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DailyBoom Your Old School Music Authority

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Exclusive Interview: Adrian Vandenberg Returns with a New Band and Heavier Sound on the Dynamic '2020'


When you think of 80's rock, with those heat scorching guitar riffs, Adrian Vandenberg is one of a handful of names that quickly comes to mind. He has played with many of the greats, including a twelve-year run beside David Coverdale in Whitesnake, but his own band, Vandenberg,  has always been the crown jewel of his career. It has been 35 years since the band has released a new studio album and earlier this year it was announced that Vandenberg's return is imminent, with a brand new lineup and a full album entitled 2020  set for a May 29th release.

I was able to catch up with Adrian recently and while social distancing literally on opposite sides of the world, we chatted about all sorts of things, including why now is the perfect time for the world to be reintroduced to all that Vandenberg has to share. Check it out below!

Adrian on dealing with a pandemic:

"It doesn't make much of a difference for me right now. I'm not out on tour so I would be home now working on my music anyway. I can still cook a nice meal or hang with friends as long as it's not more than a few of us together. It's a lot more dramatic for a lot of other people but my life is mostly the same. The one thing that does bother me the most is that I can't visit my mom who is 94. She's all alone and my brother and sister and I can't visit her now, which is more than a little sad, so let's hope that this is over soon. This time makes you rethink a lot of the things that were perfectly normal a couple of weeks ago. When you have no choice but to go back to the basics you realize how much you've taken for granted."

Adrian on why now is the right time to bring back Vandenberg:

"It was really a natural thing (laughing). People have asked me to do this for years and I just didn't want to do a nostalgic type of thing. There are two reasons why I decided to finally dig in and do this now and it is partly because of writing. The more that I got into it the more I realized that I wanted to come back and expand with some harder, faster stuff, different from what I've done with MoonKings over the past five years. The other thing that led me to this had to do with the singer in MoonKings. He owns a really big farming company and at this point, he can't really leave the country for more than one day and I just love touring and doing shows. I want to keep playing all over the world and he wasn't ready to leave the farm behind, so it only made sense for me to go in another direction.

He and I are good friends and he also didn't want to stand in the way of my ambition. I figured that if I could find a really good singer then maybe I could put Vandenberg back together and that's what has happened. We are a modern and kind of in your face band, but then we also have the legacy too. 
The record is fresh and it just doesn't sound like a tired band that's trying to revive itself. My ambition was for this to feel like a progression of the band and I think that it has worked out like that." 

Adrian on how he writes:

"My writing process has most certainly evolved because when I started the early Vandenberg in 1981, I didn't have the guts to tell people in the studio what I really wanted. Now many years later I do have the guts and I know how to make a record really sound the way that I hear it in my head. When I found Ronnie (Romero, lead vocals) willing to join the band it just opened up everything writing-wise because he has no limitations. That gave me a lot of freedom because I really try to tailor the songs that I write to the singer and so writing with him gave me a lot of inspiration. His emotional way of singing opened up so many possibilities for me. It's a great feeling to be able to do what you feel in your soul without any restrictions there. It's such a beautiful thing and it has made me so happy."

Adrian on the chemistry of the band now:

"I didn't know these guys before putting this band together and we really do click big time. When I first flew to Madrid to meet Ronnie we had an instant connection and I was so happy. If you're going to be writing with someone then I think you really need to have a great connection. David Coverdale and I were a great example of that in the past and now, so are Ronnie and I. When I started looking for a drummer I checked out a Dutch magazine that lists the top ten leading drummers and their best guy, Koen Herfst, was on top for several years. I was blown away by what he could do and then a similar thing happened with our bass player, Randy van der Elsen. I actually have a band that can do these songs the way that I hear them in my head and that has led to us having a beautiful connection within the band.

It's all really cool now and I feel very fortunate. I'm not the kind of guy that takes things for granted in my life and I really value the quality of my life. This music and the band are an important part of it and I'd rather not do it at all if people don't get along or if there are bad vibes. I'm grateful that things are going smoothly and I also believe that in order to write good music you have to feel good about the situation. So we are very fortunate to be able to write this music and to know that somewhere down the road in the future, we'll be able to play it live for the fans."

Adrian on accomplishing his goals:

"I'm not somebody that thinks too far ahead. I do live in the moment and I want this moment to be a good one. I'm kind of like a freight train with my goals though and when I run into an obstacle I'll run right through it and I'll clean up the mess later (laughing). That's basically how my life goes. It's funny because my sister is a classical piano teacher and we are very different with how we do things. She doesn't understand how I can do these things without reading notes and I tell her that I just focus really hard when I'm writing and recording. Everything else is left to the side, which can cause a lot of other problems (laughing) because once the music is gone then I have a big mountain of other things that I have to do. It's the only way for me to do it though, with that singular focus, otherwise, I end up limiting my creativity. If I start and then stop it changes what I'm writing. Maybe it won't be worse but I'll have lost my original path with the song."

Adrian on the desire to tour again:

"I can't wait to hit the road with them. That is definitely the plan and ambition, this album isn't meant as a one-off kind of thing. We're really secure as a band and this music was created to be heard in a live setting. I love being able to interact with a crowd and to tell them stories about the music. I'm dying to do international tours again because I really miss it. I love being on the road and being able to focus on just making music with a bunch of great people while getting the crowd going too. It's almost an addictive rush that you get because you can feel the hearts of the people in the venue, whether it's ten or ten thousand, it's such a beautiful thing. Those moments cross all borders and they connect everyone that's there. What a beautiful thing to be able to share with the fans and I can never get enough of it."

Check out Vandenberg's official site to preorder '2020'.  Follow the band on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the music and future gigs!