Guitarist DOUG ALDRICH Discusses BURNING RAIN Album, WHITESNAKE Live Releases In New Interview

NI Rocks recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE and BURNING RAIN guitarist Doug Aldrich. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

NI Rocks: I wanted to talk to you about your own band BURNING RAIN and the new album "Epic Obsession" which [was] released by Frontiers Records on Friday, May 17. It's an outstanding album and has been getting a lot of airplay on our station. First question, I suppose, would be why it has taken 13 years to get from album two to album three?

Doug: That is because when I made the agreement with the record company that it had to work around the WHITESNAKE schedule. There has never been enough time to just focus and get the songs written first of all. And then to record them is a whole other process. At the beginning of 2012, David [Coverdale, WHITESNAKE frontman] said he wanted to take some time off and to go ahead and do some sessions or whatever came up. And the record label talked to David, because it's his record company too, and they said we've talked to David and we know you're off, give us our record, we've been waiting for a long time. I said "OK" and [BURNING RAIN singer] Keith [St. John; ex-MONTROSE] and I sat down and we finished writing. We had a few songs that we had kinda started that were pretty cool. One was "Ride The Monkey" and "Out In The Cold Again" was one. Then we started to add to that and finally came up with six or seven new songs and said, "OK, we've got a good batch of tunes here." Then I started to get busy with David, and it was, like, "How am I gonna get this thing recorded?" I really only have weekends off and I'm trying to get home and spend time with my boy. When I'm at home, that's what I want to do — hang with him, play cars, go to the park whatever — it's just awesome. I would wake up on a Saturday do his breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath and put him to bed. Then me and Keith would get in the studio and start and finally we got it together.

NI Rocks: The WHITESNAKE U.K. tour, of course, coincides with the announcement of the release of the new live double CD package "Made In Britain - The World Record" in July. The band recorded every concert from the "Forevermore" tour in 2011. Were you involved in selecting which recordings made it onto the CD?

Doug: Me, David and his long time partner Michael McIntyre. We lovingly call ourselves the Brutal Brothers, because we're hard on each other, where one guys thinks something should happen the other two will go, "No, no, no we're going to look at this again," and when somebody new comes in to work on the project, we're really hard on them, like "No, no, no, this has to be great. You got to make this great." Let me say this though: right now we have the "Made in Japan" DVD out and it's really cool. It's a great capture of that show at that moment. It's a shorter set, but it's a very natural-looking and -sounding DVD and the bonus material is really cool, it's all stuff we recorded in Japan on tour at soundchecks and whatnot. Then David said we're going to do this double live record, and I'm, like, "We just put out a DVD." The boss says we're doing it, so we're doing it. I'm thinking how are we going to make this different and why would fans buy this when they already own the DVD? That's what I don't understand. And David says on one of the discs we're going to pick songs from different shows and call it "The World Record". I thought that's pretty cool, that sounds interesting. Then he says we've got this other thing in mind called "Made In Britain" where we're going to sit down and pick the best songs from Britain. I don't think there was an Ireland show on that tour, but we did have some in Scotland and I think it made it, and Newcastle or somewhere. It's a little bit undefined. I did know where they came from, but I've forgotten. "The World Record" is really cool — there's a version of "Soldier Of Fortune" with David singing and you can kind of hear the ambience of the crowd and it sounds big, but you can't hear the crowd because they're being quiet listening to him; then we break into the "Burn" riff and all of a sudden you hear the crowd and it sounds massive, louder than the band is playing it. That kind of thing is pretty cool for "The World Record" and the "Made In Britain" one is pretty intimate. It's got a much smaller sound to it because it's not the arena sound, it's theatres. It's more in your face, and I actually sonically prefer that to the DVD. The DVD sounds good; I like it a lot. That was the first thing we did that's way I was saying to David that the DVD sounds better than the last one we did, so how are we going to make a live CD sound better? He said we're just going to look for better performances. So we found a couple of shows that for whatever reason things just sounded really cool and in your face. And for "The World Record", it was just wherever the best audience was, really.

NI Rocks: I get the impression that the band has a lot of fun on tour. Would that be right? And is there any favorite stories from the current tour so far in Japan?

Doug: Japan is unique because everything is so different. It's really easy. It's probably a cushy way to start the tour for the band and the crew. They're really forgiving and very loyal and you can stretch out. For example, stuff like guitar solos are notoriously boring and people don't want to hear it, but in Japan they'll tolerate it and get into it and they like it. So me and Reb [Beach] are trying to find ways to make things more concise and consolidated, but you have to go through a process and sometimes you end up taking a little longer. In Japan, it's easy to get by with that. If we started the tour in the U.K., people are, like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don't want to hear all that widdly widdly shit," you know? So we could figure out what worked. Now we've spent a couple of days having band meetings figuring out how we can improve the set and we're gonna try to squeeze the guitar solos down to three minutes. That's enough. That way we can fit in an extra song. Then it's a matter of what song can we fit in, but we're really up for it. As far as funny stories, there is always something, but I can't think of anything that sticks out at the minute.

Read the entire interview from NI Rocks.

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