Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE/ex-DIO guitarist Doug Aldrich. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Sleaze Roxx: How was the songwriting handled on [the new WHITESNAKE album] "Forevermore"? Was it mainly you and [singer] David Coverdale?
Doug Aldrich: David and I have great chemistry. Initially it was supposed to be people sending in their ideas, as it was on the last record. It turned out that David and I got on a roll with the songwriting that continued from the last record. It's very organic and easy. I show him something and he takes it further, or he shows me something and I take it further. So to answer your question — we have written everything on both of these records, but it didn't start out that way in the beginning — it just turned out that way.
Sleaze Roxx: As a fan of WHITESNAKE from all eras it sounds like you locked yourself in a room and you didn't surface until you came out with classic 'SNAKE riffs. Was it that simple?
Doug Aldrich: You know, we didn't really think about it that much. We didn't sit around thinking that we needed to write a ballad, for instance, that sounded a certain way, because it would be cutting off a lot of other inspiration. We would just write. There are songs that naturally sounded like the classic WHITESNAKE blues sound and then David added his touch to it. We approached all of the songs in the same manner as we did with the last album, "Good To Be Bad". I definitely didn't sit down with a goal to write another "Still Of The Night" or another "Slide It In"... I just couldn't do it. I just had to let the songs come out the way that they are. That's actually the advice I have for anyone that writes — don't put any constraints on yourself, just see what happens.
Sleaze Roxx: You've gone through a couple rhythm sections in your time in WHITESNAKE and you added Michael Devin and Brian Tichy, whom I saw not too long ago playing in LYNCH MOB. The album is one thing, but judging from what I saw with LYNCH MOB, these guys are going to take the live show to an entirely different level.
Doug Aldrich: Yeah. I was talking to Michael Devin the other day because there are times on records where you have to work within the framework of the song. If you have a ballad that has a lot of melodies, or a heavy song that has a lot of melodies, you don't want to hear a ripping solo every time... sometimes you want to hear good melodies. We were talking about doing what is best for the song and capturing the band on the album, but we are excited about the live show. Like you said, playing it live will be a great opportunity for us to put more into it. Those two guys made a huge difference in the making of this album, because they came in before we started recording so they were part of the process. The last record we were in transition, we had changed drummers before we hit the studio. Brian Tichy had a huge role in the design of how the vibe of these songs came together and Michael Devin is a real blues aficionado and it was a real pleasure to work with him. I loved watching him play in the studio.
Sleaze Roxx: Lastly, you recorded "Killing The Dragon" with Ronnie James Dio. What was that like?
Doug Aldrich: It was awesome, man. I wouldn't be in WHITESNAKE if it wasn't for Ronnie, he put me out there. I'm a late bloomer I guess, but he really helped me out. He was very good to me and he had so much faith in me and in my playing. We had a great time designing the album that would become "Killing The Dragon". Once again, it didn't work out with their guitar player and I was asked to come in and I started from scratch on everything. We put together an album that was, for him, a new beginning. In the end, through Ronnie and Wendy Dio, I was noticed by David and the rest is history. I will say that I miss Ronnie tremendously and we got close toward the end. He was upset when I joined WHITESNAKE full-time, but he kept asking me to participate in certain projects with him here and there. We were really tight. I was out of the country when he passed, but my wife and my son went to his service to pay their respects on my behalf. He was a great singer and an even better person.
Read the entire interview from Sleaze Roxx.