Adrian Vandenberg On David Coverdale’s Decision To Hire Steve Vai As His Replacement

During a recent conversation with EonMusic, former Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg opened up about why then-bandmate David Coverdale recruited guitarist Steve Vai in his place.

After frontman David Coverdale took on a mission to look for new musicians, he was impressed by Adrian Vanderberg’s talent as a guitar player. Even though the Dutch guitarist initially rejected Coverdale’s invitation to join Whitesnake, he agreed to play as a session musician.

Their fantastic collaboration led to the creation of various hit songs and a successful tour, turning Vandenberg into a valuable asset for Whitesnake. However, Adrian was replaced by Steve Vai during the recordings of Whitesnake’s commercially successful record, ‘Slip of the Tongue.’

Vandenberg recently repeated that the reason for the recruit was a severe wrist injury he had experienced at the time. While recording the rhythm parts of the album’s songs in a hotel room, the guitarist suddenly couldn’t move his hand properly, and it felt like there was a tight band around his wrist, so he ended up seeking treatment.

The guitarist recalled the incident with the following words:

“I had a serious wrist thing. I was in a hotel working on the guitar parts because I was already recording the rhythm guitars, and I felt like somebody was holding my wrist like there was a tight band. I tried to play, maybe over-practiced or whatever, and I decided to see an acupuncturist in Tahoe because my wrist was weird, and I couldn’t really move my hand properly.”

As the guitarist’s hand needed further treatment, he contacted his father to ask for help. Luckily, his dad was able to find the necessary treatment. The rocker also believed that Whitesnake’s 1987 record had put a lot of pressure on him, and he was unconsciously trying to play better in the following one to meet their audience’s expectations.

Yet, when Vandenberg realized he was in no condition to play, he called Coverdale to inform him about his injury and that he wouldn’t be able to play in the upcoming album. The duo then agreed to find someone to fill in for Adrian, and they decided that the guitarist Steve Vai would be the proper replacement. Despite the rumors, Vandenberg stressed that there was no bad blood between him and the Whitesnake frontman.

The guitarist explained:

“I called up my dad, and he said, ‘I’m going to look for a therapist that specializes in musicians.He found a guy who treats violin players, drummers, and the thing was, there was so much pressure on it because of the success of ’87. So I told David, ‘You know what, I’ve got to go home. I’ve got to take care of it.’ So we talked about it, and he said, ‘Well, we need somebody to play the parts.’ And we both came up with Steve Vai. I know all the theories that say it’s all like a bullshit thing; it wasn’t.”

It is clear that Adrian Vandenberg’s condition could have risked his career, and Whitesnake needed to find a replacement so that the guitarist could receive the proper treatment for his wrist injury. It can be said that the decision was mutual as both the guitarist and the frontman agreed to hire a new musician, Steve Vai, to record Vandenberg’s parts.