Episode #236 – Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (Part 2)

Link to video episode on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWtHli2xch8

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Album Tracks:

All songs by Coverdale, Vandenberg except where noted.

  1. Wings of the Storm
  2. The Deeper the Love
    • Glenn Hughes backing vocals.
    • More successful ballad from the album. Hit No. 28 in the US and No. 35 in the UK.  Coverdale called it an “Otis song” if you strip away all the parts
    • David said he wrote the chord sequence to the verses and Adrian wrote the chords for the chorus and he finished writing the song on vacation in Tahiti.
    • The single was released in several different formats including being backed with “Judgment Day”, “Sweet Lady Luck” and the “Vai Voltage Mix” of “Fool For Your Loving”
  3. Judgment Day
    • Coverdale like this song. It was called an homage to “Kashmir and “No Quarter and “Still of the Night.”
    • Coverdale said “I wrote that song peeved at my old friend – and believe me, at one time we were friends – Robert Plant. He had started on a witch hunt for me and I decided to really stick it up his bottom and do a . . . you know, I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern Music, and whenever I’m in Portugal, I tune to the Moroccan or Algerian radio or whatever and everything sounds like ‘Kashmir.’ And I mean no disrespect because as you know, I worked with Pagey, whom I love dearly, but quite honestly I had all these elements for the song. Adrian came in and wrote that beautiful bridge, the music for the bridge. We walk toward desire’ and the rest of the stuff  is pretty much mine. I had back surgery after herniating a disk and I was completely compromised on Percodan and I wrote what I call the Percodan riff. . .  I was like Lemmy.”
  4. Slow Poke Music
    • Glenn Hughes backing vocals.
    • Vandenberg said this was another riff he’d had from Vandenberg.
  5. Sailing Ships
    • Coverdale: “Sailing Ships that’s about challenges we face in life in general. The open palette of your life is up to you. You can take the song as if you left home for the first time. It’s any new adventure that you embark on – it’s up to you. Of course, people are instrumental. But in the final analysis, everything else is a catalyst, a galvanizing force to be recognized.”
    • Vandenberg said that Vai altered his original vision for the song. “Yeah but then again he chose to. He made a huge mark with his style of playing and he’s a fantastic player.”
    • Adrian Vandenberg counts this and Burning Heart as the two best songs he’d ever written.

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Bustin’ Out The Spreadsheet

Reception and Charts:

  • Slip of the Tongue made it to # 10 in the US charts.
  • Kalodner said the two main problems with this album were that Tawny Kitaen was there and John Sykes wasn’t. That’s why it didn’t perform as well as the previous album.
  • Kalodner also said Coverdale wouldn’t work with the writers he used with Aerosmith.  He said that this same thing happens to all great bands – no great songs, just good songs.
  • Kalodner said he loved Steve Vai but he’s best when he’s doing Steve Vai, he never belonged in Whitesnake.
  • Coverdale sas the demos he worked on with Adrian for the album kicked ass but that the album proper got over done.  “Tommy Aldrige wanting to get all his licks in, Rudy Sarzo was trying to get all his licks in, Adrian Vandenberg was trying to get all his licks in, Steve Vai was . . . there was no foundation. Everyone was just being overtly flamboyant.  And there’s this picture I have at home just to remind me to never go there again, where I’m standing in the middle of this utter chaos. And you know, I can hear what it was like. The look on my face was like, ‘Where the hell am I supposed to sing in here?!”
  • Kalodner said he made Aerosmith throw out the entirety of “Get a Grip” and do it over. He said he would have done the same for this album but it had taken so much time and cost so much that there was just too much pressure to get it out.  He said it was “a gigantic mistake in my career, that I let the “Slip of the Tongue” record come out.”
  • Kalodner said there was no hit song on this record and that was his fault.
  • They leaned heavily on power ballads as those were huge at the time. Olsen said that people were saying that the sales were so terrible.  He said that they sold four million albums in sixteen months where the other did twelve.  He thought it was ridiculous that the record company called it a failure because it only sold 4 million copies and only had one big hit.
  • Videos were also huge and they spend huge amounts on them. Rudy Sarzo estimated $350,000 per video.
  • Rudy Sarzo, reflecting on the album many years later: “I listened to it recently, and I quite enjoyed it! I really did. It’s a very different Whitesnake record. I think actually, it’s more acceptable today than it was in ‘89, ‘90. When we recorded and released it, because certain things were expected of Whitesnake. AGain, it should’ve been more bluesy. And of course Steve Vai brought more of a guitar virtuoso side to it, which I retally enjoyed. I gotta say, working with STeve Vai, I learned so much from him. It was tremendous.  So yeah, I think the musicianship and everything , it was a great record. It was a great band, great record.”
  • Kalodner tried every trick he could think of to get Coverdale to team up with other writers and do another album.  Coverdale was not a fan of the idea of using song doctors. He even tried to get him to bring Sykes back into the band citing his incredible looks.


  • http://www.deep-purple.net/DPASmags/dtb39.htm#4
Slip Of The Tongue – Album Review
The only recent live sighting of David Coverdale came on November 15th 1989 at the Hammersmith Odeon when he came on stage to join headliners AEROSMITH for the encore. They romped through ‘I’m Down’ and a bluesy tune, with bits of Beatles tunes like ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Help’ thrown in. David did BBC Radio One’s ‘Friday Rock Show’ on Nov 17th, on air for just four minutes, “I wonder who their singer is this week” came the jibe when asked about Purple. For once I don’t feel like retorting. After his promotional visit, Coverdale returned to the States on Nov 24th where the band were set to make videos and then begin live rehearsals. They will be on tour in America fron February until July, then hit Europe in August. Interesting that while the new album ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ is still coining it in America, European chart action was markedly down on the last set.”Another step on the road to Americanisation and a further move toward radio friendly AOR from the very British-based blues roots Coverdale once championed. The precise, technically efficient but cold guitar of Steve Vai coupled with solid but uninaginative work from Aldridge and Sarzo fail to produce anything worthwhile on which to lay the fruits of the new Coverdale / Vandenberg partnership. The songs range from the by now standard Zeppelin rip-off – ‘Judgement Day’ – to the well trodden Purple ballad – put ‘Sailing Ships’ alongside ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ to see what I mean. ‘Fool For Your Loving’ follows their trend of stripping down past classics and replacing contained emotion with harsh aggression. Overall a disappointingly bland slice of US rock.” Roy DaviesAnd that’s one of the kinder reviews!
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