Bonamassa angered by Hughes 'bullying'
18th Oct 2012 | 08:06
Black Country Communion guitarist Joe Bonamassa has revealed his anger at bandmate Glenn Hughes' attempt to "bully" him into doing things he'd already said he couldn't do.
And he refused to appear at their one-off concert in Wolverhampton because he was worried Hughes would "make some stupid fucking announcement on stage" related to whether the band had a future.
Disagreement between the pair went public after Hughes said he thought upcoming album Afterglow might be their last because he needed to be in a band that toured, and Bonamassa's busy solo career made that impossible.
Bonamassa tells Music Radar: "Going into making the record I had a lot on the table. Everybody knew that was the deal for me. There were all facts on the table. And we had a great time making the record.
"I heard about this nonsense second-hand. I'd read a blog, or I'd read this or I'd read that. I was going, 'Why all of a sudden is it my fault? I'm doing what I said I was going to do for the last three years – and now, because somebody changes his mind, that's now my fault?'
"The thing that became more than slightly annoying to me was getting email from kids in Brazil going, 'My lifelong dream is to see Black Country Communion, and because Glenn Hughes says you don't want to do it, now you're the fucking blues antichrist.'
"I wouldn't have done that to anybody. No matter what the situation is internally, you never air that dirty laundry and those grievances in public. You call me on the phone, you know? And he never did."
BCC fans were surprised when they cancelled the Wolverhampton concert, scheduled for January, just days after tickets had gone on sale.
Bonamassa explains: "I'll never go a gig out of obligation to fleece the fans and have this 800-pound gorilla in the room, with everybody going, 'Well, this could be the last' and waiting for Glenn to make some stupid fucking announcement on stage. We'll all have egg on our faces.
"When it came down to it I said, 'It's probably best for me to step away from the situation and chill out. Not break up the band, not say it's over and not say anything other than 'I choose not to participate in that event at this particular time.'"
But that still doesn't mean BCC is over. "I just rule out doing it in the short term and next year," says Bonamassa. "I'm not going to be bullied into doing something that was never on the table from day one, because some cat changes his mind and figures out that it's the best thing he's got going on – thus it's going to drag us all into it. That's not fair. It's not fair to me."
He insists he still has "a lot of love" for Hughes, and says he feels sorry for drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian because "they got caught up in this thing unfairly."
But he adds that producer Kevin Shirley has also been placed in the line of fire by Hughes' comments about having written all the songs on Afterglow.
"Glenn doesn't come in and tell me where to play, tell Kevin where to put the faders, tell Jason how to play drums and Derek how to play keys. To hear these songs come in initially, they're pretty rough sketches.
"Yeah, they're Glenn's tunes – but to take sole credit and not give any to Kevin… you know, I'm out; he doesn't like me. But to give no credit where credit's due? You're like, 'Okay, fair enough, you said you needed sole writing credit for everything. It's not about that.' To make it like we're a bunch of studio musicians is laughable.
"That's the way I read a lot of this stuff: 'All hail King Hughes, for we are all your serfs and servants.' It's not true. Bottom line: it's not true."
Bonamassa believes everything could be resolved if he and Hughes discuss the situation. "I don't rule out ever doing it again. I'm particularly proud of this facet of my career. I don't feel the need to pick up the phone. I said my piece. Never say never – but he's going to have to explain himself first.
He describes Afterglow as "the most cohesive" album BCC have made and singles Hughes' voice out for particular praise: "There's a cat who can sing anything that comes into his head. Very few people have that ability. You read these articles and it's unfair to him. 'For his age…' For any age! I defy you to find a 20-year-old who can sing like that. Hats off, and rightfully so."
But he adds: "Listening to number three, I'm not sure it's our best one. One is the best, or at least it's my favourite. The first one was the shit – it even sounded like 1972."
Meanwhile, former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath member Hughes says he's starting work on a new project which will take up the majority of his time in 2013.
He tells Hardforce TV: "I'm planning another band. Joe has got his own band, he's got Beth Hart. I'm doing another album with another band. That's what you'll be seeing me in next year."
He says it's still his "strongest desire" to tour Afterglow with BCC but adds: "Three years ago I'd have said this is the last band I want to be in. But as you know, things change. The only reason I'd leave is to do something on a more permanent basis."