United Rock Nations recently spoke with former WHITESNAKE and VANDENBERG guitarist Adrian Vandenberg about “MK II”, the new album by his current band VANDENBERG’S MOONKINGS. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the three-year gap between MOONKINGS‘ eponymous debut and “MK II”:
Adrian: “It started, unfortunately, with me having caught Lyme disease. I gotten bitten by one of those little ticks in my garden. That took me about a year and a half to feel normal again, because it makes you feel really tired, and you have, like, a flu-type of feeling all the time. It’s very shitty. There’s no real cure for it. You get antibiotic treatment — during six months, I had five treatments — and finally, it got a little bit better. It took a long time. In the meantime, we were also doing the last part of the tour, so I started writing already. I had a lot of songs ready, but since I didn’t feel the way I should, I wanted to perform, and not just play like this [imitates robotic strumming]… I feel really blessed that I actually pretty much got rid of it, because some people have it the rest of your life. It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen, but in my case, I’m fine.”
On the musical differences between MOONKINGS‘ debut and “MK II”:
Adrian: “As an artist, especially in rock, I like to have freedom of creation. Most people look at LED ZEPPELIN as a rock band, but at the same time, they have English folk and a reggae song. For me, personally, it’s important to have a wide range of influences and atmospheres so it’s not like this little tunnel that you’re supposed to wrestle… We love to play rock, and that’s what we do best, but at the same time, I think when you appreciate other genres as well, you add more depth to what you’re doing.
“With the first album, as a guitar player and a band, I wanted to make an ‘anti’-statement to a lot of rock bands who sound pretty similar. Everybody’s got perfect amplifiers; everybody’s got layers of guitars and keyboards and stuff. I wanted to go back to, like, playing on small amplifiers to almost be in a situation where you would hear MOONKINGS in a small club right in front of the stage, not like a big stadium sound. With this album, since we did a lot of shows in the meantime, I like to have the sound closer to how we sound live.”
On why he didn’t ask WHITESNAKE‘s David Coverdale to make a guest appearance as he did on MOONKINGS‘ debut:
Adrian: “I thought it would been kind of strange. I didn’t even talk to David about it. He would do it in a heartbeat, because he’s a friend, but at the same time, if you do it every time, it becomes an expectation for people.”
On the message behind the new song “What Doesn’t Kill You”:
Adrian: “I was in the car, driving, and I was thinking about the situation that the world is in right now. It’s chaos. We have a prick in the United States who does, like, ‘Who’s got the biggest dick?’ contest with this prick in North Korea. It could explode any time, basically… There’s, like, natural disasters everywhere; there’s religious fights all over the place; so I was thinking about it in the car, and one of the lines in the song kind of came in through my antenna — ‘One man’s God is another man’s death,’ which has been [the case] since religion has started. Personally, I believe that everybody has a right to believe whatever they want to believe, and please don’t push it on other people… I wanted to stay as far away as possible from the preaching that a guy like Bono does, for instance — sorry, U2 fans, but I’m not a big fan — I didn’t want to preach, but I couldn’t let it slip by.”
On whether he ever gets nostalgic for WHITESNAKE:
Adrian: “It was a great period, and I love it, and I have great memories of it. I love to have memories about great things, but at the same time, I want to look forward. I want to avoid my whole life to live in the past. Even in those days, every day, I looked at it as a present — I was a guy from Holland who suddenly tours the world and plays in big stadiums. I always thought, ‘If it’s going to be over next month, nobody’s going to take this away from me.’ That’s how I look it right now. What I love about this phase with MOONKINGS is that it’s really exciting to make those steps again. That’s why I started with unknown guys and with a new name instead of calling it VANDENBERG and live on an older reputation.”
Vandenberg joined WHITESNAKE in 1987 and played with the group for ten years. In addition to playing on the studio albums “Slip Of The Tongue” and “Restless Heart”, he performed the guitar solo in the group’s best-known song, “Here I Go Again”.
“MK II” was released on November 3 via the Mascot Label Group.