David Coverdale remains committed to his long-gestating Whitesnake farewell tour plans, but he admits that his ongoing health issues, including an injured shoulder, have made it difficult to determine when he’ll be back on the road.
A variety of ailments within the Whitesnake camp caused the group to cancel its European dates last July. Guitarist Reb Beach had missed several shows, while drummer Tommy Aldridge also dealt with an undisclosed illness. Coverdale was eventually forced to pull the band off of the road when his health led doctors to issue an edict for him to stop performing.
Shortly thereafter, the vocalist announced that Whitesnake would also be pulling out of their planned U.S. and Canadian farewell shows with Scorpions, citing a “persistent upper-respiratory infection” as the culprit.
“Last year, I was so incredibly compromised by, without any doubt, the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had in my life. And as a singer, I know them like fucking relatives of mine,” Coverdale tells UCR now. “This was one of the ugliest illnesses I think I’ve [ever] had. For seven months, I was taking ever-increasingly strong antibiotics and horrifying Prednisone steroids.”
He says doctors had given him a better bill of health by January, noting that “remnants of this ridiculous infection should be OK, with me continuing with nose sprays.” But he had already advised his bandmates to make other plans, telling them, “I don’t know what kind of condition I’m going to be in for 2023.”
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He’ll instead spend the year working on a variety of projects, including the forthcoming Still Good to Be Bad box set, which offers an expanded look at the band’s 2008 Good to Be Bad album and arrives on April 28. He’s continuing to craft new music as well.
Perhaps most importantly, the time away from the stage will give Coverdale the chance to address a torn rotator cuff. “I kind of knew it was going to be an issue,” he says, “from throwing the mic stand around and stuff like that.”
He feels that the extended rehab time will ultimately be worth the wait. “When you announce something like a farewell tour, certainly, I want it to be the best shows I’ve ever done,” he explains. “I want them to be unforgettable for me and the crowd.”
Coverdale praises the current Whitesnake lineup, which now features two keyboardists — a nod to his longtime love of Spooky Tooth. “It was a super, super band to work with,” he enthuses. “They are still Snakes, although they’re busy doing other stuff.”
The live future of Whitesnake remains uncertain, but in the meantime, Coverdale is at no loss for work. “I really don’t know [when we’ll be back onstage],” he says. “I’ll be 72 this year. But, you know, my passion is that of a much younger man, particularly with the new creative team that I have, working on these legacy projects and also new things at the same time. It’s like bluebirds flying out of every orifice.”
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