Calling in from his adopted home of Reno, Nevada – despite admitting to being under the weather – the former Deep Purple lead singer is in a jovial mood as he jokes about the holiday season, getting older and his memories (or lack thereof) from Whitesnake’s last trip Down Under.
“It was the Good to Be Bad World Tour, was that 2008? That’s far too long. But I’ll be excused for not remembering a fucking thing being as I’m three score and eight years old now,” he smiles. “No, each time was a blast. We’ve always been treated with the greatest kindness and hospitality.
“In fact, the biggest dilemma we have with your magnificent country is the absolute distance because we refuse to do what a lot of bands do and pick up equipment while we’re there to do the shows to save money. I take my own equipment, because it’s all customised. A lot of our contemporaries these days also use backing tapes – to me that’s not kosher. My philosophy is it’s gotta be a proper frickin’ White show or what’s the point?”
This February, not only has Coverdale promised to deliver an authentic Whitesnake experience, they will be sharing the stage with another band considered to be rock royalty.
“With the release of our new album Flesh and Blood there’s obviously a hot bed of support for us so it makes sense to come now,” he says. “And we’re coming out with our dear friends the Scorpions. Just ask anyone, the Scorps and Snake? That’s worth the price of admission for a start.”
Flesh and Blood is Whitesnake’s thirteenth studio album and is the fuel powering their current world tour, but as Coverdale tells me, the new songs almost never saw the light of day. “The Purple Album in 2015 was going to be my tribute album to the band that brought me into the business and I thought it was a good way for me to bow out. We hadn’t done an album with new songs since Forever More in 2011, and I thought ‘Fuck it!’ Not to sound arrogant, I hope not, but what the fuck else do I have to prove?” he says.
“Then my wife said ‘Well, you weren’t really writing songs to prove yourself, you were writing songs to express yourself’, and I thought Oh, that’s actually really correct. Then I thought, my god, everyday I sit down with a guitar or a piano and something comes up – so my wife has banned me from using the word retirement any more!” he laughs.
“So this time I brought in Joel [Hoekstra, guitars] and Rev Beach [guitars and backing vox] who I’ve never really co-written with before, and we ended up with the Flesh and Blood album which is one of my favourite fucking Whitesnake albums of the lot. Putting the new vibrant songs into the show actually revitalises the older songs, they feed off each other.
“Also everyone in the band – besides Tommy [Aldridge, drums] is a good singer, so we not only have big bollocksy music at the bottom, we have crisp harmonies on the top, which is extraordinarily pleasing for us, and it’s not PR bullshit this band gets on great which is as rare as hens’ teeth. There are an awful lot of bands who stay together for the almighty dollar – that’s not the case here.
“And if people don’t believe that,” Coverdale adds, “all they have to do is come to the show and witness the passion, the excitement, and the electricity we share. Even though Whitesnake is my baby, I feel honoured to be these guys lead singer – so come see how real Whitesnake is.