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Coverdale in Burrn! magazine

Burrn! 2019/05 cover with David Coverdale

Current issue of Japanese Burrn! magazine (#05/2019) has David Coverdale on the cover and an interview inside. Akemi Ono kindly sent us her reverse translation. The interview was done to promote release of the new Whitesnake album Flesh & Blood and the world tour.

And now, on to David’s interview itself.

Burrn!: What are your thoughts now before the re­lease?

DC: Very excited, I loved doing this work. As I told you be­fore, I had some health prob­lems, os­teoarthri­tis, it was ei­ther I have an op­er­a­tion, or use a wheel­chair. Then my Ital­ian label Fron­tiers asked whether I would be in­ter­ested in doing a new album. I told them to wait and see how the op­er­a­tion goes, and also I talked to Reb and Joel sep­a­rately. I had made songs with Doug Aldrich be­fore, but never with Reb. I told them that I will not have a new album un­less I am con­vinced that we can make songs to­gether and ex­change mu­si­cal opin­ions. Ini­tially, Reb’s songs sounded a lot like Winger, and Joel’s like Night Ranger. And I did not want the iden­tity of ei­ther band to be in Whites­nake. Once we were past that stage, I think the first tune we wrote for the new album was with Joel. I gave him some tunes when we were dis­cussing the acoustic album Great­est Hits. We were talk­ing about an idea to do a fun, per­sonal, acoustic live. And then we came up with After All. It sounded like Crosby, Stills & Nash and I loved it.

When Reb joined and plugged in the SUHR gui­tar, it was ob­vi­ous that the chem­istry was there, so I got in touch with Fron­tiers and told them I was ready for a new album. How­ever, re­cov­ery took time and I was on heavy med­ica­tion through­out much of 2017. I am not good with pain.

B: Noone is.

DC: Maybe some peo­ple are bet­ter with it? When I was a child, I wanted to be James Bond, but I quit as I thought I could not bear the tor­tures. Of course, the tax of­fices and the record com­pa­nies still tor­ture me. Any­way, we fin­ished 18 songs in 2017. How­ever, I had too many pro­jects to work on at that time, at the same time being on med­ica­tion.

Then I caught the ter­ri­ble flu. Then the com­puter at the record com­pany crashed, al­though the mix­ing was 80% done.

Last year I did a mini-tour to see whether my knees will hold up. I knew I could stand up and sing, but I was not sure whether I could do a world tour. The US tour with For­eigner was very suc­cess­ful, and I told the agent that I am ready to do a world tour. Un­for­tu­nately, the album will not be re­leased be­fore the US tour. The US au­di­ence will hear 3 new tunes on stage be­fore the album is re­leased (Shut Up and Kiss Me, Trou­ble Is Your Mid­dle Name, Hey You (You Make Me Rock). When is it re­leased in Japan?

B: May 10, it is re­leased on the same day world-wide.

DC: Good, I al­ways get com­plaints that a new CD is re­leased in Japan first, and fans in other coun­tries have to im­port from Japan with a pre­mium. It has noth­ing to do with the artist.

B: We love the video for Shut Up and Kiss Me. Great 80’s taste.

DC: That was one of the songs that Fron­tiers heard first, back in 2017. Fron­tiers re­ally liked it. A very fun-lov­ing, typ­i­cal Whites­nake song like Lie Down (I Think I Love You), Kit­tens Got Claws, etc. I was very in­volved in mak­ing the video. The di­rec­tor was Tyler Bourns, a young and hip film maker. We had so much fun mak­ing the it.

I think it was a great gift that this song proves that Whites­nake is not a fash­ion band. We make clas­sic rock, and this has to pass the test of time. This song was writ­ten 2 years ago, but it still sounds out­stand­ing.

The song Good to See You Again makes you sense the change the band went through from the early stages. What a jour­ney! I love to lis­ten to this on the head­phone.

B: Please com­ment on each of the songs:

Good to See You Again – Song by Joel and me. First, Reb plays the gui­tar like the early days of ZZ Top, or maybe I should say James Gang, very 70’s. It’s a song to tell the au­di­ence “It’s good to see you again, my friends.” I con­sider the au­di­ence as my Kings and Queens.

Gonna Be All Right – This was based on the tune that I had since the Coverdale/Page days. It would have been on Coverdale/Page II if it hap­pened. I played this to Joel and asked him to ex­pand on it. Hard to be­lieve the riff is from 25 years ago.

Shut Up and Kiss Me – It was great to be able to write a song with Reb, whom I have worked with for such a long time. He is a tal­ented mu­si­cian and has a beau­ti­ful heart. When he got out of the mode com­pletely that he was no longer writ­ing songs for Kip Winger but for Coverdale, then we started walk­ing on the right path.

I don’t have mem­ory of much of 2017. I was going to phys­i­cal ther­apy 3 times a week. I could not stand right and walk right. It was a very tough time. While mak­ing songs with Reb and Joel, I ap­pre­ci­ated the sup­port they gave me. That’s why they are co-pro­duc­ers. I trusted that they could work on the pro­ject while I rested. Trust is some­thing hard to come by in this in­dus­try.

Hey You (You Make Me Rock) – As it has be­come more chal­leng­ing to turn whis­pers into screams, we dis­cussed what is the best key for me. For full strength songs we had to use the A key. This is the first song that we cre­ated with my “coolest” key. I think many peo­ple like the low and mid­dle tones of this song. We will prob­a­bly in­clude this on our tour. I can hear the au­di­ence sing “Hey!”

Al­ways & For­ever – I love Thin Lizzy, so went back to the days of “The Time is Right for Love”. And a blue­print of Whitesnake is the old days of All­man Broth­ers Band, with the twin gui­tar. If you think of the orig­i­nal Whites­nake, Mickey Moody was Duane All­man and Bernie Mars­den was Dickey Betts. Then Jon Lord and Ian Paice joined, and that was the real start of Whites­nake.

But I was into har­monic gui­tar from way be­fore. I am very in­spired by the 50’s Mo­town sound, like Four Tops and Temp­ta­tions. My twin gui­tar re­ally comes from the vi­o­lin melody. Like you say, I know the song has a Thin Lizzy taste, and I love Phil Ly­nott, but this is not a trib­ute to Thin Lizzy. If you lis­ten to the basic sounds of Al­ways & For­ever, it is very Mo­town.

When I Think of You (Color Me Blue) – This is a sad love song. My wife and I have been mar­ried 29 years, but we were not spend­ing enough time to­gether, as I was way too busy be­fore the op­er­a­tion. So this is in­spired by that ex­pe­ri­ence.

This song was writ­ten for Devin, ac­tu­ally. I had a chance to talk to Pino Pal­ladino, the bassist who plays for the Who. He plays a beau­ti­ful, melodic bass. This was at the LA Air­port pri­vate lounge. My wife and I were going Christ­mas shop­ping to NY. On the plane, I had the idea that I wanted Devin to play a melodic bass. So his bass is fea­tured.

Joel plays the gui­tar solo in this song. I have two ex­tremely tal­ented gui­tar play­ers, and my po­si­tion is like a ref­eree. I tell them that I am look­ing for an or­ches­tra. I ac­tu­ally arrange most of the songs in “move­ments”, out of my love for clas­sic music. The early pop music is like a con­certo, with 3 move­ments. But a sym­phony has 4 – 5 move­ments, and I like to write like that. If you lis­ten to Sands of Time or Heart of Stone, you will see it is made of move­ments. Hey You (You Make Me Rock) and Trou­ble Is Your Mid­dle Name is also not just “verse – cho­rus – solo”, but made of move­ments.

Going back to gui­tar solos, there are songs that Reb and I wrote that Joel plays solo, and vice versa. In­ter­est­ing, right?

Trou­ble Is Your Mid­dle Name – Joel had the idea of start­ing with a siren. The theme is the same as Love Ain’t No Stranger.

Flesh & Blood – The idea goes back to the time I was record­ing the solo album Into the Light (2000). My cre­ativ­ity and con­cen­tra­tion was very high dur­ing that time of my life that I was cre­at­ing that album. I changed part of the lyrics to com­plete it.

Well I Never – My fa­vorite and Doug Aldridge’s fa­vorite. Like a cousin to Slow An’ Easy.

Heart of Stone – This is very dark story, if we shoot a video, it would have to be black and white. Re­minds you of the film Dou­ble In­dem­nity.

Get Up – This will be the new stage song lead­ing to the drum solo, re­plac­ing Cry­ing in the Rain.

After All – I had the basic idea for a long time, but I asked Joel to think about mak­ing it into an au­di­ence song. Then Joel came back with that beau­ti­ful bridge. I was in­spired by that and came up with the lyrics “Life is a re­la­tion­ship… When our sum­mer turns to fall, I know. When our win­ter comes to call, I know. We’ll still be stand­ing tall after all.” My wife and I have a very strong re­la­tion­ship now, being mar­ried for al­most 30 years.

Sands of Time – This is def­i­nitely Reb. First there were places that I could hear Kip Winger singing (don’t get me wrong, I love Kip), so we rewrote many times, and fi­nally it be­came a grandiose Whites­nake song. I don’t know if peo­ple be­lieve in “be­fore life”, but it is about a cou­ple who should not have met in the “cur­rent life”. I think it is a great end­ing tune for the reg­u­lar CD.

Japan ini­tial spe­cial edition of the album will in­clude 3 bonus tracks:
After All (un­zipped mix)
Can’t Do Right for Doing Wrong
If I Can’t Have You

7 Comments to “Coverdale in Burrn! magazine”:

  1. 1
    Buttockss says:

    Very interesting !

  2. 2
    José Eduardo Crosera says:

    Gostaria de saber, por que o Deep Purple, em suas várias formações, não pode tocar a música Burn?

  3. 3
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    So in other words, a good solid hard rock album. Nothing like the great heights he ascended to in the 1980s, but still a worthy addition to the WS discography.
    Change is the essential process of all life…
    I’ll buy it. 💜💋

  4. 4
    Buttockss says:

    Kerrang magazine was the best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal magazine of the 80″s. Whitesnake was in the magazine many times.

  5. 5
    errolarias says:

    #2 Jose Eduardo : because Gillan, in his immense selfishness, is unable to understand that the MKIII or the MKIV or any of the MKs where he was not, also made good music and that the fans have all the pleasure of listening to it, like the pieces of the MKII / porque Gillan, em seu imenso egoísmo, é incapaz de entender que o MKIII ou o MKIV ou qualquer um dos MK onde ele não estava, também fez boa música e que os fãs têm todo o prazer de ouvi-lo, como as peças do MKII.

  6. 6
    RB says:

    @5 Gillan knows that the other versions that he was not part of have their fans, he’s not an idiot. Having heard the three latest Whitesnake tracks I have to say that I don’t find them particularly inspiring. Even when the song was a bit bland you still had David’s fantastic voice, but know that’s lacking. With studio trickery he can sound ok, but live it’s another matter. The new songs sound pretty much as I was expecting, unfortunately.

  7. 7
    Buttockss says:

    Never liked ” Kittins got claws” that song reminds me that David was referring to Twany, and the song is just all over the place with no real direction at all.

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