Whitesnake | Still Good To Be Bad – Box Set Review


When Whitesnake broke big in 1987 with their self-titled album and eye-raising videos, it looked like the group had finally arrived. It only took nearly 10 years, various personnel changes and six albums to get there. Even the lineup change with the top of the 80s crop (think Steve Vai, Rudy Sarzo, and Tommy Aldridge) couldn’t sustain the thunder through the 90s, and singer David Coverdale pulled the plug to reassess. A collaboration with Jimmy Page, a solo album, and a Whitesnake album that should have been a solo album later, he reformed a new  incarnation of the band featuring all-American recruits. After further alterations, they recorded 2008’s Good To Be Bad, Whitesnake’s 10 studio album and its first in over a decade. And some may argue, it’s the last decent album the group would ever make. The Still Good To Be Bad boxset more or less confirms it.

Celebrating the original album’s 15th anniversary, the four-CD, single Blu-ray Disc set has all its basses covered. There are two new versions of the original album (one remastered and the other remixed), unreleased studio and live recordings from the period, music videos, interviews, and live footage from the Good To Be Bad world tour. There’s “If You Want Me,” backed by the Hook City Harlots and Horns and a version of “All For Love” with a different guitar solo by Aldrich. Evolutions is a disc of unreleased songs that traces their origins, various parts, lyrics and the finished product. A poster, a replica of the 2009 Tour program and a 60-page hard-bound booklet with liners notes, photos, lyrics, and credits round out the package. The Blu-ray is filled with various Whitesnake music videos for “Ready To Rock” and “Lay Down Your Love”; live footage from the band’s 2008 European tour including performances of “Best Years,” “A Fool In Love,” and “Can You Hear The Wind Blow”; acoustic sets plus an interview by Eddie Trunk.

For Good To Be Bad, Coverdale brought in guitarists Doug Aldrich from Dio and Reb Beach from Winger, along with drummer Chris Frazier, bassist Timothy Drury, and keyboardist Uriah Duffy, and made the record in Los Angeles. From the get-go, that snarling, heavily distorted guitar sound that defined the 1987 breadwinner is present. With the grungy 90s in the rearview mirror, the timing couldn’t have been better for Whitesnake’s comeback, with “Best Years” rolling out the welcome mat in grand style. Coverdale isn’t trying to reinvent wheel — he’s taking the old one and giving it a shiny, new sheen.

“Lay Down Your Love,” “Call On Me,” “Ready To Rock,” “Good To Be Bad,” “All For Love” and “A Fool In Love” all adhere to that Whitesnake 80s sizzling hard rock formula. And, of course, “All I Want All I Need,” “Summer Rain,” and “All I Want Is You” appropriately check the rock ballad box off. Ironically, it’s the album’s final song, “Til The End Of Time,” that doesn’t follow the mold, providing a rather soothing ride into the sunset as the acoustics fade away.

Three more studio albums, including one full of Deep Purple remakes, have come since Good To Be Bad. Speculation is high that Coverdale is done, after numerous health issues have forced tour cancellations. Aldrich left the fold in 2011, and the last album dropped in 2019. The Still Good To Be Bad boxset is a reminder that through turns and trends, Whitesnake persevered for 40 years, with David Coverdale at the helm, surrounded by the right players to deliver on the band’s signature mix of sultry hard rock and blues. For some people, it never gets old.

~ Shawn Perry

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