Glenn Hughes er i gang med touren ‘Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the album BURN’. Den 11. og 12. august 2023 optræder han ved musikfestivalen Jailbreak i Horsens. Hughes (vokal og bas) har danske Søren Andersen på guitar, Ash Sheehan på trommer og Bob Fridzema på orgel/keyboards.
Bob Fridzema er en nederlandsk musiker som i øjeblikket er bosat i Danmark. Vi har fået et mail interview med ham, for blandt andet at høre hvordan man forebereder sig til tage på tour med selveste Glenn Hughes.
RZ: Hello Bob Fridzema. Thank you very much for letting RockZeit interview
you about your life as a musician.
BF: Thanks for having me, I feel honored.
RZ: How did you get started up with Glenn Hughes?
BF: When I first got to Denmark I didn’t really know anybody here, and even
though I was touring a lot, I wanted to reach out here in Denmark and
make an effort to make some new friends. One of the first people I
reached out to was Jesper Bo Hansen, a.k.a. Jay Bo. I had seen him
perform with Glenn before and I also knew he was endorsed by
Hammond, like me. So he seemed like the right guy to get to know a
little better. And we kind of hit it off, see each other regularly and got to
make music together a few times.
And over the course of a few years I’ve managed to fill in on a few
projects for him, for example with Jesper Binzer of D.A.D. (and Søren
Andersen on guitar!).
So, as these things usually go, when Jesper wasn’t available for a tour
with GH they asked if I happened to be free, and I was! So that was very
RZ: When you play live, where do you put your focus and concentration?
BF: Well obviously on playing the right parts at the right time haha, but
seriously, when you play live you’re playing a show. It’s different from
playing at home and focussing only on the keys. I try and learn the
songs so well that I can relax and enjoy the show and enjoy the
moment, take in the audience and interact a little bit.
And musically, anything can happen during a set. You never know
where a song might go and you have to be open to that, and be aware
you’re performing too, so I try and be flexible and just roll with it.
RZ: Which gear/keyboard do you prefer to use when you play live?
BF: I’m a Hammond guy so that’s always my first choice; which comes in
handy when you play Jon Lord’s parts in Deep Purple songs haha:)
So give me a B3 (or a C3 of course!), crank the Leslie up, and I’m
usually pretty happy. These days, when touring, the weight of an organ
is a big concern, and since the modern organs are so good, I’m very
happy playing my Hammond XK-5/Leslie 147 live. I’ve tweaked mine so
it sounds identical to my B3 at home.
RZ: Do you change gear when specific music has to be played, for
instance the music og Deep Purple with Glenn Hughes?
BF: Absolutely. I want to honor the material and do it justice, so that means
digging in and researching what gear they used back then. How can I
recreate that, and how can I go on tour with that, plus somehow take it
on an airplane if that’s necessary.
So I’m bringing a pedalboard for the first time in my life, that will cover
some of the effects Jon Lord used. So right now I’ve got a Black Cat
Ring Modulator on there, a Heptode Virtuoso phaser, the Lounsberry
Organ Grinder for distortion sounds and a reverb/delay pedal.
And I’m also making sure there’s a stage piano for me to use, and a
synth. I’ve bought a small Korg Monologue preprogrammed with sounds
so I can be in any part of the world and have the sounds I need.
There’s quite a lot of layers in Deep Purple’s music so this allows me to
kinda cover it all without bringing a million keyboards.
RZ: What kind of preparations do you make before a tour like this?
BF: I practice, a lot. Repeat repeat repeat, and listen. There’s a ton of live
material out there from back in the 70’s all the way up to the 2020’s and
I use that to kind of get in to the head of the musicians and how the
music needs to be approached. I also feel like the better I learn the stuff
the easier it becomes, and the smoother I can blend in to what is for me
a new project.
RZ: Do you practice technique anymore, or does the practicing come with
the songs that you play?
BF: I do practice, and I made a conscious choice to do so. Working on
technique makes it easier for me to communicate the ideas from my
head to my fingers and not get stuck.
I think I got away with ‘just playing’ for a long time and technique just
kinda came along with it. But as I’m getting older I find a lot of benefits
to the discipline of practicing. It’s very meditative sometimes, and when
my hands are nice and warmed up playing music is just easier.
I’m still learning to do things I couldn’t do before so it’s very gratifying.
And when you hear how good Jon Lord was, and what great technique
he had, I have to step it up and try to get as close as I can, or die trying
RZ: Do you practice on the road while touring?
BF: Yes and no. It can be difficult when the travel and soundcheck and show
times just don’t give you a lot of time to practice, but also as a keyboard
player it’s tricky because it’s not very common to find piano’s in the
dressing room or hotel rooms. I often bring a small keyboard on the road
that i can shove in my suitcase so I have something to play when I’m in
the hotel room.
RZ: Where and how does the band practice on the tour?
BF: Usually it’s about getting everybody in a room a few days before the tour
starts and just getting it done. What I love about touring is once you’re
done rehearsing you go out and play a lot of shows in a row, and a band
becomes tighter and better and things that need work get tweaked ’til
they do indeed work. That’s when the magic starts to happen and it’s
one of the best things to experience.
RZ: You started very early as a musician. What made you wanna start
playing in your youth/childhood?
BF: Well my parents remember it better than me but according to them I was
probably around 6yo and just mesmerized when I saw a kid play a
keyboard on a fair or something. It might’ve been the local music school
doing a little demonstration that day. I couldn’t stop talking about it haha.
Blew me away, so my parents being great and supportive, decided to
get me a Casio keyboard and some lessons and see how it would go.
RZ: Do you have favorite piano compositions in the classical area? And
are you also inspired by classical pianists as a musician?
BF: Sure, but I would never classify myself as a classical guy. But certain
compositions are just stunning. I absolutely love “Hungarian Rhapsody
no.2” by Liszt and “Fantaisie Impromptu” by Chopin. There’s a lot more I
like but those stand out to me. I think classical music definitely inspired
me to think melodically, and how to build up a certain sense of drama,
how you can play in certain ‘moods’ and use chords to really take a
I’ve practiced a little bit of Bach back in the day so it’s great to hear that
referenced in a lot of Jon Lord’s playing. But hearing him makes me
wish I practiced more when I was growing up!
RZ: Now that you’ve Deep Purple under you skin…do you have a favourite
Deep Purple song? And why this song?
BF: Ha now that’s difficult. They’ve made so many iconic songs, it’s hard to
pick one, especially since it totally depends on what mood I’m in.
The later stuff is more groovy, funky sometimes, which I really dig but
sometimes you also just gotta rock hard.
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the ‘Burn’ album and the energy of
‘Lay Down Stay Down’ gets me incredibly pumped up. So that’s one I
really dig, but the organ riff that kicks off “Might Just Take Your Life” is
epic too. I’m very excited to play that.
Being able to play these songs with Glenn Hughes himself makes every
song a thrill.
RZ: Do you have three favorite albums of all time?
BF: I probably have way more than that but there’s a few I always come
back to. I’m a blues guy so there’s always that, and one of my all times
favorites is “Love Me Papa” by Luther Allison. That album is the
definition of great great blues, in my opinion.
Then there’s “Going Back To New Orleans” by Dr. John. This was my
introduction to the great Doctor after a music school teacher told me to
check him out some time. I’ve never been the same since! Hands down
the world’s best piano player in my opinion. What he does on piano is
just magic to me.
The third one is hard because I want to mention everyone I love and
three albums just doesn’t cover it. I think based on pure impact ‘Voodoo’
by D’angelo left a huge impression on me. Gamechanger. I love how
this album sounds, the songs, and the arrangements, and the smokey
darkness it brings to mind. To this day I don’t fully understand what’s
going on most of the time but I’m okay with that. It’s nice to not always
analyze everything to death, which is what musicians sometimes do.
RZ: Thank you so much for answering these questions for RockZeit. We
wish you well on your Deep Purple “Burn” 50th anniversary tour with