I Go Again’…Full interview with Bernie Marsden.
As we're here with local guitar legend; Bernie Marsden.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to The New Roxette.
Bernie Marsden was one of the original members
of Whitesnake (1978-1982) having played on the
group's first eight releases, and lent a major hand in composing
some of the band's most renowned songs, like ‘Here I Go
Again’, ‘Fool For Your Loving’, and ‘Would
I Lie To You’. Now living near Buckingham, we chat in his
memorabilia store Vinyl Riches in Buckingham about Whitesnake,
his amazing and interesting career, guitars, recent gigs and recording
inside a 1963 Airstream Overlander Caravan!
Bernie, you have been in the music industry for over 30 years.
You’ve obviously seen a lot of changes within the industry,
how has this affected you personally, and the choices you’ve
made, and the music you’ve created?
turned pro at the end of 1972, so it’s been a while; things
change of course, but not that much really.
you looked at a Melody Maker from 1975, headliners are Eric Clapton,
Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bee Gees, Deep Purple; well most of those
guys are still the main men!
I worked with Andy Taylor after he left Duran Duran, he told me
a lot of stuff, but as successful as they were, it wasn’t
Zeppelin was it!
The biggest change is recording, you can literally make an album
at home now, that was impossible when I started, but it don’t
make the album any better.
I was Mickie Most’s house guitarist at RAK in the seventies
for a while,- now he knew how to make records, if he was around
today he would have been able to pay us even less, no studio costs,
he would have me record at his house. Great man!
TNR: What was it like working with Whitesnake in the early
Very funny, very hard work, very underpaid, very successful, not
necessarily in that order though!
It was great time artistically; David, Micky and I knew almost
from the first day that we had something special going on.
We toured non stop, broke really big everywhere except the US,
and then after the band split David had great success over there,
We made some good albums, I think the test of time is good to
them, some are now what they call classic rock, well that will
We played with many people in the early days, many would not have
us on the bill, no names, but Nazareth did early on, bless ‘em,
and later AC/DC, and that tour broke us in Germany, we went from
50.000 to 500.000 album sales after the Back In Black tour, we
should have gone to the States with them, but David broke his
leg in Germany and we couldn’t go, who know what may have
TNR: Do you think Whitesnake would be interested in performing
at Aylesbury’s very own Hobble on the Cobbles free Music
Festival one year? Now that would be a spectacular event!
I could put a nice line up together for the HOTC, if you want
Whitesnake you will have to call David!
I had a line up called M3 playing classic Whitesnake, always great
gigs, but endless aggravation with promoters who would insist
on putting M3 in the contract and Whitesnake on the posters! It
gets tiresome after a while, being asked if you are a tribute
TNR: Who were your early musical influences and who influences
The Beatles, Hank Marvin, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Eric
Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, it was a good time to be learning
to play rock guitar folks!
First time I saw The Cream was in Aylesbury Assembly Hall, 1967,
played the gig myself about a year later.
Local musicians will know this, they had a line on the stage at
the hall, it stated, “No amplifiers in front of this line”
Can you imagine what Clapton thought when he got to the gig!
I listen to African music a lot, West and North Africa mostly
and Jeff Beck still inspires me, he is still on the cutting edge.
TNR: What was the last single or album you bought, and/or downloaded?
I bought a couple of CD’s, I like Pink’s work, she
is always not quite what you expect song wise, and that song “Not
Gonna Write You A Love Song” can’t remember her name,
great piano intro, clever song, and good album, I have two teenage
daughters, so I’m on the money with new stuff, its in the
house whether I like it or not, they have good taste though!
TNR: How many guitars do you currently own, and what was
the last guitar you bought?
I have a few, I now endorse Paul Reed Smith guitars, and acoustically
I use Stanford guitars, I will have a signature Stanford in 2009,
check out their website, nice instruments.
PRS are great makers, I have a collection of old Fender and Gibson
guitars that has been quite well documented over the years, Check
my website and you can see a few of them, nice pictures!
You recently played and recorded an acoustic gig at The Radcliffe
Centre in Buckingham. How was that, and what else have you got
lined up for 2009?
recorded an evening of acoustic music, some Whitesnake, some covers
and some new stuff, I played the British Acoustic Festival this
year and the gig was amazing, also got a chance to hook up with
the Marillion guys after a long break, nice people, a credit to
I have an album of covers in the can, Cream, Jimi, Taste, Johnny
Winter, stuff I grew up with, Jimmy Copley plays the most amazing
drums on the tracks, I have to release it if only for the drummers!
I am rehearsing for my “Bernie plays Rory” tour for
I will be celebrating the great man’s music from The Taste
until his untimely passing.
Rory Gallagher was a great musician and a good friend to me, his
music is timeless, I won’t be impersonating him, nobody
can, I will simply try to put across his music my way, if the
early signs are to go by, it will be a good show for fans.
TNR: You recorded this gig with Rockhopper Studios, which is a
mobile, fully restored 1963 Airstream Overlander Caravan. How
did you find the whole experience and will you be looking to release
this album soon?
enjoyed working with Steve and Rockhopper, easy to get along with,
and the sound is good, captured the moment(s) beautifully!
The CD should be ready for early 2009, and tracks available on
the website before that.
We also recorded a few guitar instrumentals; I might make them
available as a download. I used one of my old Les Paul’s
through a Marshall, nothing else, - guitar and amp, amazing sound!
TNR: What other things are you up to at the moment?
I’m always up to something! I have a nice situation in Croatia,
I have been playing some shows and it’s looking good, nice
people, nice venues and good weather in the summer for festivals!
I will be doing PRS clinics across the country, and in Europe
2009, promoting all of the above no doubt, the main thing will
be the Rory shows.
Anything else you wish to add or tell us about?
Quirky thing, I never played Friars in any band I was with, although
I rehearsed in Aylesbury though, with Cozy Powell. ‘Hammer’
were up there two/three days a week in 1974, me, Don Airey, Neil
Murray and CP.
'QUICK FIRE FIVE'
complete the sentence!
couldn't live without… My family
My worst habit is… poor punctuality
favourite guitar is… the next one
not particularly good at… Mornings
will be surprised to learn that… I appeared on
the stage in The National Theatre’s production of The Winter’s
Tale, by William Shakespeare in 2001 (and that is not the only
time I have appeared in Shakespeare at the National!)
Not a lot of people know that in the early days Whitesnake were
introduced on an ATV show in 1978 by the late Peter Cook, strange
co-starred in a six part German TV drama series in 1995.
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