WHITESNAKE’S DAVID COVERDALE, “YOU HAVE TO MOVE WITH THE TIMES”:
July 12, 2008
The Whitesnake frontman returns to the city to perform at the Pops with fellow rockers Def Leppard and Thunder. Emma Johnson of the Liverpool Daily Post reports:
He may be pushing 60, and a grandad to boot, but there is no accusing Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale of not being down with the kids.
The music business today is very different from the one he joined three decades ago, but the boy from Yorkshire is savvy enough to know that when the times change then you change with them.
“I welcome change,” says the 56- year-old (he turns 57 in September). “It’s nature’s way. I can’t help but laugh when I see the major record companies clinging desperately to the old-fashioned way of doing business and are being left behind in the new, technological dust.
“It’s a new playing field, lads and lasses, and if you want to score goals you have to move with the times and reinvent how you do most things.
“As Mr Dylan says ‘the times they are a-changin’ and I think to resist will be painful and uncomfortable, so, I’m moving on, boys and girls – you coming?”
He is obviously moving on in the right direction.
Whitesnake’s latest album, Good to be Bad – their 11th release – made it to number seven in the UK charts and next week the band are back in Liverpool to rock the Echo Arena as part of this year’s Summer Pops.
The band last played Liverpool two years ago in the big tent at Kings Dock. It was their first gig here in 25 years, but the city has always held special memories for Coverdale, who credits an appearance here with helping him found Whitesnake way back in 1977.
“Liverpool showed me incredible support on a promo visit I made to the city to be a judge in a Battle Of The Bands contest many years ago,” explains Coverdale, who was working in a clothes shop when he was plucked from obscurity to replace Ian Gillian as Deep Purple’s vocalist in the early 70s.
“At that time, I wasn’t getting much support from the Deep Purple management about putting my own band together, but when Phil (DJ Phil Easton) introduced me the crowd went nuts and I tell you, it was just the medicine and encouragement I needed at the time to go back to London and insist on the management to either support me, or let me go.
“So, Liverpool was absolutely instrumental in giving me my start with Whitesnake and I will always be grateful for that.”
Like many a musician, Coverdale is also grateful to our greatest export: “I’m a complete Beatles fan – all the songs – I loved Revolver and still do.
“If it wasn’t for them I’m not sure I’d be enjoying a career in music,” he continues.
“They grabbed the music business by the b—s and took over. They opened up all the doors for people like me. Up until then, nobody was allowed to sing their own songs.
“Bless their beautiful hearts – and they sang about love – what great karma to give to the world.
“I knew George. Loved him . . .” Suddenly David trails off.
It is a fleeting moment of reflection from the energetic singer songwriter who with Whitesnake stormed the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with classics like Still of the Night, Is This Love?, and the number one hit Here I Go Again, selling more than 40m albums along the way.
The only original member of the band’s line-up, Coverdale came out of retirement in 2003 for the group’s 25th anniversary.
Now, with their 30th upon them, he is delighted to see the fans still want more.
“I’ve never planned for success – I’m not sure you can – but I have always done the best I can at whatever I’m doing, and I believe the Whitesnake crowd appreciates that,” he says.
“I prefer live performing, but I do enjoy the creative process, taking a small thought of a melody and nurturing it through to the stage and hearing people sing along with you. It’s an amazing feeling.
“I particularly enjoyed making the new record, as we did most of it at my house in Tahoe, so it was the best of both worlds.
“If you saw Lake Tahoe in the mornings, you’d understand. It’s like postcards from God on a daily basis.
“I can already feel an uplift in the energy of the band’s shows with the new songs injected in there. Lovely stuff – made a huge difference.”
Tahoe features heavily in Coverdale’s discourse.
When not on the road, he relishes downtime with his family in the Nevada beautyspot far, far from Saltburn-on-the-Sea, where he grew up.
The former rock and roll wildman, whose love for the ladies once earned him the nickname Snake Charmer, has ditched the hard-drinking hard-living lifestyle and swapped debauchery for dad time with 11-year-old Jasper, his son by third wife Cindy.
“Other than being a family man (as well as Jasper, he also has a daughter, Jessica, with his first wife Julia, and two granddaughters) Whitesnake business takes an enormous amount of my time,” he adds.
“But I love hiking in the mountains around my home, carefully avoiding my black bear neighbours who made themselves so welcome in my home last year. I like reading, too.”
He also likes getting involved in politics.
Having lived in the States for more than two decades, last year he became an American and has been putting his dual citizenship to good use for the forthcoming US Presidential elections.
He reveals: “I’m a Barack man – apparently, once you go Barack, there’s no going back.
“I feel he’s the best hope by far in restoring the ideals of America, the respect it has lost around the world over the past eight years.
“It’s been hopelessly off course with the current useless ‘ayporths. I can’t wait to see the back of them.”
Courtesy of www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk