Doug Aldrich, (seen here second from the right), an American hard rock guitarist currently with The Dead Daisies, chats with Kevin Cooper about playing the Hammersmith Odeon London with Whitesnake, his most extravagant purchase, The Dead Daisies latest album Radiance and their forthcoming 2022 tour of the UK.

Doug Aldrich is an American hard rock guitarist, who founded the band Burning Rain with Keith St. John in 1998 and has played with Whitesnake, Dio, Lion, Hurricane, House Of Lords, Bad Moon Rising and Revolution Saints.

He has released several solo albums including 1997’s Electrovision and 2001’s Alter Ego. He is currently a member of The Dead Daisies.

Aldrich toured with former Deep Purple bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes’ band in 2015. It was announced in early 2016 that he would be replacing Richard Fortis as guitarist of The Dead Daises.

He began playing the guitar aged eleven. Fresh out of High School he unsuccessfully auditioned for Kiss in 1982. In 1983 he joined L.A glam band Lion, who recorded two albums and one EP before the band broke up in 1989.

During 2015, he joined the Glenn Hughes solo European tour as the guitarist, along with drummer Pontus Engborg, to complete the power trio with Hughes on bass and vocals.

When he replaced Richard Fortis as a member of The Dead Daisies he was reunited with bassist Marco Mendoza, the two previously having performed together in Whitesnake.

Whilst waiting for the England versus USA World Cup football match to start, and preparing for The Dead Daisies forthcoming UK tour, Doug Aldrich took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Doug, good morning, how are you?

Hi Kevin, I’m doing great thanks and it’s so good to hear from you. How are things with you?

All is good thank you, and before we move on let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

Of course, it’s great to be able to speak to you, my man. We both have a very important football match coming up in around fifteen minutes, so what are you going to do? (laughter).

(Laughter) well it would appear that I have got to get through this interview rather quickly. I personally think that from the PR’s point of view it was either a case of bad timing or they have no interest whatsoever in the World Cup (laughter).

Yes, I would say so (laughter). Let’s do it, we can knock it out.

Right, here we go. I’m going to ask you just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

Life at the moment is going really well, thank you man. We had a great tour this summer, and then the latest album, Radiance came out. We are all really happy with it and we are now ready to come back over to the UK and start off the tour at Rock City there in Nottingham. I really can’t wait.

How did you cope during the recent period of lockdown?

For me, I was pretty lucky actually because I had been waiting for years to renovate our home and my wife and I decided ‘okay, well we don’t know what is going on with this pandemic but we have got the plans drawn up so let’s do this’ (laughter). I found myself being the main contractor on the job and we spent the whole year renovating our house. We actually got to move back in during March of 2021. The only other thing that I did during that period was some writing with Glenn (Hughes) but I did find the whole situation difficult man. I have to be totally honest with you and say that I had it a lot better than some but having said that, it was really difficult.

After such a long period of inactivity, just how did it feel when you finally managed to get back out on the road?

Oh my God, it was incredible. It was so weird because we had our last album, Holy Ground, in the can during Covid. We had it done, and it was meant to come out around April of 2020. Obviously, that got pushed back to February 2021 because we all thought that we didn’t want to release the album and then be in a position where we couldn’t tour it. We didn’t know just how long the pandemic was going to go on for. So we finally got ourselves back into rehearsals and then we did a three week run of shows here in the States. We took a little break and then we did another run in the USA in the summer time.

We then managed to get ourselves over to the UK in October last year and it was just so amazing to get back and play. On the very first gig back playing, I remember just being totally blown away by the feeling after not being able to play live for a couple of years and wondering when we were going to get back to it.

On the first gig back, were there any nerves at all?

(Laughter) oh yes. I didn’t really know what to expect or just how many were going to show up to the gig. However, it turned out that the place was packed, people were just so enthusiastic. I was most definitely a little nervous but I think that once we got out there on stage the nerves were over but prior to that it was most definitely like, ‘wow, I wonder just what is going to happen’.

I spoke to Bernie (Marsden) recently and he told me that because he hadn’t really played the guitar as much as he should have done during lockdown, on his first gig back he said that trying to play the guitar was like trying to play with frozen sausages for fingers (laughter).

(Hysterical laughter) bless him, I love Bernie, he’s a legend. Fortunately, I did play the guitar during lockdown. I played at home, making some lockdown videos. There were some situations where I would be doing sessions or something, but I was also playing at home. It was interesting because of being at home with my daughter who at that time was five years old. Usually, I like to have a little space where I can get creative and stuff, but at that time we were still living in the rental house which didn’t have the space so she was always with me when I was practicing and playing. The only time that I was away from home was, like I said earlier, was when I would go over to Glenn’s house.

I have to tell you that the last time I saw The Dead Daisies was back in April 2018 here in Nottingham at Rock City, on the Burn It Down world tour. That was in the days of Marco (Mendoza) and John (Corabi).

Oh wow, that was a really great show.

When Marco and John left the band, who made the phone call to Glenn (Hughes)?

It was actually the management who called Glenn, and I have to be totally honest with you and say that I had thought about it, about what was happening and who we would carry on with or if we were going to carry on at all. Management called me and said; “we have been speaking to Glenn Hughes, what do you think” and I just said to them, “that would be amazing”. I hadn’t thought of Glenn because at that time he was still on tour promoting the Deep Purple tribute stuff, so I simply didn’t think of him. However, when I sat down and thought about it, it was like, ‘wow, that would be totally amazing’. We were not trying to replace John, but we were trying to make a fresh start.

So, we all met up at the Sunset Sound Recorders which is a really famous recording studio in Hollywood, California, which is located at 6650 Sunset Boulevard. We started writing a few songs, in fact we wrote four songs and recorded demos during that period, and that was the start of Glenn and I writing together.

And, of course, with Glenn you get two for the price of one, you get a fantastic vocalist and a superb bass player.

Glenn is, as you rightly say, an unbelievable bass player. He is one of the greatest bass players that I have ever heard and been fortunate to play with. He has got a ferocious tone, plus he is very melodic. He will quite often tell you that he was influenced by The Beatles and if you listen, you can hear some Paul McCartney influences in his playing.

You have worked with Glenn over the years so I will ask you, what, in your opinion, makes him so special?

He is just so God given talented. Obviously, he is an amazing bass player and singer plus he is a tremendously amazingly talented songwriter. He writes in a certain style that is very different, than pretty much anybody that I know of. Glenn has got his own style of singing and his lyrics are just so unique. It’s different with Black Country Communion or his solo stuff, but with The Dead Daisies Glenn paints a picture that is abstract; it really is art. You kind of know what the song is about like for example our latest singles, Born To Fly. Our guitarist David (Lowy) had that song for a few years, and it didn’t make it onto our last record; we just never got to it.

He and I started working on it and came up with the idea for Born To Fly for the chorus. Then we gave it to Glenn for his consideration and he took it to a really cool place. The song now has a double meaning like a lot of his stuff. Born To Fly is David Lowy’s past, but it is also a mantra in the fact that we are all born to fly; we are meant to be free, we are meant to face our fears and go forward. Glenn is just super talented in every aspect.

Coming right up to date now with the new album, Radiance. I think that it is a great piece of work. Are you happy with it?

I am very happy with it, I love it. People always say this when it’s their latest album. It could be my number one Daisies album, or it could be number three but, I really do like it because it’s got a nice mix of subjects. It has some great riffs, and one of the biggest things, aside from David and Glenn, is having drummer Brian Tichy coming back into the fold. That really is massive. I have played with everyone from Simon Phillips who you will know from his work with Toto, to Aynsley Dunbar who has worked with everyone, including John Mayall, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Journey, Nils Lofgren, Ian Hunter, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Whitesnake, to name but a few, to Mikkey Dee, who worked with Motörhead.

There are a million guys that I have worked with over the years, and I have to say that Brian is right at the very top. For me, he is at the top of the list. All of those are great, they are all great in different ways, but Brian is very musical and has bought a thing to The Dead Daisies that has just made each song that much better.

Do you have a current favourite track on the album?

At the moment, I really do like Born To Fly. It is just a simple, melodic song. Having said that during a tour my favourites will change here and there, but you are going to be hearing Born To Fly live, if you can make it down to any of the shows.

How many songs from the new album have made it onto the set list for the tour?

Without giving too much away, we will be playing five songs from the new album, and of course songs from Holy Ground, and songs from The Daisies past prior to Glenn.

Do you enjoy your time spent here in the UK?

For me, it is an honour and a privilege. I have got so many good friends over there, because of my time with Dio and Whitesnake. I made a lot of friends thanks to Ronnie (Dio) and David (Coverdale). The Whitesnake Choir is now everywhere but, in my opinion, it started over there in the UK. Some of my favourite gigs have been in the UK, one being at Hammersmith Odeon the first time with Whitesnake. We actually filmed that show. I had always been hearing about Hammersmith and for me to eventually play there really was amazing. Being in the UK so much because of Whitesnake I got into the food, in fact, I actually consider Indian food to be British food (laughter). I had the best British/Indian food and then the best British pub food; I just love it, it’s great.

So, am I to take it that you have got used to our warm beer?

(Laughter) of course, I love it man. In fact, I am thinking about having a pint whilst I enjoy the England versus USA match. By the time that this interview is out there it will be all said and done. I think that we know who the favourites are don’t we (laughter). Let it be known that I have supported England many, many, many times over the years with friends whilst watching the football over there. I wish England the best for the whole tournament. There is nobody more passionate about football than you England fans.

Your UK tour starts here in Nottingham at Rock City on Saturday 3rd December. What, in your opinion, makes Rock City a must play venue?

What can I say, the place is just legendary. People who hear about that place try to imagine what the place is like. When you get on stage it has got a nice crowd man; there just isn’t anything like it. In my opinion, it is like the Hammersmith of Nottingham. I know that there are a number of venues over there in Nottingham but Rock City is a very famous venue.

Whilst you have been in the music business, what has been your most extravagant purchase?

I just recently bought my wife an electric car which was a little out of our budget but it simply had to be done. We had a car that was paid off but my wife spilt candle oil all over the back seat, which made the car simply undrivable. Whenever you got in, your eyes would be burning (laughter). I just said, “that’s it, I am going to get you a new car and I’m not bothered what it is” (laughter). To that, she replied, “please get me an electric something because I really want to try that”. It was a little out of our range but it’s good.

What was the first record that you bought?

The very first record that I bought would have been Led Zeppelin II.

Who did you first see performing live?

I am always proud to say that the band who I first saw performing live was The Beach Boys. It really was a great show.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

That would most probably have been Till The End Of Time off the Good To Be Bad album by Whitesnake.

What is currently on Doug Aldrich’s rider?

Not too much to be totally honest with you. I always like to have some cold cuts and stuff to enable me to make a little sandwich or two. Lots of times we will have catering but just in case I don’t get a chance to, I do like to have either some beer or wine after the show. Sometimes I might have a beer before the show, but generally if I had to pick one thing it would be cold cuts and bread.

As that time of year is fast approaching, how will you be spending Christmas?

I will be at home with the family in Los Angeles, and we always have a great time together. We p[ay a lot of games with the family and this year we are going to have a couple of Christmas parties to go to and we are having one ourselves once I get back from the UK.

I see that you have got FM and Graham Bonnet supporting you. How’s Graham, is he in good voice?

Oh yes, Graham is always in good voice, he is legendary. FM are with us as well, so it really is going to be a great night man. I really can’t wait.

On that note Doug let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been great.

Thanks Kevin, I really do appreciate you giving up your time today to speak to me. You take care and I will see you in Nottingham at Rock City. Bye for now.