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Talking with Whitesnake's Coverdale

When hair metal took off in the late '80s, bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison seemed to come out of nowhere -- but not Whitesnake. By 1987, when the hard rockers were enjoying such smash hits as "Here I Go Again" and the power ballad "Is This Love," operatic frontman David Coverdale had already been in numerous British bands, including Deep Purple. Since then, Coverdale, 59, has retired and reunited Whitesnake several times, reshuffling its lineup as he goes, but the band is on again, with a stable, veteran lineup -- and a visit to Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Wednesday.

You recently referred to recording a Whitesnake album at Ringo Starr's house, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono used to live. Which album was that, and how did it come about?

It was John Lennon's house -- Tittenhurst Park at Ascot [in England]. He bought this astonishing, grand house with 80 acres and sold it to Ringo for exactly the price he paid for it, not a penny more. And Ringo sold it years later for 8 million pounds. The album I made was "Come and Get It" . . . I met Ringo, I was very close with George. Are we doing a Beatles interview? I know Paul Stanley [of Kiss], too! I know Jimmy Page as well. Oh, my God, I'm going to be a gossipmonger.

The first thing I notice on the latest Whitesnake album, "Forevermore," is that you still hit the high notes. How do you preserve your voice?

I thank God every day. That's primarily it. When I'm working, I stop drinking. I love wine and I love my single malts and my cognacs.

After the smash 1987 "Whitesnake" album, you toured with Mötley Crüe. As someone who had already lived through backstage debauchery, what did you make of their infamous high jinks with drugs and groupies?

I was entirely familiar with that decadence, are you kidding me? We got away with Julius Caesar-style decadence, or Caligula. It was funny to me to see the young guys embracing that.

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So, any Jimmy Page gossip?

Pagey's, like, one of my favorite people in the world. He came down to a London show -- I've lost track of time -- two months ago. He looks better than I've seen him in a long time. Very healthy, ready to rock.


WHO Whitesnake, with Tesla and Sebastian Bach

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

INFO $20-$89.50; 800-745-3000, livenation.com

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