|The modern rock scene tapestry has been woven with both for almost 35 years. Post-Deep Purple Coverdale formed Whitesnake in 1977 and he and the band have been slithering up the charts and striking the perfected rock chord ever since. Whitesnake's ascent to the very top of the rock n' roll heap was confirmed with 1987's self-titled mega-platinum album, which saw two massive Top 10 hits, two #1 singles with "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love" and a virtual 24-hour domination of MTV around the world. Now, with the release of FOREVERMORE, Whitesnake is coiled for yet another carnivorous consumption and it is clear that Whitesnake is here to stay. Released in the US in March, FOREVERMORE finds founder/singer/songwriter David Coverdale and company returning to their no-holds-barred, bluesiest, sexiest rock n' roll roots. Joining David Coverdale on vocals is Doug Aldrich (guitar), Reb Beach (guitars), Michael Devin (bass) and Briian Tichy (drums). |
We had the opportunity to talk with the legendary David Coverdale recently and as expected he was quite the snake charmer.
MM: New album, new tour, new band mates--Whitesnake has definitely been shedding some skin lately after 3 decades and an irreplaceable mark on rock history no one would blame you for resting on your laurels, so why aren't you resting?
DC: Well, I've actually had more retirements than Sinatra...but it's something that appears to be in my blood. Probably my destiny to do this and when I revamped Whitesnake back in '03, you know, I'd kind of been retired from performing for like six years I think and my friends, the Scorpions, invited me to participate in a co-headline tour of the States. And at the same time, my record companies had asked me to put some compilation cd's together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Whitesnake. So, it was this synchronicity of all of these elements that came together and of course, the support of my family, and I was like okay, I'll go out for two or three months and see what happens. I came home like nine months later; I had a blast (chuckle).
So, you know, I think my wife was aware much more than I, how much I missed performing. I didn't miss the business per say, but I missed performing, the interaction with audiences, and what lead me to actually make records again not with the majors even though I am still involved with large corporate record companies with my catalogue. I work with independents now because primarily they are fans of music. You know, they got into the business because they enjoy the music as it was when I first started. That is an inspiration in itself. Some of my old songs were getting distinctly dusty for me to perform. And I thought if it feels that way for me, it's gotta feel that way for an element of my audience. So that was a huge inspiration for me to go back into the studio and record some new music and I'm delighted I did because it definitely has recharged the Snake without a doubt.
MM: You've worked with the industry's most extraordinary guitar players, including Reb and Doug and reaching into pantheon of Paige and Vai. It's clear Whitesnake is two things Coverdale and guitar--what do you look for in a guitarist?
DC: Yeah, I understand but I can not let that go without saying I've also worked with amazing keyboard players, amazing drummers, amazing bass players, ya know, Whitesnake has had an extraordinary journey with exceptional musicians. In fact, I've been blessed with fabulous players since I started as a local musician. Reb and Doug have been with me--exmplary musicians and great people--for eight years and Doug is my song writing partner, a very close friend and that transitions into our working relationship. I regard him highly and rely on him also as part of the team that makes Whitesnake what it is now.
Yes, we've changed, like in nature, it looks like we have to shed our skin now and again for another chapter and we're blessed now with a new rhythm section of Briian Tichy and Michael Devin. We just signed on a new keyboard player which was announced on whitesnake.com yesterday called Brian Ruedy. Brian has one eye so we'd like to probably call him Cyclops meaning Briian is known as Briian Tichy likes two I's in his name (chuckles) Now I don't know whether Mr. Ruedy is going to embrace the name Cyclops but we shall see. (chuckles)
MM: Well you could always just go with "May I call you Bruce"?
DC: Yeah, I've never! I'm surrounded by Brians, umm, the Life of Brian. But yes, my guitarists, yeah, are astonishing, ya know, started for me with Ritchie Blackmore of course. Yeah, amazing. Pagey? Are you kidding? Definitely, definitely a blessing, yeah.
MM: So what about in general for band mates? You must have specifics?
DC: Yeah, absolutely. As Whitesnake has its necessary elements I look for, I don't look in musicians for somebody to recreate what their predecessors have done. It's the most important element I look for is can this musician help take Whitesnake to the next level. Not to, not to recreate former glories or whatever, what's gonna be inspiring to me and then return the compliment by be inspiring to them. That's the big deal. I mean, we couldn't make albums like "Good to Be Bad" or "Forevermore" if this was people who didn't care. These are very vital and passionate musicians. And thank God we all agree to channel them in this entity known as Whitesnake.
MM: So, let's talk about the new album--how did you approach it differently from your previous work?
DC: Oh no, it's, it's exactly the same. It's looking at songs, and of course, my exceptional partner, Doug Aldrich. I never really had the intent--I was quite happy with "Good to Be Bad" to be honest (laughs) and it did very, very well. But, at the end of '09, I had a succession of record companies get in touch with me about the idea of making another record. And I already had an agenda for 2010 which was to mix and edit, "Live at Donnington" from 1990 which is like the most requested project on Whitesnake.com. I put some greatest hits in the can, some other film, yeah, all of these things that I've had on what one would call the back burner, so I would be able to just tour, not nonstop because I'll be celebrating 60 in September but the circumstance is, so I don't have to stop.
It's a process for me to create new music and to record it, ya know, and that as I'm getting older is something that I'm embracing. But, the pursuit of one particular company, Frontiers, an Italian company, the owner is a fabulous character who are very few and far between in the music business nowadays. And, he was relentless in his pursuit. I felt like Juliet, ya know Romeo at my foot of my balcony...to the point where I said, okay, okay give me a week and I'll get back to you with a yea or a nay and I drove down to see Doug in Los Angeles. I always have ideas, he always has ideas as I said I had no intentions of making new record, we sat down together to say let's see what each other has, we wrote "One of these Days" in two hours then we went into "Whipping Boy Blues" and the next day we did "All out of Luck" and I thought--not a problem. It was very easy to make this new album deal with, and I'm certainly glad we did because I'm thoroughly enjoying the album, the record.
MM: It sounds like you and the band had a great method?
DC: But, that's the process for Whitesnake. I'm a consumer. So If I buy an album for $14 bucks or whatever, and there's two songs on it and the rest is filler, I feel robbed. You know, Whitesnake has always tried to make it complete, I've always considered myself a kind of 60's/70's album artist but, whose had remarkable good luck with singles--commercial success and singles. Still, I've always considered myself an album artist. I mean albums to be blueprints for live performances. Forevermore was more of a band process--you've got a drummer as passionate and us as musically aware as Brian Tichy, you can't keep him out of a studio. I think we came up with 13 great Whitesnake songs that sum up where Whitesnake's at now and where it's been before.
MM: From The Government, to Deep Purple, Solo work, Whitesnake, Coverdale and Page and the reformation of Whitesnake; you have stretched yourself musically, what has been the most challenging part of your career thus far?
DC: Oh my god, yeah. The Government. (laughing)
MM: I went back to the beginning!
DC: You did! Well, in general I'm not nostalgic, I enjoy other aspects of nostalgia, but not related to my life. There's no part at all that I go, "Oh, I wish it was like that again." I am--you know for most of my life I've avoided contentment. Relatively recently, I've realized that in my private life and in my professional life I was content. And it was an extraordinary discovery for me because it was really comfortable clothes to wear and I think that's related a great deal to my spiritual journey--meditation, and certainly hats off to my beloved wife, my partner of the last 20 years plus. I've got balance in my life now which I didn't have before. I wrote a song on the last studio record called Best Years that was three years ago and I should write one now called Even Better Years ya know and, and so there's absolutely nothing in my makeup that I wish to go back to. I'm so happy with now and I'm so happy with what I've done --how full your breadth of music is, but I'm the Edith Piaf of rock, I have no regrets, I have no regrets.. Ha ha ha ha ha, you know?
MM: Non Je ne regrette rien, eh?
MM: The new album has hit the industry like a rock meteor shower, LPs, special edition magazines, posters...what can fans expect for this new wave of the band?
DC: Well, for me to take a year off now to do a new album would cost somebody an awful lot of money. So, right now, I think it's with Good to Be Bad, it gave us two incredibly successful years touring; it's, in other words, it fueled that. Which having, it seems to have even more momentum with Forevermore. So, you know, the opportunity, we already have a full dance card as far as touring is concerned.
We have an interactive website which had 100 to 200,000 hits per day from all over the world at whitesnake.com. We've an incredible fountain of support and they basically tell me what they want, so I do, and I do listen. But right now will be to, get out there, to maximize the potential of this record, thank God, I have people who twitter on my behalf! I think I'm a little too mature for twittering, but the circumstance is there are all of these new avenues--I consider myself like the Lewis and Clark of rock.
The circumstance is that all of these familiar avenues for almost four decades in this industry, and most of it is unrecognizable from when I started though right now, you know, for me the glass is never half empty it is always half full. I'm always looking at how do we get from here to there. In essence to me, the music business is the same playing field. Just every so often they move the goalposts. Though, you just have to look very carefully because I like to score fuckin' goals, Kim, ya know? So that's it. And it, it keeps me on my toes...I've got as they say an immensely powerful family domestic foundation to launch from. An incredible band that covers every aspect; it's a wonderful orchestra for me to have the pleasure of working with. And, I've got all the elements in place, the passion of the record company, I think is gonna be walking with me every step of the way. It's all of the ducks in a row although it's a sexless cliché. That's, ya know, it's something I think that I need now is a Whitesnake fragrance, a manly fragrance which I'm thinking of calling "Penetration". It's all that matters. (Laughing)
MM: Well, and for women, you could always go with "Venom" (laughing)
DC: Oh, well that would be expected but Penetration I thought, ya know, was you know it's all that matters. And of course for the girl it would be "Forevermore" (laughing)
MM: Perfection! David it's been a personal and professional pleasure. Tthank you for all that you and Whitesnake have given to the music business.
DC: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Kim.
MM: No problem. This will be one hell of a cover feature!
DC: Oh lovely, very much appreciated...oh beautiful, thank you darling, I appreciate your support. And you, Kimmie. God bless. Bye, Love.
Special thanks to Carise Yatter of Hired Gun Media, Jen Abbinett for transcribing the interview and David Coverdale for his time and graciousness. For more info go to whitesnake.com