Intervju med David Coverdale!
Hans första ord när vi möttes backstage på Sweden Rock för många år sedan var "Hello darling!". En väldigt charmant herre. Att jag flera år senare skulle få möjlighet att intervjua honom trodde jag inte då.
Nu stod stjärnorna rätt i skyn och för en vecka sedan hade jag det stora nöjet att bli uppringd av denne legend. Efter diverse strul med sommartiden som nyss inträtt i USA, kunde vi dra igång vårt snack.
Coverdale skrattade och skämtade och var trevligheten själv. Whitesnake är aktuella med två livealbum, men det blev givetvis även snack om annat, som exempelvis albumet "Northwinds", nya utgivningar av skivor han köpt loss och den nyfunna vänskapen med Richie Blackmore.
As I understand it there´s two live albums coming out, “Live in Japan” and “Live in Britain”. Why two?
David Coverdale: Because they´re both extremely different. We didn´t plan the Japanese project. You know, the Japanese tour was booked and we were invited to headline at Loud Park and I hadn´t headlined a Japanese music festival since 1984, so that was a very exciting premise for me. They made a very generous offer and then asked if they could film three songs for a TV special. We said ok and my co-producers Doug Aldrich and Michael McIntyre and I, mixed the three songs and obviously watching the video and going crazy. It looked fantastic and we had them send over the rest of the footage and thought “This could be a fabulous follow up to Still of the night.”. And where we are now, featuring new songs for the first time. The record company we work with, Frontiers, they were absolutely positive in their response so we added that to the mix. What we´re doing with the “Made in Britain” CD, is giving it a different sonic identity. The CD from “Made in Japan” is a soundtrack and the bonus stuff features behind the scenes, soundcheck stuff we recorded in different Japanese venues. Having fun with some our songs, like trying an unplugged version of “Good to be bad” and “Tell me how” from the “Forever more” album. Stuff that people normally don´t get to hear. For the second CD it´s “Whitesnake the world record”. We´re taking songs from all over different cities, like Oslo and there might be a Sweden Rock. I´m not sure if we legally can do that. Stuff from Sao Paulo, Buenos Aeries, Rio. It´s two entirely different projects and for the end of the year, we´re hoping to achieve a limited edition box set for Christmas, called “Forever more – The complete collection” which will have everything “Forever more” related plus outtakes, alternate mixes, acoustic versions of songs, behind the scenes footage. Really cool stuff. It´s fascinating Niclas, because “Forever more” is an extraordinary jewel in the Whitesnake catalog. It still got legs, as they say. It´s still selling significant records and now I´m involved in a daily exercise called Twitter. A lot of people didn´t know Whitesnake was still going because a lot of people still don´t search the internet or listen to music and they feel they´ve grown out of music, but then discovering that we´re still playing and not only that, but flourishing as a positive force. It´s amazing, so people are checking out “Good to be bad” and “Forever more” since the first of January. Everything just keeps igniting the next wave of enthusiasm for Whitesnake, which is a great feeling.
Speaking of Twitter, did you come up with “I´ve been mistweeted” or did you steal that from someone?
David Coverdale: I´m not sure if I did. Doug Aldrich was bullying me while we were mixing. I´m going “What are you doing?” and he´s going “Ah, I´m just twittering.” and I was just “The very thought of me being a twitterer.”. I remember as a child, I´ve always been chatty and my mother or my father would go “David, for God´s sake, stop twittering on!” and then every time I thought “Ok, I´ll pick an auspicious day, my birthday 22 of September.” last year and then that passed and then it was “Ok, I´ll start twittering at Christmas.” and that passed. I actually started twittering on the first of January, which is rather easy to remember and then I went straight into one of those awful flu viruses, as did my entire family, but it was an opportunity to post pictures of the three of us with surgical masks on and call it the Lecter family. (laughs) It´s a lot of fun. It´s engaging, amusing and I won´t tolerate anybody being ridiculous, you know. The same boundaries that I´ve established in my private life. If you´re gonna be welcomed into this sanctum, please behave respectfully, as I would with you.! I´m not asking something from you that I´m not prepared to give you. This is how I am and these are the ground rules. When we established Whitesnake.com, I wanted it to be interactive. We did our research and looked at other bands´ sites and stuff and it was like holy hell going on. People swearing and being hateful towards each other and I went “Not a chance is this going to be anything we host.” Any negativity is not welcome, so we actually established “interneticred”. (laughs) If you behave badly, you´ll be asked to leave and guess what, if you´re not prepared to leave, we´ll fucking kick you out!. It´s a mutual exchange. It´s really easy to do and it´s 140 characters so I´ll be in the car being driven somewhere, doing it. I´m enjoying it so far. And these people become promotional people. They pass the information on. We have almost 500.000 people hooked into Whitesnake.com so when we send out a press release and they forward it to their friends, we´re looking at millions of people getting this information. Whereas before, an artist would have to rely on entirely on his record company, or her record company, how their music was promoted and marketed. Now I hear immediately from somebody, if they can´t find my records in Mexico City. They tell me immediately. It´s working together with the people supporting your work. I fucking love it, man! Honest to God Niclas, I embrace it completely. I know a lot of my contemporaries are very ignorant of it and refuse to acknowledge it. I´m embracing it in terms of how I´m getting my new music done, as a source of promoting Whitesnake and bringing peoples´ attention. Last year we started Whitesnake TV, which was incredibly successful and a way of staying in touch with people who I believe will support us when we go out this year on tour and also very likely support us by buying the new Whitesnake projects that are coming up.
When are we getting the David Coverdale autobiography?
David Coverdale: How white was my snake? (laughs) You know, I don´t have time man and I´m still living it. Honestly, there´s a huge obstacle for me because I´ve read some of my contemporaries work and I remember certain circumstances very differently. If I ever do this and right now I don´t have that enthusiasm, but if I do, I´m gonna be completely honest. Names will be named because to me, that´s the only way to do it but I´m not sure I´m comfortable with being as revealing. I´m very revealing in my work, but I don´t name names, so you don´t know who this woman was who was behaving like a bitch or who broke my heart. (laughs)
Have you read Glenn Hughes book that he did with Joel McIver?
David Coverdale: Yeah and it´s amazing. It´s my brother Glenn and I love him dearly but there are certain things that I remember differently, but I wish him every success. We´re in touch almost every day. He sent me a pre copy and it was beautiful.
When is there gonna be a Coverdale/Hughes album?
David Coverdale: You know, I don´t know! I don´t even know whether it has to be an album? One of the things we´re setting up with Whitesnake.com is that you´re gonna be able to download new ideas that Doug and I are messing around with. Not do the big over glossy stuff, just sharing music with people around the world and it´s the first time in history that I´ll be able to do that. I´ve just done a song for Bernie (Marsden) and I want him to be able to tell people what it is, but it was one of the songs that we wrote together many years ago in the early days and that was a lot of fun for me to do and it took no time at all. So it´s very likely that Glenn and I could do a song or two or even three or four, like the old EP. I don´t have time to make a commitment to make that kind of record. Whitesnake is my baby and Whitesnake is a huge foundation of what I do and what helps me live. I´m not really missing anything. I know a lot of musicians, if they do a solo album it´s like “Oh, I´m gonna play jazz guitar now. This is what I really love.”, but to me, when I did “Into the light”, it´s just David Coverdale being quieter and Whitesnake is a great opportunity for me to be a fucking lion and sometimes the lion gets a thorn in its paw, “Please darling, help me!”. The thing that´s more interesting to me is something in the future where I´m hopefully gonna be doing an evening with David Coverdale, where I play intimate venues and can interact physically as opposed to internet virtually. Physically interact with people and sing songs. Not in the huge Whitesnake arena or stadium style, but in a more intimate style like “Starkers…”. I really have a full dance card. Sorry Glenn! (laughs)
The album “Northwinds”, which I still consider being one of my top five favorite albums, is turning 35 this year. Any plans for a deluxe edition or something?
David Coverdale: No. I would very much like to do that and I´ve been trying to buy those albums back, but so far it´s been kind of an unreasonable scenario. That is my plan, to ultimately get that together. Thank you so very much! I do appreciate it because I feel that was the blueprint of a much more focused direction of where I was going. When I had the “David Coverdale Whitesnake” album, you can hear all of these different styles of music that I enjoy, but I think it´s confusing to the listener. “If I go to a concert, what is he gonna be fucking playing? Is he gonna have horns or percussion?”. I think “Northwinds” was much closer to that. I´ll tell you what I have done. I did buy back “Into the light”, “Restless heart” and “Starkers in Tokyo” projects from EMI and part of the plan is… we have so much extra bonus material. This year we did a 5.1 mix and completely revamped “Starkers in Tokyo”, which actually puts you in that little select audience. We found extra footage of Adrian and I rehearsing for the show and we´ve got an interview with Adrian that we did a couple of years back when he came to my home for a holiday. For “Restless heart” we have the entire making of the record and behind the scenes video and with “Into the light” too. They will be expanded and brand new. I´m gonna make them available in their original form. A lot of people go “Oh, don´t change it!”, but the new stuff just sounds… we just messed around with some of the “Into the light” stuff and toughened the guitars up a little bit and just mixing it, you know. I was on a creative high at that time so there´s a whole new extra CD worth of songs that I didn´t finish, but are interesting for the hardcore fans. I´m totally into expanding editions and I would like very much to buy those albums (Northwinds) out of the Deep Purple overseas company one of these days. Hopefully they will be more reasonable.
“Northwinds” was rereleased in 2000 with two bonus tracks.
David Coverdale: Yeah, I had nothing to do with that. When you find out years later that your contract deny you any artistic involvement after you´ve written and recorded those songs, and the songs are precious to you like children… that applies by the way, to all Deep Purple. We have absolutely no say. It´s astonishing for a band of that power and contractually it was so castrated by the dinosaur elements of contracts in those days. Very disagreeable and of course still in play. Of the current Purple I believe several members tried to change this several years ago and lost in the British courts. I couldn´t stand what they did to “Burn” and “Stormbringer” and it was very disappointing to me and I have no involvement, so I won´t promote those things. Kevin Shirley was very respectful to me. He did “Come taste the band” and did a masterly job on it and I´d love if he did the “Burn” and “Stormbringer” records, but I have no say in that. I just collect my royalties. One of the things that I fully embrace is the freedom and the liberation that I have in my career now.
Another Whitesnake album then? Are we talking 2014 or 2015?
David Coverdale: Well, Frontiers have discussed that with me and I do have a full agenda as you´ve heard and there´s more that that too. I wanna do an unplugged record and we´re still talking about it, my co-producers Doug Aldrich and Michael McIntyre and I. For me to commit for a new studio record will take a year out of my life whereas these other projects just take a couple of months. I might even be able to get back on the road next year. My last long tour was in 2011 and you´re gonna see shorter ones now and I wanna make sure I have the physical energy and power to be able to present shows as people wanna see me. If I commit to a nine month tour, I don´t think I´m gonna be able to deliver. I´m 61 years old and I´m in great shape, but I´m still 61 years old. It´s gonna be shorter tours and stuff. That´s the dilemma for me, to commit to a new studio record. Believe me, I would love the challenge to go further than “Forever more” because Doug and I and the band are so up for that. It´s just taking a whole fucking year to write new songs and quality songs, because we´re very critical. Anything that doesn´t resonate, we just let go. Regardless if I brought it to the table or Doug. But we have a fantastic writing situation. We sit down for a cup of coffee and he´ll pick a guitar up and I´ll sing some Christmas song and then we´ve got a fucking Christmas song! It´s a fabulous, natural, organic thing. The muse sits over us with joy and sprinkles ideas on us.
Hooking up with Doug Aldrich must´ve been a match made in heaven?
David Coverdale: Yeah, for the both of us. A creative marriage made in heaven is how I describe it. And Doug, I thank him with all my heart because when we first got together… I´m a very honest guy to work with and I´ll turn around and say “This is what I´m gonna.” Or “This is not what I´m gonna do.” And the last thing I wanted to do, was to get back into what I considered a very unsavory business, the music business, and the way it was. The idea of performing was one thing, so I made a deal with all the guys that we´d come together four to six months every year or two because we had a great time, but Doug was really patient with me. He would go “Can I play an idea I have?” and I´d go “Yeah, sure!” and a part of my was going “I don´t wanna hear any ideas.”, but it was impossible for me to not be seduced and then it got to the point where we were playing every year till I went “Nah, I can´t do it this way!”. Some of my favorite songs became very boring to perform and I thought that if I´m bored doing this, then my fucking audience is bored too. “It´s time for new music!” and that´s when I committed to do “Good to be bad” and I couldn´t be happier. It´s still one of my most played records.
A final thing and speaking of Twitter again. I was checking out your Twitter and a couple of days ago…
David Coverdale: (laughs) What a fucking world!
Yeah, and you posted a picture of a festival poster where you played in a band called Denver Mule?
David Coverdale: Yeah, in ´68. A friend of mine sent me that one. We weren´t billed, but there was another local band called Rivers Invitation, who I joined later. We actually opened the thing. If memory serves me right, it was poorly attended. I knew the organizers, which is why I got that opening act. We were like a little progressive band and in those days, playing “Born to be wild” was really risky. (laughs) No it´s a fucking dinner dance song played at weddings.
Do you have old stuff like that laying around somewhere?
David Coverdale: It´s interesting. The amount of loss I had last year. I lost my beloved aunt Sylvia who was like an older sister to me. She was the one who played me Little Richard when I was a young kid and who was still immensely influential on my rock voice. Chuck Berry told amazingly lyrical stories, funny stories and Elvis Presley of course, was sex on two fucking legs. We just had a beautiful relationship and I lost her which was very difficult. My wife lost a brother and there´s been a great deal of loss, she´s from a large family and she´s lost two brothers, her mother and her father and she´s very young for that kind of loss. Then of course I lost Jon Lord and it was just one after the other and it was extraordinarily difficult to process, but it also made me think how I wanted to reach out to Richie (Blackmore) to say personally “Thank you so much for the opportunity that you guys gave me.” and say it personally to him. There´s been some unpleasant times in history with mr Blackmore and I, but I really thought that it´s just not worth carrying these grudges, bad feelings, bad blood. Life´s too short and too precious. Now we have a great relationship and a lot of e-mail relationship where he´s sending back “Remember this picture?” or “Remember that time?”, so that´s where that came into my life. I´ve never been a nostalgic guy and don´t forget I´ve been through two very, very significant divorces. My first marriage I left with a badly packed suitcase and my old Gibson guitar which used to be John Lennon´s and with a sock hanging out of the suitcase, like a fucking cartoon. I lost a lot of stuff. A lot of platinum albums, a lot of gold albums, but I still have a beautiful collection. Some things you just have to let go of and it´s not my passion to go digging into the past. When this started to get interesting to me, was when we started Whitesnake.com. We wanted it to be the place to go for anything Whitesnake related and also a history archive, so that´s when I started going “Christ, I need content!”. Now of course, walking around with a telephone where you can just a photograph of Bernie and Adrian and me having dinner the night before Sweden Rock in Copenhagen, is like a gift to fans. It´s a great treasured memory for me, but fans feel involved. That´s when I started collecting memorabilia and then just share it out there.
Did you get that festival picture from Richie or did I get that wrong?
David Coverdale: No, no, that came from another guitarist that I´ve worked with. A fabulous guitarist in a local band from the north of England. And all because of reaching out. All I can do is make the gesture of holding my hand out and say “Forgive and forget. I love you and all is forgiven.”. It´s surprising that some people prefer to hold a grudge but it´s just not for me. My choice is to kiss and make up. (laughs) I don´t wanna have any excessive emotional baggage anymore. It´s not fucking worth it! For instance, Richie, God bless him, have just signed the big “California Jam” book for my son and his beautiful wife Candice was very gracious in sending it back to me. In fact, let me tell you this. I´m sitting next to Doug Aldrich and I´m e-mailing on my iPad with Richie and my iPhone suddenly gets a text from Jimmy Page and Doug Aldrich goes “Fuck man! Nobody on the planet can say they´re e-mailing Richie Blackmore and texting Jimmy Page at the same fucking time!”. Richie said to say hi to Jimmy and Jimmy sent a hello back and I was like an international fucking operator here. (laughs)
Looking forward to seeing you here in Stockholm where you´re playing Gröna Lund, the amusement park.
David Coverdale: I can´t wait! It´s a lunar park? We can go on a plane? (laughs)
No, an amusement park but it´s a good place.
David Coverdale: A good venue?
Yeah, it´s pretty cool and if summer´s good and the sun is shining, it´s gonna be awesome.
David Coverdale: Kick ass! Let´s make it so. Thank you so much Niclas! God bless!