Glenn Hughes on backing tracks: ‘You can’t charge fans to see somebody lip sync’
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Glenn Hughes on backing tracks: ‘You can’t charge fans to see somebody lip sync’

Jun 16, 2023

‘A lot of bands are doing it…’

Glenn Hughes has spoken out about the predominance of backing tracks in live performances.

The former Deep Purple vocalist and bassist was asked about the practice during an interview on the Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen And Shane McEachern podcast.

Hughes drew a clear distinction between artists using backing tracks for elements of the music and those using them for vocal performances.

He said: "I think in general, with backing tracks, I think some music is okay.

“Some bands have been doing backing tracks, not vocally, for years. I think that's sort of okay. But with the vocals, I'm not gonna go with it.

“You can't be having people pay to see somebody lip sync. It's just not fair.”

He added: “And by the way, a lot of (bands) are doing it that you probably don't know are, and it's just horrifying. I can't name names."

Hughes, who departed revolving door rock collective The Dead Daisies in May, was also asked whether he’d ever consider retiring.

He replied: “Look, I don't send a message to the universe that something is wrong.

“I think people in general, if they aren't living appropriately, if they aren't in the good head space, if their mind's chattering, if they feel there's an ailment in the body, they think they're gonna get sick, they'll get sick.

“I don't want to get sick. I work diligently every day, keeping myself in a good space.”

He continued: “If I stop, I won't be able to start again. I can't take six months off. The Dead Daisies wanted to take six months off and I refused. That's why I kept going.

“So I'm gonna keep going until a moment in time when I'm going, 'I need to slow down.' I've got a lot of energy for an older chap, so I'm gonna keep doing this while I'm in good head space, good vocal space and good shape."

1) Released in September 1968 via Parlophone Records, the 'Shades of Deep Purple' album cover depicts the Mark I line-up of Deep Purple – Rod Evans (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Jon Lord (organ), Nick Simper (bass) and Ian Paice (drums) – wearing sharp suits they had purchased from esteemed fashion designer Michael Fish... not to be confused with the weather forecaster of the same name.

2) Released two months earlier in the US on the back of the huge chart-denting success of 'Hush', the Stateside version of 'Shades of Deep Purple' came with a slightly different cover that's a very literal translation of the album title.

3) Deep Purple's second studio album 'The Book of Taliesyn' saw the band embrace a psychedelic rock sound and the artwork reflects their US imprint Tetragrammaton's wish to aim it at a "hippie audience." The fantasy cover (complete with Arthurian Bards, minstrels, troubadours and a castle) was created in pen, ink and colour by the British illustrator and author John Vernon Lord, the namesake of late-great Deep Purple organist Jon Lord.

4) In a 2013 blog post, John Vernon Lord said he was paid 30 guineas (just under £500 today) for creating the artwork, however 25% went to the agent. Vernon Lord said of his brief: "The agent gave me the title saying that the art director wanted a 'fantasy Arthurian touch' and to include hand lettering for the title and the musicians' names. I mainly drew from The Book of Taliesin, which is a collection of poems, said to be written by the sixth century Welsh bard Taliesin.

5) The dark and macabre cover artwork to 1969's self-titled 'Deep Purple' is adorned with the right-hand painting from Hieronymus Bosch's 15th Century triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, which depicts hell.

6) Deep Purple weren't the first band to use The Garden of Earthly Delights on their album sleeve – Floridian psychedelic folk act Pearls Before Swine had a detail from it on their 1967 debut album 'One Nation Underground'.

7) The 'Deep Purple in Rock' album cover was the brainchild of the band's manager Tony Edwards, who suggested placing the US Presidents' heads on Mount Rushmore with the heads of the Mark II line-up; Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice. Created by London design agency Nesbit, Phipps & Froome, the resulting cover is one of the most iconic sleeves in rock history.

8) For some unbeknownst reason, the German edition of 'Deep Purple in Rock' featured a white sky. Pictured is Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Created by Gutzon Borglum, the sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).

9) An album cover that is definitely of the era, 'Fireball' was adorned with a gloriously naff (and slightly sperm-esque) image of Deep Purple shooting through space in a fireball. The photography was by Tony Burrett.

10) For the 25th anniversary re-release of 'Fireball' in 1995 an alternative, more anodyne album cover was issued.

11) Decades before Photoshop, Deep Purple's seminal 'Machine Head' album artwork was created by punching the band's name into a polished metal sheet. Ritchie, Roger, Jon and the two Ians then stood facing the metal sheet and a photograph was taken of the reflection.

12) Alongside the five members of Deep Purple, the distorted reflection of photographer Shepard Sherbell can also be made out on the sleeve.

13) Deep Purple's seventh album depicted the band in fairy liquid style bubbles against an ocean backdrop. It was created by Roger Glover and manager John Coletta, who incidentally kicked off his career by taking the Teacher's Diploma in Art at Brighton College of Art, where he specialised in typography, graphics and illustration.

14) The inner gatefold sleeve of the album cover features various press clippings about Deep Purple, including an edition of Melody Maker from July 1972, where drummer Ian Paice told them: "Deep Purple get piles of passionate letters either violently against or pro the group. The angry ones generally start off 'Who do Deep Purple think they are...'"

15) Deep Purple joined forces with London design agency Nesbit, Phipps & Froome (who helmed 'Deep Purple in Rock' four years earlier) for the cover to 'Burn', which depicts Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, new vocalist David Coverdale and new bassist Glenn Hughes as human candles.

16) The back cover of 'Burn' features the Deep Purple's newly melted wax heads in front of a photograph taken by eminent photographer Fin Costello.

17) The cover to Deep Purple's second album of 1974, 'Stormbringer', is a famous photograph of a tornado near Jasper, Minnesota, taken by schoolgirl Lucille Handberg on 8th July 1927. At the time, now deceased publication The Illustrated London News hailed it as 'the finest photograph of a tornado ever taken.' The flying horse was, of course, added for the Deep Purple sleeve!

18) The Jasper Tornado photograph was used on Miles Davis' jazz fusion album 'Bitches Brew' four years before Deep Purple, while Siouxsie and the Banshees used it on their seventh album 'Tinderbox' in 1986.

19) Like many Deep Purple album covers, 'Come Taste The Band' featured a very literal pictorial translation of the title – the band's faces emblazoned onto wine glass. The back of the gatefold features the empty glass complete with lipstick marks. The cover photography was by Peter Williams.

20) The inside of the gatefold features photos of the Mark IV line-up of Deep Purple – David Coverdale, Tommy Bolin, Jon Lord, Glenn Hughes and Ian Paice. 'Come Taste The Band' is the only studio album to feature neither Ritchie Blackmore nor Ian Gillan.

21) Eight years after their split, Deep Purple returned with 'Perfect Strangers' in 1984 with the reformed Mark II line-up. The album artwork showcased the 3D 'DP' logo seemingly floating in space.

22) Truly iconic, the Deep Purple DP logo is a mainstay of merchandise to this day.

23) The highly eerie artwork for Deep Purple's 'The House of Blue Light' was created under the art direction of Andrew Ellis and British photographic husband and wife duo Davies and Starr.

24) The album once again features the DP logo, albeit in a two-dimensional form.

25) The mystical sleeve to Deep Purple's 'Slaves and Masters' features a pair of hands hovering above a crystal ball with the album title emblazoned on the base. The image was created by Thierry Thompson with art direction from Roger Glover.

26) Among the items inside the crystal ball are an egg timer, a guitar, the DP logo, an eye, a piano, a spotlight, some planets, various vinyl records, chess pawns, and, somewhat bizarrely, a face morphed into a truck…

27) The memorable artwork for 'The Battle Rages On…' depicts two dragons engaged in a battle while perched on the Deep Purple logo. Ozzy Osbourne ('The Ultimate Sin'), Dio ('Killing The Dragon') and Judas Priest ('Painkiller') are just a handful of the many artists who have had dragons on their record sleeves.

28) 'The Battle Rages On…' artwork was created by renowned American artist and sculptor James Grashow who has also created album art for Jethro Tull's 1969 album 'Stand Up' and the 1971 Yardbirds album 'Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page.'

29) Perhaps reflective of their more experimental musical approach, the artwork to Deep Purple's 1996 album 'Purpendicular' is decidedly abstract.

30) In keeping with the album title, the abstract images on the cover are perpendicular to each other. In geometry, being perpendicular is the relationship between two lines which meet at a right angle. 'Purpendicular' was the first album to feature Steve Morse, pictured.

31) Markedly more aesthetically pleasing than the 'Purpendicular' cover, 'Abandon' features a man diving through the air against a backdrop of skyscrapers.

32) Deep Purple's 'Abandon' artwork was created by Greek artist Ioannis, who has created over a hundred album covers for rock acts including Extreme, Dream Theater, Fish, Yngwie Malmsteen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dokken, Styx, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Blue Öyster Cult (pictures is their 2001 album 'Curse of the Hidden Mirror') to name but a few.

33) Yet another literal pictorial translation of an album title, Deep Purple's 'Bananas' sleeve features two banana pickers and their fast haul of yellow fruit. The photograph was taken by the band's manager Bruce Payne.

35) The drawing that features on the cover of Deep Purple's 'Rapture of the Deep' is by Tom Swick and was spotted by Roger Glover when he was browsing through a magazine.

36) Deep Purple called on artist Ioannis (for a third consecutive album) to develop the idea further for the sleeve, however he admitted in 2005: "This project was one of the most difficult I have ever worked on as there was a lot of confusion and indecisiveness on the project from the art standpoint." This seemingly stemmed from differences in opinion between Roger Glover and Ian Paice (pictured).

37) The highly simplistic cover for Deep Purple's 2013 album 'Now What?!' was created by German artist and illustrator Antje Warnecke

38) Antje Warnecke also created the artwork for 2015 Deep Purple live albums 'From the Setting Sun... (In Wacken)' and '...To the Rising Sun (In Tokyo)'.

39) The artwork for Deep Purple's 2017 album 'Infinite' depicts a ship creating the band's DP logo in sea ice. It was created by German graphic designer Büro Dirk Rudolph who has previously worked with Rammstein on their 2011 compilation album 'Made in Germany 1995–2011' and 2017 live album and concert film 'Rammstein: Paris'.

40) Deep Purple were accused by some keyboard warriors on the internet of copying the artwork to Devin Townsend Project's 2014 album 'Sky Blue' with 'Infinite.' (We can't see it ourselves!!) However, Devin Townsend himself dismissed such claims, writing on Twitter: "Re - Deep Purple logo: not a big deal to me. Not sure it should be ... plus it's Steve Morse and he can do whatever he wants :)"

41) In our humble opinion, the artwork to Deep Purple's 'Whoosh!' is one of the finest of their entire career. The visually striking image depicts an anonymous astronaut on an alien landscape as he or she disintegrates like dust blowing away in the wind. It was created by Italian designers Jekyll & Hyde alongside Jenny Seiler.

42) Deep Purple also (partially) revived their classic logo from their debut album 'Shades of Deep Purple' album some 52 years earlier for the sleeve to 'Whoosh!'

43) In November 2021, Deep Purple surprised everyone by releasing covers album 'Turning to Crime'. The artwork features the band members in a series of mugshot style photos, playing on the fact that the album was recorded during Covid lockdowns, "five unemployed musicians under house arrest". The album title and artwork also references the fact that, as Deep Purple's first covers album, the band are "stealing" other artists' songs.

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