In a recent interview with Antihero magazine, legendary bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION) spoke about the impact that the 2017 passing of his mother had on him. He responded: "Well, I'm an only child and my father had passed a year before my mum. My father passed as I was getting the award at the [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame in New York. I'd spoken to mother the day before and she called me the day of the show. My dad was in the hospital with dementia and they didn't know when he was going to pass, but he passed when I was on stage with DEEP PURPLE getting the award, so that was really difficult for me to deal with.
"When mum was passing, I flew to England in early January and made a visit to see her. She hung in there and we started our tour of the U.K. in mid-January. I'd come back to see mum a few times — we were in Cambridge and she was in hospital in Wolverhampton — and then I got a call from the head nurse, who said, 'Can you come to see your mum?' She didn't say, 'This is the end. She's going to die' — they don't do that — but you just know. So I got my bus driver to drive me up there and I got to the hospital at around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. My cousins were in there and my assistant was with me. I was kissing my mother and physically she wasn't aware that I was there, but consciously, I knew that she knew I was there and that she was holding me.
"I've never told anyone this story before but the head nurse that night told me that after 12 hours of being on a morphine drip, they'd noticed my mum's legs were turning a dark shade of blue, and she said, 'Can you talk to her in your local accent rather than your California accent?' And I said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Because your mum is going through a phase where she needs to feel the comfort of the younger voice of Glenn, or the voice that you had years ago.' And I took direction from this lady and I saw some wonderful things happen to my mother's soul when she was about to pass. That, for me, being a clean and sober man for over 25 years, was a difficult day.
"I was playing in Leeds that night at a venue called The Church — it's a real church turned into a venue — and about half an hour before I'm due to go on stage, I get a call from a friend of mine who was taking care of me back then, telling me that my mother had passed. The news about my mum's passing spread really quickly — the audience were all waiting for me and I was dressed in black.
"When I arrived from L.A. in January, my mum had said to me, 'Glenn, you must promise me not to cancel a show.' I said, 'I won't, mum.' So, I had the option that night to cancel the show or be brave enough to walk out onto that stage and give it my all, and I did give it my all. [See video below.] I've seen footage of the show — I felt very close to my mother on stage; I welcome her spirit and my father's spirit, along with other people I know.
"It takes a lot of courage to sit in a room knowing your parents are going to die and you'll never physically see them again. I couldn't have done that a long time ago when I was drinking, that's for sure.
"Her funeral was a month after she passed and I was now at the end of my European tour and I'd promised her I wouldn't cancel a show, so the day of her funeral, I cried my heart out before the show in Germany and I had my own little ceremony in my dressing room and I had a healer with me. Five days later, I went back to London and drove to Cannock and had my own ceremony for my mother with my family and close friends, and my wife flew over, of course. So to say that 'a man doesn't become a man until he loses his mum' is a very bold statement, but people reading this will probably know what I'm talking about because I was very, very close to my mother."
Hughes spent key years of his career as the beloved bassist and vocalist of DEEP PURPLE, appearing on the classic albums "Burn", "Stormbringer" and "Come Taste the Band". More recently, he has been playing various hits and deep cuts from the DEEP PURPLE catalog, including "Burn", "Stormbringer", "Sail Away" and "Smoke On The Water", as part of his "Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live" tour, which was launched in 2017.