David Coverdale - Vocals
Doug Aldrich - Guitar
Reb Beach - Guitar
Uriah Duffy - Bass
Timothy Drury - Keyboards
Chris Frazier - Drums
David Coverdale was born on September 22, 1951 in Saltburn, located in the industrial north of England. Coverdale was first inspired to pursue his dreams after watching Jimi Hendrix perform on television. Coverdale was further inspired by the likes of 'Bobby "Blue" Band', Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Joe Cocker.
In 1973, Coverdale answered an ad in a music trade paper, and the next thing he knew, he was the lead singer for Deep Purple. From 1973-1976 Coverdale and Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore wrote most of Deep Purple's material. In 1974, Deep Purple was one of the best selling bands in America. Coverdale resigned from Deep Purple in March 1976 due to ever increasing difficulties within the band.
In 1977, Coverdale released a solo album called David Coverdale... Whitesnake. A year later he released Northwinds. In the height of the Punk era, Coverdale was told nobody was interested in hard rock. He booked a six club tour of England and thousands of people were waiting to get in and hear his brand of rhythm and blues based hard rock.
'The original concept of Whitesnake was to be a vehicle for good rock and roll songs. A gathering of musicians with a passion for expression under a creative umbrella to present rhythm and blues based hard rock. So far, it has been impossible to sustain a fixed group identity without some for of compromise, and rock & roll is not about compromise. So there have been many hello's and good-byes. Some were fond farewells while others bitter acrimonious exits. Oh well, ce'st la vie...and life goes on...". Such has been David Coverdale's attitude throughout his career with Whitesnake. Coverdale has earned an undeserved reputation, he's been accused of using Whitesnake as a forum to boost himself, which when one learns of his side of the story, is found to be untrue. Coverdale has highlighted every player he had worked with in Whitesnake, how could he use the band to boost himself when he was so busy pushing those he worked with to exceed their limits and achieve greatness. Coverdale's vocal superiority in his trade is what has gotten him as this far, and is what continues to push his career and Whitesnake onward.
Coverdale started out with two guitarists, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, in Whitesnake. Such was his wish in his band, one guitarist can cover a limited area, whereas with two guitarists the possibilities are endless. Bernie was, as an individual, a pop singer tempered with alot of Clapton. Micky Moody was one of the best rock slide guitar players of his time, but they were limited basically to what they were good at. Coverdale in essence abducted them from their genre and inserted them into a hard rock environment. In most cases, it may of worked, and for awhile it did. It's just that Moody and Marsden weren't hard rockers. "Being a hard rocker is much more than just turning your volume up, it's an attitude that has to be there." Both were great in their own right, and it showed in the studio sessions. The power brought to them with the increasing popularity of Whitesnake bought them immaturity, which began to show in live performances. Coverdale would be singing a blues tune, and knowing that something was wrong, he would turn around and "they'd be having a giggle to themselves...".
Then came Mel Galley and John Sykes, which were both involved with the 1984 Slide It In release. There were two versions of that album, the American version with Sykes and Galley, and the rest of the world listened to the Moody/Galley version. Mel Galley broke his arm in two places, and was done in the guitar department after the 1984 album. With John Lord on keyboards, and John Sykes with ALL guitar responsibilities, Whitesnake struggled through the 1984 SuperRock tour. Coverdale was struck down with a 'non drug induced deviated septum' in late 1984, and therefore, he and Whitesnake were out of commission for three years.
Coverdale and Sykes wrote almost all of the songs for 1987's release Whitesnake, over a 5 day period in San Tropez. Sykes refused to do the guitar work until Coverdale gave him a fixed amount of money, which Coverdale-already 3 million dollars in debt-did not have. There was a basic resentment between the two, that Coverdale was known, and Sykes was not. Coverdale fired Sykes over the phone and in person. Sykes was a magnificent guitar player, but it was intolerable for Coverdale to try and work with him.
It was in Munich Germany in 1987, when Coverdale drafted, in his opinion, the ultimate blueprint for Whitesnake. Coverdale wanted Adrian Vandenberg for both his song writing skill and his guitar technique. He also wanted Vandenberg to act as the band leader, and coordinate everything, after all, Vandenberg had run his own band for ten years. Coverdale wanted Vivian Campbell for his style, he had the wacky American guitar hero style that Vandenberg lacked. The purist of Vandenberg and the style of Campbell should have been an excellent combination. Coverdale wanted Rudy Sarzo on bass because Sarzo was one of the most dedicated, inspirational players that he'd ever seen. Despite all the social problems going on within the band, every night, Sarzo would be out on stage, doing his job and doing it well. One of the major conflicts in this draft of Whitesnake was between Campbell and Vandenberg, they had no musical appreciation for each other, both wanted to be the solo guitarist in Whitesnake. When it finally went beyond tolerable for Coverdale, he fired Vivian Campbell. Campbell was always lagging behind, holding the band back from it's full potential. Adrian and Coverdale hit it off like brothers. "Adrian is a tireless worker. I've never worked with somebody who I can legitimately say, this is a 50-50 situation. Never. Adrian Vandenberg is a complete natural writer. For the first time in all my years, I've found a partner."
Coverdale and Whitesnake released Slip Of The Tongue in 1989, with Steve Vai on guitar, due to the fact that Vandenberg injured his hand and could not participate in the recording of the album he and Coverdale had written. A majority of the critics panned the album, saying it had too much technique and not enough soul. As for the Whitesnake fans point of view, it was not as good as the 1987 release, but the guitar is stronger, there is more dedication in the music, and David Coverdale's vocal performance is one of his best.
Coverdale dissolved the band in 1990 to pursue a solo career. His career hit a high point in 1993 with the release of Coverdale/Page, an 11 track album he wrote and performed along with ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. The album was one of the most awaited LP's of the decade, and one of the greatest albums of the decade also, despite the critics, who once again panned the album. From a musicians point of view the album was far from a failure. As Coverdale himself puts it, "The critics just love to get out their knives and dine on Coverdale." . In the author's opinion, David Coverdale's vocal performance on Coverdale/Page was the high point of his career, however, with the habit he has of exceeding his limits and setting new records, his time in the spotlight is far from over. Coverdale has released a new album with Whitesnake, it is called 'Restless Heart' and is putting all the critics to shame. Coverdale has stated that this will be the LAST Whitesnake album. :( In any effect, he will continue on, sharing his wonderful voice with the world for years to come.