Although critically well recieved, commercial success was to evade the band despite successfull tours with The Doobie Brothers(Europe) and The Eagles(USA). A tour of Germany supporting the 'lost classic' All Funked Up, was to be the end of the road. It was then that a certain David Coverdale enlisted Micky to help co-write and play all guitars on his solo albums, Whitesnake and Northwinds. This led to what most people now refer to as the classic Whitesnake line-up during which time Micky toured extensively world-wide acquiring many gold discs and some long overdue recognition. Key albums of this early period are Live...In The Heart Of The City and the glorius Ready An' Willing, which perfectly capture the band in full flow with Bernie Marsden's guitar proving to be a perfect complement to Micky's.
A tired and uninspired Micky first quit the band in late 1981 during sessions for the Saints and Sinners album (largely because the group's musical success had not translated into monetary success). The band effectively ceased to exist at this point as DC sorted out managerial issues. However, a year later Micky was persuaded to rejoin the band to finish off the aforementioned Saints and Sinners album. With the band no longer incorporating Ian Paice, Neil Murray, or Bernie Marsden, the recently married Micky found himself increasingly isolated from his bandmates. This isolation was not just social it was also musical with drummer Cozy Powell signalling the start of a heavier and more image conscious era for the band. Micky's final contribution was to be the Slide It In album; check out the fantastic co-write Slow an' Easy. In 1983 things came to an unfortunate head during a tour with Thin Lizzy where DC allegedly humiliated him in front of Lizzy and future 'Snake guitarist John Sykes. Micky gathered the band together (with the notable absence of Mr Coverdale who was 'busy') and resigned.
By now Micky's reputation as a player was well known and session work was to follow; Graham Bonnet, Frankie Miller, Chris Farlowe, Sheena Easton, Roger Chapman, Elkie Brookes and Eric Burdon all benefitted from his guitar work. American artists such as Meat Loaf, Ben E. King, and Walter Trout enlisted the skills of this multi talented player who also found work in T.V. commercials and film scores.
Over the years Micky has toured extensively and released four albums with his old 'Snake partner Bernie Marsden under the Moody Marsden Band monicker. The pair have also tapped into their Whitesnake legacy over the years with The Snakes and The Company of Snakes, also featuring former 'Snake bass player Neil Murray. This ultimately resulted in the M3-Classic Whitesnake band, also featuring singer Stefan Berggren, keyboard player Mark Stanway (Magnum), and drummer Jimmy Copley (Paul Rodgers Band, Tears For Fears, Go West).
It wasn't until 2000 that Micky released his first, and long overdue, solo album I Eat Them For Breakfast. Soon after, he teamed up with singer Paul Williams(Juicy Lucy) to celebrate the music of Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Muddy Waters, for the Smokestacks, Broomdusters and Hoochie Coochie Men album. The future seems to suggest more solo albums from this versatile and highly respected player, including a foray into a more acoustic driven direction.
This article was written by Phillip Hackney
Many thanks to Ann McLaren for typing the article below:
1997 INTERVIEW - MOODY/MARSDEN PART ONE
HARD ROXX magazine - Issue 34
14 Stoats Nest Road
Tel: 0181 763 0108
Fax: 0181 763 8929
Whitesnake: The Last Hurrah
....the end of a phenomenal legacy
by Stig Myhre
The phenomenal legacy that is Whitesnake is no more after The Last Hurrah Tour, and the final album Restless Heart. David Coverdale, even though he is a great singer, frontman, songwriter and driving force, has always depended on his fellow musicians, first division players and songwriters, to maintain the high standards he refuses to drop. Coverdale once said "as the captain of HMS Whitesnake, I don't want any passengers". Coverdale is apparently a tough taskmaster. Some will accuse him of changing the line-up the way most people like to change their underwear. Anyway, you can't argue with the fact that he's good at picking the right people; the guy has worked with some of the best hard rock musicians on the planet, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Neil Murray, John Sykes, Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, Cozy Powell, Vivian Campbell, Steve Vai, Denny Carmassi etc. In Part One we talk to Micky Moody, the great guitar hero - the slide guitarist from hell and one of the talented songwriters in one of the classic line-ups with songs like Fool For Your Loving, Here I Go Again, Don't Break My Heart Again, Lovehunter to their credit.
It is only natural to introduce Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden together. After all, they were always like a pair, and along with David Coverdale, the creative force in the original Whitesnake. The old fans looked up to them, just as much as the highly regarded partnership of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy. Judging from the audience responses in the early eighties, Micky's slide solo was like a good seduction. It was like seeing the master of the art at work. The way the slide guitar was integrated, was a huge part of the Whitesnake sound. Bernie was his axeman partner in crime. It was impossible not to love the intensity of their 'guitar wars'. Bernie and Micky's knowledge, instinctive feeling of the blues, the way they combined it with the punch and power of rock, their memorable, melodic solos, song writing talents and harmony vocals, made for some glorious moments together on the first six Whitesnake albums, Trouble (78), Lovehunter (79), Ready An' Willing (80), Live In The Heart Of The City (81), Come And Get It (81) and Saints And Sinners (82). The original concept of Whitesnake had more in common with rhythm 'n' blues than heavy metal, the band was founded on a heritage of Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, the English blues from the sixties etc. Ready And Willing, Live In the Heart Of The City, Come And Get It and Saints And Sinners, featured the definitive, classic Whitesnake line-up, David Coverdale, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and Neil Murray. This line-up firmly established them in Europe, information which might surprise people who regarded Whitesnake as an overnight success in the late eighties. Bernie will always say, 'It's all their fault, once you've worked with players of that class, it's hard to adapt to anything else'. Even though Bernie and Micky are still playing like their lives are depending on it in the band 'The Snakes', together with Jorn Lande, a very talented Norwegian singer who sings exactly like David Coverdale (Jorn sounds like Ronnie James Dio not DC IMHO - Webmaster) and Don Airey, the legendary keyboard player and maestro who has played together with 'everybody', Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Gary Moore, Uli Roth and the list goes on...'The Snakes are doing a mix of the classic Whitesnake songs, and new material in the same style. It seems like they will be injecting a bit of classic into rock 'n roll again with new material in a forthcoming studio album along with new material in an upcoming live album. Bernie and Micky have always stayed true to their roots in Moody Marsden Band. Check out their album The Time Is Right For Live, which is fifty percent acoustic, fifty percent electric, and the inside information of two men on a mission. Bernie made a tribute album to Peter Green called Green In Blues, the ultimate labour of love, and we'll get back to Bernie Marsden in part 2, but for now, here's my conversation with the one and only Micky Moody.
I know you and David Coverdale go back a long way. What was your relationship like in the early days?
In 1968 I was living in Middlesborough in the North East of England. David is from nearby, and I was in a top professional local band who had made a few records. I got to know him then and he started singing in a few local bands. I think one of them was called The Dead Of A Mule (Denver Mule, Ann). One was like a soul band, one was a rock band. I remember the first time I heard him sing, he was obviously a great singer. David hadn't found his style by then, he wasn't singing that much rock stuff, he wasn't as raunchy, but he had a very good pitch, and a very distinctive, full and strong voice. He would sing the Walker Brothers songs. David could sing like Scott Walker. He could sing like a lot of people and I think he didn't have his own style until later. David admired David Clayton Thomas from the band Blood Sweat And Tears, Robert Plant and Paul Rogers. I think blues is something he got into by listening to Jimmy Hendrix. We used to meet at lunchtimes in a coffee bar called The Purple Onion, where the musicians used to hang out. In '69 I moved to London. About three or four of us who were from the same area, musicians and a couple of roadies, suddenly got a call from David in '74, to go to a Holiday Inn. David was leaving the country to go and live in California with Deep Purple, so we had a party that night, and he was a little bit apprehensive and afraid about leaving and going to America, so he wanted to be with his friends I think. David got drunk, he got a lot of brandy, a lot of Jack Daniel's and what have you..., and then I didn't stay in touch with him until he called me up in '76 and said 'I'm gonna make a solo album, would you like to play on it?' We got together and I could see he really wanted to leave Deep Purple. There was too much going on, internal problems in the 'Purple camp. Deep Purple were playing at Wembley Arena in London. It seemed odd, he seemed to walk on and off the stage. I thought 'Something is not right here'. He preferred to be with his future wife Julia, myself and my girlfriend at the time. After the gig he got his tour manager to look for me and we just left, he didn't speak to any of the others in Deep Purple. I don't know what was going on David just said 'Come on, let's get out'. He was under a lot of pressure. David wanted to leave the band, he was pretty highly strung, intense, lonely and upset. I think being with me, he could be very normal and silly, which was good for him to relax and just forget all the pressure because it must have been an immense pressure to go from a small band in the North East of England to Deep Purple, one of the biggest bands in the world. I think Whitesnake was an outlet for him to avoid all the ego problems that occurred in Purple.
Me and David became friends again, and I went to stay with him in Germany, we ended up getting very close, we hadn't been that close as friends before. We became MATES.
What was the original concept of Whitesnake?
Me and David started writing a lot of songs and then I ended up playing and being with him on his two solo albums, being his friend and writing with him, getting drunk with him. There are some really good songs on his first two solo albums. David had a great talent for writing songs, but they're very diverse. There's no real direction. I don't think he'd be very pleased with them now, even though they are very musical and I thought David was very expressive, especially on some of the ballads, I thought were fantastic, like the Northwinds and Only My Soul. I think David's attitude must have been 'to hell with all this, I wanna do exactly what I wanna do'. He could do so many styles. I was never a hard rock guitarist, although I liked Led Zeppelin and bands like that. My roots were still from the sixties. Jeff Beck, Clapton etc. My style was more American and funkier. I used to love Ry Cooder, Little Feat and those kind of bands. I presumed David just wanted me to play one track maybe, some slide or something, you know? I think it would have been nice to have a guitarist who played a heavier style on some of the tracks, but David said 'no, let's keep it, you do all the guitars'. The guitar playing is pretty good, but people were expecting it to be a bit heavier, cause he had just left Deep Purple.
The original Whitesnake had nothing to do with heavy metal anyway. We were a rock 'n' roll band, the early Whitesnake songs were influenced by The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, and my slide playing came from maybe Little Feat. Me and Bernie's influence on the guitar playing was more bluesy than Ritchie Blackmore and Tommy Bolin. On some songs we sounded like Bob Seager and his band, which was unusual for a band with half of Deep Purple in it. We were obviously influenced by the blues. Ain't Gonna Cry No More comes from a certain tuning on the guitar from Blind Willie Mactell in 1944.
There is a lot of nostalgia in blues. A lot of people played the blues, and it was boring if you heard the same tunes all the time. I thought it was what you made of it. That's why I loved the Allman Brothers Band. They played blues, but still kept their own style, which we did in the early Whitesnake. I think you can appreciate the importance of Neil, Bernie and myself to get that sound, which was very successful in Europe and Japan with that style of music. We put these twin guitar parts on them and David sang much heavier than the blues singers etc. The blues didn't have to be so negative. My intention was to make people happy on stage. I didn't wanna go out there, being so serious and go 'I got the blues, I woke up in a dustbin, I had no clothes'. Because it's not true.
The way your slide guitar was integrated became a bit part of the early Whitesnake sound. What was the attraction?
I think I have an individual approach to the slide guitar, it just hits something in my soul that makes me want to do it. My slide solo usually gets a great reaction, I will always do it. A lot of hard rock guitarists are just playing a lot of fast notes, what they have practised at home, it doesn't mean anything. I think with the slide thing because I play it finger style, I can keep the rhythm going etc, and it's like a little band itself. What annoys me sometimes is that they say, 'Micky Moody, oh the slide guitarist', but I'm not, as you know I can play any style really, it's just one style I became known for.
How would you like to remember one of the definitive Whitesnake line-ups with yourself, Bernie Marsden, Ian Paice, Coverdale, Jon Lord and Neil Murray?
I think David enjoyed that particular line-up, because there was a lot of strong feelings between us. We were all mates originally when the band started. We had such a great time playing together and partying together. We had a great sense of humour. Some of the road crew were very funny guys too. Sometimes the humour came on stage, which is not always a good thing, but it's difficult to leave it behind sometimes. I think the audience appreciated that we enjoyed it, we weren't posing all the time. Quite often I was standing on Bernie's toe. It was usually in the beginning of Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City, cause I was trying to put him off. David was worse than us. If you listen to some of the out takes from the live album, some of the things he said was just like a comedy show. The good vibe showed in the records. Some band members were more quiet than others, but in general the rest of us were just being crazy, silly, staying up drinking, dancing or whatever. There were no drugs, falling on the floor, none of that shit, just being 'the boys are back in town'.
We had a fine time 78, 79 and 1980. Ready An' Willing and Live In The Heart Of The City were the best Whitesnake albums ever. There is something special about Ready An' Willing. It retains the early blues sound, with things like Loveman. It wasn't just a boring blues, it had good lyrics and modern playing. Whitesnake wrote good songs. A lot of the heavy rock bands, even in those days was just a singer shouting on top of a guitar riff. Whitesnake always had good melodies and a strong melody will always last. Forget the sex stuff, David wrote some great words. He wrote some wonderful lyrics like Ain't Gonna Cry No More, which is still a great song to play live and people like to sing along to it, Blindman and Fool For Your Loving. Whitesnake found its style and sound by Ready An' Willing. It just had that Whitesnake vibe about it. You could tell everyone was really happy playing. It's funny listening to the earlier albums like Trouble and Lovehunter, the band hadn't quite found its sound or its direction. There's some very odd things on those albums, like the jazz funk on Night Hawk, Come And Get It in 81 was very good and maybe better in the production, but it was getting a little bit away from the roots.
It must have been fabulous playing with the legendary Jon Lord and Ian Paice from Deep Purple?
Yeah, Duck Dowle is a fantastic player, but at the end of the day, when David said 'I've asked Ian Paice if he would like to join the band', it was difficult to say no because he was more suitable to Whitesnake and Ian is the best, he's the best rock drummer I've ever worked with. It must have been difficult for Jon because we had two lead guitar players, but bless him, he never complained saying 'would you two be quiet and let me play a solo'. The great thing about Jon's playing was that he would listen to the guitar riffs and he would play along with them, so you had this big fat sound of two guitars and the keyboard player playing the same riff. That was fantastic really, when you took it away you noticed, but you didn't always know when he was there because he was so in tune with the guitar playing. Jon is just a brilliant musician.
Why weren't you able to keep this line-up together anymore?
By '81 people were becoming tired. We had too many late nights, too much partying. We weren't making nowhere near the kind of money we should have been making. Whitesnake always seemed to be in debt, and I thought 'what is this?, we're playing in some of the biggest places and we're still being told we're in debt, where is all the money going?'. We hadn't got much money out of it and to be told you're 200,000 pounds in debt, when you just had six golden albums. It wasn't just me, cause everybody was getting tired, pissed off and losing their sense of identity. It was over by then, we couldn't get any further. It's difficult for a band to go more than three or four years without getting tired of each other and losing ideas. Nothing lasts forever. Everybody wanted to do something different after a few years, a solo album or write with someone else. We weren't Status Quo. They couldn't play with someone else, cause it would always end up sounding like somebody playing Status Quo anyway, but we had the talents to do other things. By the end of 81 we did the Saints And Sinners album, and it took three or four studios before we were happy to just a certain extent. The money still wasn't coming in and I left the band in December 81. It wasn't fun anymore and I had problems at home anyway. We dried up on the song writing. The money was going 'somewhere'. I got drunk one night and said 'I'm sick of this shit, I don't like what's going on' and the next thing I heard in the beginning of 82 was that the band had broken up, that I wasn't being replaced.
How come you went back around eight months later?
Towards the end of 82, David rang me up and said 'we wanna finish the Saints And Sinners album and we need to do some backing vocals etc'. He wanted to work with Mel Galley, as he had admired him as a guitar player and writer in Trapeze. Jon Lord was back and Cozy Powell was brought into the band as well. Colin had just played on Cozy's latest solo album, so Cozy said 'I want this guy in'. Then Jon Lord was asked back. So we finished the vocals on the album and at the end of 82, Saints And Sinners was completed, and Mel didn't play guitar but sang the backing vocals with me. Then David said he wanted to reform the band next year. David had taken over the band businesswise. He was handling the economic side with certain businessmen. John Coletta was no longer our manager.
David asked me back and said 'it's gonna be great, we've got a lot of good things lined up and we're gonna make money'. I said 'Well, good it's about time we made some money from Whitesnake'.
Then why did you decide to leave Whitesnake again in late '83?
I wanted to do it properly, but I realised that as soon as we started rehearsing and playing that it wasn't the same band, it never felt right. Mel Galley is very talented, a good singer, a great guitar player, but that band just didn't work out. Cozy was a great drummer, I always had a lot of respect for him, but he just didn't have any feel for the old Whitesnake sound. Cozy Powell brought with him a bass player called Colin Hodgkinson. Me and David knew Colin in the North East back in the sixties. He was a great legendary bass player, worked with the jazz/blues styles, but he never struck me as the bass player for Whitesnake. It was more the heavy metal attitude, probably because of Cozy's influence. He was a more heavy drummer than Ian Paice. There were flames and explosions going on, not really my cup of tea. It seems to me now that maybe Cozy wanted the band to be much more heavier and flasher. Maybe he wanted more of a whammy bar guitar player. John Sykes was more in key with this image, cause Cozy was very image conscious. I'm not sure, but that's the impression I got. We played at Donington in 83. It was almost like a hard rock cabaret, people coming together to put on an act. It was six individual people on stage together doing their thing. The atmosphere changed on the Slide It In album. When I was in the studio it was obvious it was David and Cozy's album. Cozy was kind of taking over by then. Mel was featured heavily because he wrote a lot of the songs. What I thought was gonna be David and Mel turned out to be David and Cozy.
Mel likes to party so he wasn't always there and he wasn't that kind of character, he was a laid back guy and didn't care really. It certainly wasn't Micky and David anymore. I can only speak for myself, but I was paid a fee for playing on the record, as a session man. Me and David weren't friends and co-writers anymore. David never said anything to me. He just didn't socialise with me anymore. David was a guy who five, six years earlier was my best friend. Now he acted as if I wasn't there. I got married by then, I was a little straighter and I wasn't partying anymore, I wasn't being wild. Maybe I was too boring for him, but that's fine. I don't mind if people don't think I'm living up to an image that I was supposed to. Nobody said anything to me but I think people knew I wasn't particularly happy at this point and I wasn't making the kind of money I thought I would be making, considering we were playing all the big Monsters Of Rock festivals that year and topping the bill. The whole atmosphere wasn't very nice. There were certain people in David's management who I'd known for a long time, who treated me like shit. They were talking to me like they never knew me. I thought, 'these guys are arseholes'. I left Whitesnake twice. I was never sacked from Whitesnake. I wasn't socialising and I wasn't happy on stage. There were people coming over from Geffen Records, standing on the side of the stage, taking down notes, writing things and I thought 'I don't like the look of this'. Then one night we were in Germany and we did kind of a mini festival with Thin Lizzy and John Sykes was on guitar. Back at the hotel we were all sitting around and David was really talking a lot to John Sykes. I was sitting there quietly and David just turned around to me, pointing his fingers and said 'don't you ever turn your back on the audience again'. I went 'pardon?'. He said 'that's really unprofessional', in front of John Sykes to make me look small and I thought to myself 'that's it'. I nearly said to him 'get him in the band', cause even I knew by then he wanted somebody like John Sykes, cause he looked good and he was a good guitar player. I decided to leave after finishing the end of the tour. The last gig was in Brussels in Belgium in October 83. After the gig, I said to the tour manager 'I want to have a meeting in my room with all the band, I have something to say'. The other band members arrived and I said 'where is David?'. The tour manager came and told me 'David is entertaining people in his suite, and he won't come down'. Anyway, I told the others that I was leaving. Jon Lord was quite upset. He said, 'but you're part of the sound of this band, your style of playing is different to most players because of the slide, and the rock 'n' roll style, it's not the obvious heavy metal sound'. I said 'thank you Jon, but it's just not the same band'. David did an interview in sounds in 84, and he said 'Moody and Hodgkinson were passengers on HMS Whitesnake'. That's not true. I don't know about Colin, but I left.
Coverdale, Marsden and yourself were the creative force. In hindsight, do you think you've been give enough credit for this by David Coverdale?
No, David should have given us more credit. We didn't badmouth David Coverdale or anybody, but when David starts saying negative things, we have to stand up for ourselves. The funny thing is that one of David's little sayings or whatever was 'Never wash your dirty laundry in public', but that seems to be what he's doing anyway. I don't understand why he badmouths people. He must be paranoid, cause there's no need for it. I mean Whitesnake was his idea, his baby, that's fine. We're not saying it was ours, but we played a big part in that. It's not nice to be pushed away like we were just there to get him a cup of tea or something, like we were disposable diapers. That's bad because this is our profession, this is our life. I've known David for over thirty years, so I'm annoyed when a guy talks about you like you never existed. As I said, when he left Deep Purple he was upset and he was lonely, screwed up, I was a friend who helped him get normal again, he forgets all that. David has no right to put people down. He's not God. I don't care if it's him, Prince Charles or President Gorbachev, nobody should say that about you. I mean you can't say that session musicians go on stage and do solo spots, which we all did. I did a slide solo for ten minutes, a session guitar player wouldn't do that. Bernie did a long guitar solo on Mistreated etc. David's not the guy that rang me up in '76 anymore, we all change I suppose but... I've heard some of his interviews for Restless Heart. He sounds a little bitter and unhappy. Maybe we will have to go to Munich again and get drunk and play football.
Since leaving Whitesnake what do you think about their musical direction?
It's not really the same band I was in. It's called Whitesnake but it has nothing to do with the band I was in, so I don't see them as Whitesnake really. It doesn't mean anything to me, but I'm very pleased they're doing some of the old songs live. I've heard Restless Heart and I didn't think it was a very good production to be quite honest. One or two songs were good, but it sounded under produced, it didn't sound as if there was enough effort in it. The guitar player, Adrian Vandenberg, I don't know him but he doesn't play with enough fire to be a blues player. You really need to be playing with fire and venom, and he doesn't play like that, you either do or you don't. So if David wants to play blues again, he has to get a different guitar player to start with, because that guy doesn't play blues to me.
BERNIE MARSDEN INTERVIEW - MOODY/MARSDEN PART 2
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