Guitarist DOUG ALDRICH Explains Why He's Not Happy With DIO's 'Holy Diver Live' Release

November 8, 2006

Marko Syrjälä of recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE guitarist Doug Aldrich. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow: Isn't it true that David [Coverdale] had plans to bring John Sykes back in the band before you came in picture?

Doug: I think he was talking to him about it, but I think he just decided he didn't really feel comfortable going back, he wanted to move forward. That was probably because of their disagreements from the past. Actually I talked with John some years ago when he was here with THIN LIZZY and then he wasn't too pleased to even talk about his past with WHITESNAKE

Doug: Well, I can understand that, but you know WHITESNAKE has always been David and then whoever David had, that's the one thing about WHITESNAKE is that the original, original members to me aren't the original members. When you're talking about Sykes and Vandenberg, and Rudy Sarzo, and all these people, they're not the original members to me, the original members is probably the first version with Ian Paice and Jon Lord? In your opinion, what line up ofWHITESNAKE is the most original then?

Doug: Maybe the next line up, the guys who did "Live in the Heart of the City", are the original guys, but those guys can't… Let's put it this way. WHITESNAKE covers a lot of material, and if you got one song first like "Ain't No Love In the Heart of the City", those guys are great for that but they can't do the Sykes-era stuff, probably as well as Sykes could or somebody like me and Randy. Have you ever personally met Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody?

Doug: No, Bernie came to a gig in Britain a couple of years ago but I didn't get to meet him, but I'm a big fan of both those guys, you know. That's great thing. You recently had lineup change in the band when bassist Marco Mendoza decided to leave. Can you tell us something more about the reasons which caused the breakup between him and the rest of the band?

Doug: Well, at the time, David told everybody, he goes "Look, I only want to work six months out of the year touring". And on those off times, I would go up to Lake Tahoe and we'd write, a couple times I went up just to hang, you know a mini-vacation, when you go to David's it's like going to a resort. But Marco had just had a baby — he didn't; his wife did — and you know he had responsibilities and he was getting offers to do things and he needed to make a commitment to those things, so he made a commitment to one that made it difficult for when WHITESNAKE wanted to work we had to wait for Marco, and there was some, just you know, I think Marco was wanting to do some other things, so David and Marco mutually agreed to go their separate ways. But there were no hard feelings afterwards?

Doug: Not really that I know of, no. I mean, it was just kind of a mutual thing. I love working with Marco, Marco and I are really good friends and we got along great on the road. We used to hang out all the time and stuff so I was gonna miss Marco, I tried to see if there was a way to maybe work around it so we could carry on with that lineup but David said "Look, Marco and I have talked and this is what we agreed on." David probably had the right idea, he had to do what he had to do and Marco needed to do what he had to do and so we ended up getting Uriah, Uriah's doing a really great job and he's kind of similar to Marco in a lot of ways. When "Killing the Dragon" came out it was really refreshing to hear uptempo songs from DIO because the music on previous albums "Magica", "Strange Highways" and "Angry Machines" is just heavy, slow and mid tempo stuff which is actually quite boring to be honest?

Doug: Well, Ronnie loves that stuff though. That's the thing too, well, people say, maybe they might blame something on Craig but it's Ronnie's choice, you know, probably the reason why "Killing the Dragon" ended up being more uptempo and more guitar shred stuff is 'cause Ronnie was just tired at that point, he just wanted to get the fucking thing done so he just left me alone in the studio to just do what I wanted I would say at the end "Hey Ronnie come check this out," and he would go "Fucking brilliant!" As long as it was close he was happy. I think what he really loves is the really slow stuff, and it's not like, well people go "Craig's not playing with a lot of fire" or whatever, because maybe Ronnie doesn't want that you know? We already talked about that earlier but you mentioned then that you are not too satisfied with "Holy Diver Live" album?

Doug: Nah, it just doesn't sound like what we sounded like together before, I mean, Rudy's great and Simon played great on it, I thought Simon did a great solo, Simon's great, and Scott Warren sounded great, but Ronnie was tired and Ronnie doesn't sound his absolute best. He still sounded kick ass, but he was under stress man, he had to make a change mid-tour. I had been in the band for a total of seven shows I think it was, before that thing, and I wasn't up to speed, I couldn't even remember what song came next. I kept having to look at the set list all the time, "What song is that? How does it start?" I couldn't remember, you know. I came over to help, fill in, and see what would happen in the future but then all of a sudden it's like "Doug's in the band, we're doing a DVD" and I was like "Whoa, whoa, whoa". Originally I thought that was gonna be some footage for a live something, a tribute to Ronnie or like something from his whole career, but it turned into a full on DVD and I didn't play my best, it was not my rig, I was using rental amps, it just sounded like crap man. We didn't even do a sound check that day for that DVD. And I got onstage and both Rudy and I were really freaked out by how it sounded onstage, it sounded really bizarre. So he had to turn down because he was so loud, it was freaking him out, and my sound, I was having trouble with the rentals and it just sounded really uninspiring and I tried to just do my best and play through it, I think there were a couple spots where I played pretty cool, actually like some of the RAINBOW stuff I though it was pretty cool cause it was different, and a couple of like "Gypsy" and stuff like that, but "Stand Up and Shout", I wasn't happy with that, it's just… and "Don't Talk to Strangers" was another one, on "Evil or Divine" I had been playing that song for the whole tour so I had got something in my head that worked and sounded good, kind of sounded like the record a little bit but it was in my style, my own thing. But on the "Holy Diver Live" I couldn't remember the solo, I just was like "Okay what key are we in? Okay I'm just gonna jam". And it just wasn't as good for me, plus the mix I don't like.

Read the entire interview at

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