Steve Vai Says He Became A David Coverdale Fan After Ritchie Blackmore Left Deep Purple

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Iconic guitarist Steve Vai recently joined BBC Radio 2’s Liz Barnes for an interview during which he admitted he didn’t like David Coverdale in the first place.

Before forming his band Whitesnake in 1978, David Coverdale was the lead singer of Deep Purple between 1973 and 1975. During his tenure in Deep Purple, Coverdale achieved remarkable success and performed for hundreds of fans on stage. However, when he first joined the band, he was an unknown artist.

Following Ritchie Blackmore’s departure in June 1975 and the album ‘Come Taste The Band’s lack of success, Coverdale decided to leave Deep Purple to focus on his solo music career. In 1978, the singer formed Whitesnake, and he has continued his musical endeavors with the band since then.

Coverdale joined Deep Purple as a replacement for Ian Gillan. Most of the time, these changes mean a negative response from the fanbase. However, this wasn’t the case for Coverdale, as he was such a talented singer who handled the duty pretty well.

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 2, Steve Vai said that he was a die-hard Deep Purple fan back when he was a kid. He then remembered when Coverdale joined Deep Purple and said he didn’t like Coverdale immediately until listening to his first album with the band.

Vai then said he became a fan of Coverdale and this new version of Deep Purple. After Coverdale went on to form Whitesnake, Vai’s admiration for him continued. According to the guitarist, it was an excellent opportunity to work with Coverdale in Whitesnake as Coverdale was one of the greatest rock singers.

During the conversation, Steve Vai recalled the following about David Coverdale:

“When I was a kid, I was a huge Deep Purple fan. I was so bummed when Ritchie Blackmore left the band or broke it up. He got this new bass player Glenn Hughes and this new singer, David Coverdale. You don’t like him immediately because he’s not your hero. Then, I bought that record, and oh my God, I was stunned! He was such a great singer, inching up on number one.

I think it was the US festival where David was singing. I just became a fan of Coverdale’s Deep Purple for quite a while for all those records. Then I went into other things, but when the Whitesnake record came out, it had all that great and incredible music. He expressed a dedication to that seed of rock and roll, and it was so refreshing.

So, I really enjoyed that record. When the call came in to join the band, I just thought, ‘How could this be?’ I went from one crazy, incredible frontman, David Lee Roth, to another. I just knew that was an amazing opportunity to sing with someone that I considered one of the greatest rock singers for the quality and power of his voice.”

You can listen to the full interview below.