FAQ

Answers to questions I often get asked. I may copy questions from comments on my blog posts here, and perhaps answer in more detail on this page. Some questions & answers are from interviews, links to which can be found on the Links page.

You played with Whitesnake for 8 years. How is it to work with David Coverdale and what is your opinion about him?

I don’t know how David is now, as he has lived in America since 1985, and I haven’t spoken to him since 1987. At the beginning of Whitesnake he was a very normal, down-to-earth guy, although he’d been in Deep Purple, but he changed a lot over the next 10 years, becoming much more sophisticated and educated, and he became much more the leader and frontman of Whitesnake, whereas in the beginning it was very democratic and friendly. He was a great singer and a charismatic frontman, but I am not such a fan of Whitesnake as it is these days. Whitesnake in the early period was a very fun band to be part of – I don’t think it can be as much fun now. [2011]

How did you learn to play the bass?

I learnt by playing along to records. I had a headphone amplifier which I put both the turntable output and bass into so I could mix the sound together. I went to college to do graphic design and through that period I was learning the bass. After about five years I got into proper bands; my ability was pretty good but not as good as I thought – though I needed that arrogance of youth to have the confidence to go up to people to tell them I was the bass player for them. When I ended up playing with people like Cozy Powell, I thought – “I am so out of my depth”! [2010]

I took up the drums when I was about 12 and played in a couple of rock/blues bands at school in the mid ’60s. When I got hold of a bass when I was 17, I discovered that it was the instrument I should be playing. Even when I was a drummer, I used to listen to the bass and I am certainly a better bassist than I was a drummer! It was actually a guitar which someone had converted to a bass.  After that, I built a not-very-good Gibson EB3 copy in the woodwork shop, using some of the parts from the converted guitar.

My first proper bass was a Fender Mustang, which I customized with different pickups in order to sound closer to Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser and Tim Bogert, who were my big influences back then. I went to art college to study graphic design, but I used to spend more time playing along with albums. By the time I left, I was more focused on becoming a bass player than pursuing a career as a designer. [2011]

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