WHITESNAKE's TANYA O'CALLAGHAN Says DAVID COVERDALE 'Needs Some Time Off The Road To Heal Up'
October 11, 2022
WHITESNAKE bassist Tanya O'Callaghan spoke to Ampeg's "SVT Time Live" about the band's decision to pull out of its previously announced North American tour with the SCORPIONS due to singer David Coverdale's "continued treatment for a persistent upper respiratory infection." SCORPIONS has gone ahead with all the shows on the trek, which kicked off on August 21 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and will end on October 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tanya said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "David needs some time off the road to kind of heal up. I look at everything from the positive. We had a wildly successful European tour, and we hit it harder and longer than any band I know coming out of COVID. 'Cause a lot of bands were dipping their toe in getting back to touring and doing, like, a month or six weeks. Including rehearsals, we were moving for four months. And we had a really, really solid run up until towards the end. We actually started also playing through that heatwave that happened in Europe. So we had a couple of shows coming towards the end that were brutal. We were doing 105-degree festivals. I remember playing an arena in Germany with no A.C. [air conditioning]. And that was towards the end. And it starts to take its toll on everyone. And, obviously, people are getting this, that and the other, whether it was COVID or not, and nobody really knows how to deal with that stuff yet. Everyone started to get sick or burnt out or whatever. And David just got this very persistent, like a sinus and throat upper respiratory thing that wouldn't seem to shift. And he pushed through for a while. And then it was kind of a thing. And doctors were, like, 'I mean, you're the singer. So anything up here [in the throat or above] for a singer, it's, like, do you wanna… This could end your touring forever or your recording or whatever.' So we cut the last, whatever it was, a week or so of the European tour, which was very sad, 'cause it was amazing up until then. But you're, like, 'Okay. It makes sense.' With the intention to come back to the U.S. and rest up. But there just wasn't enough time. And he was ready to try it and go, but all the doctors were, like, 'You're crazy. You need to let your body fully heal.'"
She continued: "I mean, it's heartbreaking — for David and for the band. 'Cause it was only five or six days out that we had to make the unfortunate announcement, which was, like… As the musicians in the band, it's, like, there goes your next few months, [and we were] worried about him as well. But he's been on the up and up and on the mend, so he doesn't wanna put any exact pressure. The U.S. tour was obviously canceled or postponed; the SCORPIONS went ahead, obviously. So we'll see next year. He needs a good few months. He's already tried to get back into writing and all that stuff, which is great. There's no point in putting an exact time frame on it 'cause it just depends on his body. He's in great spirits now and he's definitely a lot better. I mean, it kicked my ass and I'm super healthy and fit and the kid of the band, per se, although [keyboardist, guitarist and backing vocalist] Dino [Jelusick] is younger. And I can't even imagine doing it that many years. He's not the type of singer that will half-ass it; he's out there really pushing every night. He doesn't wanna bring a half-assed performance to his band. He just loves touring and he loves being in a band, and that's the thing I love about him the most. It's like he's still 18; he's just, like, 'I love being in a band.' He loves the camaraderie. So we'll see. We had a wildly successful European tour and we'll see what the future brings. He's already talking about maybe an album. So we'll see."
On June 28, 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 latest European tour. Guitarist Reb Beach missed several shows on the trek in June after being "under the weather." On June 25, 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.
WHITESNAKE launched its farewell tour on May 10 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, Jelusick and 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.
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