first came into the public gaze when you spent a few months
in UFO after Larry Wallis left. Then it was off to Wild Turkey.
What were you up to before then, and why did you only pass
through UFO briefly?
Marsden: I had been playing with my local band, Skinny Cat.
I had been to quite a few auditions before UFO, managed to
get the gig and then not want to do it!
were signed to Chrysalis, they were a happening young label
at the time, management, agency, and recording, it seemed
the right move at the time.
I suppose in retrospect, we both knew the tenure would not
I was the person that first saw a 16 year old Michael Schenker
with his Flying V, and said that he should be in the band,
its all a long time ago now, I have a lot of respect for the
UFO time because it elevated me from semi pro to the big league,
and I will always be grateful for that.
Turkey put out a couple of albums on Chrysalis which didnít
really go anywhere, although I have a soft spot for "Battle
Hymns". Did they just get lost in the rush of acts vying for
attention at the time?
Marsden: To be honest I have no idea, both those albums were
recorded before I joined the band, it was so different to
UFO, we were gonna be the British Allman Brothers, check out
the rare BBC stuff and a couple of bootleg albums, great stuff.
it was off to Babe Ruth. Did you think that was going to be
the big break? They were fairly established and had just had
a chart album in the USA.
Marsden: Actually it was off to Cozy Powellís new band Hammer!
I had worked with Cozy many times with WT when he had Bedlam
together, suddenly he was on Top Of The Pops, and had a number
one single, bizarre.
more bizarre I was with him on the very show a few weeks later
with Don Airey on keys, playing "Man In Black" Great band
with Clive Chaman on bass, Frank Aiello singing.
toured with Suzi Quatro, "Rak Rocks Britain" It didnít. Another
I was mildly horrified that some of your erstwhile colleagues
ended up in dreadful disco outfit Liquid Gold who had a massive
hit with "Dance Yourself Dizzy". Fortunately for all concerned
you got a call from the ex Deep Purple duo of Jon Lord &
Ian Paice. How did that come about?
donít think that I was ever in the frame for the LG gig!!
call from the Purple boys was while I was still in Babe Ruth.
Cozy Powell had recommended me for the gig.
out of the window. I love "Malice in Wonderland" by Paice,
Ashton & Lord! Looking back, how do you feel about it
Marsden: I think it is without doubt one of the best albums
my name is associated with, at the time people were just not
ready for it, but bless Ďem they came out to see us in the
UK. There is a very rare film of PAL which should be seen,
and the BBC 2 special. (both are
now due for release on DVD by T2
barely got out of the starting gates, but then another former
Deep Purple man came calling. It must have been nice, being
so highly regarded?
Marsden: It is always nice to be asked, David was very gracious,
at the time I was awaiting conformation of the gig with Wings,
but after our first get together with Micky Moody I knew that
this would be a special band, playing real rock blues, I wanted
the time it seemed to be still a David Coverdale solo gig.
How did the metamorphosis into a 'proper' band come about?
Marsden: To be fair to David, he always wanted the "band"
thing to be first on the posters, we travelled in the same
van as the gear at first, happy days!
things change, the band became more and more successful and
I look back opn those early days with great affection.
course, it was also the start of a long musical partnership
with a certain Micky Moody. 28 years and counting! What keeps
the two of you coming back for more?
Marsden: Micky and I have been friends for a very long time,
before Whitesnake, in fact I almost joined Juicy Lucy before
UFO. We are a bit like Crosby and Nash I guess, we can work
together and travel together but we donít live one anotherís
life. Plus the fact that I love his playing, always have.
me, from 1978 - 1981, Whitesnake were the finest live act
treading the boards. Flattery aside, why was it such a potent
blues / soul / rock combo?
Marsden: Thanks, I agree! The band were always looking for
the next great song, I wish we still had some record of songs
we scrapped, the early days were good, but once Ian and Jon
were in the band just became a monster. There is a film of
the classic line up somewhere, I would like to see that one
day, just to make sure we were that good!
also found time to record a couple of solo albums, both released
in 1981, with an all star cast. Was that frustration with
the day job, or too good an opportunity to miss?
Marsden: Certainly not frustration, David was very active
with "About Time Too" we recorded demos at his house, and
he wrote lyrics for half of the songs. When
you can call the likes of JL, IP, CP, or Don Airey, well you
just do it.
Phillips played drums as well on the second album, I think
more drummers bought it than guitar players!
of Bernie's solo albums are available on Purple
Then it all fell apart for Whitesnake. If you feel like telling
the tale again, what went wrong?
Marsden: It is well documented already, I really hoped that
the line up of Whitesnake after myself and Paicey and Neil
should have been spectacular, it wasnít and that was a double
disappointment to me personally, the later line up with John
Sykes was terrific though.
was a great album, but the only connection to the band I was
in was the name, excluding a certain song of course
up was SOS which subsequently, became Alaska. To be brutal
I didnít care for "Heart of the Storm" or "The Pack". It was
a bit too shiny and squeaky clean, although the one live show
I caught in London was infinitely better. How does that period
look to you now?
Marsden: Be brutal, I think the albums still sound good, I
was conscious of the songs being melodic, but you are right
in the fact that the live show was a lot tougher.
the short lived MGM you seemed to disappear off the radar
for a few years. What were you up to?
Marsden: In fact I was very active, I worked in Los Angeles
on a film soundtrack, "Runaway Dreams" wrote the score and
became a film music person.
worked with Andy Taylor from Duran, his solo album has never
seen the light, we wrote some great stuff, and we had a song
in the MeL Gibson film "Tequila Sunrise.
had two songs in "The Fourth Protocol" and was featured in
a BBC TV series with Leslie Grantham called The Paradise Club.
nineties saw a few low key collaborations with Mickey Moody,
and your solo album "Green and Blues". Hard times or good
Marsden: I wrote an album with Iron Maidenís Adrian Smith,
I hope that gets heard sometime, he is a great guitar player,
but his voice is amazing, the Moody Marsden Band was a way
of gigging with people I wanted too, MGM was a disaster, but
the tapes are really good, Bobby Kimball, the moment he sings
itís Toto, and I was fan number 2 of Toto from day one, number
one being the late Mr Powell who came to London to play the
first Toto album on my system, Cozy was such a music fan.
back to "Green and Blues". The cover notes have a lengthy
appreciation. But to the unitiated amongst our readers, what
was it about Peter Green that was so inspirational?
Marsden: Peter was the guitar player that I always wanted
to hear, never to emulate, I loved Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck,
Hendrix of course, but Peter Green just hit the parts that
the others didnít, and I always thought his song writing was
special, listen to "The Same Way" on Mayallís "Hard Road"
The signs of what was coming are there.
I wrote those sleeve notes I didnít know where he was, just
before the CD came out he rang me up, "Iím not lost, Iím in
Surrey" I see him quite a lot these days.
the noughties, and a deal with SPV for The Company of Snakes
with Mickey Moody and Neil Murray. Like many, I doubted the
wisdom of a double live album of old Whitesnake songs, but
"Burst the Bubble" came as an absolute delight. Did you think
that was going to be the one to put you back on the map?
Marsden: I donít think you ever presume to be "back" although
I did feel that BTB was a very good album, to be back you
have to go away, and we are always around it seems!
happened to bring about the end of Company of Snakes and the
arrival of M3?
Marsden: TCOS had been gigging for about a year, nice gigs,
but when we played the Whitesnake stuff the audience volume
would go up 70%, we toured Russia and Scandinavia with Alice
Cooper, and a gig in Helsinki summed the problem up, halfway
into "Shadow of the Blues" the 7000 crowd realised it was
the original guys from Whitesnake, the papers the next day
said that Whitesnake played a secret reformed gig, the following
day TCOS played a gig in a small Finnish town, about 100 people
showed up, all Whitesnake fans.
talked to Micky and Neil, and we decided to give the people
what they really wanted.
saw another pile of touring, another live album of Whitesnake
songs, and ex Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin. Anything you
want to say in public about that parting of the ways?
Marsden: The gigs were fine, a full tour of Russia and some
dates in Denmark, and the UK, another live album and then
is about the music of Whitesnake, no more, no less.
course, Tony Martin is now doing the Whole Lotta Metal karaoke
type tours. I take it you won't be popping along to one of
Marsden: Donít think so, never was any good at karaoke, some
people are though.
it's time for your first DVD, and M3 seem to be more visible
in the UK. What keeps you going after more than 30 years in
Marsden: When you are 30, you donít think it will go on much
longer, same at 40, and here we are still doing it.
DVD is a great opportunity to put this music in visual form
for the first time, I really believe that Micky and I are
playing much better today than at any time in our careers,
Neil Murray is without doubt the greatest rock bass player,
and with Jimmy Copley on drums the songs are on fire.
Mark Stanway on keys from Magnum, and not one but two vocalists
in Doogie White and Stefan Berrggren singing from the heart,
understanding the songs, and giving the vocals the respect
they deserve. We have a DVD that we are truly proud of. M3
will be on the road at the end of the year in the UK, check
out the DVD and enjoy your music, whatever it may be.
are to release a live DVD called 'Rough An' Ready - Performing
Classic Whitesnake' on May 30.
by Classic Pictures, it features the band, including former
Whitesnake members Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray
playing classics like 'Here Go Again', 'Trouble', 'Ready An'
Willing', 'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City', 'Walking
In The Shadow Of The Blues' and 'Fool For Your Loving'.
to Ben for arranging the interview, and to Bernie Marsden
for so many great songs and memories.