Former WHITESNAKE Guitarist ADRIAN VANDENBERG - "My Only Motivation Is Being Able To Play Music That I Love; I Never Thought It Was Going To Be My Job"
July 3, 2020, a month ago
Former Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg felt that 2020 was the right time to reactivate his band, Vandenberg. The legendary guitarist didn’t want to go forward on nostalgia this time around, he wanted to kick things up a notch. In order to do that he had to find the right singer and found him in the form of touring Rainbow vocalist Ronnie Romero. The result of the pairing is their latest album Vandenberg 2020.
While there are signs of Vandenberg’s past within the music, the end result is more modern, dynamic, and energetic. Metal Express Radio had the chance to speak with Adrian about Vandenberg 2020, how he discovered Romero, the future of Moonkings, and why KISS wasn’t happy opening for Whitesnake.
On being in a band in the '80s versus being in a band today
Vandenberg: "The '80s, as we all know, was the Golden Age for rock bands, and I feel really blessed that I was able to be a part of it. At the same time it has never been my motivation; my only motivation is making music, being able to play music that I love. I never thought it was going to be my job because I went to art usinversity and made a really nice living selling my paintings and my designs. I never figured that with the kind of rock that I wanted to play, and nothing else, that I'd be able to make a living with it. It's a blessing to still be able to do that."
Vandenberg has never really been away, but the band that carries his proud name has returned, after an absence that lasted for more than three decades. Vandenberg is very much alive again in a young, fresh and all-revised 2020 version.
Adrian Vandenberg can already look back on a rich career. He played in Whitesnake for over 13 years, having been part of this seminal band’s most legendary line-up. He was the driving force behind Manic Eden and more recently, Vandenberg’s Moonkings, but equally proud he looks back on Vandenberg, the Dutch band that put him on the map, internationally: “So many people still come up to me and speak about those glory days and the albums I’ve made with that band.”
All these compliments have inspired Adrian to bring Vandenberg back to life, albeit in an all new line-up. Together with renowned producer Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath), the band has delivered an album that’s generating praise from critics across the globe. The Vancouver Sun wrote, “To say that the new album from former Whitesnake axe man Adrian Vandenberg is a surprise is understatement. The 10 songs collected here boast more rpm (riffs per minute) than anyone could fairly expect in 2020. And they are classic Sunset Strip slabs of melodic metal of the sort that just doesn’t turn up much today. Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero, who did such a good job fronting Ritchie Blackmore’s reformed Rainbow, howls like a mix of Ronnie Dio and Ian Gillian on headbanging numbers such as Hell and High Water, thrashers like Light Up the Sky and the killer opener Shadows of the Night. At a time when most of the artists from that era are well past even running on fumes, this sparks.”
Ronnie Romero, who first came to prominence when Ritchie Blackmore recruited him for a Rainbow tour in 2016, joins Adrian Vandenberg alongside Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) on bass and Brian Tichy (Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner) on drums. For planned touring, Vandenberg and Romero will be joined by Koen Herfst (crowned as the best drummer of the Benelux, six times in a row) and Randy van der Elsen on bass (Tank). Says Adrian: “I want to get out there and play. We want to play this music to audiences all over the world.”
About his decision to relaunch the band Vandenberg, Adrian says: “Going with the band name Vandenberg was a logical decision. Rock fans would know right away what they are dealing with. I felt that I wasn’t done with the style of music I wrote for my band Vandenberg at the time and wanted to pick up the thread where I left it when I joined Whitesnake. But to me that would only make sense if I’d come up with a brand new, testosterone driven version of Vandenberg with a kick ass, world class line-up. Vandenberg 2020 on steroids. So that’s exactly what we did. BAM! Here I go again.”
Vocalist Ronnie Romero adds: “To me it’s kind of a dream come true. I’ve followed Adrian´s career since for years and he always was one of my favorite guitar players, so to work with him is nothing but amazing to me. Adrian is an exceptional musician, and it's really easy to work with him, the energy when we work together was fantastic, we had great times at the studio with our producer Bob Marlette, very exciting time.”
Bob Marlette is equally enthusiastic: "Working with Adrian has been a real pleasure. The man is working around the clock and his well of new riffs and melodies never seems to dry. With a powerful singer such as Ronnie Romero behind the microphone, I was some true magic expecting to happen and let me tell you... it has.”
In short, these guys mean business. 35 years may have passed since the final studio album ‘Alibi’, Vandenberg 2020 sounds just as fresh, relevant and at least as HEAVY as back in the day. Fun times will revive with a brand-new album, and an agenda filling up quickly with festivals and other touring plans. Or as the man himself, Adrian Vandenberg puts it: “Fasten your seatbelts, Vandenberg is here to stay.”
The album will be available as a Limited CD Box Set, on LP, and via digital alongside all streaming services. Pre-order the album here.
“Shadows Of The Night”
“Hell And High Water”
“Let It Rain”
“Ride Like The Wind”
“Light Up The Sky”
“Burning Heart" 2020
“Freight Train” lyric video:
“Shadows Of The Night” visualizer:
“Burning Heart" 2020: