Whitesnake! Pardon?




whitesnake deafen fans

"here's some earplugs for ya!"

A news story which I’m sure has resonance amongst a lot of Deep Purple fans concerns a couple who have been claiming damages from Whitesnake for hearing loss. They went to the 2003 US tour gig at Boston Orpheum Theatre (with Scorpions and Dokken) but when they found equipment was blocking their view, got moved to seats closer to the stage. And closer to the speaker tower.

As a result one of the pair, Maryellen Burns, claimed she suffered long-term hearing loss including the ‘shearing of the nerve cells of the cochlea inside her ear’. It’s not clear from any of the reports whether she thought to get up and move or just stuck it out.
Coverdale doesn’t seem to have helped his case by apparently questioning the safety of the volume levels during the show, joking “Is this safe?” at one point!
Apparently not. Maryellen has recently been awarded a $40,000 settlement by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
During the case they even got around to discussing which genre of music Whitesnake fits into, with the plaintiffs saying Whitesnake shouldn’t be classified as a heavy metal band, arguing that the term pigeonholed “Mr. Coverdale’s talented voice …[and] classic rock & blues sound.”
Quite how this was relevant to the case I’ve no idea. And can a voice ever be talented?
I did drop our mate Mark Maddock a line after the story emerged, as I know he suffered similar hearing problems following two back to back Whitesnake gigs in (I think it was) 1982. But then he did follow it with shows by Ozzy Osbourne, which would have made a case difficult to frame. On grounds of taste alone.
It did cause some ‘what’s the loudest gig you’ve even been to’ thinking though. I kind of feel some of the early Groundhogs shows were the loudest of the 70s for me. The additional problems caused by less sophisticated sound gear didn’t help either. After the first time I saw them my ears were ringing for several days, and from then on I always took something to stuff my ears with to help, before discovering those little foam ear protectors.
We did leave one show due to volume levels; Cabaret Voltaire at The Phoenix Building in Sheffield. The ear plugs helped but the volume was so intense we could feel our chests being thumped by the sound and decided it was getting dangerous.

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