April 13, 2024
David Coverdale recalls when things reached rock bottom with John Sykes in Whitesnake

David Coverdale recalls when things reached rock bottom with John Sykes in Whitesnake

Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Metal Edge Mag. The interview touched upon, amongst other things, Whitesnake‘s biggest selling album 1987, which featured John Sykes on guitar. Sykes also played guitar on the US version of Whitesnake‘s album Slide It In (1984).

In terms of how integral Sykes was to the finished product, Coverdale opined: “As you know, things went squirrely between us, which was unfortunate. But John was and is an incredible talent. Our musical chemistry was great, but it didn’t work personally. The truth of the matter is no matter how incredible of an album that we made together, we were unable to connect as people. You can hear that there was creative magic in that relationship, but it stopped the moment we put the mics and instruments down. John was critical to that record and a superb live player. But there were many important aspects of things that were not there. It wasn’t meant to be. With John, things just exploded. I think rock bottom would have been when he tried to fire me from my own band. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over very well. [laughs]”

On whether he has spoken to Sykes since he left Whitesnake, Coverdale indicated: “I was talking to a mutual acquaintance some years back and said, “I haven’t heard anything from John for a long time.” And this acquaintance got John and me talking while I was working on demos for the Into the Light record. So, after something like 15 years of animosity, we spoke and got on well. Thoughts of working with him again crossed my mind, but the more we spoke, the more I realized that I had changed significantly, and John had been his own boss for so long, so it would never work.

I thought, “The chemistry is not going to work; it’s going to be as it was all over again; I can’t have that.” Truthfully, I simply don’t want to do anything at this time in my life that will open the door to regret. I know that’s perhaps disappointing to fans, and I wish John every success, as I know he’s a much-loved and admired player. And I hope everything’s okay with him as I haven’t heard from him for a while. But I guess what guides me now is something I learned from Jimmy Page, Jon Lord, and the great Ritchie Blackmore, and that’s: what’s the point of working with someone if I don’t think I can teach them anything or get something in return?”

You can read the rest of the interview with John Sykes at Metal Edge Mag‘s website.

Whitesnake‘s “Love Ain’t No Stranger” video (from Slide It In album):

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