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This article was originally published in issue #3
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Whitesnake’s Doug Aldrich is one of the hardest working guitarists in Rock. Jamie Humphries caught up with him at Marshall Headquarters to find out about the new Whitesnake tour and album.
For many guitarists, hitting the major league as a gun for hire is their dream - and these days it’s a dream that is becoming even more difficult to achieve and maintain. Doug Aldrich is proof that hard work, determination plus a healthy dose of talent will help you achieve your goals.
Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, Doug became interested in guitar at a young age after being introduced him to the music of Jeff Beck. Like most teenagers, he worked on his chops listening to the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. At the weekends he could be found playing in cover bands, performing material by Van Halen, Deep Purple, UFO and Black Sabbath. After finally making the decision that guitar playing was his chosen path, he packed up and headed off to L.A.
Word spread fast about the hot new guitar player in town, and still in his teens Doug found himself auditioning for Kiss. Although Doug didn’t get the job, it formed a great foundation for future musical situations and also cemented a strong friendship with Gene Simmons.
As well as working as an in-demand guitar teacher, Doug also formed the band Lion, and had success with a top 20 single on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. Following the splitting-up of Lion, he went on to work with Hurricane, and House of Lords, the latter helping establish Doug as a ‘name’ for his technical prowess, tone and feel.
Doug went on to form Bad Moon Rising and also released two solo albums. Although instrumental, his albums were more about feel than technique. He was also hired to play on many compilation and tribute albums, including Little Guitars, A Tribute to Van Halen, Bat Head Soup, A tribute To Ozzy, Crossfire A Tribute to SRV, and Carmine Appice’s Guitar Zeus, laying down many of the rhythm tracks for such players as Brian May, Slash and Yngwie Malmsteen.
Doug also landed the gig as the late Ronnie James Dio’s guitarist, recording the studio album Killing the Dragon, plus appearing on several live albums. It was around this time that he was approached by David Coverdale to tour with Whitesnake. At first he thought it would be a tour playing the band’s hits, which to begin with it was. But before too long he and Coverdale formed a strong musical bond and began collaborating on material. This year saw the release of Forevermore, the second Whitesnake studio album to feature Doug.
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Doug Aldrich is also an active clinician for Marshall Amps, and his clinics are both informative and entertaining and he has to be one of the most down to earth, and most genuine musicians I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. As Doug said himself, career wise he was a late bloomer, which just goes to show that experience goes a long way when it comes to landing a profile gig or session!