Interview – David Coverdale (Whitesnake)

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“Ohh Yeah, It’s like a Sex Talk Darling”

This is how my conversation with Whitesnake’s David Coverdale started. The call came in and David actually said “Ernest? Is this the importance of being earnest?”, obviously referring to the 1895 play by Oscar Wilde. 

My phone cut out when I gargled back my reply to which the gentle-tongued Brit inquired “Where are you? On the f**king space shuttle?“ I gargled a bit clearer as I changed locations in my flat…..”Is this better?” I coined. “Ahhh yeah, it’s like a sex talk darling” he responded with all the smoothness you could imagine.

This was my first interaction with the legendary rock frontman and he was as relaxed as he appears in all of his interviews. 

I was speaking with David to discuss Whitesnake’s recently released The Blues Album which is a compilation of previous Whitesnake and Coverdale songs with a bit of a bluesy twist.

The release is actually the last of a trilogy; the first two being Love Songs, and The Rock Album.

On the 14-track vinyl, you’ll get songs from the albums Restless Heart, Whitesnake, Forevermore, Good to Be Bad, Slide It In, and David’s solo album Into the Light. 

Hearing songs like Looking for Love and the hard-rocking Crying In the Rain with a blues touch will send shivers down your spine. 

It is definitely one for the collector as it has a nice remix swinging to the blues side circa some of David’s early influences. “Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King and others profoundly connected with my soul growing up and I wanted to bring that to some of my past Whitesnake songs.”

David and I chatted about other things such as one of my favourite guitarists Adrian Vandenberg (Adje) who is also one of David’s best friends and a former WS member. 

If you are not familiar with the name, you’ll be familiar with the song Here I Go Again that Whitesnake re-released in 1987 from its original version that came off of the earlier Saints and Sinners album.

This song, which is one of the band’s highest-charting tunes, wouldn’t have gone so high (in my opinion) without the guitar mastery of the solo in the song by Adje.  

There was a bit of a coincidence as I was prepping for the interview; I was definitely going to ask about Vandenberg, who has also released Vandenberg 2020 which is a dynamite album that I reviewed earlier this year. 

Anyway, I saw a YouTube clip recently of Adrian being a guest on the Eddie Trunk radio show to discuss 2020. During the interview, it came about that Adrian back in the day when recording the solo for Here I Go Again found himself holed up if in a bathroom stall in David’s California studio.

It turns out that during the mixing of Whitesnake (1987), there was a confrontation and yelling between David and former member guitarist John Sykes. As I heard on the show and David confirmed, over the phone Coverdale fired Sykes and John was so angry he actually hopped on a plane from the UK and ended up in the mixing room of the studio. 

Adrian had previously been invited to join the band but had declined as per prior commitments. This time he was in Coverdale’s to discuss things of this nature and David had also asked him to tune up the solo in the song. 

Still with me?!

Anyway, it was a funny exchange the way Adrian told it as he had no clue about what was going on and to this day has never met Sykes.  He just happened to be in the backroom “whittling” on his guitar and playing around with the solo when he heard the ruckus….and was pretty much cornered. 

David said that there is much respect for Sykes musically but otherwise things weren’t working out. 

Of the exchange David says Sykes told him “you can’t fire me!” and in an exerted exhale “yeah, watch me!” and that was it………….and basically Adje was in. 

I told Coverdale about the interview with Trunk and he laughed; “yeah, Adrian should write a book, he’s got many good stories” 

Anyway, it was really nice chatting with the Snake charmer and we have two things in common. He poked fun of my Canadian accent, bugging me about AbOuT!!! 

You know every Canuck gets razzed. Apparently it sounds like we say A Boot. 

On the flip side, I have to admit something that I have said in previous articles such as the one I did on Rob Helford of Judas Priest. 

Isn’t it funny how a Brit can sing and sound like they are from Toronto or Los Angeles, but when they speak in conversation you can’t understand a bloody damn thing!!

Cheers Big Ears. 

The Blues Album is out now!

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