In this chapter dear reader, we will meet the almighty Glenn Hughes, we’ll have a rather unique interaction with Jason Bonham, and we will learn how to impress the roadies.
I love playin’ at The Gramercy theatre. Thank you again to all of you who came out to support back in March to our full length album release show!
We chose this stage because it has a somewhat sacred meaning for our band.
This venue and this stage always felt like home to me. It was the first big venue we played when we started out as a band. It was our home port after we returned from our overseas journey to play with Aerosmith. And this tale I will now share with you is a nice story to remember… as an addition to our “book of memories”.
Right after we got back from an amazing trip to Moscow we were booked as the opening act for Glenn Hughes’ new band, “California Breed”.
Can you imagine? One week Aerosmith, next week Glenn Hughes… Hey Universe I don’t know what the heck is going on, but I love it!
Deep Purple was one of the most influential bands for myself and my bandmates. Especially Ian Gillan. Honestly speaking I never really liked Coverdale’s era in Deep Purple. Though I do have a huge respect for him as a vocalist, but there were few songs of that era [“Burn”, “Mistreated” , “Stormbringer” and “Soldiers of Fortune”] that were in my “DP best songs” list.
Speaking of which, “Burn”
I remember watching this video on vhs at my friend’s house back in Moscow when I was 20 or something, and I had just started my first band.
My friend said excitedly: “check it out, check it out!” Right before I saw the long haired bass player who all of a sudden started to sing: “you know we had the time….!!!!” HoooolySmoke!!!!
I was amazed by his voice, high and strong and screaming, full of rock n’ roll energy. At that moment Glenn Hughes got inducted to my “all time favorite rock singers” list.
We met with him in the green room at Gramercy Theater. We had a really nice talk. Glenn was super patronizing, and at the same time sincerely wondering about how rock n’ roll records are selling nowadays. We were sharing our experience and thoughts.
I was amazed by the fact that stars like Glenn still have to worry about sells and records and everything. It took me awhile to figure that show biz here in the USA is totally different from what we have around the globe. Super competitive, cruel… it’s not “a colorful fairy tale”.
We talked about Russia where Glenn and a few other classic rock stars are worshiped as GODS!!! He toured there a lot, warm memories… all that stuff. I bet… he is a ROCK GOD for us there. The only problem he said was that shows in the industrial towns and cities in the middle part of Russia had to start earlier than usual. “You know why’?” He asked me
“Cause the men who work in the factories stop working at 6. And by 7 they were already drunk enough. To start a show later increases the chances of them being way too drunk and therefore it could create a potential difficult situation… Fights could break out and so on. So technically an early start for the show is a security measure”
“That makes sense”:))
“You don’t want a drunk angry working man to start a riot because of a late show, right?” – he smiled.
“Hey guys let’s take a picture now” – he said, knowing that we would ask him sooner or later. – “It is always better to do it right away, cause there might not be time afterwards”
Words of wisdom from a professional 🙂
Also that night it was the birthday of the legendary John Bonham. His son Jason Bonham was the drummer for California Breed. So I asked Glenn if he didn’t mind if we played a Led Zeppelin cover to dedicate it to John.
“I don’t mind but ask Jason, he might be a bit touchy about it” – said Glenn – “We do Zep’s songs too. They always push me to sing Zep’s stuff…” – he added a bit sarcastically and sighed.
I laughed knowingly. I knew exactly what he meant. He was part of that infamous sacred rock n’ roll triad “Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin” – every member of that Pantheon are equally gods. You don’t push Apollo to do Hermes’ or Poseidon’s stuff, right?
Anyways. We waited for Jason. As soon as he arrived we introduced ourselves. Jason turned out to be a super nice, a very down-to- earth person. Right after meeting him I felt like we’ve known each other for a long time.
Also, right after we met, he pointed at me and he said to us:
“This lad looks like Jesus”
“You mind taking a picture together?” -asked our guitarist Mullin.
“Sure!!!” – Jason looked at me again and added: “Let’s recreate The Last Supper”- He was really excited about it, like a kid.
We were too. We laughed and looked around. There was a table with a cloth on.
“There it is”- Jason pointed at the table. “You sit at the table” – he told me “And we’ll pretend like we are your disciples”.
Here s the picture:
It was such a inspiring moment. As if the Universe, or the Pantheon of the GODS OF ROCK was trying to show me something: “you’re doing right, Cheggi!”
After this fun Last Supper moment, I decided to ask Jason about the Led Zep song, knowing that they’re doing Zep covers.
“No problem guys! As long as you’re not playing songs we’re gonna play”
“We’re thinking Whole Lotta Love”
“Perfect! We’re not doing this one” he smiled.
Afterwards I learned that some of the roadies were upset that we were doing a Zeppelin song. Our drummer Joe mentioned that during the show, as soon as we started playing the riff for Whole Lotta Love, he heard some of the stage crew being upset. Roadies always are very unfriendly to young bands like us. I don’t know why but I always feel it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we were lucky to play with the big guys, and roadies, most of whom are musicians themselves, never had that chance. Envy? Arrogance? I don’t know… What I do know is that roadies get payed, they support their families, are on tour with huge bands and experience all the stardom side effects, good and bad, while guys like us are still dreaming about it, working our asses off to get this 20 minutes of rock n’ roll glory. Well hear me out you hater, arrogant, and unfriendly roadie, FUCK YOU!!! I am doing this and you’re not!
On this video you’ll even hear someone in the crowd screaming as soon as we started: “they’re not supposed to do this!”
We didn’t care!!! First, we got our indulgence from Jason himself, second as I mentioned above, if you wanna hate on us: FUCK YOU!!!
Right after the show I met Glenn, he said “nice performance my friend! We heard it from here. Your voice sounded like a girl’s… in a good way. You know what I mean! keep going!”
“That is your school, Glenn” I replied. I was delighted by the appraisal of someone who I considered to be my influence.
oh and yes… Joe always hears what people’s mumbling around.
So he heard that after our performance someone of the stage crew said that we were ok!
You know what that means, right?
It means we fucking killed it!!!! Hahahaha….
Stay tuned for more The Blackfires stories and don’t forget to sign up and share this story.
And please let us know what you think in the comments, we love reading those!
Capt.Cheggi The Blackfires
P.s. If you wanna check our new album, you can go here.