Whitesnake – The Definitive Biography
This title is shipping during the second half of February 2012. I have been immersed in a final proof copy for the last couple of evenings and it both looks and feels very sumptuous (though the postman almost got a hernia lugging it up the drive – first day on his new round as well!), having grown to around 300 pages since it was first announced. Yes it is late, but without boring everyone with details of the delays (and the publisher has been updating anyone who pre-ordered it along the way) the extra time taken on it has been worthwhile.
In essence the book works on two levels. The first is as a detailed biography / history of the band Whitesnake, from Coverdale’s early tentative post-split solo projects on the Purple label through to the flash cover-mounted special edition of Forevermore (there is a little early days background as well). The second is as a well illustrated book, the main text being interspersed with sections devoted to photographic spreads from specific concerts, starting at the early back to the roots shows (with material I’d not seen before, including some I took myself which have never been printed) up to a spread showing a beaming Bernie Marsden as he guested with the group on the 2011 shows. There are some very atmospheric shots too, and although one or two betray the old super fast 400ASA films we all had to use at gigs back in the 70s and early 80s even these have a flavour of the times. The book wraps it up with an album by album section, including a little added discography detail (there is no attempt to do a massive discog) and concludes – after a great shot of all the roadies at work on the 2011 UK tour – with Nigel’s concert listing (which by contrast is massive and detailed!). This is certainly one thing the original lacked.
The layout is clean and tidy and leaves the text and images largely to speak for themselves which I like. It must have been tempting to splash memorabilia around all over the place (I ferried our entire collection down to the publishers so they had plenty to go at) but the designers have resisted this and just dotted bits and pieces in where it works best.
The balance of content is just about spot on too, so one era doesn’t dominate. Less thorough publishers would have just grabbed a handful of images from one of the big photo libraries and left it at that, but here individual photographers have been brought into the project to ensure a lot of rare and unseen photos, and while live shots form the bulk of the illustrative matter (as befits a touring outfit like Whitesnake) there are some nice off-stage shots too (and one which is perhaps not so nice but should raise a chuckle!).
Text wise the biography manages to cover just about every twist and turn in what became the increasingly complex story of the group’s line-up changes, and John Tucker handles the second half of the story with a deft touch (I did make a start but decided it was far better to hand it over to someone with a better working knowledge of this era than myself).
Overall then a book which ought to please anyone with an interest in the group and without doubt the most impressive title ever devoted to any aspect of the Deep Purple family. The book, which is album sized and printed on substantial art paper, has a clever embossed cover image of DC and fits inside a tough card slipcase (I think there are a couple of extra prints as well but haven’t seen these). The only downside of course is the price. Production costs on something like this are high, as the print run is limited to just 1000 copies and there is a lot of hand-finishing involved as well (printed and bound in sunny England!). A lot of collectors are apparently buying up these titles as sure-fire investments for the future and the way pension funds are going there has to be a lot of sense in that (it’s worth running this past your better half in case). Certainly given a choice between coughing up for this or the recent EMI box set, then I know which I would go for.
mail-order only from Rufus Stone.
And don’t forget that anyone who has had one of the special leaflets about the book which DTB have been mailing out for the past few months can get 5% off the cost by quoting the code on there.
Some very nice comments coming back from people who have bought the Whitesnake book: “Just a quick thank you. The wait was well and truly worth it.”; “the whole team has done a fantastic job and the wait – while lengthy - has been well worth it. In a word, it is stunning. Many congratulations to all concerned.” ; “I’ve just received my book. All I can say is WOW. The best book I have ever purchased. I am stunned by how good it is.”