Coverdale honours Deep Purple roots

Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale says the band’s forthcoming Deep Purple tribute record, The Purple Album, delivers on his plan to honour the group that gave him his first big break.

Set for a UK release on May 18, the project presents a collection of reimagined tracks from Coverdale’s time fronting the Mark III and IV versions of Purple from 1973 to 1976.

The singer says he executed his planned tribute to each of his former bandmates with Whitesnake, which features new addition Joel Hoesktra from Night Ranger following the departure of longtime guitarist Doug Aldrich – now with Revolution Saints.

Coverdale tells Billboard: “Everyone did their homework, and every performance is done respectfully in honour of Deep Purple’s musicians. Though I focused on the twin-guitar attack of Whitesnake, we had a guest keyboard player because a huge part of the Deep Purple sound was Jon Lord playing that amazing Hammond organ.

“There were respectful nods to the original musicians throughout the album, and it has come out delightfully. It’s a tribute to Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Ritchie Blackmore, who gave me my break in the first place.”

The youthful Whitesnake lineup was energized by the opportunity to re-record vintage Purple tracks for the band’s 12th studio album.

Coverdale says: “When we were working on it, each one of my musicians said these songs sounded as if they were written yesterday, and none of them were born when I first recorded them! It’s a testament to the songs that they stand up.

“We’ve Whitesnaked them up and given them a fresh coat of paint, but it’s still the same House of Purple.”

Coverdale recalls his innocence when he replaced Ian Gillan in Deep Purple in the summer of 1973.

He says: “I’d never even made a record when I joined Deep Purple, and my first record went double gold, which was early platinum. They didn’t even have platinum records back in those days.”

The singer recently revealed The Purple Album project developed following discussions for a reunion with Deep Purple colleague Ritchie Blackmore, which broke down when they could not agree on a musical direction.

Whitesnake will launch a North American tour on May 28 in Washington, with more dates to be announced.