WHITESNAKE has issued the following update:
"The new WHITESNAKE album, 'Good To Be Bad', scheduled for release in the spring of 2008 will be their 10th studio record and will feature the exceptional percussive talents of Chris Frazier, the latest member to grace the ranks of the band alongside Doug Aldrich on guitar, who also co-wrote and co-produced the album with David Coverdale and Michael McIntyre, Timothy Drury on keyboards, the terribly good-looking Uriah Duffy on horny bass, and Reb Beach on guitar. Chris takes over the drum chair from the ambidextrous Mr. Tommy Aldridge, drummer par excellence, who earlier in the year left to pursue alternate musical adventures. We all wish TA well on his journey and take great delight in introducing to you a new and remarkable talent... So, without further adieu, please say hello to Chris Frazier…"
Q: When did you start playing the drums and who were your influences?
Chris: I remember seeing THE BEATLES on "Ed Sullivan" when I was a three-year-old. I think it was a rerun! Ha Ha! My mother said I looked up at her and exclaimed, "I wanna be just like Ringo!" She bought me some drumsticks after that. What a mistake! I started banging on all the plastic waste bins around the house. After driving her mad and destroying dozens of trash cans she got me a small kit for Christmas. We put it up in the attic as far from everyone as possible and there I would practice along with records. HENDRIX, THE WHO, TRAFFIC, STONES, BEATLES and MOODY BLUES. My interest turned to jazz in my adolescent years... Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and WEATHER REPORT as well as lots of Frank Zappa. My biggest influences are probably Bonzo, Steve Gadd, Steve Smith and Tony Williams. With a little Mitch Mitchell for safety.
Q: How did your career begin?
Chris: I did my first professional gig at 11 years old. It was a high school dance and I made 35 dollars. I was RICH! 10 years later I moved to Los Angeles where I was STILL MAKING 35 DOLLARS A SHOW. Off to a bad start! But that was what the clubs were paying back then. I answered an ad in the Recycler for "Drummer wanted: Familiar with odd meters. Must have sense of humor and a car." I checked it out and it was Steve Vai's roommate. I auditioned for his roommate and then for Steve. Steve said, "So you wanna do some recording?" I said, "Uhh... sure. That would be cool." But what I was thinking was, "Shit! I can't believe this!" That's how it began. I recorded "Flex-able" and "Passion and Warfare" and I guess that gave me the street credibility I needed.
Q: Other than WHITESNAKE, who else have you worked with?
Chris: Steve Vai, Carole King, Edgar Winter, Eddie Money. Eddie Van Halen produced a band I worked with called PRIVATE LIFE. Tiffany. My favorite guitarist on the planet, Doug Aldrich. Gene Simmons produced a Doro Pesch record I played on. Lots of soundtracks.
Q: What was it like working with Steve Vai?
Chris: Steve whipped me into shape back in the early days. I didn't know about playing with a click, how to get a drum sound or how to play various kinds of music and feels. But I think he liked my instincts and worked with me, anyway, which turned out to be an invaluable learning experience. He has a very strong work ethic and very specific arrangement ideas. It can be tedious and stressful on someone fresh off the boat like I was. We had a blast back in those days though. At one point there were eight of us all living in the same house in Sylmar, Ca. Steve, myself, Stu Hamm, Mike "O" Brien, who was a professional student (I think he had three bachelors and a masters. In what I have no idea), Marty (the funniest man on the planet), Steve's wife, Pia (who was playing bass at the time for the all-girl supergroup VIXEN) and various other characters. It was nuts. The house was in constant shambles and someone was always laughing his or her ass off. Since then I have toured the world and done over a hundred recordings with Steve.
Q: How did your association with WHITESNAKE transpire?
Chris: Last May I receive a call from the WHITESNAKE management. Apparently there had been some scheduling conflicts with Tommy and [David Coverdale] wanted to get me in the studio to see what might happen. It was very casual, intially. Doug and myself had worked together on many projects in the past and I have always been a huge fan of WHITESNAKE, so I wasn't about to say no! On meeting David I felt an immediate camaraderie and at the same time, "Shit, I can't believe this!" in my head. Upon recording I felt at ease because I have worked with Doug so many times that it just felt very natural. The difference is David. Doug finally has the singer his playing deserves. It was truly inspiring to play on the album.
Q: When recording the upcoming WHITESNAKE album, what approach did you take?
Chris: I wanted to have a vintage rock sound so we went with big juicy DW drums. 24" kicks, fat toms tuned real tubby and Black Beauty snare. Everything wide open. Big dark cymbals too. 16" K hats, 22" dark K ride. Big open drums and shimmering cymbals promote playing with more space. "What would Cozy do?" my internal dialogue would ask. He was a bad-ass! WHITESNAKE songs are passionate and dramatic so my grooves and fills had to be that way as well.
Q: Other than drums, do you play any other instruments?
Chris: A little piano. Just to compose with. I'm no Chopin, believe me! Percussion is great because the more crazy exotic noisemakers you have the more you appear to everyone like a witchdoctor. A percussionist can create an environment to a song like sounds the weather makes, or give the impression you're in the presence of wildlife. I love the udu drum. It has a great Middle Eastern sound. I would love to get a hammer dulcimer. And a hurdy-gurdy!
Q: Other than music, what are you passionate about?
Chris: I used to surf every day when I lived in California. I miss it. It is so deep. The power of the ocean is incredible and when you harness that there isn't a more beautiful feeling. The ocean can bitch slap you too! There was days that I thought, "Well, this is it. I'm dead." I miss it. I also love great films. If I couldn't play music anymore, I would write scripts.
Q: What do you love and hate about touring?
Chris: I love to travel the globe and experiencing foreign cultures. Believe me, there's no better way to do that than playing rock shows. I enjoy staying in hotels. I love not having to clean up after myself! A fresh hotel room everyday! Yes! I do begin to miss home after a while. My girlfriend, my cats, my studio and friends. It's all worth it when I'm on stage though. Everything else disappears when I'm up there and I'm completely in the moment.
Q: What do you look forward to in regards to touring with WHITESNAKE?
Chris: Playing all those awesome classic songs live! Playing all the new ones as well. Getting to jam with some of the best musicians the rock and roll industry has to offer. Doug Aldrich? Reb Beach? Uriah Duffy? Timothy Drury? DAVID COVERDALE? Come on. How much better can a band get?
Classic Rock magazine reported in September that the new WHITESNAKE album, "Good To Be Bad", will be released on May 13, 2008 via SPV. The CD was produced by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, AEROSMITH, COVERDALE/PAGE, METALLICA, etc.) and David Coverdale and features 14 songs (12 hard rock songs and two ballads), all of which were written by David Coverdale and guitarist Doug Aldrich.
WHITESNAKE's video for the new studio song "Ready to Rock" can be viewed below. The track is one of four previously unreleased cuts that appear on WHITESNAKE's new live record, entitled "Live… In the Shadow of the Blues", which was issued in Europe in November 2006 via Steamhammer/SPV Records.
Chris Frazier drum solo:
WHITESNAKE's "Ready to Rock" video: