Thursday, 19 July 2007

Plaque Campaign for Purple Frontman

Following the recent announcement of Blue Plaques to commemorate Saltburn greats, members of Purple Helmet, the local rock appreciation society, have set themselves an ambitious new goal. The society, dedicated to the remembrance and celebration of dated melodramatic rock music, have launched a campaign for a plaque to commemorate the great David Coverdale, ex-lead frontman with Deep Purple and, latterly, Whitesnake.

Saltburn's only world famous rock star, Coverdale was brought up in what used to the Britallic* public house on Marine Parade before attending Saltburn University from where he graduated with a 2(ii) in Surfing Studies with Pier Management. Cutting his gigging teeth on the Redcar circuit with local heavy rock band Spanish Elbow, The Dale, as was he was known around Saltburn, got his big break after replying to an advert in the Teesside Musical Express to audition for a ‘well known established band, have written classics, seek tuned in rock god with projectile vocal’. He stole the show at the secret trials at The Standard in Redcar and was duly invited to join Deep Purple. The group, who were the top rock act at the time, had suffered from political differences which led to factional infighting and the ultimate loss of singer Ian Gillan.

To his detractors, the singer is a an arrogant, talentless, caterwauling, peroxide-streaked tosspot of the first order. But for many, the world famous exponent of the histrionic rock scream and the shaggy perm is one of the greatest vocalists of his generation. The Chair of Purple Helmet and leader of the campaign to get Coverdale ‘plaqued’, Dave ‘Axehead’ Beardy, told Saltburn Subversives:

‘The man’s a genius, right up there with Jagger or Lennon and McCartney. He’s a right genuine bloke too. Last year we wanted something to raffle at the our annual fundraising bring and buy sale. We approached David and he sent us straight back a pair of his old sunglasses which he actually wore on stage. He's right, right nice bloke, is David.’

Coverdale still has his admirers amongst local young people too. Shaun Asheep, singer of up and coming local metal band Arsehole Detonation, told us:

‘We think he’s mad for it. Also, many people forget that Coverdale was also an accomplished composer too. The likes of ‘Fool for your Loving’ and ‘Slide It In’ display a musical maturity uncommon in rock music and a lyrical subtlety to rival Cole Porter or Bob Dylan.’

To support Purple Helmet’s campaign simply sign their e-petition by emailing them at

* For more information about the Britallic pub see this week’s edition of our regular column Saltburn’s Yesterdays by Crass and Bony Jim.

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