On May 19th, rock icons Whitesnake released “The Purple Album” — their 12th studio release in North America via Frontiers Music SRL. The album is a re-imagination of classic songs from David Coverdale’s time as the lead singer for Deep Purple’s Mark 3 and Mark 4 studio albums.
The tour hit the road on May 28th and will continue in the US until the middle of August. Following a break, the band is headed to Japan, Europe, The UK and Ireland.
Michael Devin took time to talk with Paul Donahue, Jr. via SKYPE about David Coverdale, the Whitesnake tour, current and former band mates, his solo music and many other topics of interest.
On becoming a member of Whitesnake….
MICHAEL DEVIN: “I became a member of Whitesnake in 2010 while I was on tour with Lynch Mob. Brian Tichy was the drummer and my good friend. He had already secured his position with Whitesnake and they were already talking to another bass player — a friend of ours. And it looked very promising for this bass player and I just assumed that he was going to be the guy. I was also working toward going out with Jason Bonham in the Led Zeppelin Experience. I had 2 jobs going on, I was pretty happy with that, I never even imagined my name would be put in the hat with Whitesnake. Long story short, David Coverdale decided to keep looking for bass players and Brian had mentioned he was out and about with Lynch Mob and David asked him who was on bass. Brian mentioned me, so I sent some video of me playing live and then one thing led to another and I found myself up in Tahoe auditioning for David live. Then he called me while I was in Seattle and asked if I wanted to join the band. That was a great day…I had 3 jobs, Whitesnake, Lynch Mob and The Led Zeppelin Experience with Jason (Bonham).
About performing Deep Purple songs in Whitesnake on the current tour
“It’s a great set by the way, top to bottom its kind of a non stop set. At no other time in my 5 years with Whitesnake have I been more excited. I love the song “You Keep on Moving” — it’s really moody and slow and kind of psychedelic….. and I swap lead vocals with David. That’s kind of spectacular, I never imagined in my lifetime I’d be singing alongside David Coverdale.”
About David Coverdale’s performance on the current tour
“Let me tell you man…he’s singing better now than any other time I’ve been on stage with him…every night regardless of climate or jet lag or whatever…he’s just hitting all the choice notes. There are certain notes that need to be hit and he is just delivering it. We are all proud to be on stage with such a legendary singer…he is kicking ass. He’s my friend, my band-mate and my inspiration.”
His equipment on the tour
“I’m using Orange Amps and they are fantastic, they fucking growl..never an issue. And I’m using a 1971 Gibson EB3L as my main bass on this tour. It’s the first time I’m using a Gibson Bass. I also have a purple Nash I use on some altered tuning stuff. But the Gibson cuts — it sounds so bad ass man.”
Anticipated stops on tour
“San Francisco, Denver.. .in Denver, I’ll be getting another 1971 Bass….. Hampton Beach,New Hampshire is the big show for me –my family and a lot my friends come out. I get an opportunity to see a lot of people.
Becoming a Singer
I started singing late in life. I always new I had a tone and I could recognize my own vocal tone and I knew it was cool for rock-n-roll but I had chronic shyness, so it took me a long time to get to a place where I could go out in public and sing. I owe it mostly to David Coverdale — he really helped me and encouraged me to sing. Doug Aldrich and Brian Tichy and I had a band called Steamroller, which was the first time I went out as a singing bass player…and that was trial by fire. Ya know it’s not like I’m playing with two guys from my hometown in some shitty little bar, I was with two class acts where there was bound to be a crowd and I had no idea about my voice. I had no idea how high I could go or how low I could go, I just new I wanted to use it. Some shows were better than others and it was all about finding my footing. You don’t just show up and sound like Freddy Mercury, so that’s all I’ve been doing is just singing as often as I can. I also have an EP coming out this year where I do the singing..
What else for Mr. Devin?
On my birthday, July 27th, my EP gets released and I play Westbury N.Y. Which is pretty cool. But the day before on the 26th is a day off and my girlfriend, Drea De Matteo, is in NYC right now filming her upcoming series on NBC called “Shades of Blue” with Ray Liotta and Jennifer Lopez. UPDATE
That’s the first time I’m going to see her in a couple months. so I’m pretty excited about that. “The Muthaship” is a show Drea has. You can hear “Evil Men Do” and see the video:P
New EP Preview/ Review/Discussion with Paul:
DEVIN: I’m expecting a release on July 27th, I hope to have it out there..it’s 6 song EP. I really just wanted to get a little bit out there so people can hear my music and see that I sing and write songs.
PD: Thanks for sending me a couple of the songs off that EP – it was a privilege listening to 2 new songs. The first was “Wild Buffalo” It’s a great hard rockin’ song. The vocals are amazing and the hook is right off the bat in the lead guitar riffs. The riffs and vocals combined make the song. It’s bound to be a hit! I t’s a great tune!
Next was “Map of America” — another great tune with a high energy Soundgarden kind of feel. This song chugs right along with an almost country back-beat at one point. But it works great, this tune is really full of twists and turns, and you can’t tell what’s going to happen next, but it all ties into together very well. Then, out of nowhere, the song breaks down into a straight up grind. It must be difficult to slow down and contain during the middle 8 of that song, then it’s right back into the perfect “top-down in the convertible, flyin down the highway kinda song…incredible vocals and guitars..”
DEVIN: ABSOLUTELY!!! (laughing) I tried to convey with the music what I was trying to say with the lyric, It’s kind of like an oncoming storm, you can’t predict where a tornado is going to go – all you can do is take cover and watch it pass and that’s kind of how I went with the music to coincide with the lyrics. Then all the sudden out of nowhere it drops on you, out of nowhere. All of the sudden it becomes a really heavy,grungy,dirty,sludgy song. That was totally by design but the way it comes into the sludge was sort of a happy accident. That’s always a great part of songwriting when you don’t plan for it, but I’m so happy that it did. To me, that’s divinity coming through in my music. I want a piece of God in all my music in all of my songs, I strive for that, you know, a little bit of spirit in there. Non-religious but I mean in terms of the vibe…
PD: I think I picked up on that with the keyboards… would you say they have kind of gospel sound?
DEVIN: Yeah, Dude!! Totally!! The textures in the song the instrumentation are all very deliberate, there’s a banjo, a B3, (played by Jimmy Wallace from the Wallflowers), an acoustic guitar… these folk instruments are in there for a reason. I’ll do another EP and/or a full length eventually.
On other instruments he enjoys playing
“Piano, guitar, harmonica… I play a little bit of banjo. I enjoy getting music out of any instrument.”
Interests outside of music
I read a lot. But when I’m not on tour, I mostly spend a lot of time with my family. I really love movies too, films and scripts. I’d say it’s those 3, family, movies and reading.
Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman?
Fuck, that’s tough man…that’s a tough question..but I would have to saaaayyy…
I mean i gotta gooo…they were both so influential and so crucial to my sanity as a kid..
but if I had to pick, and it was an “island record”, I’d have to go Diary of a Madman.
WHITESNAKE TOUR DATES
Grand Events Center
Grand Prairie, TX
San Antonio, TX
Socorro Event Center
Greeley Independence Stampede
Divots Music Festival
Sterling Heights, MI
Freedom Hill AMP
Huber Heights, OH
Music Center @ The Heights
Shoot Star Casino
St. Paul, MN
Clear Lake, IA
Geneva Music Park
Hampton Beach, NH
Hampton Beach Casino
Twin River Casino
Atlantic City, NJ
Trump Taj Mahal
Theater At Westbury
New Haven, CT
College Street Music Hall
Seminole Hard Rock Live
Ruth Eckerd Hall
Paragon Casino Mari Center
ACL Live @ The Moody Theater
Wagner Noel PAC
Hard Rock Casino Tulsa
The AR Music Pavillion
St. Charles, MO