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Coverdale Has ‘No F—ing Regrets’ About Whitesnake’s ’80s Image

Ash Newell

If you want to make David Coverdale laugh, just bring up the so-called hair metal scene of the late ’80s. “It was a joke. It was like the Rolling Stones‘ ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ period. We were like, ‘How far can we push this?’”

Noisecreep is sitting with the legendary Whitesnake vocalist at the famed Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood, California. The British rocker is in town to promote ‘Forevermore,’ Whitesnake’s forthcoming 11th studio album which finds them stripping down their sound to its raw essentials: blues-informed songwriting, muscular guitar riffs, and powerful yet earthy vocals.

Before diving into a discussion about the new record, Coverdale reminisces about the ’80s days when touring bands still packed cases of Aqua Net on their tour buses.

“You see, a lot of the bands that came up during that period – the glam hair bands – couldn’t play for s—! What they could do was make great videos. So there were no kinds of chops behind it. You could give one of the bands a box of Ritz crackers and they could do an amusing, entertaining, and informative video. You give me a box of crackers and I would be like, ‘Would you like a cracker, sir?’”

“I do agree that the way we looked in the late ’80s was over-flamboyant for the identity that I had created for Whitesnake,” says Coverdale, sipping on a latte. “We were like, ‘How many people tonight — 25,000? Make our hair bigger!’ It was mindless stuff, it was a giggle. The pictures, I don’t really care for, but at least it amuses my child [laughs]. But I have no f—ing regrets about that period, it was great.”

Even though Whitesnake’s roots go back to Coverdale’s days in Deep Purple, the band’s biggest commercial success coincided with the rise of the hair metal era. While myopic rock journalists carelessly dismissed the group during the late ’80s, Whitesnake were busy creating some of the finest songs in their discography.

“Sure, our look took the attention away from the music,” says the singer. “One of the reasons Whitesnake is still popular is the strength and power of the songs. I’m talking about things I did 30 years ago — ‘Fool For Your Loving’ and ‘Here I Go Again — all of those songs still have legs. But the songs were more disguised or cosmeticized during that time.”

Our conversation finds its way baclk to the new album, as we tell Coverdale that it reminds us of the blues-based hard rock of his earlier days. Coverdale agrees.

“I was talking to Glenn the other day, and I told him that a couple of songs on the new Whitesnake record sound like they could have been on the ‘Stormbringer’ album.” Coverdale is talking about Glenn Hughes, his former Deep Purple bandmate who played on their 1974 ‘Stormbringer’ album and now fronts Black Country Communion, a super-group that also features Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian.

‘Love Will Set You Free,’ the irresistible first single from ‘Forevermore,’ is one of the songs Coverdale is talking about. The tune could have easily appeared on an old Deep Purple or early Whitesnake album like 1980′s ‘Ready an’ Willing.’

“All of my songs that I’ve ever been involved with are blood relatives. It’s just part of the bloodline. It doesn’t matter if they came out during Purple or the ’80s Whitesnake days — it’s all part of the family tree,” said Coverdale.

You’ll be able to hear Coverdale’s newest addition to the Whitesnake family tree when ‘Forevermore’ hits stores on March 29.

Download Whitesnake songs | Buy Whitesnake albums

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