Three names on a journey

Mar 2013 Three names on a journey

THREE of the most explosive names in rock are getting together for a series of dates around the UK in May.

Journey headline the night, having done a similar tour with Foreigner and Styx two years ago.

While singles success has eluded them in the UK, they are mainly known for their hit Don’t Stop Believin’ which originally charted in1982, but has become massively successful worldwide thanks to its use in the hit US series Glee.

So successful is it that the track is the No.1 Digital catalogue song. And there’s also a matter of 25 Gold and Platinum albums including their latest – Eclipse.

Co-headlining is Whitesnake, formed by ex-Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale.

The band have released some excellent albums over the years, from the first release ‘Trouble’, through ‘Ready an’ Willing’, ‘Saints And Sinners’, ‘White-snake’, ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ and ‘Restless Night’, they have become one of the top names in stadium rock.

The band were originally exponents of hard rock, owing much to the influence of Deep Purple but, as they progressed through the eighties, their sound became more melodic and hit singles like ‘Is This Love’ and ‘Fool For Your Loving’ made Whitesnake a singles chart force to be reckoned with.

Coverdale likes to ring the changes and, throughout the many stages of the band’s career, he has had about three dozen different band members. Doug Aldrich, the band’s guitarist (and has been since 2002) explained exactly why, at his American home.

“David likes to keep things at the cutting edge. Many bands manage to carry on with changes, and all the musicians in the history of the band have been great. But, let’s remember, he is the one the people want to see. He IS Whitesnake.”

Thirty years is a long time to be at the top, especially in rock therefore Whitesnake must have something special.

white-snake-beat-magazine“The heart and soul of the band has always been David,” Doug told me.

“The songs come first with him and he’s still got a fire in his butt about making it right. That’s why the band has lasted.”

Special guests for the tour, and the only all-British band – is Thunder.

Formed in 1989, they have had success with albums such as Backstreet Symphony, Laughing on Judgement Day and Bang, as well as singles hits with Gimme Some Lovin’, Play That Funky Music , Dirty Love and A Better Man.

Unusually, Thunder have had a stable line-up (apart from the bassist – their latest, Chris Childs only joined in 1998), and singer Danny Bowes, speaking from his London home, knows why this is.

“Our stability is such that we are all very good friends and very reasonable people. No-one in the band would tolerate anyone else getting above themselves; if they did – they wouldn’t have lasted long in the band.”

It is on the live stage that Thunder excel, and Danny feels strongly that this should always be so.

“I smell the air at the shows and by the end of the gig, everybody is on their feet and singing. The crowds go home exhausted and with no voice.

“We’re actually the biggest band you’ve never heard of.”

The five members of the band have lots of outside interests, which is why the band go on hiatus occasionally.

“Yeah,” Danny agreed. “It’s very difficult to get us all together, and I have an example about how hard it is.

“At the end of 2011, we did some Christmas shows, and we had a bet about how many tickets we would sell, and the loser would have to buy everyone in the band a curry. I actually lost the bet, but after nine attempts to get the band together, I abandoned the attempt to get the curries.”

There will be a chance during the tour, perhaps.

“You’re right, but don’t tell the rest of the band,” he said, laughing.

“In all seriousness, we find it quite humbling when our shows sell out when we’ve been away. To be honest, I was dumbfounded when they all came back to me straight away and said ‘yes’ to this tour.”

And how did it come about?

“Well, I was speaking to the promoters about us thinking about doing some dates this year, as we had been inactive for a while. They rang me back the next day and suggested this tour with Journey and White-snake. There was nothing not to like.”

As for the show itself, Thunder will be opening the proceedings.

“We’re supposed to do about 40 minutes, but we’ll do 50; we always get told off about that. They won’t like it, but we don’t care.

“We have no new material at the moment, so we’ll probably do a Thunder’s greatest hits set, but we are still discussing things.”

“The important thing is to have a great time and I think it will be great – especially for us. You see, there’s no pressure on us and they have to follow us.

“Thunder is a celebration,we’re not serious about ourselves, but we are very serious about giving the fans a good time.”

Journey and Whitesnake, with special guests Thunder, will be touring the UK during May.  

Martin Hutchinson