Whitesnake Settles $40,000 Hearing Loss Lawsuit
July 2, 2010
Sarah Marie Pittman of Pollstar.com reports: A couple claiming that a 2003 Whitesnake show caused long-term hearing loss has been awarded a $40,000 settlement by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
The suit was filed by Maryellen and Kevin Burns against Whitesnake, the promoter and venue owner, according to a report written by Noah Schaffer and published on the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly news blog, The Docket.
The gig in question took place at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre and was part of the band’s “Mmmm … Nice Package” tour, which also featured Scorpions and Dokken.
The plaintiffs said venue staff directed them to new seats closer to the stage — and subsequently closer to a large tower of speakers — because a piece of staging equipment blocked their view from their original seats.
The couple, who represented themselves in Appeals Court, claimed that Whitesnake singer David Coverdale even made a comment about the speakers during the band’s performance, joking, “Is this safe?”
In a statement filed with the court, a hearing loss expert claimed the speakers “had the potential to blast music at a volume anywhere from 2 to 22 times what is considered ‘acceptable exposure’ to the human ear,” according to The Docket.
Maryellen Burns claimed that as a result of Whitesnake’s rockin’ performance, she suffered long-term hearing loss including the shearing of the nerve cells of the cochlea inside her ear.
Besides the subject of hearing loss, apparently another subject discussed in Appeals Court was exactly which genre of music Whitesnake fits into.
In their Appeals Court briefs, the plaintiffs said that Whitesnake shouldn’t be classified as a heavy metal band, arguing that the term pigeonholed “Mr. Coverdale’s talented voice …[and] classic rock & blues sound.”
Last month Whitesnake announced its lineup no longer features bassist Uriah Duffy and drummer Chris Frazier, according to Gibson.com. Brian Tichy, a drummer who has played with Billy Idol, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foreigner, Velvet Revolver and Seether, has joined Coverdale and the gang. The band is still looking for a new bassist.
Whitesnake also recently released its own wine, The Whitesnake Zinfandel 2008. The wine is described as a “bodacious, cheeky little wine, filled to the brim with the spicy essence of sexy, slippery Snakeyness.” The band recommends “it to complement any and all grown-up friskiness & hot tub jollies.”