DAVID COVERDALE Says WHITESNAKE Resuming Farewell Tour Will 'Depend On Health And People's Availability'

May 10, 2023

In a new interview with Rockonteurs, WHITESNAKE frontman David Coverdale spoke about the band's decision to cancel several European shows last summer and pull out of its previously announced North American tour with the SCORPIONS last fall due to his "continued treatment for a persistent upper respiratory infection."

"That was really bad," David said. "When these things get on your cords, that just closes you down entirely.

"I spent a fortune keeping the guys [in my band] as safe as we could; we called it the 'COVID bubble.' Private jet wherever we went. And still COVID came in and took some of the crew out. It was really challenging."

Regarding the possibility of WHITESNAKE resuming its farewell tour in the near future, Coverdale said: "I'm working now on a torn rotator cuff. So literally this year I gave my fantastic band the year off, 'cause I didn't know what was gonna go on. I could make any particular commitments. Nowadays [you need] six months to set up a tour. So I've got recording to do. We've got projects for the next three to five years. I'm hoping to get the band in, when they're free. I'm being approached a great deal with [Las] Vegas residencies. I'd love to get to Japan and South America. Really it's gonna depend on health and people's availability."

Coverdale also shot down the suggestion that the WHITESNAKE farewell tour will drag on for many years to come. "I know contemporaries of mine that have been doing a farewell tour for 20 years," he said. "That's not it. I'm 71 plus. It's a number that I see and go, 'Really?' Because most of the time I certainly don't feel like that kind of age that would be the perspective we had growing up, when 20 looked old, 25 was ancient. 30? You're kidding. It's just fascinating to look at."

He added: "I have a feeling 72 is gonna be a really super year for me. Not 1972 — my age."

On June 28, 2022, WHITESNAKE scrapped three shows on its spring/summer European tour due to Coverdale's infection of the sinus and trachea. Three days later, the rest of the trek was also called off. At the time, David blamed the decision on "continuing health challenges, doctor's orders, and our concern for everyone's health and safety."

David was not the first member of WHITESNAKE to fall ill during the group's spring/summer 2022 European tour. Guitarist Reb Beach missed several shows on the trek in June 2022 after being "under the weather." On June 25, 2022, WHITESNAKE canceled its show at the Rock Imperium festival in Spain due to the fact that drummer Tommy Aldridge "went down" and "was bad enough at the time to have missed the first show ever in his career," according to Coverdale.

Last month, Coverdale told "Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen And Shane McEachern" regarding the possibility of WHITESNAKE resuming its farewell tour in 2024: "It's not really a professional decision. It's literally a health decision.

"Last year it took me seven months to get rid of a sinus infection that went so deep into my body… And then we discovered a secondary one, which is why I had to cancel the U.S. tour," he explained. "So all of that appalling antibiotics I had for three months, all the damage it did to my system, was a waste of time because this other infection was canceling it out. So I had to go on to heavier medications and steroids, and at the same time ignoring a torn rotator cuff.

"When I was onstage with Steve Vai at Hellfest [in France last June], which turned out to be the last WHITESNAKE show — hopefully not the last WHITESNAKE show [ever] — underneath my shirt, my shoulder was taped up like I was going into the arena to face another gladiator," Coverdale revealed. "And you couldn't really tell. And thank God I could still fling the mic stand around. But as soon as I got signed off back in January, the infection had gone, I realized that we had to sort out the shoulder, 'cause that had been of secondary importance — minor compared to this, 'Am I ever gonna be able to sing again?' That's a big deal. It's something you wake up and almost take for granted.

"So, I'm getting a lot of approaches [regarding Las] Vegas residencies. I'm not quite sure about that. I feel I owe Japan. I feel I owe the U.S. I feel I owe South America. 'Cause I've been pretty successful for 50 years, and you can't buy that. It's people who've supported you to be in this position. It was a personal choice. I didn't wanna do a video going, 'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, brothers and sisters of the 'SNAKE, thank you for 50 years. I'm done.' I wanted to be there.

"I wanted to retire in 2020," David added. "I thought the appropriate age for the singer of WHITESNAKE to step down was 69. But, of course, bloody COVID came [and ruined those plans].

"We have three to five years of projects here at my studio. So I'm certainly not finished with music. But my health will dictate whether I can take on [a full tour]. 'Cause it's incredibly physically demanding for me. I don't wanna do a half-assed [tour], standing-there stuff. I love telling my stories and moving and working."

Earlier last month, Coverdale told Ultimate Classic Rock that the illness that forced him off the road in 2022 was "the worst sinus infection I've ever had in my life. And as a singer, I know them like fucking relatives of mine," Coverdale said. "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."

WHITESNAKE launched its farewell tour on May 10, 2022 at Dublin, Ireland's 3Arena. The band's 14-song set, which was part of a European tour with special guests EUROPE and co-headliners FOREIGNER, marked WHITESNAKE's inaugural performance with the group's two latest two additions, keyboardist, guitarist and backing vocalist Dino Jelusick and bassist Tanya O'Callaghan.

Coverdale had both his knees replaced with titanium in 2017 after suffering from degenerative arthritis. He later explained that he was in so much pain with arthritis in his knees that it hampered his ability to perform live.

Prior to the pandemic, WHITESNAKE had been touring in support of its latest album, "Flesh & Blood", which was released in May 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.

On April 28, WHITESNAKE released a legacy retrospective, "Still Good To Be Bad". The collection was made available in different configurations, a few days after the 15th anniversary of "Good To Be Bad", the band's tenth studio album and its first in over a decade.

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