'Ready to move on': Is Joe Bonamassa's busy solo career going to be the end of Black Country Communion?

A feud between Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa is apparently behind the cancellation of Black Country Communion’s only scheduled show in the UK — and might yet be the end of the rock supergroup.

Hughes, who previously served as frontman for both Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, has already expressed frustration that Black Country Communion has had to delay touring behind its forthcoming Afterglow project because of on-going commitments relating to Bonamassa’s solo career. The offed show in England apparently represents an escalation in that argument.

[SOMETHING ELSE! SNEAK PEEK: We've posted three videos with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the sessions for Black Country Communion's October 2012 release 'Afterglow.']

Black Country Communion, which also includes keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) and drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, UFO, Foreigner), burst onto the rock scene in 2010 with the Top 20 hit Black Country. 2011’s 2 followed, and it rose to No. 6 in America while topping the rock albums list in the UK. The group released Live Over Europe late last year.

But Bonamassa has been just as busy, issuing three solo projects and a collaboration with Beth Hart over the same period — not to mention Beacon Theatre: Live from New York. He just issued a video for the solo song “Dislocated Boy,” as well.

Overnight, things apparently came to a head, as Bonamassa tweeted: “I am very sorry about the Black Country Communion canceled gig. But principle still stands for something in 2012. I ready to move on.”

Hughes retweeted Bonamassa’s comment last night and added his own: “Me, too.” Earlier in the week, as Hughes went through rehearsals for a Jim Marshall tribute show in London with Yngwie Malmsteen, he’d already admitted: “Been a rough week.”

BCC producer Kevin Shirley (Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and Journey) has also joined the fray, posting this on Facebook: “I like to leave these things alone, but I feel an apology is in order. When you’re thrown a lifeline, it doesn’t serve you to steal the rope! And tweeting doesn’t make it history, or true.”

Afterglow is due October 29, 2012 in the UK, and on the 30th in America.

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherinian. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

JOE BONAMASSA – DRIVING TOWARDS THE DAYLIGHT (2012): It’s become a late winter/spring ritual here to survey a new Joe Bonamassa release, and the additional involvement of a fully recording, touring band (Black Country Communion) and various one-off side projects (such as last fall’s really good collaboration with soul belter Beth Hart) have barely slowed down Joe’s pace of producing new material for his own still hot solo career. This year’s offering is entitled Driving Towards The Daylight, another platter of heavy blues cast with a hard stomping rock bent. The new twist, if you will, is the introduction of other guitarists to push Bonamassa further — including Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, Brad’s son Harrison, Pat Thrall, and ex-Beach Boys sideman Blondie Chaplin.

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – 2 (2011): I can still remember a time when hard rock bands played music that had a lot of soul, meaning and depth. When the music meant more than the image. When listening to them lifted you up, not brought you down. And when you could count on a fresh new batch of music every year, and yet it didn’t sound like rush jobs. Black Country Communion reminds me of those times like no other rock band has in the last thirty odd years. Unlike most supergroups that fall short of mighty expectations, BCC delivered on the promise, provding the right vibes for anyone who loves the classic hard rock sound of the 70s, from Boston and Led Zeppelin to Hughes’ old bands Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Modestly called Black Country Communion 2, it’s an accurate label — because it could have easily been Disc 2 of the first record.

DEREK SHERINIAN – OCEANA (2011): Derek Sherinian, known for his work both with Black Country Communion and Dream Theater, is a keyboardist. It’s worth repeating, under your breath, as the forthcoming guitar god-heavy Oceana spins, each cut adding layer upon layer of heavy fusion — at times, even, sounding like math metal. So, where does that leave Sherinian? Lost in the undulating riptides of sound from these famous axe men? Trying to fit in somewhere? Not hardly. Sherinian, who made his bones playing with superstars like former Jimi Hendrix collaborator Buddy Miles, Alice Cooper and Kiss, never gets lost – even though any of those talents, in their own way, could have easily taken over the record. Instead, Sherinian is both a canny accompanist (when he needs to be), and an involving improviser.

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION (2010): Given the overall pedigree, this wasn’t destined to be a blues band; it’s an Anglo-American hard rock band. Best of all, it’s the hard rock from its golden age of the 70s, when Deep Purple, Sabbath, Boston, Bon Scott-era AC/DC, etc., dominated the genre with memorable and anthemic riffs and buckets of attitude, while retaining some strains of blues and soul. If anyone is wondering if Hughes has lost any of his range, power and passion, he quickly dispatches all doubt on the calling card first track “Black Country.” This sounds in no way like a half-hearted effort by a bunch of big egos; this sounds instead like a firm declaration to the Green Days and Foo Fighters out there that the old school hard rock guys are back. With a vengeance.

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Matt

    It’s a shame…with three albums in a short period of time, there was obviously a good creative spark at work there. It’s a shame that they couldn’t find a better balance. It’s certainly the most notice that Glenn Hughes has gotten in years….I don’t know what he thinks he’s going to accomplish by walking away.

    • http://www.somethingelsereviews.com Nick DeRiso

      Every indication was that this cancellation came out of Bonamassa’s camp, Matt. As for Hughes, he’s made mention recently of reuniting with David Coverdale for a Deep Purple offshoot project. But the shelf life on that, with Coverdale certainly returning afterward to Whitesnake, seems short.

      • http://www.somethingelsereviews.com Nick DeRiso

        Here’s more from Joe Bonamassa, posting on his fan forum and reprinted at Rock Guitar Daily (http://rockguitardaily.blogspot.fi/2012/09/joe-bonamassa-has-his-say.html), as he apparently calls it quits with Black Country Communion —

        Without going into the comings and goings of all this nonsense.. I am sorry it all has come to this point that the gig has been cancelled .. I love all the guys in BCC and love making music with them. But at this point in our lives it doesn’t seem in the cards so to speak. I will always consider each of them a dear friend and the door is always open at least from my point of view. I just can’t do it at this point with all the things that been said unfairly about me and my intentions toward this band.. It would not be an honest show for me and I will not take the money from the fans in that fashion. For 23 years I have always maintained that code… I will not compromise that deal I made with you the fans and myself so many years ago whether its 1 or 100,000 people in the audience… Thank you for understanding .. And I totally understand if you do not by the way. Im just one member of this band of five and very disappointed in the way this has played out over the past two months. With that said I will not allow my reputation that I worked 25 years to establish with Roy to be compromised by someone who has the microphone and a agenda.. This will be the last I will speak of this event.. I won’t get into the discussion and want to put this all behind me for I see it as a black eye on my career. I just really felt I owed you all somewhat of an explanation..
        You are all the best thank you again..

        Joe Bonamassa

        Meanwhile, all mentions of Black Country Communion — including advance notices of the ‘Afterglow’ project, have apparently disappeared from Bonamassa’s web site.

  • Sabbatical

    I hate this Hughes dude and his junkie pal Bolin for having destroyed Deep Purple back in 1976 … Ritchie left the band in 1975 because of his crappy funky ******** … And then Lord and Paice called him an ******* and that was the end of the great era … **** him!

  • http://rockguitardaily.blogspot.com/ tony conley

    Crying shame too, Nick – Afterglow is a brilliant record, and would have taken the band to great places. Here’s a link to my review of the record – it’s a brilliant end to a unique band:

    http://rockguitardaily.blogspot.com/2012/09/black-country-communion-afterglow-is.html

    Cheers,

    Tony C.

  • reid

    I still believe there is a chance that they can work things out if they focus on the music, the work they have already done together and the fans. It would be a shame if this release was the last BCC (and it would be interesting if the album was purposely titled “Afterglow”, instead of BCC III, knowing it would be their last work together)… Hope it is still released on J&R Adventures label in the US (and not delayed for any reasons, too)…