Whitesnake co-founder Bernie Marsden said it was a “big mistake” that he and David Coverdale didn’t pursue plans to keep writing together after the first lineup split. He also said he thought he knew why it couldn’t happen now.
In his recent memoir Where’s My Guitar? An Inside Story of British Rock and Roll, the guitarist and songwriter recalled how he was “the author of my own demise” in 1982 when the group disbanded, leaving the singer to move away from the classic blues-rock Whitesnake played in their early days.
“People still say to me, ‘You must’ve hated him,'” Marsden told Classic Rock in a new interview. “But that feeling never really comes into it. I hated the situation we were in as much as anybody, and I knew we were going nowhere. … I was thinking, ‘I’m 30 years old, I’m finished.’ [Drummer] Cozy Powell was very good for me at that time, because he’d come around and slap me around mentally: ‘Pull yourself together! You write, you play guitar, you sing. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it.'”
Marsden said he felt some closure when he met Coverdale at a festival in Europe in 2011. “The last conversation we’d had about Whitesnake, as the band was breaking up, was that he and I should still write together,” he explained. “But that never happened. And I think that is a really big mistake, because we were pretty good writers.”
The guitarist noted that he thinks Coverdale “is one of those guys who, if he’s seen to be asking me for another hit song, wonders whether he can do it without me. He’s done very well for himself and has built that band into a huge name. There have been some good songs too, but I would like to think that we could’ve written another few.”