Black Country Communion 'Went from a Side Project to a Band,' Says Bonham
Black Country Communion 'Went from a Side Project to a Band,' Says Bonham

It's almost unheard of for any band these days to release two albums just nine months apart, but Glenn Hughes says that's one of the things that makes Black Country Communion "a freak of nature."

"I've never been in a situation in a band before that's like this," Hughes tells Billboard.com of Black Country Communion, the all-star group that also includes guitarist Joe Bonamassa, former Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's son Jason, who's played with both Zep and Foreigner. Its sophomore album, simply titled "2," is due out June 14, with tour dates starting today (June 9).

"I've always been in a band that rehearses or writes extensively for six months...This band is not like that. It's very focused. The musicianship is of the highest quality, and also we're all good friends, which is very important to me. All the bands in the 70s were fighting each other, shagging each other's wives, dabbling in all kinds of substances. We were young and bulletproof. This is a different era."

And it's even a different band from its first go-round, according to Bonham, growing into a group consciousness after essentially being put together by producer Kevin Shirley for 2010's "Black Country."

"It went from a side project to a band," Bonham explains. "The new album...is definitely more of a group effort. I was able to get involved more with the writing part of it this time. It went very, very well."

Bonham, in fact, is responsible for bringing in one of the album's highlights -- "Save Me," a song he, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones began after the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show at London's O2 Arena. Hughes recalls that Bonham "kept playing me that riff over and over, and I was interested. It's a great riff, and he wanted me to write something really desperate. I finally got (Bonamassa) over to my house and said, 'Listen, we really should finish this song,' and we did, and it really turned into something special."

As for the general approach of "2," Hughes says, "I just figured the direction of the first one was continued on the second one. We didn't want to do a Led Zeppelin III or IV and start playing acoustics. We're a rock 'n' roll band. I just thought we should make it a big-sounding record that was fitting for rock 'n' roll, and the thread between ('Black Country') and '2' should be very obvious."

Hughes concurs with Bonham that Black Country Communion has turned into a more cohesive group between albums, too. "The chemistry was there from the beginning," he notes. "It's a really easy band to play in. I think there was some fear we were going to implode -- one album and that'd be it. Obviously we're not. We've got tour dates booked, plans for DVD recording this summer. Obviously this is a real band, which is something we all wanted to be in."

Black Country Communion hits the road on June 9 in San Diego, with eight U.S. dates before heading to Europe for a combination of festival and headline dates, including a slot on the High Voltage Festival on July 24 in London. More shows are expected to be announced soon. Meanwhile, Hughes has published a limited edition coffee table autobiography, "Deep Purple and Beyond: Scenes From the Life of a Rock Star," in Britain. A paperback edition, "Glenn Hughes: The Autobiography," is due out in the fall. Bonamassa's latest solo album, "Dust Bowl," came out in March.

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