Monster of Rock: Interview with Whitesnake’s David Coverdale

By Zaki JufriEvents - 11 October 2011 12:22 PM | Updated 12:31 PM

Monster of Rock: Interview with Whitesnake’s David Coverdale

 With his feral hair and colourful personality, David Coverdale looks every bit like the rock ‘n’ roll god. The 60 year-old has been fronting one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most enduring acts, Whitesnake since 1977.

The band, led by former Deep Purple vocalist Coverdale, will rock out at Fort Canning Park as part of its 2011 Forevermore Tour, to promote their latest studio album Forevermore.

Coverdale’s blues roots, combined with his knack for rockin’, have time after time shaped the band’s sound, earning them the rightful reputation as one of the genre’s leading bands. The band has released 11 studio albums to date. So when David called upon us for prior to live gig here, we simply had to answer.

Let’s talk about your new album, Forevermore. After a couple of listens, we think that the album has a funkier and blues-ier feel compared to the last one, Good To Be Bad…Is this a conscious decision from the band to go in this direction?

No, actually. It’s simply the music that came to my writing partner, Doug Aldrich. We are both entirely familiar with the style and the elements we both enjoy in the Whitesnake musical genre--hard rock, rhythm & blues, soul and strong melodies--and of course, an opportunity to express oneself musically & emotionally. After the success of the last album we were more confident, when we’re writing together.


What comes first for you - the style concept of an album or the songs? 

There really is no set order. I look at it like a musical ‘conversation’. We both come in with our ideas and musically ‘discuss’ them. Thankfully, the ‘Whitesnake Muse’ was with us from the start. We have a very natural, organic way of working, and to be honest, it’s relatively effortless compared to some of my past partnerships. It’s even better when we’re each other’s biggest fans! (laughs).

There are new members for this album and tour with Brian Tichy on drums and Michael Devin on bass. Was the whole line-up around for recording more with this album compared with the last one?

It was definitely more of a band album than Good To Be Bad, and I felt that it paid big dividends. I love both albums, but,  Forevermore is probably my favourite. It has a significant place in my heart as well as many more hearts according to the response we’ve received from people all over the world.

Whitesnake obviously have a lot of material to choose from to play live and there have been a varied range of guitarists over the years. Do you try to stick closely to the original solos when playing the older material?

I have never asked any of the musicians I work with to re-create someone else’s work. It is not the reason I invite them to come into the band. They are invited because of their talent and my belief they will help me take Whitesnake to the next musical level, both in the studio and on the stage. These guys keep the older songs fresh for me to perform night after night, no questions about it.

Which of your songs - old or new - are the most demanding vocally? 

All of them! Thank God I can still perform them at the ripe old age of 60. I do, however, tend to pace myself more than before. For instance, I won’t do three shows in a row unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s very physically & vocally demanding on me. 

Tell us, where does the line go between David Coverdale and Whitesnake?

Ahh...I am always David Coverdale but, when I walk onstage, I feel myself amplifying to be bigger and larger than life. But the moment I leave the stage, I return to being a simpler being. It would be far too exhausting to be ‘on’ all the time. I manage it rather well, thankfully.


Last time I saw Whitesnake you had a pretty diverse audience, all ages enthusiastic. Is this still the case?

Yes, it’s amazing. We play to a perfect balance of male and female audiences, and to at least three generations of people who have supported my work, some since my days in Deep Purple. Extraordinary.

What can we expect at your upcoming gig here in Singapore?

A fun-filled musical cocktail with a strong dose of joy to mix it up. We genuinely enjoy and love what we do and the audience can feel that. We’ll have fun together. I can pretty much guarantee that!

Rock it out with David Coverdale and Whitesnake on Nov 1 at Fort Canning Park.  Tickets $110 available from Sistic.