Christmas 2003 Interview



David, it's been 13 years since you toured the US and 6 years since you toured Europe. How did it feel to take to the stage again after such a long absence?

Interestingly, I didn't feel my usual nerves... It felt appropriate that I was doing this... I felt very confident with the musicians I put together... I was remarkably calm before the first show in Jacksonville, Florida... which I usually am not!!!... Everything is unfolding in a most natural way... No complaints!!!... Altho' I did joke about the g-string being a little uncomfortable after several years of wearing happily married, middle-aged, fluffy ol' Daddy underwear!!!

You have now completed the first half of the US tour and the European tour. What has the audience response been like? Are there any special memories you can share with us?

The audience response has been nothing less than extraordinary... and very touching... More positive than I could have wished for... and that ain't too shabby, Baby!!!... I am delighted... It feels as if the crowd has missed the songs as much as I have missed performing them for them... I am also hoping we can erase the necessity of different song sets to accommodate the US and Europe... that would provide an immense relief to me, I assure you... I believe I will be able to accomplish this with the double live CD I hope to release next year... If of course, I can find some way of getting the bugger out there without involving the corporates!!!... All my memories are special... as long as I don't think about all the travelling and being separated from my Family... Going back to the UK and Europe was like a homecoming... I didn't know how I would be received after so long... and the welcome was nothing short of amazing... Incredibly heartwarming for an emotional ol' fart such as moi... Everywhere!!!... When we started in the UK I couldn't believe it rained every bloody day!!!... I started to turn it around into a more positive view that it was cleansing and purifying our way... Freshening it up for us!!!... Me ol' mate Pagey came to see us in Brighton... that was very special for me... all of us, actually... He looked great by the way... Such a wonderful man... and looking happier and more content than I have seen him for a long time... Adrian jammed with us in Holland... that was lovely... He brought his beautiful Family with him... Just a treat for all concerned... I was hoping to reconnect with Mel Galley when we played London... he'd called up for tickets, but, only his family turned up... I'm sure there was a good reason... Mel's a good bloke... My Daughter Jessica and her husband flew in for the London show... and it was the first time he'd seen his father-in-law working!!!... God knows what he thought!!!... Man... the knickers were flying that night!!!... So... there you go... ALL the memories are special for me...

Japan appears to be the last country you toured this year. Can we expect any further countries to be added?

No... not this year... I will stick to my original parameters of working no more than six months... altho' this year has been a little more. Which is acceptable as it is the first time in many years I have worked... There have been offers, of course, but, they will have to wait til next year... I was going to finish at the end of August, but, a Japanese promoter came thro' with a decent enough offer... and I felt it would be a good thing to go... Japan has always been good to me... But, I will not allow anything to compromise the balance of work and Family... It never ceases to amaze me when I tour Japan, how incredibly welcoming and hospitable the Japanese are to international musicians... I always enjoy performing in the Land of the Rising Sun... I feel kind of connected there... Very comfortable with the culture, the food... the lifestyle... I genuinely would like to spend more time travelling the country, away from touring... Explore the history more... Japan has always fascinated me...

Your young son, Jasper, has seen you perform for the first time and also made his first trip to Europe. What was his reaction?

Who knows!!!... He's probably still processing the experience... What an uplifting emotional experience for me to have both my Beautiful Children with me when I am working... It simply doesn't get any better!!!... He thinks Reb is the funniest guy in the World... and after seeing Tommy play them there drums... he wants to be a drummer... even tho' I told him that singers get all the babes!!!... He seems to enjoy rock... I'm delighted to say!!!

Can you give us an idea of life on the road during a tour. Do you have the opportunity to see anything of the places you visit?

Not really... I've never been much of a tourist... altho' I did have time thank God, to visit the Akropolis in Athens... I studied Greek mythology when I was a child... and have always loved history... I do a lot of looking out of windows!!!... I don't really have the free time to indulge, unfortunately... Usually I travel on days off... thanks to sensitive agents and promoters!!!... My time on tour is a series of functions and rituals... all related to the shows... I take what I do very seriously... I don't party anything like I used to... and I'm not really interested in that wild lifestyle anymore... Sorry to disappoint some of you... but... I simply can't do the crazy late nights, drinking and... er... the other naughtiness... and, quite honestly... I feel very good that I did all of the fantasy stuff... and I mean ALL of the fantasy stuff that comes with being in a successful rock band... Several successful rock bands, actually... It's time for the new bands to sow their wild thingies... My thingy is very content thank you very much... I mustn't be greedy!!!

Many of your long-term followers have commented that your voice is more powerful than at any time during the last 20 years. Is this a result of giving up smoking?

I am sure that has helped... yes... Also... my diet... my exercise... minimal alcohol... and respecting myself, and my body more than ever before... Oh... and my inner joy seems to be assisting me, also!!!... Yes... being happy makes for ze big performance, Baby!!!... It's funny, but, I have drank more beer this year than I have drunk in my life!!!... My usual cognac and single malt whiskey burned my vocal chords rather viciously... Too risky, mate!!!... One night, early in the tour, I reached over to take a sip of Doug's beer... and it tasted like honey!!!... So... from then on... I was on the German or Japanese beer... I stopped drinking the moment I came off tour... It's a little boring drinking the ol' Evian all the time... but, if that's what helps me get thro... and keeps me hydrated... then so be it...

You also appear very relaxed and at ease on stage. A sign of a man totally at peace with himself?

Yes...Is it that noticeable???... If I could bottle the positive energy I am feeling... I would give it away... Not sell it... GIVE it away...

Will you be releasing a live CD or DVD of the tour and if so, when?

Unfortunately not... in regards to a DVD for this year, at least... Everyone who approached us was so greedy and selfish in what they wanted from me... that it simply isn't a consideration on my part to get involved with them... This, of course, is ultimately disappointing for the people who really want a DVD from me... but... I am not prepared to compromise my integrity as a professional any more... I have done it before... and it tastes awful... So... make sure you really WATCH the show next time around... and hold on to those images, Baby!!!... I hope this will always not be the case...

How do you see the future of Whitesnake? Do you have any plans to record a new album with your current band of players?

I would love to... They are great players, and great guys... accomplished writers... A pleasure to share a stage with... but... and here is the dilemma... How do I get that record out to you???... I am still exploring ways to release an album in this day and age without going the old corporate record company way... The computer company Apple are doing interesting things with downloads... and at a decent, accommodating price for the consumer... I can sell them at gigs...thro' internet, on Amazon.com... but... it costs me quite a bit of dosh to make an album... or has done in the past... and I must make sure I am going to recoup what it costs me... Otherwise it becomes a hobby I cannot afford... I will also have to make an emotional contract with the people who support Whitesnake... a moral guarantee they will not download it for free... Otherwise the party will definitely be over if I can't afford to make a living as a musician!!!... I have a strange, gut-feeling that full-length albums may be a thing of the past... Short-form CD's featuring 4 or 5 new songs could be the way of the future... Not so expensive for the musician to record as an actual album... and almost a sure-fire guarantee of quality for the fans... and, I think you can almost take it to the bank that there will be a glut of live albums from pretty much every act out there!!!

How did the new guitarists, Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach stand up to their celebrated predecessors?

Extraordinarily well... They brought a necessary freshness and vitality to the songs... and didn't miss a beat... and both were exceptionally consistent, as were the others... I have absolutely no regrets involving them in he band... They get along well... and have different approaches to their presentation... and it always helps when the players I bring into the band are actually admirers of Whitesnake, and familiar with the music... Doug has all the bases covered... He loves classic rock and blues and is a joy to know and work with... and he looks great!!!... The same with ol' Rebel... Reb has a great voice too, which coupled with Marco and Timothy gives me powerful background vocals I can rely and depend on... and that's a first after working with so many Drunken Sailors over the years!!!... Bernie and Micky had decent enough voices, but, it was a very complimentary blend when we sang together... We gelled well... John Sykes didn't really sing til we worked together... and then there was no stopping him!!!... He was meant to sing... It comes naturally to him... John and I were the closest I 've found to Glenn and me in the ol' vocal department...

How was it to re-unite with Tommy after 12 years?

Perfect!!!... Tommy and Marco are a FEAST of a rhythm section... Tommy's passion is so inspiring... he drives us relentlessly... He's a delight... A very funny man... and both of us have grown significantly over the years... He is much more centered and grounded as a person... more Spiritual... Both of us feel the changes we have undergone individually are to our mutual benefit, thank Goodness!!!... TA and I never had any real problems when we worked together before... we simply lost contact when we stopped working together... I didn't think he'd be interested in returning to the fold, for some reason... but, Marco and he have been collaborating for some years and it was Marco who suggested Tommy would likely be enthusiastic... and... he was!!!... So, I had the real pleasure of reconnecting with someone whom I admire immensely... and coupled with my Latino Lothario, I have a rhythm section to die for... a foundation for the future... a solid, no nonsense powerhouse... and, less we forget... Marco Mendoza is a GIANT of a musician... Tommy reckons he dumbs down to play rock!!!... I don't care what he does, he is most welcome aboard HMS Whitesnake... I sometimes wonder which bodypart he's going to have pierced next!!!

We have heard you travel separately from your band...Is this true???

Yes...and this is no disrespect in any way, shape or form, to my band... I just like, and need my own space... I meditate, pray... read... and very importantly... rest my voice... do my vocal exercises... which are a pain in the arse to me never mind innocent bystanders!!!... I find this works for me... and it gives the guys more room to stretch out... and talk about me behind my back!!!... We are never too far away from each other with the intrusive blessing of cellphones...

Is there any chance you will be featuring any Deep Purple, or Coverdale Page songs in your future live shows???...Keep the Olde Guard, as you call them happy???

Very likely... now we've broken the silence of years, and returned with the ol' greatest hits package... There is talk of opening next year with the DP song Burn... which for my money is still one of the best opening songs for a rock s how I have ever heard... I'd like to do some of the stuff I did with Pagey... Shake My Tree... or Don't Leave Me This Way... whichever suits the band identity... For instance, I tried the CP song Pride and Joy with a former line-up, and it was bloody awful!!!... If the players don't feel it... it won't work... My Wife also wants me to perform the entire Into the LIGHT album!!!... I was trying to work the intro of She Give Me into the start of the show this year... but, we changed direction with the opening song... and it simply didn't work... I think Slave could be an option... but... remember a lot of the better known Whitesnake songs, or hits, as it were, mean an awful lot to many people... and I will most definitely be trying to balance a fine mix... I've always wanted to do the Stones Let's Spend The Night Together... and the Who's My Generation... just for fun... I have been thinking of blowing the dust off Mistreated... particularly for Europe and the Far East... Man... Mr. Aldrich will DESTROY on the that!!!... But... we must make space for Here I Go Again... Still Of The Night... Is This Love... The bugger is, we can only do Mistreated, or Crying In The Rain... both of them are pretty long epics... Oh, bugger... you'll have to wait and see!!!

Thanks for your time, David.

My pleasure... and may I take this opportunity to wish all our Boardmembers a Happy New Year... and may all your wishes, hopes and dreams come true, and manifest in the most positive way...