Tag Archives: John Sykes

Whitesnake/Evolutions(2017)

 

Whitesnake and more importantly David Coverdale has  been in the press lately promoting the huge mega selling 1987 album that featured the classic Still of the Night single amongst others!

This reissue intrigued me as to Dave went the extra mile and added bonus tracks that were not on the Canadian version originally along with a live show from 1988(more thoughts on that below) and as fellow blogger Destroyer of Harmony states the real ticket here are the demos that were finally made available 30 years later to hear how these tunes were constructed!

This is a monster reissue  with 44 tracks, clocking in at 3 hours and 57 minutes!

The Demos as of right now I cannot stop listening too.

What you get is Coverdale and John Sykes creating the songs we have heard a million times over yet at their earliest stages with just Dave and John jamming with Dave jibber jabbing words trying to make sense and add words to the guitar riffing of Sykes.

You can hear as the song progresses from its earliest stages as Coverdale has basically dubbed in as the song goes along to the actual demo form with the whole band playing. Basically the evolution as the title implies.

The 11 songs that make up the demo portion are as Destroyer stated are GOLD!

Sykes is a fuckin monster on these demos! His playing is ferocious on these demos! He alone is worth the listen as you hear him figure stuff out and as the song progresses to the solo sections he takes off!

Beyond a doubt he is brilliant!

Still of The Night begins and you can hear Dave figuring out words and John noodling around. Whats even cooler you hear an actual telephone ring in the background  and Dave adds “he hears the bells ringing” Amazing stuff with  Coverdale clapping along to keep a beat as Sykes riffs and before too long you hear the song advancing to the actual demo stage and the solo is magic!

Bad Boys has a drum machine and at the beginning is in slow mo but as the song progresses you hear them speed up to the point that its faster than the studio version that we all have heard!

Straight from the Heart has a whole different chorus as Dave sings Love Drives You Crazy. I cannot believe these stayed buried for 30 years! Dave noodles around on a keyboard while John and him fool around with vocal lines.

Crying In The Rain is an absolute monster on the demo. Sykes destroys the six string during his solo as drummer Anysely Dunbar and bassist  Neil Murray hold down the fort!

Listen to the song posted above which is Is This Love where Sykes blazes a huge solo at the end of the demo. So friggin good!

Children of the Night in its earliest form is a great track. I have always loved this tune. Sykes just cranking out huge riff after riff….

I never understood Coverdale’s motive for firing John Sykes/ Anysley Dunbar/ Neil Murray and producer Mike Stone as soon as their parts were done but after listening to these demos I see why!

Sykes is the deal here and it sounds like Coverdale wanted all the fame which is what he got but don’t forget the dude who wrote the riff’s!

Sykes though was smart. To this day he collects 50 percent of the publishing off of this album and perhaps thats why he doesn’t do too much publicly!

After Sykes was booted Coverdale hit the road with a whole new version of Whitesnake which featured Vivian Campbell/Rudy Sarzo/Tommy Aldridge/Adrian Vandenberg.  Added on to this deluxe 87 album  is a live show from Tokyo from 1988.

This audio show is ok to say the least as its heavy on the 1987 and Slide It In albums but the guitar work especially during the solos are disappointing to say the least as neither Vandenberg or Campbell have the firepower that Sykes brought to the table!

Basically Adrian and Vivian took these solos to the shop! A butcher’s shop that is. I don’t get it as Vandenberg on his own solo material is awesome as was Campbell in DIO/Def Leppard but in Whitesnake its a different sloppy ball game. Maybe a bad night in Tokyo? Too much hairspray? Too much Tawny?

Dunno…..

I wonder if Sykes has ever heard this live show? If so he is probably laughing and he must have really laughed when on the 1988 MTV Music Awards (I think it was) when Vandenberg used a violin bow during their performance of Still of the Night!**

No wonder Robert Plant went bat shit crazy when he seen that!

** I checked and watched  Vandenberg as he does indeed use the violin bow during the Snakes appearance on the 87 MTV Awards! Watching it gave me a chuckle how Coverdale took what he and Sykes created and flushed it down the crapper by this performance just to sell a few more million copies!

I miss the 80’s!

HAHAHA!

Whitesnake /1987

 

Today (Oct 27th) is when the 3Oth Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Whitesnakes classic self titled 1987 is re-released! I will give Coverdale credit as the deluxe looks cool with a bunch of demos/unreleased studio tracks  and a live show from 1988 included as well along with the original running track of the album

I thought it would be a good time to repost this as I  had originally had posted  it back in November 2014! Course I have cleaned it up and added and subtracted a few things but basically I kept the vibe of it the same! Yup I preordered the deluxe off of iTunes and I gotta thank Da Heff for that!!

ENJOY….

So back in April of 1987 I tuned into that radio online show Rockline that was on 94 Fm here in Tbay on Monday nights at 1130pm – 1 am. David Coverdale was going to  be on plugging the soon to be released 1987 album and new single Still of The Night! So Bob Coburn(RIP) intros Coverdale and they play Still Of The Night and I’m blown away. Holy shit! David  and John Sykes (guitar and co writer) have blasted off a bunch of heavier up Zep riffs complete with complimentary violin bow! And man. Mine and Tbones socks were blown off!

But here comes the shocker. Ol Cov tells me the listener that there is a new Whitesnake in play! I already knew Cozy Powell had left 2 years earlier due to $$$$ but now Ansley Dunbar(drummer on the 1987 album)….. gone. Neil Murray on bass…..,.gone. The biggest shocker of all John Sykes who cowrote 7 of the 9 tracks on 1987….gone! David canned the whole band after he recorded the album( this explains no pics of the band on the album. They were all fired!) Filling the disposed members spots were Rudy Sarzo(x-Quiet Riot) Vivian Campbell (x-Dio) Tommy Aldridge(x-Ozzy ) and Adrian Vandenberg(x- of his own band Vandenberg) all good players but for fucks sake man! Whitesnake or more importantly ol Cov was turning over musicians like he was running a McDonalds!

Dave rolls different lineups on pretty much every Snake studio album. 1987 is no different from any others. Check out destroyerofharmony a WordPress blog where he describes in great detail what went down with Sykes And Coverdale. Click link below!

https://destroyerofharmony.com/?s=john+sykes+firing

Having said all this …. Whitesnake is like a soap opera man…..

Let’s check out how Sykes took Coverdale into new territories and the thanks Sykes gets is the BOOT!

CRYING IN THE RAIN-This is Covs tune from years earlier but Sykes,Murray and Dunbar tighten it up into a big rock sound and they push the sonic’s and it’s pretty clear early on that this is gonna be a big sounding rock album and  it was sounding huge on my Walkman! Sykes sets himself up a guitar hero here and its huge riffs after riffs! No fooling around with Snake 87! Bombastic let’s say!

BAD BOYS- Sykes continues his dominance with super-duper riffs and he rips right out of the opening gate with Bad Boys! Dunbar lays down some super crazy double bass and Whitesnake is shifting gears and going into parts unknown! Coverdale lays down some serious singing on this tune and well it’s great! Also of note me and Tbone went almost deaf blasting this song all summer long in his car in 87! We were cool back than! Or so we thought!

STILL OF THE NIGHT-Here it is. The song that Robert Plant hates! But that many loved and still do as its played on rock radio all the time! This is epic Snake…when Cov launches into his vocal delivery with ‘In The Still Of The Night….” Bammo Sykes kicks Jimmy Page in the nuts and steals the riff and Psyches(Sykes) us all out! Man this song is crazy good! 7 minutes of big riffs,big drums,Cov yelping ‘get over here’ and the middle section of the song that probably irked Plant most was the part  where it sounds like the violin bow which I think they used in the video for Still Of The Night! Hahaha…let it go Bobby Plant. Where all  trying to make a livin here! Now speaking of the video the hired guns are in this live video that I posted and not the real dudes that recorded the studio track! So let’s do the math here, I betcha at this show back in 87 about 98% of the people would not know the difference that these weren’t the studio guys on the record with the other 2% hollering ‘Scabs!’

Check out the live clip of Still of the Night below! The end of it is classic as the Snakes take their bow and as their running off stage Tommy Aldridge bends over in front of Coverdale and tosses something back(drumstick?) and nails Ol Coverdale right in the noggin! HAHAHA….. Classic Coverdale holding his head as he heads off stage for I’m sure a good yell at Aldridge!  You can’t make this shit up!

HERE I GO AGAIN- The video of that crazy Ol Cougar and Cov getting it on like a bang a gong and shit people fell for it. Whitesnake became a household name in North America cuz of this track which is another remake from an earlier Snake album that no one in North America heard! If anything Bernie Marsden who had long been booted from Whitesnake must have enjoyed the payday as he’s the co writer on here with Cov. I remember and I’m being honest here about liking this track and man when I heard it on the radio they jacked up the keys on it and it sounded like crap! Leave it the fuck alone will ya’s! But I know why Cov and Kalodner ( guy who signed  Whitesnake to Geffen in the US) did it. They wanted radio play and well it worked but I’m sure I’m not the only diehard  alienated by this move! Must mention that it was Adrian Vandenberg that laid  down the solo on this song and who knows why? Perhaps Sykes already had gotten the boot!

GIMMIE ALL YOUR LOVE-Sykes /Dunbar/Murray kick off side 2 with a flurry and man this song rocks and Sykes once again peels off a monster solo! You know by the 5th song here it’s like Sykes must have had to contain himself from overplaying on the Slide It In album. This album so far is full of bombastic riffs that just soar!

IS THIS LOVE?- Cov and the boys slam on the breaks and ask the lady’s Is This Love? Umm ok,this tune is really not my kind of deal but it’s ok and I know the game that is being played here. Cov and Sykes want to impress the soccer moms out there. Actually were there even soccer moms back in 87? Sykes as well must have smoked a couple of huge fattys before he did the solo as the guy slams on the breaks with his power riffing and shows us all he can chill at times! Take a bow dude!

CHILDERN OF THE NIGHT-Boom where back to mega riff central and the Snakes just riff and roll thru this blazing track! Cov sounds good on this record and man I couldn’t believe it that he had a ton of vocal troubles for a few years previous too 1987 being released!

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART- How could this not be a single? This is a great song and Sykes gets a real cool tone out of his guitar on this right of the gate! Man its 80s Rock guitar once again but you know what? This is one of those sleeper songs!  No  surprise huh? No surprise !

DON’T WALK AWAY- Cov bids adieu to 1987 Snake with this slow closer but I like it! It’s good and probably why I like it was for the fact that it wasn’t a single and overplayed to friggin death! Thanks for not getting greedy Mr Coverdale!

IN CONCLUSION- DC and Sykes created a masterpiece and people bought this thing like hotcakes and it sold millions and of course the videos further propelled the album sales but man 30 years later I can’t fathom watching that crazy chick do her thing with ol Cov.  Must say I always dug this cover as it was far away as  a Metal looking cover as possible! Kudos to artist  Hugh Syme. I’m sure John Sykes must have laughed somewhat watching those vids and I’m sure the payday he received somewhat compensated from him getting turfed! The guitar playing is just plain sick on this! Kudos to John Sykes….

 

SONIC WAVES….Whitesnake/Slide It In

Who here by a show of hands has heard Slide It In the song?? Hahahaha…we all have but let me tell ya now in 2014 you  can snicker,hoot and howl but back in 84 this was a classic piece of hard Blues Rock and I’m gonna tell ya all about it!

Some background history with this release this is the album that got the Snake a foothold in North America. Gone is Bernie Marsden,Gone is Micky Moody,Gone is Mel Galley(r.i.p)Gone are both Jon Lord(r.i.p) and Ian Paice back to the reunited Deep Purple,returning is Neil Murray on bass and say hello to hot shot new guitar dude John Sykes,he of later day Thin Lizzy fame! And the great Cozy Powell on drums(r.i.p)Got it?

As you can see form the vid above this is the band with Lord( who went back to Purple shortly after this show)) playing Gambler in a hotel bar in Sweden?? These guys kick ass and from all accounts The Snakes blew off headliners Quiet Riot on there North American tour nightly.

So the deal is this, Cov I guess recorded a British version with a different mix for the faithfull diehards but in North America more specifically my house we got the North American remix but at the time I did not know this bit of tiny info but now 30 years later we may just get some debate going on this subject! In the European Version Corner we have Scottish blogger HMO and representing the North American side is Captain Canuck,Mr Ladano. Gentlemen let it rip in print !! Seriously,though these tunes especially the first three songs received a ton of vid play and still do!

But with me as always its the other songs like the vid for Gambler that I really dug and hey this my blog so enjoy the video..Hahahaha ….my rules!

Lets check on Coverdale before he bought fast cars and had that crazy ol wing nut slipping and sliding on the hood of his car 3 years later In 1987!

SLIDE IT IN- some neat guitar and bam Cozys drums kick in and man Cozy kicks ass and drives the Coverdale ship into tough seas on this and hey these lyrics have 1980s written all over em! But at the time I’m like who cares “I’m gonna slide it in right to the top! Slide it in I ain’t ever gonna stop,” seriously does it get any better than this? Cool solo now it could be Sykes,or is it Mel Galley or is it Bernie Marsden? I guess the story goes is Sykes is on the North American release as the others by this time were booted. Who the hell knows but I dig it!

SLOW AN EASY- some sleazy old school slide guitar starts off with Cov crooning and gasping for air and Cozy slams into heavy action on the drums …da da bam..dada bam..you know what I’m talking about you’ve heard this song a million times! Cool solo once again and the Snake has totally stepped up in to the big leagues with this album! 2 tracks in a were already into sleazeyville with  Mr Coverdale and his cronies!

LOVE AINT NO STRANGER- Jon Lord opens the song with his magical keys and he’s joined by Coverdale and Sykes and boom here comes Cozy kicking the song from becoming a sap ass power ballad and giving me hope and well that’s three songs in and three songs with Cozy Kickin ass! Coverdale could have used Cozy on those sappy tracks like Now Your Gone on the Slip Of The Tongue record but than again Cozy would have probably puked in his bass drum at the thought!

ALL OR NOTHING – this is a slammer of a hammer tune! Basically it’s Coverdale and his Snakes picking up a crowbar and crackin ya in the noggin and telling ya to listen up! You know the trick. Coverdale says ‘your gonna burn’ and bam were into a Jon Lord big ass sounding Hammond B3 rip snortin solo! Along with Cozy and Sykes driving the song! F’n Bravo !

GAMBLER- Shit I just love this tune and this was the tour opener for the Slide It In Tour if your keeping score! Great time changes,great solo and love the lyrics on this. It’s a tune about standing on the outside lookin at love! Ramblin,Gamblin Man Ol Coverdale was….

GUILTY OF LOVE – is the Whitesnake Xpress headed for destruction at break neck speed! You want a fast bluesy rocker. We’ll sign yourself up man and hop aboard the bus! Great synch of the keys and guitars and Coverdale gives it all on the pipes while Cozy slams those Yamaha drums into submission!

HUNGRY FOR LOVE- basically this tune is the Whitesnake Xpress slowing down due to construction ahead and it’s a different kind of groove! Love the drum mix on this record by Martin Birch! Man I miss those 1984 sounding records! But Hungry For Love  is just that! Cool I don’t need a University education to figure this stuff out! Thanks Dave!

GIVE ME MORE TIME- this track and the next two after this  are solid tunes as well and man I just love how the album doesn’t let up with this hard rock blues vibe! The Snakes say you can show different aspects of your sound and people will be cool with it like me! Neat guitar solo and solid drums,keys a great track!

SPIT IT OUT- If you don’t like it sez the Cov! Hahaha,30 years later yeah man the lyrics are corney but who the hell cares! I don’t! Back in 84 is no different than 2014 except that I’m balding/I’m broke/ I have a mortgage/ I have bills to pay .Cool catchy chorus even after all these years and Sykes/Murray and Powell drive the song! Hey u wanna be the cool guy whose pushing 50 at your next staff Christmas party! Throw on Spit It Out! Go ahead do it! ( and yeah invite me will ya!)

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS- so we go from Spitting it Out to Standing In The Shadows. This is a great song to end a great record. Cool backing vocals push the tune into super catchy status and I remember back when I received this album from parents at Xmas time 1984 that how it was awesome when bands ended albums on high notes! This is one of em!

IN CONCLUSION- don’t do it man,don’t laugh but this album is a scorcher from start to finish! David Coverdale,John Sykes,Jon Lord,Neil Murray and Cozy Powell made a super deadly slab of vinyl which I really wish i woulda kept cuz the cover of the vinyl did not feature any writing just the girl and the snake slithering down her (ahem) chest! This album is my fav all time Snake album. Also of note the touring unit of this album Powell/Sykes/Murray and Coverdale is my fav…….Next