David Coverdale Is Hearing Whitesnake in a Whole New Way: Exclusive Interview
"The most important thing for me was to achieve a sonic identity and consistency from one record to another," he tells UCR. "I've been a frustrated DJ ever since they invented cassettes. It was so hard for me to put my favorite tracks together, because they didn't gel. But I've been through so many changes in lineups and whatever. You can only achieve so much in remastering."
As the name suggests, The Rock Album is a "revisited, remixed and remastered" collection of Whitesnake's best rock songs. It includes the new track "Always the Same" as well as songs from 1997's Restless Heart, which has yet to be released in America. It's the first of a trio of themed compilations that will mark the beginning of a massive catalog renovation campaign, with the ballad-oriented Love Songs expected in the fall, and The Blues Album early next year.
"These albums are a taste of things to come," Coverdale explains. "It's like if you go to a nice restaurant and they offer you a tasting menu." Expanded and re-vamped editions of all the records under the singer's legal control, including Restless Heart, will follow. "Everything from Slide It In forward is getting a fresh coat of paint," he adds. "I've had this dream and ambition for many, many years, but there's been a missing link."
Watch Whitesnake Perform 'Always the Same'
Coverdale credits his new mixer, Christopher Collier, with breaking the log jam. "He came in to try out for the mix of [2019's] Flesh & Blood. I was so close to the record, while being exhausted recovering from replacement surgery on both knees," the singer explains.
"I just didn't trust my focus to get the best out of what I thought was a really solid Whitesnake record," Coverdale adds. "So, I wanted fresh ears, and when this guy came in, we connected immediately. I booked him for three weeks, we got the mix of Flesh & Blood done in one! So I went, 'Oh my God, do you wanna try Slide It In?' And that's how it began."
He's particularly excited for stateside fans to get their hands on the revamped version of Restless Heart. "I refused to let [his American label] Geffen have that one; I didn't like the way it was going there. It was originally a Coverdale solo album, then [his overseas label] EMI changed their minds when new executives came in. They wanted it to be a Whitesnake record, and they had the legal right to say that."
Current Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra made new contributions to the album's tracks, doubling up the work done originally done by Adrian Vanderberg. "Then, we added the scorching Hammond organ of Derek Sherinian," Coverdale raves. "It's like a beautiful bridge between early Whitesnake with Jon Lord and the direction Whitesnake would soon be moving towards. So, it's really special to me, I'm thrilled with it."