In the early 80's, when there were no Jon Bon Jovi's or pretty boys in heavy rock - there was only David Coverdale. Most rockers looked like Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, and neither of them could exactly be accused of being a heartbreaker. But then again, there was always David Coverdale... He was the ruler of the female rock-fans and the master of our hearts. After having met him, for the second time in my 14 years as a Whitesnake-fan, I can only say that he still is mr Sex-God!
And now you're thinking "another groupie-chick", right..? Believe me, the picture above is as close as I got to the guy, so no need to wreck my reputation just yet!
Hell, what can I say - I adore the man, he's got it all! A voice that just gives me goose-pimple bones, something else that I can't really point out - just a presence, charisma, everything... There's a REASON why he used to make women go nuts, he simply has "It"!
I went to Copenhagen on the 4th of November, with a plan to meet him - somehow and somewhere I just HAD to meet the Snake himself! :-) After many hours in the freezing cold, the tour bus finally arrived, and out came the whole band. But they just rushed by (later on, Derek, the keyboard player, explained that they are not really allowed to sign autographs and talk to people if it's cold out, cause if somebody gets sick, the whole tour gets messed up). But I was happy anyway - I had a great concert to look forward to.
The concert WAS superb (did you read the review yet?) and made me even more determined to catch mr Coverdale after the show to tell him what an incredible voice he has, and tell him that there was no need to "kill" Whitesnake.
We stood out there (my pal Ozzie and me, plus a few other patient people) in the cold (and it REALLY WAS C-O-L-D!!) for what seemed to be an eternity, and all we saw was the crew filling the trucks with stuff, running back and forth working their asses off - but no band. I was beginning to think that I had managed to miss them.
I had been one of the first ones to come out after the show - only to make sure I'd catch them on their way back to the hotel (at the time I hadn't yet found out which hotel it was!).
When everything was empty, the activity had faded and the place was almost completely silent, they came out- all of them, except David. But it was nice to meet "the other guys" (isn't it funny how with Whitesnake it's almost always been David Coverdale "and the other guys"..!)!
Anyway, I was standing a little in the background, waiting for Adrian Vandenberg.
As I was standing there, Tony Franklin came walking towards me. He looked at my tourbook, and I handed it over so he could sign it.
- So here you are, waiting patiently..! he said with a smile.
- Well, I've been waiting since I was 13 years old, so it's worth waiting for...
- ...are you American?
- No. I used to live there though, in Albany, NY.
- I lived in Woodstock for a while.
- Yeah? I was there last summer. Nice place!
Then I couldn't think of much more to say, cause in all honesty, I didn't know much about mr Franklin, and I was totally focused on Coverdale or Adrian.
When Adrian came out, I asked him to sign my black leather jacket (I always have a white marker with me).
- Where do you want me to sign..?
- I don't know - anywhere!
- ANYWHERE? Don't give me any ideas! he laughed and signed my sleeve.
He's so tall, I feel like a midget next to Adrian! He had a bunch of people around him, waving with CD-covers and tourbooks, but while he was signing, I decided to ask him about his project with Tony Martin (Black Sabbath).
- Can I ask you something..?
- You can ask me ANYTHING! he said while he was still signing something.
- Uhm... Have you ever worked with Tony Martin..?
- Yeah, as a matter of fact, I have!
- So... What's the story?
- Well, they [the record company] flew him over, and he stayed with me and my girlfriend at my place for a few weeks. I had some unfinished songs which he added melodies and lyrics to. It turned out good. He's an amazing singer!
- I know. I was curious, cause I'm doing his home page, so...
- Oh, if you talk to him, tell him I said hello! He's a really nice guy!
- I know.
I asked Adrian to sign the Midtfyn-photo [check out the Whitesnake-pix page] which he did, and then he left.
Ozzie came over and said that she knew where they were staying, and asked if I wanted to leave or if I wanted to stick around. I decided to wait a few more minutes, just in CASE. But I didn't feel any Coverdale-vibes there (sometimes you can actually feel if the person or persons you're looking for are near or not. At least I can, and it seldom fails me), which made me pretty sure he had left already.
We got in the car and drove off to the hotel. The tour-bus was right outside the entrance.
When we came in, we found a bunch of Deep Purple-fans in the lobby who were waiting for The Man to show up. Tony Franklin and Derek Hilland came downstairs twice, but nobody seemed to notice them People were too busy discussing the show.
The hours went by, and I actually fell asleep in the chair down there in the lobby. But when everybody had left, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, I realized that nobody would show up in the middle of the night. Maybe around 10 or so, at the earliest.
I had a job to go to in the morning, plus we (Ozzie and I) had a ferry to catch back to Sweden.
I had to call in sick the next day, cause I came home at 5.30 in the morning, and really DID feel sick!
Two days later I had to commit another big crime, I called in sick AGAIN. This time we left at 4 o'clock on Friday morning [Bianca and I] to make the 8 hour drive up to Stockholm. The weather was terrible, it was foggy and rainy and you couldn't see a thing, so we had to drive slowly, which really irritated me. Patience is NOT my strong side! I have tons of patience when it comes to waiting for artists, but zero when it's anything else..!
We arrived in Stockholm around noon, with our heads full of Whitesnake-music that we had been listening to all the way up to the Swedish capital!
At approximately 12.30 we walked through the hotel-lobby and took a seat where we could see the elevators.
But to be on the safe side, I used my old trick [can't reveal ALL my secrets, can I?!] to find out if the band WAS there or not. They were. Now, all we had to do was... wait!
As we were sitting there, sipping our Cokes, I noticed JOHN FOGERTY in the crystal-store right next to the elevators. I knew he was in Sweden, playing a bunch of sold-out shows, but who knew he would be right there, right then.?! We grabbed our pens and papers and caught him just as he was admiring some crystal bowl.
- Mr Fogerty..? Could you sign my jacket, please..?
He signed it, I thanked him and went back to my seat. Bianca stayed and took a picture of John with his wife. Well, what do you know..! It wasn't a big deal to ME cause Creedence Clearwater Revival was never my thing. But it was fun to meet him like that!
We finished our Cokes and went out in the lobby, found two chairs and sat there for a while, doing absolutely nothing - except keeping two close eyes on the elevators and who came out of them!
Adrian came flying (yeah, he was walking so fast that he was almost flying!) right past us and out through the door. I realized that our spot wasn't so good after all, so we moved to the chairs that were RIGHT next to the elevators. Sure, it looks pushy and it's even a bit embarrassing, but you have to make up your mind about what your priorities are: Not to be embarrassed or take a risk and win. I'll rather ruin my "cool" image and meet the people I want to meet, than sit somewhere and look unimpressed and then miss the band! So there we were! The first person we met was Tony Franklin.
I had the tourbook on the table, and he was looking at it, then he looked at us with a smile, but didn't say anything. He was on his way out, and he looked like he was in a hurry, so we didn't bother him. When he came back, about an hour later, he looked at the tourbook again and went:
- Do you want me to sign that?
- No - you signed it already, the other day.
- I thought I had seen you before! You were the one from Albany!
- And you were the one from Woodstock!
Bianca asked him what he had bought, cause he had three bags from the Swedish supermarket Hemköp, full of stuff.
He started to take out the things he had bought- everything from tofu to postcards and mini-discs, which he highly recommended, cause "the quality is outstanding".
- Don't get too bored now! he smiled and walked towards the elevators.
- We're leaving at 6.30, but don't tell anyone I said that! he added.
He shouldn't have said that, cause it only made me even MORE nervous! It´s been a long time since I've been that nervous, I could practically feel my own heartbeat, and my stomach felt like it was turned inside out. It was a real drag, and I just wanted it all to be over. It was like, "why can't he just come down here, so I can get this thing over with?!".
Adrian rushed in, again, and almost jumped into one of the open elevators. And the clock was ticking...
After a short while, Tony came down again, and I told him that I thought I was gonna die, cause I was so ,SO nervous!
- Naaah! Why? he wondered.
I explained how I used to listen to Whitesnake as a teenager, and how important it was for me to meet David, but then I thought that he'd probably just rush out and not even stop to sign something.
- You have the om-sign around your neck, just keep repeating that and you'll be fine, he said [I have the mantra-sign in silver as a necklace)
- Nothing's gonna help me NOW! I answered.
- What makes you think he's just gonna rush past you?
- Because he's in a hurry to get to the concert..?
- No, he's not like that. He always takes time. Especially when there are two great looking ladies like you guys! he laughed.
The elevator-doors opened, and out came Adrian.
- Tell her what kind of guy David is! said Tony, pointing at me.
Adrian looked confused, like "what's THIS all about..?". So Tony explained the situation, and Adrian just went:
- Nooo, he's not gonna ignore you - he takes time for his fans, don't worry.
And JUST as they were both trying to calm me down, the elevator-doors open, and WHO do I see standing in there?!!??!
David Coverdale himself... He wasn't alone in the elevator, there was some business man too. He walked out, and as stupid as this may sound, I don't really remember what happened! It's like I shrunk to the 13-year old rock-fan that I once was - the teenager who worshipped Rob Halford and David Coverdale. I wasn't a 28 year old, grown up woman who had worked in the music-business long enough not to be impressed by anything or anyone anymore.
My legs felt like rubber, and I could barely stand up. He didn't notice me or Bianca, he went straight to Tony and Adrian, but they, as far as I can remember, turned his attention towards us, both with big smiles on their faces. My hand was shaking as I handed the white marker to David, asking him to sign my jacket. I can't believe I actually managed to SAY that in the state I was in..!
He signed, then he looked at Bianca and said:
- I know your face.
He couldn't possibly, cause that was the first time they ever saw eachother..! This is really ridiculous, but I don't remember how, or what we said or did, but there IS a picture of me and David - can't recall anything connected to that particular photo, I was way too nervous to remember anything. All I know is that I was just staring at him, too afraid to exist!
They were in a hurry to get to the venue, so they all left, and I could finally stop trying to act cool! I wanted to scream and cry, but a first class hotel is NOT the right place for that...! When we turned around ,we saw David standing in the door, on his way out.
He wanted to know if we were gonna be at the show. I was still not in a conversational state, so Bianca just said that we were on our way to the venue "right now".
When we went to the garage to get the car, I was still like some sort of zombie, walking around on little pink clouds... I started the car and... SCCRRAAAATCCHH!!!! I didn't see the HUGE pillar right next to the car, I didn't even notice the noise until I saw the rearview mirror fall off. Bianca just stared at me, like "didn't you HEAR that?! Don't you see that huge thing right there?!" and then she said:
"Get out of there, I'LL drive!!"
I didn't give a ¤%&!°¶ about the big scratch on the door or the fact that I could have killed somebody if I had decided to drive...I was just "ohmigod,I just met Coverdale..."
Well, we went to the show, and you can read all about THAT in the review-section.
Right after the show, we rushed STRAIGHT back to the hotel, cause we noticed that some people had backstage-passes. We would make it to the hotel before the band did.
We sat in the restaurant, with a great view over the entrance, and I ordered a plate of cheese and crackers. I was hungry, but too excited to eat, so I only managed to have two pieces of cheese, and after about an hour or so, they all walked in. First Tony and Adrian, then David and the tour manager. Tony saw us and waved, David didn't see anything or anybody, he just walked straight to the elevator and "disappeared"...
Denny Carmassi, Tony Franklin and Adrian Vandenberg came down after only a few minutes, and Bianca walked over to them with her tour book that she wanted them to sign. I didn't wanna be a pain in the a** so I stayed where I was, but I saw everything from my chair. They were talking, and when Bianca came back, she told me that they were going to see Kip Winger, who was playing that evening.
We knew he was gonna play, but forgot the name of the place, so I asked Bianca if she could ask them for the name of the club, so we could go there as soon as I finished my cheese-plate. She came back after 30 seconds, all excited:
- They said we could go with them!! Come on!!
I had barely TOUCHED my food, and my jacket was down in the car, and above all, I didn't have any change - just large bills. So I rushed up, grabbed the nearest waitor and told him that I had to leave PRONTO and that I needed to pay "right NOW!".
He, however, had ALL the time in the world, as if he was being paid by the minute..!
When I finally got my change, I rushed out, and there they were, waiting. I didn't have time to go and get my jacket, but who cares! Bianca was talking to Tony about something, so I went over to Adrian to, once again, ask about the Tony Martin-project. So he told me more details, which was really interesting. Then I asked him about David, I wanted to know what he was like and Adrian had nothing but nice words to say about his friend and "boss".
- He's very demanding, but he also brings out the best in every musician he works with, he explained.
He also explained why Whitesnake hadn't reformed in its original line-up for the last tour. I just had to ask him that, cause one would have expected the last Whitesnake-tour to be a nostalgic thing, but apparently there was too much bullshit going on between David and some of his former bandmates. He just didn't feel motivated to take them out on tour.
Well, maybe it was for the best! It was fun talking to Adrian, we talked about music all the way over to Cantina West. He knew where it was, because he had been there earlier that day.
- You said it was five minutes from the hotel! complained Tony
- Well, it seemed like it was when I was there before! said Adrian.
When we finally got there, Denny held up the door so we could get in, and Adrian talked to the girl in the door. She looked so confused, didn't have any idea who she was talking to.
- Uhm... I don't see your name on the guestlist...
- We were invited by the owner. We're from the band Whitesnake..?
Then she looked half shocked and just let us in, didn't even ask Bianca or me who the hell WE were!
I don't think I've ever walked into a room and had everybody staring at me, but this time that was an understatement! I mean, there I was, walking down the steps (you had to walk down the stairs to get to the club which was down in the basement) with Adrian Vandenberg, who's so tall that you can easily see him even if you're five miles away! And long, blonde hair is pretty rare on guys nowadays too!
People were whispering, staring and pointing at us "discreetly"... I know what people probably thought about me and Bianca, but then again, that's their problem...!
Adrian saw somebody he knew, so he went over to them, while Tony, Bianca and me walked through the whole place to get to the table where Derek (the keyboard player) was sitting with some people. He immediately stood up, looked at me and Bianca with a wide smile and went:
- Ah, miss "Slow'n'Easy" and miss "Rock'n'roll women" - right..?
He remembered our signs from the show, and was impressed that we knew the lyrics to all the songs.
- I was watching you guys! You knew every single word! People usually sing along in the songs, but then when you look closely, they don't really know what the hell they're singing! he laughed.
Steve Farris was talking to some lady, so he just shook hands and disappeared in the crowd. Tony and Bianca were talking about something, and I didn't want to interrupt, so I went looking for somebody I knew. I met two old friends that I talked to. Later that evening I talked a bit to Derek, who turned out to be a very nice guy. He told me the story about how he ended up in Whitesnake. David Coverdale had personally called him.
- Can you believe it, one day David Coverdale shows up on my doorstep telling me that I have a good voice! ME!? I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! he laughed. Apparently, David had heard a tape where Derek was singing, and liked what he heard.
We were talking about David for a while, and once again I realized that David can't be the a**hole some of his former musicians say that he is. All the people in the current Whitesnake seem to really like and respect him, which was nice to hear (being a fan and all, you don't really wanna get disillusioned..!)
It was really nice to talk to Derek, he was very easy to talk to, very down to earth. We were talking about music in general, when some guy, drunk as a pig, leaned over the table He was breathing fire (more or less) as he asked Derek what he thought about Jon Lord. Derek answered that Jon was his third favorite player, which led to a wild discussion. The drunk guy was a huge Lord-fan and tried to convince Derek that mr Lord WAS number ONE... After a while, we got rid of him. I found out from the guys in the band that that is one of the down-sides with going out after the shows. People are drunk and difficult to deal with.
Anyway, I asked Derek how he ended up in Whitesnake. He said that he was from L.A and he was only 21 when he joined his first major band.
- But you're probably too young to remember that band.
- What band was it?
- Iron Butterfly.
As if I´m too young to know Iron Butterfly! It turned out the next day, that Derek was only two years older than me anyway!
Denny and Adrian were the first ones to leave (as Adrian explained the next day "people were just... too much!"). I don't blame them. People in Sweden, on a Friday night, are not the most sober and pleasant people in the world - in general. Tony, Steve and Derek wanted to hear Kip Winger, so we were there till he went up on stage. I have to admit that it was a real anti-climax to hear mr Winger. I mean, first you see an explosive, energetic, fantastic Whitesnake-show, and then you end up at Cantina West listening to an acoustic Kip Winger singing BALLADS! You can probably imagine...!
We were all tired, and the music didn't exactly make things better, so we decided to leave (Kip hadn't even finished yet). When we came out, there were two guys who had been at the show (they had Whitesnake t-shirts or something, I can't quite remember) and one of them stared at Tony and stammered:
- Y-y-you are TONY FRANKLIN!
Tony slowed down, smiled and said "yeah, I'm Tony Franklin"...
- Oh, you gotta sign this... said the guy who was desperately looking for something that Tony could sign. Much to his embarrassment, he didn't even have a pen, but Bianca took one out of her bag.
- Oh, I see you have a Swedish girlfriend! said the guy with some sort of pride in his voice.
- No, she's not my girlfriend, she's just a good friend, answered Tony, signed the stuff and said good-night to the guys.
On the way through Stockholm, we passed a window full of Spice Girls-stuff, and I just burst out in disgust:
- I just can't STAND those chicks! They make millions on doing nothing!
But Tony replied (rather surprisingly)
- They will probably be the first to admit that they don't have any musical talent, but they have something else that is very important: They have enthusiasm, and they really believe in what they do. That's what led them this far.
I just stared at him and totally forgot what to say next. I disagree completely, but didn't want to argue.
We walked to the hotel, and he escorted us down to the car. He was telling us about tomorrow's plans, and I mentioned that I just wanted to say goodbye to David before they left. He looked very puzzled and said:
- You can't do that NOW..?
That made me realize what an impression I must have left on these guys! Somebody who would walk up to Coverdale's room in the middle of the night to say "goodbye"! Yeah, RIGHT! Bianca and I went to the apartment we had rented and I couldn't sleep all night...
At 10 o'clock the same morning (!) we were at the hotel again, to, as we put it, "wave them goodbye"..!
The first one we saw was Derek.
- Are you up already..? Don't you ever sleep? I asked and laughed.
- Well, I kind of like breakfast, so I hurry down in the morning to get FOOD! he said with a smile. A very positive fellow that Derek!
Then we noticed Denny Carmassi window-shopping close to the place where we had seen John Fogerty the day before.
A guy was sitting there with us, who I've met several times before. He's an autograph-hunter and shows up EVERYWHERE. He had a whole collection of Heart-albums and vinyl-singles that he wanted Denny to sign. When Denny approached us, he flew up from his chair and asked him if he could sign his records. As he was signing the pile of records, I asked him:
- Do you know what the Wilson sisters are up to nowadays..?
He just sighed and answered:
- XXXX (censored)..!!
I guess they're not the best of friends anymore, or it's just his sense of humor.... Well, well. He signed the records he had been playing on and sorted out the rest with the words "I didn't play on this one".
He wasn't the most verbal person in the world, but he was nice. He went up to his room, and a few minutes later, Steve Farris turned up from somewhere. Again, the autograph-hunter with all his Mister Mister-singles rushed up and asked for autographs. Steve signed them but laughed when he saw the pictures of himself from back then.
- Oh my God..! Hahaha! Look at THAT! he laughed and pointed at the "birdnest" hairdo he used to have in the 80's.
- But we all had it, didn't we? he said looking at us. Yeah, what can we say - we DID actually! :-)
He signed my tour book, Bianca had a picture taken with him, and we continued waiting. Once again, Derek came down and talked for a while. I told him (among other things) about how I had wrecked my car the night before.
- WHAT? How?? he asked.
- Well, let's put it this way: David Coverdale is as close to God as anyone can get, so when God walks out of the elevator, I forget things! Such as how to drive...
That just cracked him up, he laughed like mad. That must have been the funniest thing he had heard in a long time! When David came a few minutes later (AGAIN, I was dead nervous, but I had practiced my line over and over again not to forget what I wanted to say!) Derek gave me a little push and said (pretty LOUD I might add!):
- Did you tell him about the car?! Tell him about the car! Hahaha!
I was like, "no, don't tell him! That's EMBARRASSING!".
David saw me and the first thing he said was:
- Hello sweetie! (uuhh! Somebody wake me up, I'm dreaming!)
- Do you remember "Rock'n'roll women" now?
- No! I don't! Give me a clue! he said while he was signing some guy's stuff.
I was prepared, and had the song on tape, so I put the headphones on his left ear and let him listen. He stopped signing and listened carefully. After a few minutes he just exclaimed:
- How old IS that?!
- It's from 1982, not THAT old!
He just smiled and continued signing a whole bunch of pictures two guys had brought. In the meantime, the "vinyl-guy" wanted me to take a picture of him and Tony Franklin. I just asked "are you SURE?!" cause my hands were shaking and the picture would probably be totally blurry. Derek, who stood in the background and followed the whole thing, just laughed. I must have made HIS day! Actually he asked for our addresses so he could get in touch with us. I suppose he's gonna do that one day when he's really, really bored!
David was busy for several minutes with the guys. I could have talked to him while he was signing, but I was too nervous. I just stared at him and tried not to faint! He went out, talking to the tour manager, and I thought "damn! I just wanted another picture with him!".
But Tony Franklin was still there, talking to Bianca, and when he was getting ready to leave, he had problems carrying all his stuff. So I volunteered to carry something.
- You can have the honor of carrying my bass-case! he laughed.
I grabbed the bass-case and almost ran out with it! David was still outside so I put the bass-case outside the bus-door and walked over to David, asking him if he'd mind if Bianca took another photo with me and him. It was no problem.
He explained how he hit himself on the chin the night before with the microphone.
- That's what happens when you're working hard! he laughed and added:
- YOU guys were working hard too, I saw you (no kiddin´... He flirted with us all evening..!). I appreciate that.
He explained how the tour had gone so far, how shows sold out simply because die-hard fans bought a ticket right away, and that was enough to sell out most places!
-Some people travel around to see us too, he said.
I told him I was gonna go to the UK, possibly to Manchester, and asked if he knew if it was sold out. He wasn't sure, so he turned around and called the tour manager.
- Is Manchester sold out yet?
The tour manager nodded. It was. Who cares! I'm a proud owner of a ticket, so there!
They all got up on the bus, we stayed and watched the bus disappear... It was sad to see them leave, but I knew ONE thing: It's not quite over yet!! Manchester on Saturday!!
[I wrote more about this a few days later - check it out: CLICK HERE