If you’re going to quote my work, at least give me credit.
If you’re going to give me credit, at least spell my name right.
At least they tried?
WTF SEARCH TERMS XL: Lars Ulrich Trout (Thunder Bay) edition
It’s that time again…the 40th time in fact! It’s those “WTF” search terms that somehow brought people to this site. Let’s skip the chatter and get to the weird.
I had to ask Thunder Bay’s hardest rocker, Deke Dekerson, if he could possible explain this one. He had no idea. Warrant did open for Metallica in 1990, and our own Uncle Meat has written about it. There were no dates in Thunder Bay, and I don’t want to know what Lars was doing with a trout.
Well, I don’t know about that! He’s having no problem selling it. The only thing “stupid” about Vault is that there is no pricing affordable to regular people.
This is a great question!
You lost me.
Definitely in the “wishful thinking” category. There wasn’t really such thing as “tour editions” back in 1993, and sadly all you can get to this day is the standard single CD of Coverdale-Page.
I admire the amount of effort this person went to, to be as specific as possible.
I tuned out after reading “Liam Payne”. The fuck does he have to do with Def Leppard? I don’t care enough to look.
You came to the right place, friend! The one and only and original Record Store Tales can be found right here!
Following the demise of Whitesnake and the failure of Zeppelin to mount a 1991 tour in support of their first box set, it was almost inevitable what happened next. It was something that many Zeppelin fans feared. Lead Snake David Coverdale, who was once derided as “David Coverversion” by Robert Plant, joined Plant’s erstwhile bandmate Jimmy Page in a new supergroup. Geffen’s John Kalodner (John Kalodner) helped facilitate this move which should have generated sales over 10 million units. Unfortunately another thing also happened in 1991: grunge.
The shame of it is that Coverdale-Page is a stunning rock album. For years it haunted my bargain bins, simply because of the hard rock stigma that permeated the 1990’s. Many fans refused to listen to it, others simply chose to mock superficial elements of it, such as Coverdale’s man-shrieks. The fact that Page was looking and sounding great should be enough to warrant multiple listens by any serious rock fan. He hadn’t released any new material since 1988’s Outrider. As for Coverdale, it was a chance to get back to his bluesy rock roots, something he expressed a desire to do shortly after Whitesnake’s dissolution.
The studio band weren’t hacks either. Ricky Phillips had played bass with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain in Bad English, and he’s been in Styx for ages now. Drummer Denny Carmassi was in Montrose (that’s him on the cover of the classic 1973 self-titled record) among many stellar bands, and he later did a stint in Whitesnake itself. Coverdale and Page co-produced the album with veteran Mike Fraser.
Finally, the most important elements were also in place: the songs. 11 songs, most in the 5-6 minute range, make up Coverdale-Page. Those expecting or even hoping for a Zeppelin album were bound to be disappointed. Despite the “Coverversion” nickname, Cov the Gov is his own person and persona. Singing over Pagey’s classic Zeppish riffs does not a Zeppelin make. Rather, Page and Coverdale comingle over their common ground, and naturally there are elements that have a Whitesnake aura. To expect otherwise would be folly.
“Shake My Tree” was the perfect opener. Pagey’s tricky little licks have that familiar sound, immediately. Then the great lothario Cov the Gov starts howlin’…the stage was set within the first minute of the album. The closest comparison I can think of would be “Slow An’ Easy” in terms of overall vibe. Just replace Moody’ slide guitar with Jimmy’s intricate chicken pickin’. David’s lyrics were as naughty as ever. It must have burned Robert Plant’s ass to have to sing it when he reunited with Jimmy later on himself. He seemed to be freestyling it quite a bit with David’s lyrics, barely sticking to the words at all!
“Waiting On You” would have been a radio-ready single. It has that kind of smoking hard rock riff, a killer of a chorus, and great vocals. Coverdale’s no poet, but I dig his words. “Ever since I started drinkin’, my ship’s been slowly sinkin’, so tell me what a man’s supposed to do.” Well, let me tell you David. 1) Drinking and boating is against the law, just like drinking and driving. 2) Put on your goddamn life vest!
I hesitate to call “Take Me A Little While” a ballad. I mean, it is a ballad, but it’s also a pretty good bluesy workout for David. It’s a little classier than the average “power ballad”, because hey…it’s Jimmy Page. It doesn’t sound like other ballads by other bands, because not too many bands have Jimmy Page. His playing and writing are unlike anyone else’s, he is one of the most recognizable musicians in rock and roll.
“Pride And Joy” was the first single, and what a single it was. It starts off swampy and acoustic, before Jimmy’s big Les Paul announces its presence with some big chords. Then David’s back in lothario-land, seducing “daddy’s little princess, Momma’s pride and joy.” Despite the lyrics, the song’s still a stunner. “Over Now” is also cool; a thinly veiled attack on Tawny Kitaen.
You told me of your innocence,
An’ I believed it all,
But your best friend is your vanity,
And the mirror on the wall.
It doesn’t get any nicer from there, but musically this is one of the most Zeppelin-ish songs. While you can’t compare it to any specific song in the Zeppelin oeuvre, but it’s there in that slow relentless drum beat, the orchestration, and Pagey’s unorthodox guitar.
The closest thing to filler on Coverdale-Page is “Feeling Hot”. It’s not outstanding, but it does show off the faster side of Jimmy’s playing. It’s akin to “Wearing and Tearing” but with naughtier lyrics. Once again it is Jimmy’s playing that I’m tuned in to. That continues with “Easy Does It” which begins acoustically. Like most acoustic moments on the album (and like Zeppelin), Jimmy’s guitar is recorded in layers, giving it real heft. This all changes halfway through the song, when Jimmy’s Les Paul once again takes center stage. Then it transforms into a bluesy prowl.
Possibly the most commercial song is “Take A Look At Yourself”. Not a bad song, but definitely the most “pop rock”. It’s probably closest to a Whitesnake song such as “The Deeper The Love”. Had the year been 1990 or even 1991, “Take A Look At Yourself” would have been a top charting single everywhere. David seems to have cheered up with new found love here. However the heartbreak is not over. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is about as earnest as it gets. At 8 minutes, it’s also the most ambitious song. It’s the centerpiece of the album. It sounds at once like it’s the most sincere song, showcasing some of Jimmy Page’s best post-Zeppelin guitar work. As for David, he’s never sung better.
“Absolution Blues” begins similarly to “In The Evening”. Fading in are layers of atmospheric guitars as only Jimmy plays them. These give way to the fastest, heaviest song on the album. It’s also one of my favourites. You you can hear the elements of Jimmy and David separately, but working together. The song goes through numerous changes before returning to that riff. If you thought Jimmy Page had already written every great riff in Led Zeppelin, think again. It’s “Black Dog” sped up to ludicrous speed.
Album closer “Whisper A Prayer For the Dying” is as cheerful and uplifting as the title alludes. It’s has an epic quality and length like “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, but this time the lyrics are less personal and more topical. David laments the innocent casualties of modern warfare, and refers to politicians as “bodyguards of lies”. While certainly not profound, it’s refreshing to hear Coverdale change the bloody subject away from the female of the species every now and again. Profound or not, I’m certain that it was heartfelt, and musically it kicks ass. It’s also a perfect album closer for a dark and brooding record like this. So there.
Hugh Syme (Rush) did the artwork. Say what you will about the bland cover itself, but I like the way he used the “merge” sign much like the “object” was in the artwork for Presence. And like many Zeppelin albums, there are no pictures of the artists anywhere.
The year 1993 was not a kind one to singers of Coverdale’s ilk. Most of his competition had been replaced by Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, and Kurt Cobain. One way or the other, the Coverdale-Page tour was not doing enough business and the plug was pulled. David has since mentioned that he and Page had more songs, enough to get started on a second album. He’s also expressed a desire to release those songs on some kind of deluxe edition reissue. I hope that happens. I’d buy Coverdale-Page again. It would only be the third time.
More COVERDALE at mikeladano.com:
More ZEPPELIN too:
Here’s my second review from the The Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale! It was Japanese import Heaven!
For the last installment of this series, click here.
WHITESNAKE – Good to Be Bad (2008 Warner/SPV)
Whitesnake disbanded in 1990. Coverdale did his album with Jimmy Page, but that didn’t prove to last either. Although they’d started writing for a second album, the affair ended and David Coverdale assembled a new Whitesnake for a Greatest Hits tour in 1994. This reformation eventually led to an album in 1997 called Restless Heart (billed as “David Coverdale and Whitesnake”. This R&B flavoured album, a personal favourite, did not resonate with some fans of 80’s ‘Snake.
After another hiatus, and a solo album (2000’s Into the Light), David once again formed a new group of ‘Snakes, a mixture of old and new members. After several years of touring (and lineup changes), the long awaited new Whitesnake album, Good to Be Bad, hit the shelves in 2008. Former Dio guitarist Doug Aldrich and Winger’s Reb Beach had been a formidable guitar duo since 2002.
Similarly to his partnership with Adrian Vandenberg, David has retained his writing style of co-writing with just one co-writer; in this case, Aldrich. It seems to be evident that the guys have gone for a John Sykes guitar sound and style. You can certainly hear a lot of trademark sounds and tricks that Sykes used to do, that gave the 1987 album such a cool sound. This isn’t to say that they don’t play plenty of their own style too, but the retro stuff is frequent.
So similar is the direction of this album to 1987, that you can play “name that tune” with all the new songs:
“Can You Hear The Wind Blow” for example directly references moments on 1987, right down to those flares that Sykes used to do. “All I Want, All I Need” equals “Is This Love” Part Deux. Basically, every song on Good To Be Bad is a mash-up of songs from Coverdale Page, 1987 and Slip Of The Tongue, and you can hear the references quite distinctly. “A Fool in Love” is “Crying in the Rain”. “Lay Down Your Love” is “Shake My Tree”, without Jimmy Page. Throw in a little “Kashmir” during “‘Til The End Of Time” (which seems to be based off “Till The Day I Die” from Come An’ Get It) too.
Having said that, despite the lack of originality, Good To Be Bad is still a very enjoyable listen, and a very welcome return. A world without David Coverdale’s voice is like a world without crème brûlée. That voice is in fine form, perhaps even stronger than it was on 1997’s Restless Heart. The album has a lot more life to it than Restless Heart, although it does lack that album’s subtlety and R&B moments. The band play great, kicking it on every tune, even the ballads. The melodies are strong and memorable. It’s just…too contrived.
The bonus live disc is the the Canadian special edition is highlights from Live: In The Shadow Of The Blues. No big deal. It’s nice to hear Whitesnake playing “Burn/Stormbringer” from David’s Deep Purple days, and cool to hear the old 70’s classics.
The real cool version to have is the Japanese release with two bonus tracks. And a sticker! Can’t forget the sticker. The bonus tracks are both remixes (a “Doug solo” version of “All For Love”, and a stripped down version of the lovely “Summer Rain”). For $20, I wasn’t complaining.
CINDERELLA – Long Cold Winter (1988 Polygram Records)
I remember how excited I was upon hearing the first single, “Gypsy Road”, in the summer of ’88. Cinderella had managed a bluesier, more “authentic” hard rock sound for their critical second LP. Night Songs was OK, but Long Cold Winter was better in every way. The cheese factor had been replaced by pedal steel guitars, pianos, and Hammond B3 organs.
Drummer Fred Coury was touring with Guns N’ Roses (Steven Adler had broken his hand punching a wall) during much of the making of Long Cold Winter. It’s not clear how much of Long Cold Winter he played on, as the band pulled in two incredible session drummers for the project: Denny Carmassi (of Heart and later Coverdale – Page), and the late great Cozy Powell!
From the bluesy opening of “Bad Seamstress Blues”, it was clear that the AC/DC clone Cinderella that featured Bon Jovi cameos in its videos had evolved. Two incredible, throat wrenching rockers follow this: “Fallin’ Apart at the Seams” and “Gypsy Road”. Both songs easily stand up today as forgotten classics of the “hair metal” era. But truthfully, Cinderella only made one “hair metal” album. Long Cold Winter doesn’t really fit in with that scene, and their next album Heartbreak Station would leave it behind completely.
“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”, the epic power ballad, is more Aerosmith than Poison, and still features a great guitar solo straight out of the Iommi blues notebook. I’m not too keen on “The Last Mile”, a straightforward rocker, but it was still chosen as a single from this album. Much better is the side-closing “Second Wind”, amped up and stuttering.
Side two opened with Cinderella’s “serious” blues, the title track. It’s a bit too contrived for me, it has a vibe of, “Hey, let’s write our ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’!”. Lots of repeated “baby baby baby” Plant-isms. At the time it was released, this song was seen as a serious departure for the band, but in hindsight it’s really just a first step into a larger world. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the rare occasions that Black Sabbath has attempted a slow blues (I’m thinking “Feels Good To Me”, also featuring Cozy Powell) mixed with Zeppelin.
“If You Don’t Like It” is another standard rocker, nothing special, but this is followed by no less than three great songs in a row. First is the single “Coming Home”, not really a ballad, but a hybrid. This was one of the most immediate songs that I fell for when I picked up the album. You can tell that Cinderella wrote a lot of this album on the road, by the lyrics. “Coming Home” is one such road song.
“Fire and Ice” is heavy, sort of a revisited “Second Wind”, another standout! Then the album closes with the slide-laden “Take Me Back”, which strikes me as another road song. Just as good as “Coming Home”, but heavier, it was a great album closer. Personally if this album had spawned a fifth single, “Take Me Back” would have been my pick, hands down. And I think this album could have justified five singles.
The band evolved further with album #3 (which featured strings by John Paul Jones!), but I think Long Cold Winter strikes the perfect balance between screeching rock and bitter blues. From the classy album cover on down to the perfect production, I don’t think they’ve ever made a better album.
In alphabetical order, here’s Part 1: 88 albums that meant the world to me in the 1990’s but never got the respect I felt they deserved. When appropriate, I’ll pop in with comments. Part 1! Enjoy!
Part 2 of 4 coming tomorrow…