Guitarist Reb Beach will be best known as a member of iconic bands Whitesnake and Winger and more recently as part of all star band Black Swan. On 6th November however he released a new solo instrumental album through Frontiers Music called “A View From The Inside”. I had the opportunity to chat with Reb via Skype on 3rd November to talk about that new album. We also talked about progress on the new Winger album as well as about Whitesnake, Black Swan and the late, great Eddie Van Halen.
The interview was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 6th November. That Show also included an interview with guitarist Tony Hernando from Lords of Black and it can now be heard on our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interviews-with-reb-beach-and-tony-hernando-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-6th-nov-2020/
Playlist for the Show
SCREAMING EAGLES – Rock n Roll Soul
REB BEACH – Aurora Borealis
Interview with REB BEACH Part 1 (6 min)
REB BEACH – Little Robots
Interview with REB BEACH Part 2 (9 min)
BLACK SWAN – Immortal Souls
Interview with REB BEACH Part 3 (8 min)
REB BEACH – Attack of the Massive
WHITESNAKE – Hey You (You Make Me Rock)
WINGER – Deal With The Devil
LORDS OF BLACK – Dying to Live Again
Interview with TONY HERNANDO Part 1 (6 min)
LORDS OF BLACK – Shadows Kill Twice
Interview with TONY HERNANDO Part 2 (6 min)
RESTLESS SPIRITS – Stop Livin’ To Live Online
Interview with TONY HERNANDO Part 3 (5 min)
LORDS OF BLACK – Alchemy of Souls
Interview with TONY HERNANDO Part 4 (4 min)
LORDS OF BLACK – Brightest Star
The interview will be transcribed and posted here later.
Part 1 & Part 2 (To follow)
NI ROCKS – The last time I saw you on stage was with Whitesnake in June of 2019; actually at Rock The Ring in Switzerland of all places. The planned show in Belfast earlier this year was obviously cancelled due to David’s health problems and it would have become a casualty of covid anyway probably. Are there any plans for getting back on the road with Whitesnake at some point?
REB – I haven’t heard anything about touring from David; but David texts us every single day – every day. When we played our last show he said (imitating David) ‘alright darlings, now listen, I’m going to stay in touch. Everybody stay in touch. You’re all snakes and we’re going to get through this thing together’. So he texts us very single day. He texts us jokes and ‘how are you darlings’. He loves his band and takes great care of us. He will tell us when something pops up for a possible gig for sure! But I haven’t heard anything yet in that respect.
NI ROCKS – Whitesnake released the “The Rock Album” and I think the “Love Songs” album comes out on the same date as your new album comes out. , the latest Whitesnake compilation is released. Were you involved in the mixing of those or in picking the tracks or was that all down to David?
REB – Oh, God no! David does really well with those packages that he does and people love it. I have nothing to do with that stuff.
NI ROCKS – You’ve been part of Whitesnake for 18 years – which is longer than any other member, apart from David himself. How would you describe working with David? What is your relationship with David?
REB – David will always be David Coverdale! He’ll always be a legend. It’d be hard to be, like good buddies, you’d think with him. But it wasn’t. I lived with him for a year and we became very close – we’d go to movies together, we’d go out for dinner, I’d cook meals for him! I’d wake up in the morning and there he is in Armani bathrobe and I’m in my PJ bottoms with my belly hanging out and with a hangover. And he’s like, ‘Darling, how are you this fine morning; isn’t it lovely outside’, and I’m like ‘yeah it’s good, it’s good’. He’s always go-go-go and he has so much energy and he has this beautiful spirit. You gotta love David, and I do love him. He’s a peer and a friend, but there’ll always be that thing where he’s also DAVID COVERDALE! He’ll sing next to me on stage and the hairs will stand up on my arm when he hits those blood curdling notes in “Still of the Night” and everything. It’s really, really something to watch him and be next to him and feel his energy when he’s performing. But I love hanging out with David. He’s so funny! Oh, my god, he’s hysterically funny; and highly intelligent. He’ll tell you some whopper stories that will have you dying.
NI ROCKS – He seems to be one of the most prolific social media posters around – to Instagram and all the rest of it. He seems to be on non-stop.
REB – Oh yeah, he’s all over social media. But you’ve got to be these days. I’m not – I’m terrible with that stuff. He’s great at it. He’s got like a billion followers!
NI ROCKS – A slight change of subject! Eddie Van Halen of course passed away a few weeks ago. You said on your Instagram page that you wouldn’t be who you are today if not for him. How big an influence would you say Eddie was on your playing?
REB – Ah Jez, I mean...In 1984 I moved to New York and got a job as a singing waiter. I moved in with a dude I knew who lived in New York City and I hung out at music stores. I heard about an audition for Fiona on Atlantic Records and I went and I got the audition. It was way out in Long Island and it was Beau Hill who was producing. I did a good job and he came to me and said, ‘Ok I don’t want to insult you, you did the whole record, how does 500 dollars sound?’ And I said ‘500 DOLLARS WOW!’ I’d never seen $500. So I did the whole album for $500 and Beau told all the producers who worked at Atlantic Studios that we’ve got this kid, who is a hot guitar player; good looking, funny kid – nice guy – and he’ll do your whole record for $500. Well; I went and I did Kenny Loggins, Chaka Khan, Howard Jones, Roger Daltry, The Bee Gees, Twisted Sister. I did all these records and the reason I did those records was that everyone wanted a Van Halen solo on their album, after “Beat It” came out. Chaka Khan, everybody, wanted a guitar solo with tapping, and I was the man to do that! (Laughs).
So that’s the reason that I got my foot in the door – was Eddie Van Halen. Not to mention that I wouldn’t be known as the shredder guy that I’m known as, if it wasn’t for Van Halen. The only reason that I play fast is because I use that other finger. I got that idea from the Van Halen album. We didn’t have videos back then; it was just the back of the album. He has a picture of him with his right hand finger on the fret board. I used a different finger, but he gave me the idea to use a finger. I didn’t steal his riffs because I had no idea how he did them, and I just taught myself how to play with that finger in my own way. So I have like my own sound, which is great, but if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t play fast and I wouldn’t have got the Winger gig and I wouldn’t have been that guy that was on the guitar magazines. Who knows, Winger might not even have existed without Van Halen, because they were the first kind of glam band definitely with a killer guitar player. They made the guitar hero – the thing!
NI ROCKS – Did you ever cross paths with him while you were on tour in the 80s or 90s?
REB – A few times. One time he said to me, I think I know who you are and if you’re the guitar player I think you are, then you’re really good! (Laughs) I thought, oh my god, I hope I’m the guitar player that you think I am! He was very nice.
NI ROCKS – We’ll finish off by going back to your new solo album. Do you want to pick another track to play and then tell us something about it?
REB – There are different flavours on the record. You played “Little Robots” – that’s kinda like a 70’s thing; and there are a few more songs like that. I guess one that you wouldn’t typically play is “Attack of the Massive”. Maybe it’s too long for you to play?
NI ROCKS – No, we’ll play anything.
REB – That’s kinda the big epic tour-de-force, live song. I almost put a fake live audience on it because it sounded so cool when I did it. It reminded me of Peter Frampton’s “Do You feel Like I Do”. There’s a breakdown in the middle and I double my solo with a keyboard. It’s definitely the most complicated song on the record, yet it has good melodies and is listenable, like all of the other stuff on the record. That’s going to be the big live song - “Attack of the Massive” was a patch on one of my keyboards and I love Godzilla.
NI ROCKS – Ok, we’ll play that one. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and good luck with the new album.
REB – Thank you very much. I appreciate it.