Yes… we admit it took us sometime… but, like most things here at WS.com… it was worth the wait… (modest, ain’t we?)… After we begged, groveled, teased, pleaded, head-butted & bitch-slapped the former WS guitarist… he reluctantly agreed to allow us entry into Castle Clog, a dark, paint-splattered dwelling, nestled in the heartland of the magical, mythical kingdom of Tulipland… to answer your questions about his current whereabouts and what he’s been up to…
1. Vandenberg-art.com is a great website. Do you have any plans to launch an official music-related website?
-Thank you. As soon as I will have my wrist-coördination problem under control and will be able again to bother the hell out of everybody with my guitarplaying, it will make sense to do so.
2. How long have you been painting?
-According to my mother when I was a baby and they were trying to get me off the bottle and get me used to eat solid foods, I appearently spray-painted the walls of my parental home with this food, straight out of my mouth. So you could say I started early as an experimental, expressionist painter. They are still trying to ge me off the bottle now, by the way.
3. Your paintings are bold and lively and prominently feature primary colours (red, blue and yellow). Do you have a preference for these pure colours when it comes to creating art? If so, why?
-Yes I do; I like pure, intuitive stuff, just as I like the sound of a Les Paul or Stratocaster plugged straight into a Marshall without too many effects and such interfering with the actual voice of the guitar.
4. Who are your favourite artists and which ones influence you in your paintings?
-Van Gogh, Vermeer, Jeroen Bosch, Karel Appel, Willem De Kooning, Egon Schiele, Anton Heyboer, Walt Disney, David Hockney, Francis Bacon etc. etc.
5. Is finding the inspiration to create your art a lot like creating music? Or are these very much separate?
-Good question; indeed I draw from the same creative source, whether musically or image-wise; I put up an antenna and see if a signal comes in and it usually does, fortunately…
6. Which do you find more therapeutic, painting or music?
– Both. Nothing beats a good roll in the hay though.
7. There is a richly-illustrated book on your art that includes works from 1976 to 2004. How did the idea of publishing a book come about?
-I was approached by the distinctive dutch art-publishing firm “Waanders” with this idea. I liked the idea, since a book like this is much like a CD for a band; you make your artistic statement accessible to people that are interested and it puts you on the map as an artist. Also, just like a CD, it documents a certain period in your artistic career.
8. Are there any plans for Vandenberg art exhibitions outside of Holland?
-Yes; right now I am discussing possible plans for Belgium and Germany. I’d like to do exhibitions worldwide if the opportunity presents itself. I would really love to do exhibitions in the USA. You could say I have ambitions to become a professional exhibitionist.
9. You did the artwork on Vandenberg and Manic Eden album covers. Do you have an interest in doing artwork for the album covers of other artists?
-If I get approached by somebody who has affinity with my art and it would be for an artist that I find interesting, I will definitely consider it.
10. David Coverdale has mentioned that you both embellished the very “dark” Japanese Restless Heart cover for the tour programme. How do you like collaborating with David when it comes to creating art? If the opportunity arose, would you collaborate with David again and what kind of art projects would you be interested in doing with him?
-I consider David my brother and very close friend and it has always been great to work together. I am convinced we will collaborate some way or another in the future again, whether it is musically, art-related, culinairy or just sliding down the snowy mountains of Lake Tahoe on a trashcan-lid.
11. Are you still in touch with the members of Vandenberg?
– Yes, at times; for promotion of the compilation CD-box “Vandenberg-The Definitive” we did a one-off TV live appearance last year and some months ago for a DVD release : “1983-Vandenberg Live In Japan” and is was quite fun. I am still in frequent contact with former Vandenberg bassist Dick (excuse my French, but that happens to be his name); we share a mutual passion for music,good wines & food, so we get together often with his brother Paul (a respected dutch guitarist ) and indulge shamelessly.
12. How did they feel about your joining Whitesnake?
– They were quite supportive about it, as hard as it was for them. They realised they would have made the same decision if the opportunity would have presented itself.
13. Does any more Vandenberg “unplugged” material exist, other than “Burning Heart”, as featured on The Definitive Adrian Vandenberg?
– I don’t think so, but we might dive into the dark dungeons of the gloomey Vandenberg castle and see what else is lurking around there…..
14. Speaking of “Burning Heart”, did you ever consider including a version of the song on a Whitesnake album?
-As a matter of fact, we were working on a Whitesnake version of the song for the “Slip Of The Tongue” album when I was suddenly confronted with a wrist problem, so, logically, we put it on the shelf. One day I would love to do a version with David singing the song.
15. How did forming Manic Eden come about? What was it like working with Tommy Aldridge, Rudy Sarzo and Ron Young? Are there any plans to record with Manic Eden again?
– When David did his project with Jimmy Page I didn’t want to sit on my lazy dutch ass so we put Manic Eden together. It was great to work with Tommy and Rudy ofcourse, since we had been working together for years in Whitesnake and had become good friends. Ron Young was a fine singer, but came in while we were already in the project so we hadn’t really cemented a solid base with him yet. I thought this band had great potential and I still enjoy listening to the album. There are no plans to record again.
16. When was the first time you met David Coverdale? David says it was in a hotel bar somewhere in Holland. Do you remember this?
-Of course, I was honoured to be invited backstage by David (he was one of my few favourite singers already since his Deep Purple days) after a Whitesnake show in Utrecht, Holland and I was immediately impressed by his good taste in women, since he went straight after my girlfriend. We discussed the possibility of working together, it must have been 1982.
17. Can you describe the songwriting process with David Coverdale?
– It has always been a process with a very natural, instinctive flow, since we have a very similar taste in music. We’ve always drawn from similar sources such as Rock, Blues, Classical, World Music, even Pop Music and ofcourse traditional Polish-polka.
18. When it comes to the music that you and David Coverdale create, it is not only blues-based but seems to have a classical influence also. Do you start writing with this influence in the back of your mind or it is strictly blues?
19. David Coverdale has stated that it is always a delight to have you join Whitesnake on stage and that you have an open invitation to do so. You joined Whitesnake on stage at two shows in Holland (Zwolle in 2003 and Tilburg in 2004). What was it like performing with Whitesnake again? Did you miss it?
– It is always a quite emotional thing to do, especially since I play like shit these days. I really miss touring with Whitesnake. I do still try to get my wristproblem under control, since I can’t play on the level that I want. see question 1.
20. Do you have any amusing stories from your days in the studio or on the road with Whitesnake?
21. When you think of the concerts that you performed with David Coverdale, is there one that is most memorable?
– The very first one on the “Texas Jam” (1987) and the Utrecht (Holland) show in 1990.
22. You co-wrote such great material for Slip of the Tongue but due to your injury, you were unable to play on the album. How did it feel to hear another guitarist (Steve Vai) play the songs that you originally intended to play?
– Quite strange. As excellent a guitarist as Steve is, ofcourse as a writer you have your personal ideas about how you would like to “colour your paintings” yourself. Naturally I would have coloured this particular painting using a classical-melodic-blues-rock palette…
23. How did you like playing with Steve Vai when you were touring with Whitesnake?
– It was quite exciting and stimulating.
24. David Coverdale has referred to the fact that “Restless Heart” was originally intended to be more of a DC/AV project but EMI insisted that it be released as a Whitesnake album. Therefore it was “rocked up”, compared to the original master. What is your opinion of the final product?
– I still really like the album. Especially the very first mixes we did, a version with the most rocksongs on it that was mixed a little more rock/punch than the final album mixes. These mixes are obviously great as well in a different way, which made it a hard choice…
25. David Coverdale has mentioned that he would like to remix “Restless Heart” one day. If this were to happen, would it interest you to be included in the process?
-Oooooh Yes sir!
26. “Too Many Tears” is a beautiful song and a wonderful addition to Restless Heart and Into the Light. What were the reasons you and David decided not to send the song to Robert Cray, as you initially discussed?
-Because we were selfish bastards and wanted to devour the whole pie ourselves of course!
27. The Starkers in Tokyo performance is a masterpiece. There was also a similar (and critically-acclaimed) session for VH1 in the UK at the time that Restless Heart was released. Did you ever discuss with David the prospect of presenting the concept to a wider audience?
– We never discussed it, but who knows…
28. You and David had a great chemistry onstage during the recording of Starkers in Tokyo which contributed to the intimate feel of the performance. Did you enjoy the experience? How much rehearsing did you do to prepare for the performance?
-It was a blast since there was no pressure, really, mainly because it was supposed to be a radio show for a limited audience and we didn’t have plans for it to put it out as a CD. We rehearsed at least a hefty 4 minutes for this show.
29. How are you coping with your shoulder and neck injury? How do you prepare physically before a performance?
-It sucks. The good thing is that I don’t have to prepare physically before a performance, because I don’t perform because of this. I am confident though that eventually it will get solved and then….
30. Do you still get nervous before going onstage?
-Not really, I just get a little excited because I love playing.
31. Do you pick which guitars go on tour with you?
-I throw them all in a bathtub, blindfold myself and grab a few.
32. What did you do for relaxation or to pass the time when you used to travel on a tour bus?
-Hang with the guys, watch movies, read a bit, chow down a couple of square feet of pizza, you know, really philosophical, groundbreaking, worldchanging stuff.
33. Do you have a preference in venues? Do you prefer the large outdoor arenas or the smaller indoor venues?
-anywhere, I’d play in a f****ng shoebox if they let me.
34. Do you find it easier to compose music alone or with a partner?
-Depends on the partner, with David it was always a natural process ( see 17) and you both try to get the best out of the song.
35. If working with a partner, how do you choose which partner to write songs with? -Usually by the size of the boobs. David was an exception in this matter. 36. Similarly, how do you choose which musicians to play with (on stage or in the studio)? -You feel rightaway if you “click”. If this doesn’t happen you just should have a cup of coffee together and decide not to torture the world with clickless crap. 37. Do you still compose music on a regular basis?
-Yes, in my head pretty much all the time. I let it out regularly and put stuff down on disk.
38. Where do you like to record? Do you have a home studio?
-I really like recording in my homestudio, a pro-tools set-up, since it is of major importance to me to work in a relaxed athmosphere and have good espresso during the day and some quality wine in the evening at hand for the occasional stimuli.
39. Can you tell us a bit about your work writing music for Dutch movies and documentaries? Is this something you are still involved in?
-Occasionally. I’d like to do some more because I it is a nice way to combine my passion for music and images at the same time.
40. What advice would you give to a novice musician who is ready to make the jump from an acoustic guitar to an electric one? Which one would you recommend buying?
-Just do it! I’d start with a Strat-type of electric, since it is harder to play than a Les Paul-type.
41. You seem to be looking younger every day. Do you have an exercise routine or a particular diet you follow?
-Thanks. Flattery won’t get you anywhere!
-Enjoy life as much as possible, a bit of open air excerse (bicycling, walking), enjoy good food & wine, a positive attitude and large daily quantities of humour.
42. What do you think of the name “The Flying Dutchman”? Are you called this because Wagner is one of your favourite classical composers (from his 4th opera “Der fliegende Holländer”)? Or is it because of the legend of sea captain Willem van der Decken? Or none of these reasons?
-I do prefer it over “The Flying Laplander” .
-I guess a combination of these, the added frequent-flyer miles of a lot of Holland-USA flights and my early Tasmanian Devil style stage antics.
43. What CDs are you presently listening to?
-Kiddies crap with my 6 year old daughter when she is with me for a couple of days a week, early Van Morrison, early Free, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, ZZ-top, Portugese Fado, Sad classical stuff( Mozart’s Requiem ), John Williams ( classical guitar ), just to name a few.
44. When you wish to relax, what kind of music do you prefer? What would be your first choice and why?
-Death Metal, Speed Metal and Gothic Suicide Metal; that really gets me totally relaxed. When this isn’t at hand my first choice would be classical and fado.
45. If you had the choice to relive any one moment in your life, would you want to? If so, what would it be?
-I strive to create a lot of new moments that are worthwhile wishing for to relive in the future.
46. When you think of the future, what do you see yourself doing? What do you hope you will have accomplished?
-I really would like to be able to do concerts again. I would like to keep growing as a human being, artist, composer, chef and vinologist. Because of the last two I make sure that my lovehandles don’t grow with me.
47. Dank je wel voor je tijd, Adje.
-Don’t mention it, just send me the cheque, you greedy bastards! You call this a short questionnaire??
Visit Adrians site at www.vandenberg-art.com