antiMusic's Morley Seaver recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE mainman David Coverdale. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
antiMusic: I have a number of favorites on [the new WHITESNAKE album "Forevermore"] but one of my top picks would be "Fare Thee Well". I get a real Rod Stewart/FACES feel from this one. David, this is just a beautiful song.
David: Well, THE FACES were a big influence as well. The bands that….apart from the PURPLE rock stuff that came in…I loved the fun that THE FACES brought to shows. I was in a really serious band with DEEP PURPLE. I mean, we had a great sense of humor but that didn't really translate to performance. But WHITESNAKE has that element of tongue in cheek, tickle the ribs…but yes, THE FACES is definitely part of the blueprint as was, if you look back to the very first ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND. That was intensely influential. Jeff Beck's band with Truth and Beckola. They were very inspirational and influential to the structure of WHITESNAKE.
antiMusic: In case anybody forgot, WHITESNAKE and more importantly, you, have a long relationship with the blues. "Steal Your Heart Away" reminds fans of this fact, right off the bat although it's blues with a bit of a kick up the rear end.
David: Well, it would strike you, Morley, with your familiarity with my work. But with "Good to Be Bad" and even moreso with the new record…you can take some of these songs and imagine "Steal Your Heart Away" on "Trouble" or "Lovehunter". "Dogs in the Street" from "Slip of the Tongue". "I Need You (Shine a Light)" on "Slide It In". And this is without any kind of effort. This is why I think my hardcore audience is so happy with "Good To Be Bad" and "Forevermore". Because it's still embracing all those elements that drew them to WHITESNAKE in the first place. So the bonus is, for us composers and musicians, these are songs that we actually want to play. This is not trying to kiss somebody's ass and say, "like me." This is stuff we like and put it out and God willing other people embrace it.
antiMusic: I have to ask something about PURPLE. You went from B band status to the big leagues in one shot. Everybody knows about your first gig with PURPLE but to back up a bit, how intimidating was it to initially present your songs to Ritchie Blackmore?
David: Well, I must doff my cap and salute the local musicians I worked with in a band called RIVER'S INVITATION and THE FABULOSA BROTHERS, particularly a guy called Alan Fearnley. He heard me just messing around on an acoustic guitar one day at rehearsal as we were setting up and asked, "What's that?" And I just said it was an idea that I had been working on. And they actively encouraged me. Great musicians. And we actually featured three of the songs on Whitesnake.com over Christmas with the guys' permission, to great fanfare. But these guys encouraged me to introduce my songs in that way. So when I auditioned for PURPLE and met with the manager afterwards and was asked, "Do you write?" I could confidently… well, relatively confidently, say "Yes." So when Ritchie and I sat down, yes, of course it was intimidating. But it just unfolded very naturally. I have a gift, I guess and that's I write naturally. It's not something that I'm doing to enhance my income or lifestyle. It's just something that I do as an expressionist. It's just how I express a lot of my feelings. Even the fun stuff.
As you know, the blues are a huge inspiration to me, but they weren't all songs to cut your wrists by. I mean you listen to Muddy Waters singing about cross-eyed cats and stuff. These guys celebrated life when they had the opportunity. They refused to accept that it was down all the time. Blues is another term for personal expression for me. And I still tie that in.
Look at Hendrix. Those elements that Hendrix introduced in his incredible extra-terrestrial way were incredibly influential on me. He tied in soul, rock, big riffs, great melodies… those first three records were the equivalent of "Sgt. Pepper" to me.
You can read the entire interview at antiMusic.