Music used to be important.
Not anymore, not really. We don’t have record stores. Rolling Stone is a political screed, not a rock mag. New music flat-out sucks. Or maybe I’m just old.
Eide’s Records used to be on the North Side, not the fringe of the Strip District. I went there Saturday mornings and waited for the doors to open. I did that when UFO’s great live album went on sale. “Strangers in the Night.” I did that to get every new edition of Kerrang! magazine. It sold fast.
And I did that to get Whitesnake’s 1983 single, “Guilty of Love.”
I’d been a Whitesnake fan since singer David Coverdale founded the band after Deep Purple imploded. My first live exposure was 1981 at the Stanley Theatre. The “Heavy Metal Sandwich” tour: Iron Maiden (Paul Di’Anno on vox, not Bruce Dickinson) opening, Judas Priest closing, Whitesnake in the middle.
Kerrang said “Guilty of Love” was hot stuff, and it was. The perfect mix of metal and melody. It made me a Whitesnake devotee, and remains my favorite Whitesnake song. I put that single on the jukebox at my local – the long-closed Hawk’s Inn – and played it over and over.
“Guilty of Love” segued into “Slide It In,” the band’s 1984 LP. Then came Whitesnake’s eponymous album in 1987, the one that broke big in the U.S.: “Still of the Night,” and the recycled “Here I Go Again.”
My team finally won the big one. It was a good feeling.
As you age, your world gets awful small. I’ve known Reb Beach (of Winger and Oakmont, in that order) for almost 20 years. He’s been one of Whitesnake’s guitarists since 2003. He is exceeded in tenure only by Mr. Coverdale.
Backstage access, y’all.
I’ve always been nervous about meeting my heroes. Willie Stargell scarred me by proving himself a pompous ass when I was 10.
No such disappointment from Mr. Coverdale, though. He’s been warm and inviting each time we’ve met. The proper English gentleman through and through. And, boy…THAT VOICE. I saw Whitesnake play two shows in Tulsa last week, and every time David opened his mouth, it was like TIME STOOD STILL. David is the Frank Sinatra of heavy rock. Perfect phrasing. Perfect delivery.
Great band, too. The best live Whitesnake ever. Give me Reb and Doug Aldrich over any prior guitar combo, even Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg. Reb is Pittsburgh’s top rocker. Even the Post-Gazette finally gave him some love.
Great group of guys, too. Not a prima donna in the bunch. That trickles down from the leadership, just like sports. I enjoy their company. How many rock fans get to talk Black Oak Arkansas with a rock legend like Whitesnake drummer Tommy Aldridge? Jim Dandy to the rescue! AWESOME.
I won’t be waiting for the doors to open – thank God for assigned seating – but I can’t wait to see Whitesnake at Greensburg’s Palace Theatre this Monday.
Time is ticking down on my favorite bands, and me. But when “Still of the Night” blasts off, immortality seems possible. That’s the magic.
From the wayback machine: Whitesnake's official video for "Guilty of Love." RIP Mel Galley, Jon Lord and Cozy Powell.
UPDATE: REB BEACH joins the show at 330pm! #SlowAnEasy