News Segment


July 14, 2005

Singer David Coverdale wants to help people get away from the doom and gloom of the day’s headlines and escape for a few hours into a rock-and-roll fantasy.

“I just find that there are a lot of miserable people out there. Wherever I’ve gone, people come up and say they miss the fun,” said Coverdale, who hopes to lift some spirits in Toledo tonight when he performs with Whitesnake.

“I’m not saying that everything I did was a fun-filled, three-ring circus, but it’s uplifting,” he said in a recent phone interview from his home in Reno. “It’s a tough time. There are two wars going on in this country. The economy isn’t great. But you’ve got to keep your chin up. I think the emotional and physical relief of a good rock show has untold healing qualities. It’s great therapy.”

Coverdale, a native of Cleveland, England, quit one of the world’s most famous rock bands, Deep Purple, in 1977 to form the blues-based rock group Whitesnake.

“I will be eternally grateful to Deep Purple for the incredibly brave decision they made to give such an extraordinary opportunity to an unknown singer,” said Coverdale, who auditioned for the band in 1973. He left, he said, because it was “rudderless” after the band’s founding guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, quit to form a new group, Rainbow.

“Ritchie was the pivotal, driving force and creative leader and once he left, there was like a collective sigh of relief, but it didn’t have the drive,” Coverdale said.

With Whitesnake, the personable singer sought to put his own high-volume spin on the blues and R&B music he loved and to build rapport with his audiences. “After my sojourn with Deep Purple, where we’d do like four songs in three hours with a lot of extrapolation, I wanted to do something that was more involving of the crowd. That was the basis of Whitesnake. We played short songs, which of course you can stretch out a bit in concert but not to the point of overdoing it.”

The band’s electrified blues enjoyed moderate success in the United Kingdom, but didn’t make it big in the United States until 1984 with the release of “Slide It In,” selling 10 million copies and featuring the hit songs “Slow & Easy” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger.”

The band’s highly amplified sound is an integral part of a Whitesnake concert, Coverdale said, something he learned from watching the Who in concert.

“This is a loud band. A very, very loud band. It takes a lot out of me, physically, to compete with these gods of electricity that I’m working with. But none of it is a disguise for lack of talent.”

The loudest rock musician he ever worked with was ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, he said, with whom he formed the band Coverdale/Page in the mid-1990s. “Jimmy was the loudest guitarist I ever worked with,” Coverdale said. “When I stood in front of his amplifiers, it took all the curls out of my hair.”

Whitesnake will be in concert at 8 tonight at Toledo Harley Davidson, 7960 Central Ave. Admission is $30 at the door.

Courtesy of