California Breed is a new power trio featuring former Deep Purple singer/bassist Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, that released its self-titled debut album in May. The band rose from the ashes of the short-lived supergroup Black Country Communion, whose lineup also included guitarist Joe Bonamassa and keyboardist Derek Sherinian and which broke up early last year after Bonamassa decided he'd rather focus on his solo career.
Hughes, who initially became embroiled in a feud with Bonamassa over the guitarist's reluctance to commit to Black Country Communion, soon turned his attention to starting the new group.
"Rather than sort of sit around and look at ourselves, I just decided I would [do something else]," he explains to ABC News Radio. "I didn't particularly want to continue Black Country part two, so that's when I formed this band and, lo and behold, we call it California Breed."
Hughes says one big difference between the two groups is that the new band doesn't include a keyboard player, while noting that another is the unique playing style of California Breed's guitarist, a 23-year-old hotshot named Andrew Watt who was introduced to Glenn by a mutual friend, Julian Lennon.
Hughes adds that he thinks California Breed's music is "darker" and "more soulfully aggressive" than that of Black Country Communion.
An interesting aspect of California Breed is that Hughes, Bonham and Watt are, respectively, in their sixties, forties and twenties. Glenn tells ABC News Radio that the gap in the band members' ages has no bearing on the chemistry between them.
"It's really hard to pin the age on who's who here," he explains. "You know, we never set out to do that. I just think we really found each other musically and we went in fearless, and we cut this album."
Hughes says on of the reasons the songs on California Breed sound so vibrant and raw is that the album was cut almost completely live in the studio. Glenn admits that in his 45-year career, he'd never worked that way before, and says he now "can't imagine going back to overdubbing again."
The veteran rocker also reveals that a lot of the tunes on the new album were inspired by a serious health scare he experienced last year -- he underwent open heart surgery to correct a problem with his aorta.
"The lyrical content on this album is driven by what happened to me," says Hughes. "The guys in the band wanted me to sing about it, so I did, but…subliminally."
Glenn also shares some details about the operation, noting that he chose to go under the knife immediately when his problem was diagnosed. He adds that he was lucky to have "a great team of doctors" looking after him, and reports that he spent three months recovering after the surgery.
"The good news is that I feel better than ever, spiritually and physically and mentally, totally recovered, and I'm just full of beans!" he declares. "Thirty, forty years ago I probably would've been dead, 'cause this procedure wasn't happening…I'm just very, very grateful to be on the other side of this."
California Breed initially delayed plans for its debut tour because of Bonham's commitments to his Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience tribute group and to Sammy Hagar's current A Journey Through the History of Rock trek. The band finally will hit the road in the fall, kicking things off with a U.S. outing that gets under way October 3 in Detroit. Visit CaliforniaBreed.com to check out the group's full itinerary.
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