Under The Radar: Whitesnake, Good To Be Bad (2008) & Forevermore (2011)
In the 1980’s, Whitesnake were a global chart topping hit making machine with multi platinum albums, and numerous hit singles. They ruled the airwaves and video stations from around the world with their brand of blues rock and showcasing thier sexy videos with founding member and lead singer David Coverdale’ s then wife, Tawny Kitaen. What great childhood memories.
In the 90’s, with grunge music beginning to take over the musical landscape, David Coverdale chose to take a break from the music business. Although he sporadically toured and released music such as 1993’s Coverdale/Page album and the 1998 Restless Heart and Starkers in Tokyo album released under the Whitesnake banner.
Whitesnake became a nostalgia act with Coverdale as the sole original member and a revolving door of guest musicians; touring behind either an anniversary or greatest hits package. It looked like the best days were truly behind Coverdale and Whitesnake.
Well all that changed when guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach joined the band. Both Doug and Reb were Deep Purple/Whitesnake fans and truly believed that with time, touring and a stable line-up, Whitesnake could be brought back to life.
Fans were teased with four new songs that included on the 2006 release of Live: In the Shadows of the Blues. Although the four songs were fantastic, fans would have to wait two more years to hear if this seasoned road group could pull off an entire album.
April 22, 2008, Whitesnake with its most stable line-up yet; consisting of lead singer David Coverdale, guitarists Doug Aldrich, and Rob Beach, bassist Urich Duffy, keyboardist Timothy Drury and drummer Chris Frazier unleashed Good To Be Bad. The question was could this incarnation of the band deliver an album worthy of the Whitesnake name? The answer is hell yes!
Good To Be Bad was made up of eleven tracks that never came across as a cash and grab reunion album that most rock fans unfortunately have grown accustomed to. It seemed that the extended break from recording gave the band the advantage of developing a set of songs that managed to provide an excellent overview of all the previous Whitesnake incarnations. The album had acoustic and blues moments from its early years and electric arena rock aspects from the bands latest position. The entire band sounded like they had something to prove with this release and they passed the test in spades.
Three years later, Whitesnake came roaring back with Forevermore, a blistering thirteen track album, proving that Good To Be Bad was no fluke.
With Forevermore, David Coverdale continued to polish the production – focusing on guitars more, and once again successfully fusing Whitesnake’s various eras, making for one jaw-dropping sonic assault of an album.
The album is literally hit after hit after hit, but Coverdale pulls out all the stops with Forevermore’s true highlight, the album’s closing title track. Clocking in at over seven minutes, it begins as an acoustic guitar/ vocal intro until the two-and a half minute mark where the band enters with a “Kashmir” like chord sequence, slowly building to a bone crushing crescendo.
Both albums were huge chart toppers all across Europe, proving that the band was both a lethal touring and recording entity. Unfortunately, the albums were never really promoted in the US and Canada.
Whitesnake proved without a shadow of a doubt that a classic band can sound relevant to todays music landscape without losing touch of its roots.
If you love classic rock, I urge you to search out Good To Be Bad and Forevermore. You will not be disappointed.