Tales from a Metalhead: Chapter 1: “Are You Looking For the Band?”

Tales from a Metalhead logo

This chapter is part of a book called Tales from a Metalhead written by Metal Express Radio’s President Stig G. Nordahl. The chapters will be posted one at the time and you can find them all here.

David Coverdale 2003

This story took place in 2003 when I was attending Sweden Rock Festival. Whitesnake were ready for a comeback on a major stage, 13 years after I saw them at Monsters of Rock in Stockholm. I had been really close to interviewing the lead singer and my old hero, David Coverdale, a couple of times before, but it never happened for some very unfortunate reasons. I got the call in the afternoon; “David will do a press conference!” Of course, I would have preferred a one-on-one interview, but as that rarely happens with festival headliners, I was happy for this opportunity.

Jack’n bacon breakfast

In retrospect, the only downside was that prior to the call, me and my friends had just had a lengthy “jack & bacon” breakfast. You see, being a reporter “on the job” at a festival while also hanging out with friends who are only looking to have a good time can be a bit of a challenge. You don’t want to miss the party, but you need to stay sober enough to conduct the interviews. On this particular day I didn’t have any interviews scheduled, thus I was ready to party. Me and my friends had a long standing tradition where our “chef” (whichever one of us who drew the shortest straw on that particular day) was in charge of serving us fried eggs, bacon and Jack Daniels whiskey for breakfast. Along with some tasty Metal blasting from the ghetto blaster and a few beers to top it off, we had some unforgettable breakfasts in the festival camp area. The “breakfast” lasted until it was time for the press conference, so I arrived in a very good mood.

After I got in the press tent, I didn’t even bother to connected my recorder to the audio mixer to make sure I got the best possible sound. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed, and out of fear of getting a “no” I usually sneakily connected it without anybody noticing. It was an easy task for an old audio engineer. I squeezed myself into the middle of the front row to make sure Coverdale would hear all my questions.

Front row firing questions at Coverdale
Stig front row firing questions at Coverdale

David Coverdale entered the press tent and answered all the questions that were fired at him; the good, the not so good and even the incredibly stupid ones. It’s unbelievable what some reporters ask. I’m sure someone even asked him the name of his cat. As a long time fan, I like to believe I asked some really good questions that Coverdale appreciated the hell out of.

The press conference came to an end and Coverdale was on his way out. Brave on Jack & bacon I yelled that he had to come back and make a station ID for Metal Express Radio. For those who don’t know, a station ID is when a radio station identifies themselves on-air. On Metal Express Radio we usually record our interview objects saying which station you are listening to, and we play these in-between songs. Unexpectedly Coverdale actually turned around, bent over the mic and said in the way only he can: “Hi, this is David Coverdale and you are listening to Metal Express Radio, oh baby!”

The man, the myth the legend DC

Mission complete! At this time MiniDisc recorders were the talk of the town. That didn’t last long for a good reason. More about that later. Before I yelled for Coverdale to return I had stopped the recording. When he came back to do the ID I had forgotten to set it back to recording mode. It was a total disaster! When I noticed, he had already left the tent so it was too late to ask him back a second time. However, good old Jack had given me the courage to run after him with the intention of having him re-record it. I ran through the back of the press tent and up the gate leading to the backstage area.

In the festival’s early years, the backstage area was more or less open to the press, and we even camped there once. Now it was crawling with security guards. I managed to get in by pretending I was part of a larger group that had the right credentials. However, I had totally lost track of Coverdale. I headed to some cabins that served as dressing rooms for the artist, frantically searching for a Whitesnake sign. “Are you looking for the band?” a woman behind me said. “Indeed I am,” I responded. She told me that I had 20 minutes and sent me inside one of the cabins.

Inside the cabin I found myself face-to-face with a guy who definitely was not David Coverdale! I had never seen the guy before, or so I thought. It was an awkward situation to say the least. Instead of admitting I had no idea who he was or why I was there I went for the good old journalist trick; starting the interview by recording a station ID. “Hi, this is Fernando von Arb from Krokus…”

Fernando von Arb/Krokus

Ah, this was going to be a Krokus interview! Well, my hunt for Coverdale was obviously a lost case so why not? I had been a Krokus fan for a long time and knew the band well. Arb warned me that he had been partying since they got off stage earlier the same day so if he seemed drunk it was because he was drunk. His blunt honesty made me spill the beans too and I fessed up to how I got there and that I was very far from sober myself. We had some amusing 20 minutes with a lot of laughter and it ended up being an interview of questionable quality.

Whitesnake’s gig was taking place at a stage on the other side of the festival ground. Coverdale probably got right into a car after the press conference anyway. I just didn’t think that far in the heat of the moment, and good old Jack probably clouded my judgment as well. Well, it was time to join the party again end get ready for the Whitesnake gig. I had photo credentials, so I was guaranteed to get a spot close to the stage.

Coverdale and Stig

The show was definitely a success. Coverdale’s voice was still in great shape and the set list was surprisingly good, filled with lots of old material pleasing to nerds like myself.

Back at the camp, I wanted to make sure the audio from the press conference sounded OK. It did, but guess what, I had recorded Coverdale’s station ID after all, and it was the coolest thing ever! I passed the MiniDisc around our  camp for everybody to listen. That MiniDisc was now worth its weight in gold and I couldn’t take any chances. I went to the parking lot, opened the trunk of our car and placed it under a lot of bags to avoid someone stealing it. I went to sleep with a big smile on my face that night, like a kid who got everything he wanted for Christmas.

The next morning I had scheduled an interview with vocalist Jeff Scott Soto who was playing with Talisman at the time. I fetched the MiniDisc recorder from the car and headed towards the backstage area for the interview. On my way there the fanboy in me took over and I desperately wanted to hear the Coverdale station ID just one more time. As I turned on the MiniDisc recorder the display flashed “EMPTY DISC”! I repeat: “EMPTY DISC”! The content was somehow deleted. All of it! The press conference, the station ID and probably a very amusing Krokus interview was all gone. To this day I have absolutely no idea how it happened. To delete something on a MiniDisc takes a lot of effort and a lot of clicking through the menus.

With Jeff Scott Soto the day after

Needless to say, I was feeling really down when I did the Soto interview. I told Jeff what had happened and he actually offered to make a station ID where he impersonated David Coverdale. That interview will be posted in a different chapter even though it is quite obvious that I came directly from another Jack & Bacon before doing it.

Today, we actually have a David Coverdale station ID on rotation on Metal Express Radio, but alas it was recorded in his home studio.

It costs a lot to keep Metal Express Radio running. Let’s face it, we’re a grassroots web radio and we do this because we love Metal. Any contributions that helps keeping us afloat are highly welcomed. We gladly accept donations on our donate page.


  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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