David Coverdale hasn't been this excited about Deep Purple music since -- well, when he was in Deep Purple some 40 years ago.
Coverdale's latest release with Whitesnake, the band he's led since 1978, is "The Purple Album," a set of new recordings of songs he recorded with Deep Purple during his three-album tenure with the iconic hard rock group from 1973-76. It was inspired by the 2012 death of Purple keyboardist and founding member Jon Lord, but Coverdale is quick to note that the 13 tracks -- including "Burn," "Mistreated," "Stormbringer" and "Sail Away," re-subtitled "Elegy For Jon" -- are more than mere copies of the original versions, especially since the are no keyboards on the album.
"It's not just me digging into the past," Coverdale, 63, explains by phone from his management office in California. "I specifically focused on the Whitesnake twin guitar attack. I'm the least nostalgic person on the planet, I think, so I wanted to make this new and fresh and contemporize it a bit, if you'd like.
"The House of Purple is still absolutely secure, mind you," adds Coverdale, whose first U.S. concert ever was with Deep Purple during 1974. It's still those songs, without a doubt, but we've kind of Snaked it up and given them a fresh coat of paint on these songs they're familiar with, moved the furniture around a little bit, if you like. But it's all done with genuine love and respect for that music -- which is, after all, my music, too."
"The Purple Album" was also born out of a near-miss reunion between Coverdale and Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. After exchanging condolences over Lord's death, the two spoke in depth about working together again but weren't able to align their schedules. "I was having dinner with my wife and I said, `It`s such a pity. I did all this work,` and it was her who suggested, `Why don`t you do it as a Whitesnake project?`" Coverdale recalls.
"The interesting things is it feels like completion for me. It feels like I`ve come full circle, going out the way I came in. And it feels good."
Coverdale isn't planning to retire any time soon, however. He still has more music he wants to make with Whitesnake, including an "unplugged greatest hits" album that will allow him to dial things down just a little.
"That's something I want to do, where I can tell my stories and maybe go into more intimate venues, up close and personal stuff, which is really hard for me to do when I'm in the rock 'n' roll mode," Coverdale explains. "Usually I'm just zoned in on, 'Omigod, I've got two hours to kick ass!' And I'm not getting any younger, you know, so going (acoustic) might be a way to keep the music alive and the band going in a manner that seems more appropriate. you know?
Whitesnake and The Answer
8 p.m. Friday, July 3.
Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights.
Tickets are $29.50-$75 pavilion, $19.50 lawn.
Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net.
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