don´t believe in God, and that’s OK. I believe that God made me clean and sober to have this second chance.

Staffan: Yeah, and I think so too, that you might get a second chance from somewhere.

– Well, I´m having it now. When I have a bad day, If someday I may wake up and, you know, I´m pissed off or something… I say to myself “why am I pissed off? I’m clean and sober and I feel great!”. I´m not saying, you know… If somebody was to have a drink. I don´t give a shit. As long as I don´t drink or anything.

ME: The Journey thing, do you think that might have an impact on America somehow? They used to be big and…

– I hope so. Let me just say this, if rock ´n´roll takes off again big like that… The very last thing you should know about why I want to change. I don´t think… and Pete Townsend said something like “I hope I die before I get old…” I don´t personally at 50 years of age, in six years, want to be holding my crotch and screaming. (laughs) I don´t want to be doing that. I´ve got a great regular voice that I can sing with wonderfully and… My girlfriend, who is a lot younger than me and she said “You don´t have to scream anymore Glenn, because people come to hear you sing! People come to hear the Glenn Hughes tone, of your voice!”. I said “Really?! They don´t wanna hear me scream?”. “No, they don´t wanna hear you scream they wanna hear you sing!”. I did a concert last, (to Lennart) you may have heard about this, about two Christmases ago, in LA, where it was taped for live radio and I did “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” and it went over live all across America and I had a five minute standing ovation. It was seven o´clock in the morning and I didn´t scream once! And everybody loved it! [laughs] So I said “Maybe I shouldn’t scream anymore!?”.

ME: That was with Mark Bonilla, right?

– It´s good, because what I talk to you about is… when I do an interview with Kerrang or magazines like that. I have to be like “Oh yes, ah well…” and “Oh really”… It’s all that shit…

LH: (to Mike) You should charge him then! (laughs)

– I´m hoping that in the fan club, there are a percentage of people that like Glenn Hughes. I have to say when I saw the guys in Purple in Stockholm…

ME: Three years ago…

– I must say they were all very, very nice. I had not seen them, you must understand, in a long, long time. Ian Paice, in particular, was extremely overwhelmed and crying that his friend was back from the dead! Because I was dead ten years ago! These moments in my life… If I can not be the kind… I believe that if you´re kind and thoughtful to your fellow human being, everything will come to you. I have had, as I said, the gold albums and the awards and the best singer in the world (poll wins), but to me the most important thing is to be a human being. You´ll never ever hear of me ever saying “no” to an autograph or if a fan is waiting for me I will wait an hour to see them. This is, you know, the real me!

ME: That´s great! How many concerts do you think that you will do with this particular band?

– Well, the idea for the summer was, because I took a place in Stockholm for three months with Åsa (his girlfriend) was, Joakim Marsh, who I think is a great guitar player, I wanted to put a band together around him. For all my fans that want… and I thought I´d play the bass and sing and get a keyboard player and a drummer, and play in the summer some older songs, more Trapeze stuff and then have fun and then for the “Addiction” tour, if it comes off… It may never come off, you know! And I tell you why. To put a band across Europe and to the far east, you´ve got to have a lot of money in the bank. If the record company wants to promote it, that´s fine, but if they don´t, it´s going to cost me 100,000 pounds to do it. So I will have to take a look at that. So the reason I did this for the summer was for me to have fun and to sing and another reason is to show people I´m around.

ME: Would you consider opening up for a bigger act?

– Yeah, I…

ME: Have you been offered that at any point since you came back?

– When (Deep Purple manager) Bruce Payne was managing me I asked him if I could open for Deep Purple and he said “No”. I was supposed to open for UFO last year in Germany but they broke up.

ME: So you have…

– A lot of bands won´t have me opening up for them because the singers get strange and worry about it. It used to happen in Trapeze a lot. The answer to this… I think what you are asking is, would I open for somebody. The answer is yes! I opened up for David Coverdale, 18 months ago in Holland, and Gary Moore, and that was fucking great. I loved it. I loved that!

ME: Obviously when you open up for a big name act you meet a lot of new people.

– That´s absolutely right.

ME: But on the money situation, is that as expensive? Are we still talking about the same money?

– When I do a concert tour, I don´t even think about making money. I think about getting to sell records and selling T-shirts. That’s what I am doing, you know. I think that everyone that sees me sing (firmly tapping his finger against the table)… and you should be the one telling me this, not me, but I´ve been told that when you´ve seen Glenn Hughes sing you’ve seen somebody that´s totally different! Somebody that can sing anything. Anything at all!

ME: I think I have…

– You know, I can´t say that because it would be like… stupid. When I sing it´s like… there´s nothing that I can not do. It comes from him up there… and it goes right through. It´s wonderful. I love to sing! And I don´t say that… I don´t think it´s me singing. It´s from above. It comes directly through me. But you know that. I have talked about that many times.

LH: The next thing I want to ask you about is related to Gary Moore, and we´ve all heard to death about the things that happened in 1984/1985…

– Awful.

LH: …but another thing you worked with him on, is the G-force project.

– Uh-huh.

LH: I have heard very little on how it came to be and why you left and so on…

– OK. This is an interesting story. Thin Lizzy were playing in town, in LA. They had a gig and Gary Moore umm… called me and I was a big fan of Gary Moore´s and he said “I´d like to have dinner with you. Can we get together and talk?”. Before we even had the first drink he asked me to form a band with him. And back in 1979 I was like doing nothing and I said “Of course I would like to form a band with you! I love this guy!”. So he left Thin Lizzy. In fact he didn’t tell Phil Lynott. He left him in the middle of the tour and he moved into my house. And after one week of Phil Lynott not getting a replacement, Phil Lynott called me up and said “If you are hiding Gary Moore I will come and kill you!” (laughs). So I had this “crazy” Irish guy (on the phone), now I was trying to hide Gary Moore in my house… So eventually Phil was OK about that because… So Gary Moore and myself put a band together and we got a drummer named Mark Nauseef and we started.. he started, a lot of the songs were Gary´s of course. A trio and it was very, very, very good. Nothing could… There´s some things, stuff on tape but it can be very hard to find. I was singing 60%, he was singing 40% and I was playing the fretless bass and it was very, very cool. But because of my inability to cope with the situation… It was probably the first thing since Purple after three years of being… let´s just call it… at home sitting on the couch drinking beer. I wasn´t capable of dealing with what I would consider to be a successful band. So I fired myself on my birthday. We had a birthday party. Sharon Osbourne was our manager. She had a big birthday party for me and I got so drunk that I said (imitates being drunk) “I´m gonna leave the band”. And they said “OK, great” (laughs). So that was the end of that.

LH: Did you ever play live?

– No, just rehearsals and demos. Umm… and the demos and the songs that you would have heard, were the songs that were on G-force. Things like… I know there’s a song called “Hot Gossip” and there´s a song… “She Wants You” something…

LH: “She´s Got You”?

– Yeah, that one and maybe one more and there´s a couple of songs I wrote that, I don´t know if you have copies of it… After the “Run For Cover” session (in 84/85) Gary said a lot of things about me in the press and he was insulting me and my family. See, I don´t care what he says about me as a musician but…

LH: Let me move on to the next one. I have heard some demos that are supposed to be related to Don Dokken.

– Yeeaahh, you´re very good aren´t you? (laughs) Yes!

LH: You are singing on several songs…

– Four songs!

LH: There is only one song that made it onto his album (“Up From The Ashes”).

– Yes, I wrote that one, the ballad, yeah. He called me to come to his house and it was at the time when he left Dokken and he was to do a solo album. First of all he wanted to get a guitar player an that was when I brought John Norum in to do it. And then Geffen didn´t like Don´s lyrics. So they asked me if I would write melodies and lyrics for him. And only one of those songs was used just as you say.

ME: Wasn´t that the thing you did with him that sparked off a series of situations that lead to you working with David Coverdale doing that Whitesnake thing?

– Yes.

ME: Wasn´t it him (Dokken) who told…

– Yes, you know who it was… yes (astounded) it was him. It was because… yeah, because John Kalodner was the same A&R guy at Geffen. You see what happened was, I´m sure David Coverdale… Coverdale told me he wanted to recreate the Deep Purple sound but I´m sure Don Dokken was part of that.

ME: Have you ever met Steve Morse or seen him somewhere?

– Old friend of mine! We knew each other briefly when I was living in Atlanta. A very nice man!

ME: Yeah, he is. I saw a guitar clinic with him. He is a very funny guy!

– A funny guy! A sincere guy and obviously a together guy!

ME: Have anyone ever considered to do a Tommy Bolin tribute album?

– I would be the first in line to do it. When I got myself more established  I´d be the first one to go to a major record company and get the money to do that. It´s like when you are doing films it´s like… when you hear now of a band getting a record deal… when I was in Purple and the last twenty years it hasn´t been a problem getting a million dollar record contract, and now if you get 50,000 dollars you´re lucky. Because people don´t have any money or if they have money they want to spend them on Michael Jackson or something. I´m competing with bands that go and make albums in garages. I don´t want to compete with these kids on skateboards that can´t sing! I don´t want to do that!

ME: Do you think that the 80s was bad for rock in the sense that the budgets were big and the bands could spend lot of time in the studio.

– Yes! Here´s the greatest thing about the 80s for Glenn Hughes, in the 80s, if I ever wore make-up you didn´t really see me. You didn´t see a lot of me in the 80s. You saw guys with make-up on and David Coverdale with his hair teased up, and gold jackets. All the bands that, if you think about it, that were very popular in the 80s, like Dokken, Motley Crue and Warrant, all these bands you know are all dead, dead… and they´re going to have a hard time coming back. So for me I wasn´t very popular in the 80s. Guys from the 70s are coming back popular now, so I´m considered to be cool!

ME: So you´ve been in Sweden for a while…

– I love Sweden!

ME: Have you picked up any of the language at all?

– Yes, I´m learning it. I´m taking a course right now. I will be able to speak Swedish next time we speak! (laughs) I mean, because I live with my girlfriend.

LH: (to Mike) So now he will be able to read your magazines!

ME: Oh shit! (laughs)

– You know, because she speaks Swedish to me every day. So I have to learn it. It´s not an easy language to learn. It´s really not easy to learn! I will be doing fine. I can understand when you are talking in Swedish. I know what you are talking about. Until I speak it properly I´m not gonna talk. I just want to say to everybody, and it´s nice to meet you all, for anybody interested in Glenn Hughes whether they like Deep Purple or KLF or Hughes/Thrall, I think the real Glenn Hughes fan understands me totally and they don´t have to worry about me becoming Michael Bolton, but they have to understand that in the next few years I´m going to be doing something that is more for the global market.

LH: (Asking about a session that was a hit) KLF, “America: What Time Is Love”…

– That´s great, of course!

ME: We had a Deep Purple party here in Uppsala yesterday and we played that song.

– Someone said “Who´s that singing? Who’s in that band, that rapping guy?” (laughs)

LH: (Asking about the Glenns participation in the hit movie “Dragnet”)

– Great song! “City Of Crime”, with Dan Aykroyd.

LH: Do you think that´s a great song?

– My performance was good. It wasn´t a great song but Dan Aykroyd was there when I sang it and he was cheering me on. So I…

ME: He is a fan isn´t he?

– Yes, he is a big fan.

LH: (Asking about Glenns stint with Black Sabbath and the album “Seventh Star)

– Well, here is, let´s call Tony my newest best friend because we´ve been working for two weeks now. I just left him yesterday. Possibly, unlike Ritchie, this is the nicest man (laughs). A very nice guy. Who has been shit on like from very high places. I´m helping him putting together his new album. My fans say this is a good vocal performance (pointing at “Seventh Star”) by me. So OK.

LH: Have you stayed in touch through the years?

– I met him at the MTV Awards last year. He asked me to do his solo album. It took a year to get together. And I´m doing it, basically, to get respect back from him and his management.

Michael Eriksson / Lennart Hedenström / Staffan Eriksson (1996)

(Top images by Staffan Eriksson)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

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The new album from Toto inspired me to go back to one of the old interviews that I did with the band back in 1988 for inclusion on this blog. I reprinted this one in RETROFUTURE 4 in 2011, so it was not hard to find. Joseph Williams was the singer in the band at the time, as he is now again. So here´s a bit of nostalgia for you. Enjoy!

* * * * *

What have you been up to since you were last here?

Steve / Well, there´s the new album, we have a few new babies at home, a new house…


On your new album you´re working with an outside producer for the first time. What made you take that step?

Joseph / We wanted to be able to concentrate on the creative side and just let somebody else take care of the technical.

David / For the first time really, we felt like artists in the studio. In the past, maybe 60% of our time was spent dealing with the sound. This was our first digital recording as well.


Joseph has done a couple of records now with the band, is a live album in the cards anytime soon?

Jeff / I know we said this the last time we were here as well, but I think we need another studio record before we record a live album.

David / “The Seventh One” was a great live album, until we did all the overdubs, ha ha…

Mike / We´ll actually record a live album, but it´s for the Japanese market.

Steve / Yeah, the Japanese market is very different to Europe and the US.


Which market is your strongest today?

David / If you add up all the sales for Europe combined, then this is probably our best market today.


Where is Steve Porcaro?

Joseph / In his room! He´s still touring with us but he wants his role in the band to be toned down a bit. He doesn´t like journalists!


I heard that Mike broke his arm in Germany on the last tour?

Mike / Yes, I fell off the stage in the dark and I broke my arm!

Jeff / I didn´t see it so we started the show and played seven songs with a bass player that was grinning with pain.

David / I felt bad when I found out about it because I told him to break a leg before the show, as you do for good luck, ha ha…


Are you alright with these long tours?

Steve / It can be hard. I miss my wife and my sons and my daughter a lot. My youngest son is taking his first steps right now and I´m not there to see it. You feel it the most in your hotel room in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling feeling lonely. But then you feel happy again when you have another crowd in front of you.


How do you plan your time?

David / We look ahead about two years. We try to work for four to five month´s at a time, with a little time off for other things in between.


Many musicians hate making videos, how do you feel about them?

Joseph / I only hate the bad ones! We´ve made two for the new record, one for the US market and one for you with “Stop Loving You”. The record companies in Europe ignores our advice because they think they understand this market better that we do. We have to respect that.

David / Yes, we have one in Europe that has Joseph in the nude and one for the States in which he´s fully dressed, ha ha…


Do you have any favourite cities?

Jeff / Stockholm has always been good to us. London, Paris and Rotterdam as well.

David / It always snows when we´re here though. I hope to see the sun next visit.


The new record is longer than most?

David / Yes, it was actually hard to jam it all into the vinyl. We did it anyway because we didn´t want to be restricted by the standard norms. The CD version is even longer actually.


Did you record more songs that the ones we´ve got this time around?

Mike / We always record 15 songs at least and then we pick out nine or ten for the album.

David / Sometimes a song will appear on the next album, but that´s rare.


What´s going to happen with all these unreleased songs?

Jeff / That you´ll find out after we´ve all died in a plane crash. But seriously, a two hour record would not be a problem to put together.


What do you think about the future of the rock business?

Steve / I think that it´ll be just as big in 20 year´s time as it is now, I think I can guarantee that.

David / More and more kids learn to play inspired by their idols. I think we´ll see a lot of new talent in the next decade. Some of them might be very personal. Maybe there´s a new Beatles in the making as we speak?

Joseph / Or maybe there isn´t a new Beatles in the making… Tell them about your dream David…

David / I want to be the guy that you see dance behind Madonna!


Michael Eriksson (1988)

(Top image from Folket by me)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

* * * * *


This interview with Yngwie Malmsteen was conducted backstage at Ishallen (a 10.000 capacity arena in Stockholm) in early April 1990, so it´s been 25 years now. Being Swedes we talked in Swedish so this is a translation made now for this blog. I did reprint this in RETROFUTURE 2 back in 2010, so that´s my source now (the original tape probably exists somewhere). I´ve met Yngwie a few times and later on, when I had the DEEP PURPLE FOREVER thing going, he even promoted the magazines on film. So I like the guy, have no reason not to. Also, back in 1990, he was touring for the “Eclipse” album, which was one of my all time favourites. That day, Yngwie signed 600 LPs and 200 CDs at a place called Åhléns in Stockholm, so it was a busy day for the man. Quite a homecoming though. Enjoy!

 * * * * *

You are touring the world and then you´re back home where it all started. How does that feel?

– It feels bloody good! It feels like a small triumph, to be able to be back and to play Isstadion – actually, it feels like quite a triumph. I´m so happy with the new album and the new band so it´s great to be able to come back like this to show everybody what we´re made of (laughs).

I think that keyboardist Mats Olausson has done a tremendous job on the album. Do you feel that he´s added something to the band?

– Well, I think you know the answer to that question. I´m definitely the guy that is in charge, it has always been this way and it always will. Having said that, new people often bring fresh inspiration and there´s a good feeling in the band right now. People used to bitch and moan about everything, but it´s OK now. But the songs that you can hear on this album were written before this band existed. I told the old guys that it was getting stale. The new guys have added a positive feel to it all, but I already had the songs.

What was it like to work with Joe Lynn Turner? Was it difficult?

– Near impossible, I would say. Very negative guy, he´s a great singer but his voice didn´t quite fit my music. I think he should join Foreigner or somebody like that. Joe liked to say things behind my back, it was a lot of backstabbing going on. It was a pain to deal with.

So he was fired?

– Yes.

What do you think about him being in Deep Purple now?

– To be honest, I don´t like that. Deep Purple is Deep Purple with Ian Gillan, that´s it. It´s Rainbow now, I think. But I wish him well, he´s doing his thing and I´m doing what I need to do. It was never meant to be. But I´d love to hear him sing “Child In Time” (laughs).

Was it a conscious thing to put a Swedish band together?

– No, it was all fate. We tried out people in Miami, London, New York – all over the place. But this felt right. It took us two months to complete the record.

Have you sold Gold with any record in the US at this point?

– No, but “Odyssey” is close, about 470.000 copies now. The American record company has fucked everything up. I´ve given them records that could easily have sold Gold and Platinum but they have done fuck all to make it happen. They just ship the albums out and then they don´t care to promote it properly. All they care about is getting Bon Jovi and Def Leppard out there. It was their fault as well that “Live In Leningrad” was delayed eight months before it hit the stores. They just waited for Bon Jovi to go there. I mean, I had already been there and sold 240.000 tickets but still they couldn´t care less. Still, there´s new people at the company now in the US, maybe things will change for the better?

In which markets do you think that the company has done a good job?

– Sweden has always been good, and England and most of Europe. And especially Japan, but not America. They´ve ruined a lot for me.

How was it to play in Russia?

– Well, poor sods… What a depressing, tasteless, smelly fucking society that was. I mean, I was shocked. Poor devils, that´s all I can say. I mean, it´s not their fault but they are so in your face, so unintelligent. But the audiences were wonderful. It was a blast playing there. But we stayed for five weeks and that was just too much. It was like living in a black and white movie. Nothing to eat, nothing to do, nothing to see…

How well was it organized?

– Are you kidding me? It was a big joke. Like, nobody speaks any English, and they walk up to you and address you in Russian and still thinks that you´ll understand them. Even the hotel in Moscow, which is supposed to be the biggest in the world with 8.000 rooms and everything, felt like a prison. And the water made you sick, in the end we brushed out teeth with Scotch. One night in the bar, I accidentally ordered Whiskey with Ice and got so sick. Everybody kept asking me why I had recorded the live album there, but when I did nobody else had done it. But then the assholes at PolyGram decided to hold the release until Bon Jovi had been there, so by the time it came out it felt old.

Do you recall what it was like for you when you first came to the States from Sweden about seven years ago?

– I didn´t like it, I thought it was false and filthy. Los Angeles really is a bad place. I´ve been known to call it the armpit of America. I live in Miami now and you can hardly compare the two places. But I´ve lived in America for seven years now and I feel alright about it now. I still hang around Swede´s a lot and my visits to Sweden keeps me from missing the old country too much.

Do you warm up prior to every show?

– No, I go nuts right away (laughs). It´s full steam ahead. But I do play the guitar a few hours every day, yes.

What was it that made you dream about this life when you were young? Did you see Deep Purple and Rainbow here in town and said yourself “I want to do that”?

– Yeah, it was pretty much like that. But I never felt quite at home in the audience. I need to be on that stage, do you understand what I mean? I´m a performer, not a listener, I hate to see bands.

How big has the workload been since your arrival in the States?

– I´ve worked constantly ever since and I´ve never been on holiday. Occasionally, you feel that you just want to walk away from it all, and just watch some television or whatever, but I would be bored very quickly if I did. This European tour will keep me busy for a couple of months. We do Spain, Italy, the whole place. Then we do Japan, America and Australia. It´ll go on until February.

You´ve a song called “Judas” on the new album that is very good, and it sports good lyrics as well. Do you think you may run into trouble with religious fanatics with that one? Has it happened to you before?

– Yes, we had a song called “Desciples of Hell” that we couldn´t play in certain States in America. But “Judas” is actually about PolyGram, or the American office in any case. Same goes for “Devil In Disquise”, and “See You In Hell, Don´t Be Late”. It all comes down to my frustrations in them, and with old managers.

So what happens if they mishandle this album as well?

– Then I´ll take them to court. I´ll give them one last chance to get it right. I see this as a very artistic enterprise, it´s deeply emotional for me. It´s like cutting a piece of your heart out when you give them a new record, and then they just throw it in the bin. I don´t appreciate that sort of behavior. Look, I´ll be doing this 30 years from now and I´ll sell just as many records then as I do now. I´m not here to fizzle out, like pop stars do. And then you see them put energy behind artists that will only be one hit wonders. Why can´t they see that they are fucking themselves in the ass, basically?

What did you think of Rainbow´s appearance in Japan back in 1984 with a full orchestra (out on video)? Would you be interested in doing something like that some day?

– That was cool, but the sound they captured was not very good. I´ve thought about doing something similar, especially now that we´ve Svante Henryson in the band, who´s played in orchestras himself. Vivaldi comes to mind. We thought about it. It can still happen. Not sure if it would sound as good as I would like to, you can hear that on the Rainbow video. There´s a lot of Paganini in the new songs though. Listen to “Motherless Child” and “Demon Driver”. But having said that, there´s also more blues guitar in there now, and I like the mixture very much. Personally, I think that this is the best album that I´ve ever made.


Michael Eriksson (1990)

(No part of this interview may be quoted without permission)

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