05 Laurent Biehly interview 3 June 2000
by on November 18, 2023 in Career Prog/jazz-rock Whitesnake
Whitesnake live Aria SB900

Whitesnake live Aria SB900 1981


David Coverdale once said to Kerrang “Neil Murray’s bass playing is the most melodic bass playing I’ve heard since McCartney. He’s a staggering bass player”.

One of the most in-demand bass player in the UK during the 70‘s and 80‘s, Neil is not very well known in the US although he played on one of the best selling hard rock album of all time, Whitesnake 1987.

Mainly known for his work with Whitesnake (1978-1982, 1984-1987), Neil also has been a member of the Gary Moore Band, Black Sabbath and Brian May Band. A well rounded musician, he also played, toured or recorded with most of the world’s most famous names like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Sting, Paul Rodgers, Ian Gillan, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Bill Bruford (Yes), Colosseum II, Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), soul/jazz diva Madeline Bell, Glenn Hughes, The Scorpions, Simon Phillips, Joe Satriani and many many others.

We had the chance to meet up with Neil in Notting Hill, London, on 3 June 2000. As interesting interviews about his stints with Whitesnake can be found at http://www.companyofsnakes.de or http://www.whitesnake.f9.co.uk, we took this opportunity to talk a little more about some of his other works. For those who are interested to know more about this superb bass player and great gentleman, please check out Miguel Terol’s site at http://geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palladium/9932/nmurr_b.htm.

Neil, first of all thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me. Let’s talk about your current gigs/projects. You are featured on Micky Moody’s first solo album “I Eat Them For Breakfast”. It sounds like a family affair as Bernie Marsden produced it. Can you tell a bit more about it ?

The album was quickly and cheaply recorded with not much recording time. It features most of the guys from Company of Snakes (Note : CoS‘ members are Robert Hart on vocals, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody on guitars, Neil on bass, Don Airey on keyboards and John Lingwood on drums), well actually all of them in different formations. On the more straight blues songs, Micky used people like Andy Pyle on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums. I suppose that some songs are songs Micky had for quite some time. There is one long song that we spliced together to make a real song and that’s quite a fun thing to do on stage. There are some good stuff on it but it may take some time for people to even be aware that there’s an album out.

Company of Snakes used to be called The Snakes (they have two albums out with Jorn Lande on vocals). Is there any recording plans as far as the “new” line-up is concerned ?

There is a small German label who’s made us an offer to do two albums, one which should be a live album which, if everything goes well, we should be recording in August at the Wacken festival in Germany. Plan is to do a studio album where we might re-record some of the tracks from The Snakes album (Note : Once Bitten) and, hopefully, do some new things as well. So that will be good. The band should be quite busy in the autumn. I think, there are proper structured touring plans and possibly going to the States for three weeks or something. For the moment, and all last year, it was just whatever comes in. We worked for a few days and then we stopped then we did a bit more. We try to get it a bit more organised now.

Any chance to see David Coverdale joining you….. ?

(Laughs). I think that’s very unlikely. He’s just about to put out a new album and I think it’s under the name Whitesnake. I’ve heard most of it. Certainly, it’s a more bluesy direction but I still don’t think it’s kind of quite the same as it was with the old line-up.

Coverdale hired Marco Mendoza from John Sykes‘ band. You could play musical chairs and work with Sykes again (laughs)…

Well, I don’t know if Marco’s in the band. You know, he’s a very good bass player. I think it was just like a session for him. There was a chance of me working with John again a few years ago but then, really, it’s not very sensible when I’m in Britain and he’s in the States. You kind of have to go and live there. It didn’t come to anything in the end.

It might have changed your career if you would have moved to the US back in ’85 and stayed there….

Yeah… yeah… well, I mean, I was living in LA during ’85 for quite some time and I think, if I had been able to stay there for the next few years then maybe that would have worked out. It doesn’t bother me now, I‘m quite happy to be here really.

Another of your current gigs is with the SAS Band . The group is not very well known, can you tell us a bit more about it ?

It is supposed to be more of a fun type band. It was originally started by Spike Edney, who was the keyboards player with Queen and many other bands. When we toured with Brian May in 1993, with myself, Cozy Powell and guitarist Jamie Moses, that was the basis of the SAS Band which started the following year. There has been many many musicians also, different bassists, guitarists, drummers but the main thing is to have some really good singers that do two or three of their hits and then some other songs that they always wanted to do. It thus gives them the chance and the audience can see quite a big range of music, you know, rock, soul, pop, whatever and the whole idea is to have a really good laugh and not to be too serious. It’s the kind of thing where sometimes there are lots of those SAS Band gigs, and they have done an album as well (Note : the album is self-titled and was released in 1997. It features, amongst others, Neil, Chris Thompson, Elton John’s Charlie Morgan, Family’s Roger Chapman, Cozy Powell, Queen’s Roger Taylor and John Deacon, soul diva Madeline Bell, Marillion’s John Marter), and other times there’s months with nothing so it comes and goes but we’ve done some very enjoyable shows.

With SAS you had the chance to play with people like Paul Rodgers, Jimmy Barnes, Chris Thompson (Note : The album features Neil on one song with Chris, Jamie Moses, Spike Edney and Cozy Powell) or Steve Lukather. How is it to work with a guy like Steve Lukather for instance ?

Well, I did not play with Steve when the SAS played with Toto somewhere, I think in Germany, because when I’m busy touring with another band (like a couple of years ago I was with Black Sabbath again) I can’t do the SAS gigs for quite some time. Well it’s things like that where they do a concert and if some famous musicians want to get up and play they probably can but it’s not really a jamming kind of thing, it’s probably rehearsed. It’s quite well structured but there’s not a show where the SAS Band does exactly the same as another show because there’s always different singers or different songs (Note : Neil kindly invited me to attend a gig SAS Band played for Microsoft and the singers were Manfred Mann Earth Band’s Chris Thompson, Mike & The Mechanics‘ Paul Young, The Fabba Girls – Zoe Nicholas and Susie Webb (backing singers on the last Brian May Tour amongst many others credits), and soul diva Madeline Bell).

Talking about Black Sabbath, I think you worked or rehearsed or did some demos with Ozzy Osbourne ?

I played for maybe two days with Ozzy just to kind of help out. He was trying a drummer, I am trying to remember who he played with later on, but his name was Jimmy DeGrasso (Note : Jimmy’s current Megadeth drummer and he played with Y&T, Dave Meniketti, White Lion, Mama’s Boys, Suicidal Tendencies and Lita Ford) and this was around the time Jake E Lee was in the band. You know, I always forget about things like that because it was such a short period of time. It must have been in early ’85 because I then got a call from David Coverdale and John Sykes who were writing songs in the south of France and they wanted me to come out and rehearse some of these songs.

You also worked with The Scorpions, were you supposed to join them ?

No, I was not meant to join them. Again, I was just helping out. It was demos for “Love At First Sting” and they eventually did their album with Jimmy Bain and Bobby Rondinelli on drums. I’m told they scratched all that and used the Scorpions‘ rhythm section but who knows ? That was fun, but again, two or three days rehearsing and a couple of days recording these demo tracks. I actually saw them a couple of weeks ago because they were doing some recording in London for that orchestra album that they’re doing with the two girls singing with the SAS Band (Note : Susie Webb and Zoe Nicholas. Check out their web site at http://www.fabbagirls.demon.co.uk).

One of your career’s highlights was when you played with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Sting and Simon Phillips. When was it and what was that for ?

This was a charity gig for Amnesty International. They had a charity concert, I think probably in 1979 or 1980, called the Secret Policeman’s Ball, which was quite successful, and they decided to do another called The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball. You had four nights where quite famous British comedians, actors, musicians gathered together. It was one of the first kind of charity concerts which became a very popular thing to do through the ‚80‘s. At that time, Jeff Beck’s bass player was Mo Foster and he was supposed to do it and it just happened that I had done some sessions with Simon Phillips on Bernie Marsden’s and Jon Lord’s solo albums, so when Mo Foster couldn’t play the first two nights of this four nights, they asked me to do that. Involved in the show was going to be a situation where Sting and myself played together, just the two of us with him on guitar and me on bass, we did that the first night but he decided to do it by himself after that ….but maybe I was not so good (smile)… and there were three songs with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck playing together and then the big finale with everybody on, so I did those two nights and they recorded them. The last two nights (actually after the second night Eric Clapton got very drunk and his wife banned him from playing on the third night, or maybe he was too hungover), so Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton did not play together on the third night but they did on the last night and I went along and did a bit of background for the finale. On the album of the show, they just list everybody who’s in the band, all the musicians, so you don’t know who played on each track but there’s a version of “Crossroads” that I played on. For the film of the gigs, they mostly used only stuff from the last night. I certainly keep that as a very good memory. I did some other work with Jeff Beck as well, but just rehearsing.

Talking about guitar heroes, you also played with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Brian May in Sevilla (Spain) in 1992. How did you end up getting this gig, which more or less was the birth of the Brian May Band ? Did you get it through your involvement with Black Sabbath ?

Yes, mostly because Brian was big friends with Toni Iommi and he really liked the sound of that version of the band. Brian had been asked to put together kind of a heavy rock evening and he got the chance to specify two different rhythm sections (Note: Neil Murray with Cozy Powell and Nathan East with Steve Ferrone). He was not really sure who was gonna play with who. In rehearsals, because Nathan East didn’t arrive until maybe the last day of rehearsals, I ended up having to play with virtually everybody but didn’t do so much on the show. I really enjoyed playing with Joe Satriani. I also did stuff with Nuno (Bettencourt) and Gary (Cherone) from Extreme… we did a couple of songs together. You know you always think something like that may lead on to something else but it did not…

Mainly because they all live in the US and you’re based in the UK ?

I suppose yes. In reality, it continued down a year later to the Brian May Band actually being formed and we did some recording for the “Back To The Light” album (Note : Neil is featured on three songs).

Many people know you as a hard rock / heavy rock bass player but you started playing in jazz-rock bands like Gilgamesh in the early days but the most famous one is probably Colosseum II with Jon Hiseman, Gary Moore and Don Airey…. ?

I did not start out to be a jazz-rock bass player. I definitely came out of the blues period in the late 60‘s and then heavy rock followed with bands like Cream, Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge and all that kind of stuff… Jeff Beck definitely… you know lots of musicians were going that way like Jeff Beck went towards jazz rock, so it was just a natural thing for any musicians around that time to be into the Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return To Forever and it was pure chance that I met somebody and ended up joining Gilgamesh and playing this very complicated music. Then I left that to do kind of straight Hendrix songs with a band called Hanson just for a few months (Note : it was in 1974). After that I joined… well I did not really join I had taken over as the bass player for Cozy Powell‘s band, mostly doing very straight ahead rock, with very good musicians, particularly Don Airey, who was the keyboards player with that band, and that‘s kind of my connection to Colosseum II because Don joined that band…. it’s through knowing him that I got the job with the band.

Colosseum II was kind of anti-commercial, really, and a bit difficult for most people. I did even more difficult music with National Health, doing very complicated time signature, lots of written music and really having not very much success. By that time (Note : circa 1976-77), the jazz-rock thing was really finished. Then the situation came along where Whitesnake was forming and I just happened to have played with Bernie Marsden before in Cozy Powell’s band… you know it’s strictly through knowing people and being friends with them that these bands‘ situations came about.

There are quite a few interviews where you talk about your stints with Whitesnake, so I do not want to dwell on it too much. How does it compare to play with Whitesnake and with Gary Moore, I mean both bands are playing blues-influenced hard rock but it seems you had more freedom playing-wise in Whitesnake….

Whitesnake’s music in the late 70‘s / early 80‘s was quite suitable for that kind of “busy” bass playing that I was able to bring to it. It’s hard to explain… but you can write that sort of one kind of rock song where the bass can move around a bit or do some interesting rhythmic things and then there’re very similar rock songs where the bass has to stay very rigid, just to play the rhythm or just play the bottom note all through the song… in fact, in the early 80‘s, Gary Moore’s music was very much kind of typical heavy rock music(where Whitesnake was moving more towards that way later), more American really, he hadn’t done the blues thing at that time. And although we had very similar tastes in music, the kind of thing he wanted to do required the bass to be much more a foundation, very solid, and I found it difficult to adjust to it because it required a different sound, a different style and playing. It is possibly less interesting… it wasn’t required from me to put so much of myself into the music… you know, if I had realised that… it might have been better for me to stay with Whitesnake if I could have because it just didn’t work out with Gary. By the time the second album came around (Note : Victims Of The Future), neither side was happy. It has to be said from 1982 onwards all the kind of rock music I was doing with different bands, I mean obviously mostly with Whitesnake but then with Vow Wow and other recording sessions that I was doing, a lot of it didn’t require much from the bass anyway. It was that era of huge, enormous drum sounds and very simple bass playing.

You did record two albums with the Japanese band Vow Wow (“V” in 1987 and “Helter Skelter” in 1989). You did a bit of songwriting with them, mainly lyrics, something you had not done a lot in the past. Is songwriting something you’re interested in ?

Only lyrics in fact ! Usually the guitarist (Kyioji Yamamoto) or the keyboards player (Rei Atsumi) mostly had a song ideas, musical ideas, and the singer (Genki Hitomi) would kind of sing some nonsense words over the top, melodies, and I would have to find words that would fit that phrasing. It was a tough challenge and I’m not sure I did a very good job but it was something interesting to do. As far as songwriting altogether is concerned, it’s something I know I should be doing and to concentrate on that because it’s, for a start, where you make the most money but it’s also a situation where the person who does most of the writing has a lot of the power. Other people are going to play your ideas… you’re the one who has come up with the ideas. And no matter how good of a musician you are, you‘re always just helping somebody else’s ideas… unless you have written the song of course !!! I think playing live can be creative in a very interesting and spontaneous way. But a lot of the time, live and in the studio, you’re playing the same thing over and over. It is not very creative. You’re just doing a good job but with songwriting, I think if you come up with something you’re proud of and other people like it then that’s a very kind of creative endeavour. It’s something that I should have worked on much more because partly it’s a technical thing, you have to be able to play the keyboards or the guitar or to sing reasonably well or get other people to do it for you. You have to be fairly forceful with your ideas, not being concentrating too much on bass playing and spending a lot more time getting into songwriting. It’s still something that I don’t feel like I’m too late to do but it’s still something that is hard for me to really get going on. I should go away to some island somewhere and not have any distractions.

Let’s talk about something that has always impressed me a lot… you always had the chance and opportunity to play with amazing drummers (Note : Bill Bruford, Ian Paice, Simon Phillips, Eric Singer, Cozy Powell, Steve Ferrone, Aynsley Dunbar, etc.) which for a bass player is probably the most important thing… is there still any drummers you’d like to play with ?

Oh yes, many many players. First, I’d love to play with Ian Paice again (Note : he did at The Tony Ashton testimonial gig in June 2000) and maybe Simon Phillips again. But you know, there are lots of other drummers who are maybe not very famous but would make it very enjoyable for me to play with…. not so much like when you play with someone very powerful- a star kind of drummer… it’s almost that they’re in charge and you’re keeping up with them. If you’re have somebody who plays more simple maybe the bass could do a bit more and it would be nice to play with some guys like that. It of course depends on the kind of music it is because if you play with a certain kind of drummer he would make you play in a certain way. A drummer might be great at playing heavy metal but no good at playing jazz or funk, so you have to find somebody who’s a specialist in that area and if you don’t get to play with somebody like that then you don’t really get to play that kind of music properly… like a rock drummer playing country or funk and they don’t really understand it or they don’t do it very well… then there’s no way the bass can do it very well either, the whole thing has to be right. I am not very interested in playing with somebody who’s incredibly technically fast and does very difficult things… like somebody who’s very busy like Neil Peart, that’s not so interesting for me but at the same time I do like playing with drummers who do unexpected and exciting things… it’s just that if they’re playing too much then there’s no room for the bass player.

One of my favourite piece of music you played on is a track called “Burntwood” from Jon Lord’s “Before I Forget”. It features you and Jon and to me the bass playing is amazing. Lord said in an interview that it was a very difficult bass part to play…

I think a lot of the melody was written by Jon Lord so I was just interpreting, like a classical musician, whatever was written down. Obviously, the sound is very much based on trying to be like Jaco Pastorius… that fretless sound that was very popular around that time (Note : 1982) and… but maybe, (I haven’t listened to it for a long long time), it’s almost that I would have to wait until this long and forget it and hear it again to say “oh it was quite good” or “oh, it’s the same old stuff that I always play”… I know that I have the ability sometimes to play some nice melodies…. but very often in the studio it’s not really the right situation or I don’t feel comfortable, especially with fretless because it’s so easy to play out of tune so you might play something that’s great melodically but just is not right technically so you have to do it again and the next time you do it you have forgotten what you have played before so it’s not as good. And after the tenth time you do it everything is in tune but it’s a very boring melody. So, I always think, whenever I record things that I could, in theory, do something much better. I’m very critical of myself.

Never satisfied…

Well… no… it’s not just me…it’s also the whole thing to do with albums where if there’s lots of space for the bass that‘s quite unusual. Then the producer or the band or whoever must spend enough time to get the sound really really good and to get the performance very good, sometimes they don’t bother doing that because it’s not that important… unless it’s your album. And then again, if you do something which is good maybe in the final mix the bass is quiet so nobody really hears it. And when it comes out on record, you can be a genius but if nobody hears it then what’s the point. So it’s all these things which mean that sometimes people would say “oh that’s fantastic bass playing” because unless it’s on a very popular record, it’s very loud in the track and it’s very obvious, then most people don’t notice the bass if it’s a little bit more subtle or concealed. I don’t really want to play for other musicians and I’m not terribly interested in being fantastically, technically brilliant because I want normal ordinary people who don’t understand music to enjoy the music that I’m playing even if they’re not aware of what the bass is doing. As far as a solo album is concerned, it’s a situation if I was doing that kind of thing either would somebody have to say “OK, here’s many thousands of pounds to go and make an album”, which they’re not gonna do, or I have to come up with the music to quite an advanced stage before somebody else gets involved. Generally, if I am going to collaborate with somebody else, if they’re any good, then they’ll probably take over because they might have more experience or have a more forceful character. I wouldn’t want to do a solo album which was very boring and didn’t turn me on. I would have to do something that I thought was very very good. I should be more driven to want to do something like that and maybe it’s a question of being the age I am… maybe in my twenties I would be “oh yes, I’m the greatest, I want to do this, I want to do that” and now I’m not that ambitious. But I would still very much like to do music as much as possible that I really thought was great, even if it was not that popular it wouldn’t matter too much if I actually thought it was fantastic that would be OK. But the things I think is fantastic are very very rare…more stuff is OK but … some songs I don’t really like but I quite enjoy playing them. I don’t want to listen to them at home. And most of the albums I’ve made I don’t want to listen to at home. It was fun to play on but I’d rather listen to something else.

You played many different kinds of music… hard rock, heavy metal, jazz-rock and quite a lot of blues and blues-influenced rock… you played with the legendary Peter Green (John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac) when he did his come-back after many years out of business. How was it to be part of this adventure ?

Well, it was difficult. It’s a very long and slow process for him to recover and get to the best that he can be. Particularly you got myself and Cozy Powell joining up with him and he was playing so little and so quietly that instantly we had to almost play nothing as well. Frankly, the first two months of us joining up with him, if we had come down to his level or tried to be less intense that he was than we would have had to stop playing because there was so little happening with the guitar and the voice. We almost had to kick him from behind and give him a little bit of power to carry him along. Of course, that is interpreted by some listeners as that we’re being too overpowering. He certainly needs some more bluesy musicians to play with him. He definitely is a very unique, kind of soulful person who has a particular blues feel that very very few British or White people in general have got. I would say that the kind of music that he’s doing… I’m not quite the right guy for that, it’s a little bit too laid-back, I like something with a little bit more energy. It was kind of tough to be so restrained… there are different kinds of blues type of situation where you would think you could do a lots of different things… every night would be different… in fact every night was virtually exactly the same which is a drag.

I remember a German TV show called “Ohne Filter” that was aired in 1999, in which you participated, and it was quite disappointing. I was under the impression that Peter was almost starting from ground up again…

Well the difficulty is that he is very inconsistent. For example, two nights before that show he might be playing great with much more energy and much more life. And then, for whatever reason, it’s very easy for him to kind of… almost go half asleep on stage and not be interested and not to put any energy into it at all. You know when you’re up there on stage whether it’s gonna be a bad night or not. If it’s a bad night, there is nothing much you can do… occasionally, he would pick up but… you know… he’s just a creature of his mood so if he’s feeling tired or fed up, he doesn’t have the reserve of energy to take it out to be a powerful show. I remember doing that programme and I knew it was not going to be very good. Certainly after a year or two of playing with him it got better but then of course a lot of people came to see the band in the first year and they would not come back again because it was so different from what they had remembered in the 60‘s or 70‘s. I do think that he is somebody very special and that he has got something that might not be very obvious to other people but when you’re playing with him just the way he can play certain things… if you’re in tune with it, with that kind of blues playing, you can understand how difficult it is to feel that kind of natural playing …very few people over here can do that. I sort of wish that I could have that blues feeling that Peter Green’s got but I also wish that he had some of the power that he had thirty years ago.

Brian May… is there any plan to work with him in the (near) future ?

No I don’t think so. I don’t think he was very happy that the last album didn’t do very much and the tour was OK but not a very big and successful tour. If I was in his position, I would want to go out and play live… it’d cost me a lot of money but I’d do it because you get to an age when it’s gonna be too late… at the moment he seems to be doing film soundtracks or occasional tracks with other people like collaborating with the Foo Fighters or Axl Rose and stuff like that. I don’t think he’s planning a solo album or a tour or anything. It would be great to play with him again but for the moment I have to think that it is not going to happen.

I think the last tour was great ! In Zurich for instance, the Volkshaus went mad and was sold out….

Well you have to remember that compared to Queen that was completely unsuccessful to play in front of 1,500 people in the Volkshaus.

Don’t you think people went to see Queen because of Freddie and not because of Brian ?

No I don’t agree! I think it was the whole thing, the songs and yes Freddie was very important but Brian is as important. If you could imagine Queen with Freddie, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and let’s say Jake E Lee on guitar it would not be the same. It has to be Brian May because he is so unique. You know, Brian is under great pressure from the record company and the management to do things that are at the same level as Queen’s success. So that means that you can only play big places once every ten years then that’s what you do instead of playing small places every couple of years. I don’t think he was under personal pressure to be on tour and come back home. I also think he was very much affected by Cozy’s death. Cozy was more than just his drummer, he was like a very good friend and a very good advisor to him and as Brian has great mood swings, where he can get very low and depressed, then Cozy would be very good to bring him out of that and giving him direction, kind of pushing him from behind. Without Cozy there, there was nobody else in the band anymore that has quite the same effect on him. I don’t have that sort of relationship with Brian. It might have been different with Cozy still around… but who knows ?

Cozy was also one of your very good and close friend. You worked on many occasions with him since 1974… it must have been very hard for you as well when he passed away…

Yes….. but it’s not true that I was close to him all through that period. It was only really from the late 80‘s, the last 10 years of his life, when we became much closer. But mainly through work, not so much through other interests. He was much more of a country person, he liked fast cars, motorbikes, football and stuff like that. I did not have much contact with him when we were not working and before that time, let’s say when he was with Rainbow or Michael Schenker, I had very little contact with him at all. I certainly miss him very greatly and I wish that he was around to get involved in projects…

Was it difficult to adapt to Eric Singer’s playing ? To me, he sounds like Cozy’s “spiritual son”…

Every drummer’s different. I can adapt to whoever I’m playing with normally. Eric is a fantastic drummer. He’s probably technically better than Cozy. He’s got more ability than Cozy’s had but maybe Cozy had more of his own style. I enjoyed playing with Eric very much and hopefully we can play together again sometime. You know when somebody is from the States and is 10 years younger then you don’t have so much in common. Cozy and myself had much more of an history together. We grew up in the same time, listened to the same records and everything.

One question you’ve probably answered a million times before… is there any chance to see a Whitesnake reunion tour in the future with THE line-up, i.e. Coverdale, Marsden, Murray, Lord, Paice and Moody ?

I don’t know but I don’t think it is very likely. As the years go by, on the one hand you think it’s a sensible thing to do and that people would be interested. On the other hand, I’m kind of pessimistic as to how many people would be interested because Whitesnake changed so much and some people think of us as Whitesnake but for lots of people it’s the Whitesnake from 1984 onwards. But then the 1990 Whitesnake is different again. If you put together Coverdale, Lord, Paice, Marsden, Moody and myself, yes we could do a tour like theaters or something in Japan and Europe but we couldn’t play in America because nobody’s interested in that version of the band. In the US, we could play in clubs, which is what Company of Snakes will be doing. After that few months of touring, maybe you do a live album but there’s not a huge, huge audience out there desperately waiting for Whitesnake to get back together again.

I know at least three people ! (Laughs)

Well… three people is probably not enough !!! (Laughs)

Last question… for those who are not familiar with your playing, which album would you recommend to listen to to have a fair idea of what you’re able to do ?

Well, that’s fairly impossible to say…. I’m happy when people listen to “Ready And Willing” or “Come And Get It” by Whitesnake. I like those two albums. Apart from that I don’t think there’s very much that I’m very happy with as far as the whole album is concerned.

Jon Lord’s “Before I Forget” ?

Yes but I’m only on…

You’re on all songs but two !

Am I ? (laughs) Well, it’s down to what kind of music people like. People who like Whitesnake probably don’t like Jon’s solo album. It’s a good record which was done 20 years ago… I might not be as good now… or I might be better ! (laughs)

OK Neil, that’s it. Thank you very very much for your time and all the best.

Neil can also be heard on the new tribute albums to Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy.

Selected discography

Whitesnake : Ready And Willing, Come And Get It, 1987

Black Sabbath : Tyr

Colosseum II : Strange New Flesh

Gary Moore : Corridors Of Power, Rocking Every Night – Live in Japan

Phenomena : I, II-Dream Runner

Brian May : Live At Brixton Academy

Cozy Powell : Especially For You

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