By Andrew Catania
Adrian Vandenberg is one of my favorite guitarists. I remember meeting him for the first time backstage with Rudy Sarzo at a Whitesnake concert at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, on the Slip Of The Tongue tour in 1989. The Flying Dutchman is super nice then, and he’s still super lovely today.
One of my wishes is he issues another Vandenberg signature that’s as good as his Peavey guitar was or better. AV and I discussed Vandenberg 2.0
How did you go about choosing Ronnie Romero for vocals on the new Vandenberg album?
AV: It’s a pretty natural process. I didn’t even audition. Mascot and my manager have always asked me why don’t I revive Vandenberg. With my previous band Moonkings, I wanted to get back to my blues-rock roots.
About a year ago, I noticed within myself I had to urge to expand again and go louder, harder, and faster. Basically when I was in my early twenties, and I had my blues-folk band Teaser (Adrian Vandenberg, Jos Veldhuizen, Nico De Gooijer, Nico De Gooyer, Peter Van Eyk)
I didn’t want to do Moonkings with a different singer and different kinds of music. So it made much more sense to start up Vandenberg 2.0. If I find an incredible singer because otherwise, it would be one of those nostalgic bands
I want to have a dynamic fresh sounding band. I remembered Ronnie because I was blown away by his vocals in Rainbow. I got in touch with him, and he appears to be a huge fan. He said he started singing because David Coverdale and I recorded our live album Starkers In Tokoyo and said, that’s the reason why he started singing. He was pleased to hear from me.
We got together, and we had instant chemistry, and we took it from there. The rest of the band I found in Holland. With Ronnie living in Madrid, Spain, and I thought if I’m going to get international guys from other countries as well, it’s going to be complicated to get to rehearse and tour. I didn’t even have to audition or put the word out.
Was it your idea to rerecord Burning Heart?
AV: No, it wasn’t; actually, I did for my manager, and it wasn’t originally meant to be on the album because I thought I’m not going to rerecord it again. I love the song still. I’ve always played it also live with Moonkings. My manager suggested it. He said, why don’t we have Ronnie sing Burning Heart, so we don’t give away a new track of the album.
It was going to be a bonus track t for Japan, as they always want an extra track. It’s different than imports. Everybody was so energetic about it, and the record company management said, well, do you mind if we put it on the album? I said, no, it’s okay. Because in the end, it’s also an excellent bridge from right now back to 82 for Vandenberg. It sounds excellent because, as you can hear, Ronnie sends his ass off. I think it has more emotional depth than the original version, although I still like that one too.
Did you write all of the material for the new record?
AV: I started writing everything with Ronnie’s voice and capabilities in mind, and I just kept writing until everything was done. That’s how it was done working with David Coverdale, that’s how we’ve always done it because I’ve been writing songs ever since I was three years old. Writing songs is my main passion and outlet aside from my paintings.
I tailored it to Ronnie’s voice as you can hopefully hear on the record because it’s like a glove. It fits perfectly.
Any plans for you and David Coverdale to do anything in the foreseeable future?
AV: Not at the moment, as Vandenberg is going to be my main priority.
Are you hoping to tour the states with Vandenberg?
AV: They were plans for us to tour the states before all of this coronavirus stuff hit. After this blows over, we’ll see how the American promoters are in booking groups, but I want to tour the states as I’ve toured them extensively over the last 35 years.
Are you considering doing another signature guitar? Your Peavey Vandenberg is regarded as one of the best rock guitars from the day.
AV: I’m considering it, it’s something that would be nice because I get a lot of questions about it through social media if it’s ever going to be rereleased. It’s something to consider because it’s a beautiful guitar and I still play it. It’s very comfortable to play, as you know.
To pre-order Vandenberg 2020, please visit http://smarturl.it/Vandenberg
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