Drummer Jason gave Glenn abandoned song on condition the resulting track would make him cry, reveals Black Country Communion frontman
Black Country Communion frontman Glenn Hughes says he demanded Jason Bonham give him a riff that was to be used in the abandoned Led Zeppelin reunion – and the drummer agreed on condition that Hughes turned it into a song which would make him cry.
Bonham last month told how he’d begun working with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on a recording project in 2008 after the band’s one-off show the previous year. But they failed to find a satisfactory replacement for Robert Plant, who refused to be involved, and their plans were shelved.
Now Hughes explains what happened to the embryonic song: he insisted Bonham hand it over to him for use on the new BCC album – and it became a track called Save Me.
The singer and bassist tells Music Radar: “Jason played me the demo from when he was working with Jimmy and John and the various singers who might have been part of something.
“He played me this riff and I said, ‘Give it to me.’ He said, ‘Give it to you?’ and I said very emphatically: ‘Yes, give it to me.’
“He said, ‘Okay – then go and write something that’ll make me cry.’ And that’s what I proceeded to do.”
Hughes describes his lyrics on the album as “very dark” and says it’s the most important recording work he’s ever done.
“It’s all about my death and what happens before it,” the former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath man says. “It’s super heavy. When Jason said ‘make me cry’ he was saying ‘Write something that matters.’
“I knew I had to be fearless. I’m not singing about puppy love any more – I’m getting to the core. I’m not writing lyrics to try to convince people I’m cool. I’m writing to tell them what the hell’s going on. Let’s embrace it; let’s tell the truth.”
He maintains BCC, which includes guitarist Joe Bonamassa and keyboardist Derek Sherinian alongside Bonham and himself, is the best band he’s ever been in. And he believes truth and honesty are essential to him as he looks back on a career he admits to having lost control over in the 1980s.
“I don’t want to have secrets from anybody any more,” he says. “The weight’s too much. I need emotional freedom.
“This isn’t just any old album to me – it’s more like life and death. I got to a point where I said, ‘That’s it, I have to share my secrets. No more hiding. I’m going to write songs that matter deeply.
“There’s energy and passion in every track, but there’s also something more important: a real band. We felt like a band when we made the first album; but this time out there was no question we belonged together.”
Hughes says his current attitude is best summed up by Cold, the last track on BCC2: “It’s about pain and dealing with grief in public. I’ve lost a lot of friend and had to handle the whole thing with people looking on – it’s a very weird feeling.
“When Jason heard the song he freaked out and started sobbing. I think it really unhinged him about his dad; it took him back.
“I don’t like making anybody cry or feel sad, but I know I’ve done my job as a writer when I’ve got my bandmates, who’ve pretty much seen and done everything, sobbing and losing it.”
BCC2 is released on June 14.