Guitarist John Sykes is featured in the second edition of Rock Candy Mag. Highlights from the feature appear below (via

Sykes discussing Whitesnake’s ‘87 self titled record:

“[Singer David Coverdale] used every excuse possible to explain why he didn’t want to record his vocals. He blamed the weather. He wasn’t happy with the studio. He even went so far as to say the microphones weren’t good enough. I honestly think David suffered from nerves.”

On being let go from the band after the album was released:

He admits to still being “very bitter” about how Coverdale treated him. He adds, “David said nothing to any of us about having decided to kick us out of the band…I was furious and wasn’t about to accept this…So, I went down to the studio where David was still recording his vocals, prepared to confront him. Honest to God, he ran away, got in his car and hid from me.”

Sykes claims Coverdale blamed the record company, Geffen, for forcing him to change band members. “I knew he was f–king lying,” Additionally, he insists Coverdale’s claims to have written 95 percent of the album’s guitar parts are also false. “When I knew him, David could barely play the guitar,” Sykes said.

Would he ever work with Coverdale again?

“I know David has been saying recently that he and I have been talking about working together on a project outside of Whitesnake. That’s completely false. I really have no interest in ever talking to him again.”

Read the entire article in issue #2 of Rock Candy magazine, which can be purchased online at

additional source:

[Thank you, to Harry Taint, for passing this along]

28 Responses

  1. Sykes states that Coverdale has been saying they’ve been talking about working together again and Sykes says that’s false. Where did Coverdale say this? I can’t find any interviews where he makes that claim.

  2. Sykes is a great musician. I first discovered him when he played with Tygers of Pan Tang. The Whitesnake 1987 album is fantastic, and Sykes greatly contributed to that album. If this story about Sykes being kicked out of the band is true, then I guess we fans won, or we may never have had Blue Murder form. And the first Blue Murder album is awesome. Perhaps that album was Sykes’ “revenge” album??????

    1. Rattle,

      That Blue Murder album was supposed to be material for the next Whitesnake record. As much as I love Coverdale’s smoky vocals, not sure I could picture them on, Jelly Roll 😉

      Also, kudos to you for being ahead of the curve. I only discovered Sykes when he joined Whitesnake, but I guess better late then never :).


    2. Dana, thanks for the info about about the Blue Murder album! I never knew that material was supposed to be for Whitesnake.

      If you get the can, check out Tygers of Pan Tang’s Spellbound and Crazy Nights albums. Sykes played on both albums. Great NWOBHM!

    3. You are so welcome, Rattle, and thank you, for the tip. 😉

      Not sure if you were aware of this, but the original Blue Murder album was recorded with, Ray Gillen of Badlands, on vocals.

      When Sykes submitted the demos to Geffen his vocals were on the songs. However, when he recorded the album he submitted it to the label with Gillen on vocals. The record company questioned what happened to original singer, and John, after much coercing from John Kalodner, was forced to re-record the record with his own vocals. I believe you can find some of the tracks, recorded with Gillen, on Youtube.

      D 🙂

    4. One more tidbit that I`m sure Dana knows. Ray Gillen was supposed to be the singer on that first blue murder album. In fact there`s at least 1 song that you can here on youtube.

      to late

      I guess from what i read is that Johns manager said Johns vocals were good enough and they didn`t need Ray to sing after all. Apparently John has more songs recorded with Ray singing. To bad, that would have been great to have both guys singing and doing harmonies.

  3. You are so right, Dana! Everyone needs to remember that, whatever their talent level, these folks are just human beings, with all of the same flaws and weaknesses as the rest of us. None of them are these perfect rock gods or goddesses that some people perceive them to be. Admire them for the music and performances that they create, but always remember that at the end of the day they still put their pants on the same way you do! If you can do that, you will never be disappointed when you read about them sleeping with their bandmates’ girlfriend, or getting picked up for DUI, etc.

  4. very interesting posts guys! thanks for all the info ! thanks as usual Dana ! Keith you are so right about them being just regular people , we all make mistakes in life, this thing sounds like it could be deeper and possibly involve the loss of royalty income , I hope they can work it out – It would be great if they could put their differences aside life is way too short –

    1. Doug,

      I agree with your statement, and admit there are, and were, tons of phenomenal guitar players, that exists in the world. But, I think what I appreciate the most about Sykes, goes beyond his guitar playing. He also happens to be a very good songwriter and a surprisingly good vocalist. He is what Eddie calls, “a triple threat,” and Eddie likens Kozten to Sykes, in that sense. Not every guitar player can be a lead a singer nor a good song writer. It takes real talent to be able good in all areas of music.

      On a superficial note, I will readily admit that his looks also added into the equation. However, in my defense, I liked his playing before I ever saw what he looked like 😉


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