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David Coverdale Pulled Out Of Deep Purple Reunion Talks

04/29/2015
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David Coverdale reveals in a new interview that he was the one that pulled away from talks with Ritchie Blackmore about putting together a Deep Purple reunion because Blackmore's "vision for touring and stuff... did not resonate" with him.

Coverdale made the revelation in an interview with Classic Rock Revisited while discussing "The Purple Album," the new album from the current incarnation of Whitesnake where they recorded tracks from Coverdale's time with Deep Purple.

Here is the portion of the interview where Coverdale discussed the Deep Purple reunion talks: "Glenn Hughes and I are very close and Glenn's been after me to do some sort of a Purple reunion for some time. To be honest, and I mean no disrespect to my former colleagues, but it was never something that was interesting enough to stop me from doing what I love, which is Whitesnake.

"I certainly loved working with Deep Purple and it was the beginning of my journey. I am forever grateful to those guys for having the courage to give me the opportunity, but it was not something I was wanting to do. I am totally happy to create new stuff working as Whitesnake.

"A representative of Jon's called me just after he'd been diagnosed with cancer, to give me that information, which was chilling enough. He said, 'Jon said, on his recovery, would you be up for doing some kind of Deep Purple reunion, whether it was Mach III, or whatever?' I said, 'Absolutely, I will be there for you.' As we know, sadly, Jon passed away. This opened up an opportunity to reach out, after thirty years of acrimony, with somebody that I truly respected, as a musician, which is Ritchie Blackmore. One reason was to express and commiserate the loss of Jon.

"Regardless of whatever, those guys basically formed Deep Purple and were incredibly influential to me. I've been able to tell everyone else I worked with how much I appreciated the opportunity, and still do to this day, other than Ritchie. Ritchie doesn't really bother reading rock mags and stuff like that. When I've said these things before, he doesn't see them. It was important for me to reach out to him for those reasons, with no other agenda whatsoever."

He then went into more details about the talks, "This was in 2012, and we communicated into 2013, and then he asked me if I'd speak to his manager to which, of course, I said, 'Absolutely.' She came on and said, 'Can you keep a secret?' I said 'Of course not, I'm a f***ing singer.' She said, 'Would you be interested in doing something with Ritchie? My first thought was like Blackmore Coverdale like I did with Jimmy in Coverdale Page. That would be a very exciting musical premise because he introduced me to his first songs that he did on the first Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow album. They were initially songs he was proposing for Deep Purple.

"I love the early Rainbow stuff. Rainbow Rising, are you kidding me? When Cozy Powell came on board? That was fantastic. The idea of being able to do Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake was interesting, but then she said, 'Ritchie is curious, who would you go for, Roger [Glover] or Glenn?' I said 'I really appreciate the musicality of Roger, and he produced two of my solo albums, but Glenn is my soul brother.' I recommended Keith Emerson as the keyboard player. He was a fan of Purple and Jon and Keith had a very healthy musical rivalry. Keith is a breathtakingly gifted musician. Nobody had spoken to Keith, as this was just a discussion.

"It was during the talks for this that I started digging into our original work. I was going, 'I hope he's into a fresh coat of paint on some of these songs.' I was a f***ing kid then. It was the first time I had written for an album. I can hear naivety all over the place. I started working on bits and pieces. I thought my arrangement of 'Sail Away' could have been a nice transition for what he is doing with his Blackmore's Night and we could tie it in with that thing and maybe even do something with Candice on that song. Once Carol, his manager and I, started talking about their vision for touring and stuff it just did not resonate and I wrote her a very, very respectful email withdrawing from whatever that project could have gone forward with.

"It was literally sitting down with my wife, Cindy, and just saying, 'What a pity. I've done all this work.' Actually, that is typical of me to move forward with things. Pagey [Jimmy Page] would go, 'F*** man, you're so prepared.' I would go, 'I can't help it.' Cindy goes, 'Why don't you do this as a Whitesnake project?' I was like, 'Why not?' I sounded out my colleagues, and Doug was still onboard at that time, and the response from everyone was a resounding 'yes'.

"Doug and my wife were the only people, at that time, that I was sharing the news that I was talking with Ritchie, communicating with him, during the Year of the Snake Tour. I think something must have been going on for Doug as he was really encouraging me to do it [laughter]. Go figure! Doug would have been onboard, of course, but we just couldn't get together, Jeb. It was just impossible to give it the kind of time.

"This project has been hugely respected by all my colleagues. There was nothing flippant or throw away, you know. It was really, as I was mixing the project with Michael McIntyre and Reb Beach that I started feeling that this was coming full circle for me. It was a feeling of completion. This is how I started, what an appropriate way to go back out. The other f***ing thing is, quite honestly, as Glenn and I have discussed for decades, the people that were running the Purple organization never ever thought of putting out a Best of Mach III and IV. We never understood it, f***ing whatever, so this is my best of and everything is done with love and respect."

Read the full interview here.

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