The situation as it stands now, according to a statement from frontman Ian Gillan, is that while eight members from the band's first three lineups are set to be inducted, only the current lineup of the band -- Gillan, founding drummer Ian Paice, Mk. 2 bassist Roger Glover, guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey -- will perform during the ceremony. Gillan, Paice and Glover are perturbed that Morse and Airey, who have been with Deep Purple since 1994 and 2001 respectively, are not being inducted. Gillan's statement thanks Coverdale for understanding the situation, and Hughes is on board as well.
"A month ago David said to me, 'Shall I reach out to Ian Gillan to figure out what we're gonna do?'" Hughes recalls. "He came back and told me that there's a problem that Don and Steve aren't getting inducted and there's all sorts of scenarios with that and grumblings and this and that, and I said, 'Well, I'm just gonna stay out of the way,' and Coverdale is as well. If Ian Gillan wants to run the show on behalf of his Deep Purple that's his business; my business is to show up and gracefully accept my award. But we're really hoping that we will be invited to sing. I'd like to think that Deep Purple can be just one big happy family on the night, y'know? Egos outside the door and be graceful in what we do."
Deep Purple Co-Founder Won't Attend Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony, But Manager Denies He Was Banned
Hughes has also directed his management to reach out to founding Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who's announced that he plans to skip the induction. "You just never know with him, but I'd love it if he showed up," Hughes says. "I just hope he has the balls to (attend), and for God's sake he bloody wrote those songs. he wrote those riffs. He wrote 'Smoke on the Water.' Whatever happened -- the eccentricities, the behavior, the name-calling and all that stuff -- I say let it all go. Blackmore should be there accepting his award. I'd be very upset if he didn't." Hughes adds that there were overtures to reunite the Mk. 3 lineup of Deep Purple before keyboardist Jon Lord passed away in 2012 "but we couldn't get Ritchie on the phone."
Hughes -- who was in the band Trapeze before joining Deep Purple and was also briefly with Black Sabbath and then Black Country Communion and California Breed -- is gearing up for a solo tour that will kick off Aug. 9 in Annapolis, Md., a start that was delayed to allow him to recover from double knee replacement surgery during January. "The knees are doing incredible," Hughes reports. "The knees are considered recovered now, which means the really extensive therapy has paid off. I mean, I couldn't walk at all. I was really, really in trouble, but now I'm good and looking forward to getting on stage again." Hughes is also planning to record a solo album during June that he hopes to have out by fall.