As a kid growing up, I watched the world’s greatest rocks stars assemble for benefits such as “Live Aid” and “We Are the World”. I was in awe of the powerful force that rock stars could have on social issues. I watched countless hours of TV to see just a glimpse of my favorites such as Billy Idol, Bob Geldof and Phil Collins. Now, a benefit against human trafficking has united rock stars in 2018.
Glenn Hughes, the well-known bass player and vocalist from Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, as well as numerous individual and solo projects, shares his version of The Police song ‘Roxanne’ to this collaborative effort. Debuting this spring, “Rock Against Trafficking” (https://rockagainsttrafficking.org/) joins contributions from Slash, Rob Thomas, Carlos Santana, Journey, Heart and others to combat modern-day slavery.
The non-profit global effort to help eliminate the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, gathers a collation of Grammy-winning & national touring artists to help bring awareness to this human tragedy. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Maximum Ink (MI): Let’s start off with how you came to be a part of this great project?
Glenn Hughes (GH): I’ve been the spokesperson for quite some time. When Producer Gary Miller (David Bowie, George Michael, Charlotte Church) told me we were doing songs by Sting & The Police, I thought I should just give-it-a-go and see what happens. We all know that Sting is an incredible musician, writer and lyricist. So, when it came to singing ‘Roxanne’, which is about a lady of the evening, you think about that and about child-slavery and the statistics of kids and families affected by this tragedy on a daily basis. I had educated myself on this harrowing and devious ordeal of human trafficking and human slavery; it’s absolutely horrific.
(MI): ‘Roxanne’ is a Police cover which kicks off the release “Rock Against Trafficking”. It has a modern feel and orchestra mix along with your strong vocals. Why choose this song to cover?
(GH): I was the first one to go into the studio to perform. Of course, when I was asked to sing The Police song ‘Roxanne’ I was reading the lyrics and understood what the lyrics were about. I started getting ‘welled-up’ and kind of emotional when I went into the studio. I’m a ‘first-take’ singer, so what your hearing is the first time I sang the song and the first take. What you hear on the song is the way it turned out. It’s a very ‘in the moment’ recording. I’ve never been a guy who goes into the studio and sings a song 50 or 60 times, never more than 2 or 3 times, it’s been like that my entire career.
(MI): Having been in huge bands who have toured the world, do you think your life was ever personally impacted by the tragedy of human trafficking?
(GH): I’ve seen the footage on how life-changing this can be. Because I’m a part of the recovery team, I have the opportunity to educate and to be vigilant about something I have difficulty coming to terms with. As I travel and meet people throughout the world, I can’t image putting myself in that scenario or situation. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have someone come into your home and take a loved one. We haven’t been educated on the statistics really. People probably have heard about this, but its unimaginable and unthinkable about how siblings and children are taken from us, it just blows my mind.
(MI): “Rock Against Trafficking” has some fantastic artists who have also contributed songs for this cause. What’s it like knowing that you are a part of such a great project?
(GH): Those guys are all good friends of mine. We’ve all gracefully come into this to lend our services. All those great artists have been around the block and we all know the story, and they are just giving people.
We can be a part of stopping this epidemic which blows my mind. It blows my mind on how deadly and devious this [human trafficking] is. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
(MI): You’re still working on projects with other artists like an album with Joe Satriani & Black Country Communication and playing South America for first time in 40 years. How does it feel to still go out and tour, and do you ever take any time off?
(GH): I’m doing a global tour soon, which is going to be about 2 years long. I’m going to Egypt, Europe and South America, of course. I get to carry the message and to be a part of the team that helps deal with these atrocities. I do take a little time off, but I’m not a father and don’t have any children; so I dedicate my time to this tragic issue.
(MI): How much of this project also reflects on how you turned your life around from your previous wild days and how people can come together to help others?
(GH): When I changed my lifestyle around a couple of decades ago and got out of the fast lane, I started to listen to my heart and soul. It changed my life. I’ve always been a giving and loving man, and the change in my life-style is 100 percent why I like to be of service to one another. It’s all for love.
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