Life experience has a way of honing your songwriting skills — and so does sobriety, says Glenn Hughes of rock supergroup The Dead Daisies.
Hughes, a singer, songwriter and bass player, has written hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs over his nearly six decades of making music as a solo artist and with bands like Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. But the past decade has brought a new level of productivity compared to all the years before.
"I've been sober 30 years, and my writing is clinically different because I have a message now," he says. "I wrote some songs as a young man, and they were pretty good, but I wrote them without life experiences. I have life experiences now, and I can share with people."
He has at least three outlets for his songwriting. He says his solo works are R&B or soul oriented. His collaborations with Joe Bonamassa are more bluesy for their band, Black Country Communion (with Derek Sherinian on keys and Jason Bonham on drums). For The Dead Daisies, the songs are hard-rocking.
Formed in 2013, The Daisies have included band members from Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Nine Inch Nails and Guns N' Roses. Current members are Doug Aldrich, who has played with Whitesnake, Dio and Bad Moon Rising; founder David Lowy, of Australia's The Angels; and Tommy Clufetos, a session drummer who has played with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath.
He describes all three projects as rock bands, but each approaches the music slightly differently. Lyrically, however, all of the songs he writes feature his take on life and getting through it the best way possible.
If you go
* What: The Dead Daisies with Stereofeet
* When: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 26
* Where: The Signal, 1810 Chestnut St.
* Admission: $25-$35
* Phone: 423-498-4700
* Online: thesignaltn.com
"Holy Ground," the Daisies' latest, for example, was written in 2019, but Hughes says fans seem to want to believe he either foresaw what was coming or wrote it during the pandemic.
"It's about letting go of your fears and getting through the dark times and living through the present," he says.
"Last summer, and I haven't told anyone else this, I did write a follow-up to it in the middle of the pandemic. It's not dealing with the pandemic theme, but I was inspired to write something about it and condensed it into a healing record."
Hughes says the success of his first real band, Trapeze, starting out in England and later in the United States, set the tone for his career. It led to his stint with Deep Purple beginning in 1973 where he shared lead vocals with David Coverdale. He also was in Black Sabbath for a period and is known by fans as 'The Voice of Rock."
It's a career that has afforded him a front-row seat to some of the great, and tragic, moments in rock history.
"I'm still here, and I'm lucky enough to be doing what I want to do," he says. "I've lost a lot of friends and people to drugs and alcohol, but I'm still here, and waking up sober is a beautiful thing. I've done it so long now, I can't imagine waking up any other way."
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.