Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE guitarist Doug Aldrich. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Metalshrine: These four new songs on the live album, did you write them with David [Coverdale] and how much of an input did you have on them? Was it David's ideas and you worked on them or...?
Doug: It was a mutual thing. We sat down with acoustics...not every song was the same. One song, "Ready to Rock", was something where I generated and "All I Want is You" is something that David had previously and he asked me to come up with a couple of sections and help him arrange it. "Dog" we did from scratch. "If You Want Me", he had a basic idea of chords but didn't really have a riff, so I just did what was needed. And the other songs that we wrote during that period was the same way. There's some really cool stuff. Stuff that we thought we should waite on. We wanted first some songs that could almost immediately slipped into the set. Yeah, it was a collaboration, banging ideas. I'd go home and do some work on demos and then e-mail it back to him. He'd make changes and I'd redo it. You know, it's a long process and we've been writing since...off and on, we've been doing other things to, but I started sending him ideas at the end of 2003. That's when he said, "Hey, come up and let´s write!" and he goes "I'm not guaranteing you that we're gonna do anything, but I'd like to write with you and see what we get."
Metalshrine: Those other songs that you wrote then, are those the songs that will end up on the new album?
Doug: Yeah, some of those will and now...this stuff (the four tracks) was finished in January this year and there were about six or seven other ones. And then...this whole year, every time I play guitar I get ideas and I know David does, so I've got a couple of songs that he hasn't heard yet that I wanna play him and I'm really excited about. He's got the same thing and potentially maybe some other songs will show up from the other guys.
Metalshrine: What's it like working with a guy like David Coverdale? You've worked with Ronnie Dio as well. Is it similar or is he just another guy writing songs with?
Doug: Well, if I sat down with him without knowing him it would be a nerve-racking thing. He's a legend! So, it's an honor for me to have that opportunity, but the way it worked out was just very organic and easy. It wasn't like anything was forced, so when I'm sitting down with him it's like sitting with you and playing guitar. It's a collaboration, and it was really easy. At one point in January he came over to my place and we wrote four songs in a week, completed. And then he went home and came back a week later and we wrote another two or three songs and I've been up to his house a number of times over the past few years and we had all kinds of stuff. It's good!
Metalshrine: I mean, I didn't really know what to expect from the new songs, but it came out the way that I kind of thought that WHITESNAKE could sound like in 2006. It's the old stuff, but a bit updated and I like it a lot. And David's voice sounds just excellent.
Doug: Yeah, he did some cool stuff. I like, for example you made a good point which I agree with, that there's kind of a taste of the older versions of WHITESNAKE and there's some integrity to those times, but we try to do different things. One thing was that ballad, which structual wise is kind of like an "1987" type of song. But the way that he sang on the verse was almost like Bob Dylan and I thought that was really cool. Something different, a little twist! But it still sounds like WHITESNAKE. I'm glad that you're seeing that.
Metalshrine: Do you have any idea when the new album will be out?
Doug: We're shooting for June/July. The only thing that could throw a wrench in that, is if we get some tour dates before that and have to get in that mode. That could put us out for a month or something. As of right now, we're gonna go home the day after tomorrow and have a few days off and I'm gonna go up to David's some time around Christmas and we'll start narrowing down the list. At some point you got to put a stop on the writing, even if you have just a verse and a chorus and it's like "Yeah, we both really love this, so let's finish this." But then after that well say "OK, that's it! Let's stop. We've got the tunes that we want." If something comes up and it's just mindblowing you're gonna go ahead and cut it and with this type of thing (live album) we only had room to do a few songs. We were gonna start with two songs and then we both were like, "You can't just leave it at two. Let's just give them some rockers, something that covers everything and then we'll save the rest for the record. But when you're in the studio, sometimes someone will play you something...maybe I'll have a riff or somebody will and you're just jamming and all of the sudden Tommy [Aldridge] starts and it's like, "Let's just record this for a little bit!" and who knows, man, some of the coolest songs have been written like that, just really quick.
Metalshrine: So hopefully the rest of the guys will have an input as well and bring ideas?
Doug: You know, the table's been open and I think David originally said to everybody "Send up whatever you've got! Whatever ideas you've got!" and I don't know, but I don't think he really got much and if he did, maybe it wasn't what he wanted to do. Like I said, I joined the band in the beginning of 2003 and by the time we got off the road I had half a dozen songs and then I went home and immediately started doing demos and e-mailed them to him and he called me a couple of days later and said, "I want you to come up and let's write! I'm not gonna guarantee you that we're gonna record a record or anything, but you and I will be in the studio together one day." He's good to his words.
Read the entire interview at Metalshrine.