David Readman has one of rock’s most delightful and incredible voices, yet few outside of Europe even know his name. He has been a solo artist, the frontman for Germany’s Pink Cream 69 for nearly two decades, and has also lent his voice to Alex Beyrodt’s Voodoo Circle. This week Readman called in from across the pond to discuss Pink Cream 69′s new album “Ceremonial” as well as Voodoo Circle’s forthcoming new record, “More Than One Way Home“.
“Ceremonial” marks Pink Cream 69′s 11th studio album and the first in six years. It also marks the first album without original drummer Kosta Zafiriou who left the band to focus on numerous other projects including Unisonic, a band which also features Pink Cream 69 bassist and producer, Dennis Ward. Longtime friend Chris Schmidt joined in his place. Rounding out the band are guitarists Alfred Koffler and Uwe Reitenauer.
Readman’s path to being a vocalist was not an intentional one. Originally, he planned on being a guitarist, but his vocal abilities continued to outshine his fret skills, and his voice became the supply for the demand.
“I ended up being a singer mainly because there was no singers around at the time and I said ‘hey look, I’ll sing until we find a singer’. That was it really. I did a few gigs. People liked it. They wanted me to be in their band and I said I don’t really want to because I want to be a guitar player. I don’t want to stand at the front with a mic and do all the business. Bit by bit I realized that’s probably where I should be going.”
Due to other projects and simply the speed of life, six years passed between Pink Cream 69 albums, the last being 2007′s “In10sity", Readman even had his tonsils out which altered his voice a bit. I asked David if he and principal songwriter and producer, Ward had any specific objectives in mind for making “Ceremonial".
“I think it was sort of a combination. We realized my voice had changed a bit over the time. Even if I listen now to the new Pink Cream compared to ‘In10sity‘ or our records before, my voice definitely has changed. Obviously you get older. You’re built in a different way, different sound, different ideas. And we knew that the songs should be lower. They should show the warm side of my voice–the feeling thing should be more a part of it. To be quite honest we really didn’t think that much. Everybody just came with their song ideas. I write. Dennis writes. Alfred Koffler writes. We throw all the songs in, it could have been 30 or 40 songs, and then we sort of work down to 13, 14 songs we felt were really good songs.”
Readman’s voice has long been compared to David Coverdale’s, and combined with Alex Beyrodt’s songwriting for Voodoo Circle it gives their albums a very distinct Whitesnake sound. Some singers balk at such comparisons but this doesn’t bother Readman.
“That’s not what we’re trying to do,” shares David. “There’s so many artists out there celebrating certain styles and sounds. We just enjoy that kind of thing. To be honest, I don’t go in the studio and think ‘I’m going to sing like David Coverdale’. I’ve being doing that sort of thing or in that direction for a long time. Just with this kind of music, if you just go a little bit like this with the bluesy edge and like that it just works. I had my tonsils out after the last Voodoo Circle record and it could have been an absolute disaster. Like I couldn’t sing anymore, but my voice changed. It got somehow deeper. Something happened. I can’t really explain what it was. I just ended up going in that direction.
“I can’t deny I do like a bit of Whitesnake, even the newer stuff. I played last year with Doug Aldrich and the band from Whitesnake. We actually jammed here in Germany. They happened to be in the area, and we jammed four or five Whitesnake songs. It was really great. But that’s not what I’m out to do. I’m not trying to be David Coverdale or whatever, it’s just what I do. I’m from England as well. Maybe there’s something in the water (laughs).”
You can listen to the full interview below as David discusses “Ceremonial” more in-depth including his favorite tracks, he tells the story behind the Pink Cream 69 name, and he talks more about the new Voodoo Circle record.
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Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Metalholic Radio.