By Geoffrey Rowlands
There was a time when it looked like English / American super group Black Country Communion had reached the end of the line. Tensions between founding members Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa escalated to such a degree that in March, 2013, Joe announced he was no longer a member of the band.
Glenn not only confirmed Joe’s departure but said Black Country Communion had officially ceased to exist. Fans were pacified to at least some degree by Glenn’s further comment that he would continue to work with drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian under a different collective name.
It took fast forwarded four years to Joe to release two successful blues-rock solo albums, the 11th and 12th of his career. Derek had joined Joe as part of his touring band. Glenn and Jason had formed California Breed with guitarist Andrew Watt. The band lasted three years releasing one self-titled album. Glenn also released his 14th solo album.
Joe and Glenn always said their personal relationship was fine. The problems stemmed from Glenn wanting Black Country Communion to tour much more extensively than Joe’s solo commitments would allow.
With time healing any lingering wounds, it was Joe who became the driving force behind the re-formation of Black Country Communion. After seeing Glenn inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year as part of Deep Purple, Joe phoned him with a request to get together for dinner after he returned to Los Angeles.
“The idea of reuniting the band had come to me when I was on tour in Dusseldorf, Germany,” explained 40-year-old Joe. “I made the decision in the middle of the night. I did it because I missed those guys. I missed the laughs, the camaraderie and I missed the music.”
Over their meal, Glenn and Joe agreed to co-write an album of songs by themselves. But if Jason and Derek were not to be involved in the songwriting, they had to be asked if they were willing to rejoin Black Country Communion.
“I was overjoyed that Joe reached out to us when he did,” remarked Jason, 51. “Derek felt the same. I have to admit I waited about 36 hours before I replied. But that was my inside joke because I’m always late for things, I’m never on time. For a drummer to have bad timing, it just shouldn’t happen.”
The band again worked with producer Kevin Shirley.
“Kevin worked with us on our previous three albums,” stated 51-year-old Derek. “He is a huge part of our sound and chemistry and giving us guidance. If the four of us were left to our own devices, nothing would ever get done. It would be too chaotic. Kevin controls the storm.”
Kevin had initially suggested including Jason and Derek in the band. Guitarist Joe and bassist/ singer Glenn had known each other for some years and joined forces to play a few songs at the House of Blues in Los Angeles for a Guitar Center webcast. They had already decided to work together on an album but their performance was so special that Kevin insisted they should form a full band.
“It happened so quickly,” smiled Glenn, 66. “Kevin got Joe and I in a back room at the House of Blues and said let’s not do a Glenn and Joe album, let’s form a band and make a real statement. Jason and Derek’s names came up in the discussion, Kevin contacted them and they were in. We had our band within hours.”
Formed in November, 2009, Black Country Communion’s self-titled debut album was released the following September. A big hit around the world, it was particularly popular in Britain reaching number 13 on the U.K. Albums chart and topping Britain’s Rock and Metal Albums chart.
The follow-up, Black Country Communion 2, was issued in June, 2011, just nine months after their debut album. Some of the tracks had actually been written before their first LP was released. Another UK Rock and Metal Albums chart-topper, it cemented the band’s lofty position on the rock music scene.
Their third album, Afterglow, came out in October, 2012. Joe’s solid solo touring schedule meant the songs were largely written by Glenn. Although he said the album was a continuation of the band’s previous work, Glenn admitted some of the lyrics covered dark subject matters. Despite this, Afterglow also proved hugely popular.
The writing process had taken longer on each successive album. But Joe and Glenn wrote the songs on their newly released smash hit, BCCIV, in just 11 days.
“The songs are aggressive, sensitive and sad,” Glenn remarked. “All my work is about fact, not fiction. It’s a celebration of life and death.”
An ambassador for the Dolphin Project, Glenn wrote the track Cove about the annual slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese fishing village of Taiji.
“Every February and March, hunters net the dolphins and bring them into the cove at Taiji where they are killed for food and entertainment. I want to educate people about this as it is deeply saddening to see how these beautiful creatures are killed. I want to show people that this is wrong.”
BCCIV was recorded in just seven days. Joe was particularly pleased with the end result.
“Doing an album so quickly is not easy. You’re working hard, you’re tired and you feel it everywhere. But it was a very special week for me. I feel joyous and I feel proud of what we achieved. I think it’s the best album we’ve made.”
Time certainly flies. It’s incredible to realise singer, songwriter and actress Demi Lovato made her television debut 15 years ago. She played Angela in the American children’s series, Barney & Friends.
Indeed, it is nine years since the release of Demi’s hugely successful debut album, Don’t Forget. All five of her studio albums have peaked inside the top four on the Billboard 200 with 2009’s Here We Go topping the chart.
Demi is hoping for more of the same now with her newly released sixth album, Tell Me You Love Me. It includes her smash hit single, Sorry Not Sorry. The deluxe edition also boasts the Jax Jones dance track, Instruction, on which Demi was a guest vocalist, and an acoustic version of Cheat Codes’ dance hit, No Promises, which features Demi’s vocals.
Yet Demi had expected to release no new music in 2017.
“I actually thought about quitting music for good. But I got a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal. This reassured me and filled me with confidence that I was on the right path. I also did some charity work which rejuvenated me. I felt ready to start creating music again.”
Although three more tracks have been issued as promotional singles, Sorry Not Sorry is the only official single so far released from Tell Me You Love Me. The track has now entered the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100. The accompanying video is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MsvER1dpjM.
The Killers have set a new UK chart record.
The American alternative rock quartet debuted at number one with their latest album, Wonderful Wonderful. This extends their run to five straight chart-topping studio albums and makes them the only international act to hold pole position with their first five studio LPs.
British acts Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Oasis have equalled or bettered this mark. All seven Coldplay and Oasis albums have hit top spot.
If you wondered about The Beatles, their album discography is confusing with some being released in Britain but not in America and vice versa. Considering only their official UK releases on the Parlophone label, the band’s first eight albums released between 1963 and ’66 all topped the UK chart.
Their strek was ended in November, 1967, by Magical Mystery Tour which was initially released as a six-song double-EP. It was only issued in Britain as the 11-song US album version nine years later.
They hit number one again in 1968 with The Beatles, now universally known as The White Album, but could only reach number three with 1969’s Yellow Submarine.
One wonders what classical composer Jacques Offenbach would have made of the music created by French DJ and production duo Ofenbach.
Dorian Lo and Cesar de Rummel were looking for a name when they found a musical score by Offenbach. After playing it on the piano, they decided to use the composer’s name, minus one f.
Inspired by deep house, electronic and rock music, the Paris-based duo released their first tracks in 2015. But it was last year’s Euro smash, Be Mine, which made their name.
They are back now with Katchi, their reworking of a track by jazz and blues musician Nick Waterhouse, who is credited on the song, and soul singer Leon Bridges. The accompanying video can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ycg5oOSdpPQ.
The video for Be Mine is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNWOC_Pvo4w.
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