The Dead Daisies – Glenn Hughes just turned 70 but he really makes it feel like he’s 40 years old

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Just a few days before the first ever Dead Daisies show in Greece, we talked with Doug Aldrich, the guitarist who had also played in Whitesnake and Dio in the past. He is talking about the new album, which although he haven’t heard yet (!), he thiks that it’s going to be his favourite, Glenn Hughes, his past and his love for Greece. Interview: Yiannis Dolas

Rockpages.gr: First of all, I haven’t listened to the album yet. I guess I am not the only one… But, judging from the first single “Radiance” it sounds very heavy and maybe more modern than your last one. Is this how the record going to sound overall like?

Doug Aldrich: I’m not sure yet exactly. I haven’t heard the finished product yet. I only heard “Radiance” which is finished and I really love it. I’m really happy with it. I think Ben Gross did a great job and I’ve heard some mixes here and there a little bit, but I don’t know if they are the final mixes or anything, but it sounds killer and we’re really excited about it.

It’s definitely got a seventies flare… “Radiance” is very modern. It’s a very pointy riff, very angular and very simple but heavy with classic Glenn doing his thing. But, there is some stuff on the album that is definitely more leaning towards the “Holy Ground” 70s sound. And then there’s a few surprises that are really interesting. I’ll just cut right to it… I, I think, and I’m hoping that this new album is going to be my favorite Dead Daisies album yet.

Rockpages.gr: Wow, that’s a statement.

Doug Aldrich: Yeah. I mean, hey we worked really hard. Glenn and I got together in 2020 and done with a bunch of ideas. And then when we started working at the beginning of this year, we were meant to be going on tour in early ‘22, and it got canceled because of the omicron COVID.

So, we just switched gears and went right into songwriting again and we came up with another ten or fifteen songs. David Lowie had some songs. I had some songs with David, Glen and I had some stuff and we got a record that is kickass and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

“Radiance” was not your typical first song released, but it’s got a positive message to it. And, and it’s a good riff and it’s going to be great live. Can’t wait to play it for you guys.

Rockpages.gr: There’s a change of style in the band since Glenn got on board. I guess that’s natural. Isn’t it?

Doug Aldrich: Every time you get you got a new guy coming in, they’re going to bring in their own flavors to the sound and everything. And that’s kind of what we really want. We don’t want to stay the same and make the same album over and over and over again. We just want to keep growing and in this situation Glenn came in, we made “Holy Ground”. It was definitely a real sharp turn from where we were. And we looked at that as a good thing, something to keep the band fresh. And that’s how that was developed, as a roundabout where people would come and go and whatever happens in the future.

But, every time that there is a Dead Daisies record, you got David Lowie on guitar and it really is a common thread between… if you listen to our new album, when it comes out and you listen to the first Dead Daisies stuff, you’re going to hear David Lowy ‘s common thread of a very simplistic, honest, aggressive guitar approach.

Rockpages.gr: Well, you’ve played with Glenn before. You’ve been his solo band just for some shows. How was it then and how different is it now that you are in a band with him?

Doug Aldrich:  Well it was different because we were playing all of his material. So, the whole story is that I was in Las Vegas, I had left Whitesnake so I could just be at home more. And I was staying in Las Vegas doing this show with some friends. And I started to get really tired of, like the same thing every day. And all of a sudden Glenn called me to say: “I’m doing this tour, and I would really love for you to join me on it”. His regular guitar player was not available or something, and “I’m just going to make it a three piece. Just guitar bass and drums. It’s going to be really raw. I need somebody I can count on”.

So, I said, “well, sure, I would love to do it Glenn”. So we went out and we did like five or six weeks in Europe. We did a few, three weeks in South America. We went to Japan and it was great. But I said I wanted to do at least one Whitesnake song that I never got to do with David because we just never fitted in the set. There was a song that David and I wrote. David and I wrote a lot of songs during my time, but one that I really, really, really loved was the title track of “Good To Be Bad”.  And I thought it would be great for Glenn because it’s kind of got a little bit of a funky thing to it. So he agreed, and we did that and we had a blast. And Glenn was… Glenn’s the boss.

Now in the Dead Daisies, we have management. We have a full team of people that are in charge of different aspects of the business of the band. And it’s a lot bigger kind of production, you know. And so Glenn is lead singer, he’s the bass player. He’s very important, obviously. But there’s other people that are also in charge as well. So, it’s great. Both is great. But with the Dead Daisies it’s really about the band, you know, that’s what it’s important to David Lowy and, and our management, David Edwards and the whole team works together. We work together to accomplish moving the band forward as best we can, you know, try our best.

Rockpages.gr: Actually a week before your show in Athens Whitesnake are playing in Athens. And as you know it’s the farewell tour. So that probably means that this is the last time we’ll be seeing David Coverdale live, at least…

Doug Aldrich: I keep trying to convince him not to do that, not to make it the farewell… keep the farewell tour going for a couple of years. I texted him the other day. I go “DC -I call him DC- man, you are just killing it up there. Please, please, please. This can’t be the farewell”. And he’s having a blast. So, I hope that the farewell tour lasts for a couple of years.

Rockpages.gr: You’re stepping deep into the Deep Purple family, if I may say so, because you’ve been in Dio, you’ve been in Whitesnake and now you’re with Glen Hughes. So you are becoming one with that family and you’re actually playing two Deep Purple songs, if I’m not mistaken, “Burn” and “Mistreated” How is it to play “Mistreated”  with Dio, because he used to play it, I am sure David was playing it at some point when you were in Whitesnake and now with Glen Hughes?

Doug Aldrich: The first time I ever heard “Mistreated” was with Ronnie singing on “On Stage”, the  Rainbow album. And it blew me away, the guitar playing, singing, everything. Then I got the “Burn” record later. I was just learning about the band, little by little, but I had a friend that had “On Stage” and that was so cool… You put the headphones on and it’s like, you’re there. And then I got the “Burn” record and the song “Burn” was great and all, you know, so many songs on that album and “Mistreated” came on and I was like, “hey, that’s the Dio song!” But, it wasn’t the Dio song. It was the David Coverdale and Ritchie Blackmore song. David sing it so good. And David’s a bluesman.  He is a heavy bluesman and he loves it. He loved bands like The Allman Brothers, like “Whipping Post”. And that was like his “Whipping Post”. (he sings) “I’ve been mistreated”.

So when David at one point said, “hey, I think we’re going to put Mistreated in the set”, I was like, “Yes, that’s so cool!” And we played it a few times and as Whitesnake had a different way of playing “Mistreated”,  Dave did it his own way, but we were on a different place, and “Mistreated” didn’t fit in the set very well for some reason. So, we played a few times, we played it in Japan once and played it somewhere else, and he was like, “aahh, let’s move on to something else and put “slide it in”,or “slow’n’ easy” back in instead. That’s the blues track. He goes, “I’m not mistreated anymore. I’m very lucky with my career. I can’t sing that right now. Singing it doesn’t feel right”.

Cut to working with Glenn, that’s one of Glenn’s staple songs that he sings really well and does it his own way, and he owns it. And it’s very fun to play that with Glenn. We’re doing it now with the Dead Daisies in a different way that sounds like, as you would imagine with two guitarists, we’ve David Lowie covering the organ parts, but playing it in a really, really cool way and I’m playing the top line part and just kind of playing off the goal line, but it’s really Glen’s song live and it feels great to have played that with David and with Glenn is really cool. I never got the chance to play with Ronnie. Unfortunately, he took it out of his set. I think he probably should have always played that song, but I never thought about that.

Rockpages.gr: Well, to tell you the truth, I never liked Dio’s version of Mistreated.

Doug Aldrich: (shouting) WHAAAAAAAT???

Rockpages.gr: Well, yeah. Sorry! Ronnie, if you are listening up there…

Doug Aldrich: Okay, I believe it’s the first time I heard it, that’s probably why I liked it. I mean, I do love the cover of it for sure.

Rockpages..gr: This is the first time ever the Dead Daisies will be playing in Greece, , but it’s not the first time you’re playing here and it’s not the first time for Glenn either. I think Brian has played in Greece with you, but how does it feel to, you know, be in a country for the first time with the band? What do you expect?

Doug Aldrich: It feels great. I, I love Greece so much. I’ve had so many good times in Greece and I never, ever thought I would get to go to Greece, as a as a person, playing music and growing up, you hear about Greece and, you know, Greek food and Greek music and the people and the history. And I never thought I’d ever get to go there. And then I got to go there several times, maybe, six, ten times. I’m not sure. I forgot. But every time it’s been amazing and very special. The people are so passionate and kind. Some of my really great friends are from different parts of Greece, Kavala or Thesaloniki and of course, Athens. There’s amazing friends in Athens. So I expect to hopefully see some of those friends. I expect to have a full dose of Greek cuisine and the smiling faces of all the great Greek fans of rock and roll. And there’s so many! We are going to be there with the mighty Judas Priest.

I don’t know if Whitesnake toured Greece with Judas Priest, but we did tour there on our own. We did tour there with Def Leppard. And man, it’s always a blast. And I can only I can only imagine that Judas Priest Greek fans are probably going to go crazy. I saw the show for the first time a couple of nights ago, and they’re on fire and they’re playing all the best. It’s great it’s got a little bit of new stuff. It’s got all the hits you want to hear and Richie Faulkner is on fire. He looks amazing. The metal God is hitting his notes and you’re going, “dude, how is that possible?” Same with Glenn.

Rockpages.gr: How do you explain that? I mean, two guys like Rob Halford and Glenn Hughes, who obviously are not young, but they still can hit the notes. They still can perform. Especially Glenn. It sounds like all of those years since the seventies didn’t touch him. How is that happening? What’s the secret?

Doug Aldrich: I actually don’t know. But, I would love to know that the secret. And Rob Halford… I saw him out front and he’s singing as good as I ever heard him, ever. And he’s always, you know, (screaming) “aaaahhhhhhh” hitting those high notes and then Glen is just that.. He’s like a freak, you know? He hits these notes, and his voice is strong, and he looks great. I mean, look, he’s just turned 70, but I mean, he really makes it feel like he’s 40 years old.

Rockpages.gr: One last thing. You’ve played in many albums, you’ve done many projects, many collaborations. Which ones of those would you say that deserve a better luck than the one who got it should have been more recognized?

Doug Aldrich: Well, I mean, I’ve been super lucky. So I’m never going to complain at all. But if I had to say one thing, my very first real band was a band called Lion. And I don’t know if some people probably don’t even know about it, we were in L.A. during the time where there was a lot of glam bands and a lot of people getting signed. And we were not, we were definitely influenced by early Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy and Zeppelin and Deep Purple and Rainbow, and we made a really good heavy blues rock records, but unfortunately it was on a label that was not supportive and we couldn’t get them to support us. And so the band broke up eventually, but that record did really well. Wherever it was released properly, it did really well. So, I would have wished that band… you know, they were still my friends. I wish we could resurrect it, but our drummer doesn’t play any drums anymore. And so, yeah, I would say, Lion

It was a really good band. We had a Scottish singer and when I met him, he goes: “have you ever heard of Whitesnake?” and I’ like “no”. And he played me all this old Whitesnake stuff. And I was like, “wow, this is really cool”. And then some different albums of Thin Lizzy that I wasn’t aware of. I was aware of Thin Lizzy “The Boys Are Back In Town”, seventies, stuff like that. But, then I got away from it a little bit and then Deep Purple. And so this guy’s name was Cal Swan and he was a great singer, very much influenced by Coverdale. And so we were like in a mini Whitesnake playing in Los Angeles at the time of glam bands. So, it was we didn’t get a great deal and that’s what happened, ended up breaking up. But anyways, it’s still there. You can listen to it.

Rockpages.gr: But, you were also about to play in a KISS record, if I remember correctly. You auditioned, but you didn’t make it. Can you tell us what happened?

Doug Aldrich: I think, you know, to cut a long long story short, I was just too young. I think part of the reason was that. One of the things that’s most important when you’re trying to do any project, not just music, any situation where you’re going to be working with somebody, you have to feel comfortable together. If you’re making a business with somebody and you feel like, “I don’t know this guy”, “we’ don’t have the same interests”…  I’d rather start a business with my with my buddy who I trust… In a band, that’s magnified because what happens is you go on tour and you’re traveling together every day. You see these people every day. There’s no escape, you know? And I was just a young kid in Los Angeles. I was 18. These guys were massive rock stars. And it didn’t matter if I played good or looked good. The question is, “am I comfortable around this kid?” “Could we picture ourselves on a tour bus with this guy?” And probably they were like, “he’s just too young”. And that’s kind of what Eric Carr told me at the time. But, we did have some fun jams and it’s good for a story, you know? I didn’t really think much of it, but I felt like, “hey, I’m going to try to get more serious about guitar playing now because KISS didn’t work out. That’s okay. But, I wanted to get better. So it made me really want to get better and better and better.