Book review: Where’s My Guitar? by BERNIE MARSDEN

Where's My Guitar? - BERNIE MARSDEN

4th Estate [Publication date 28.11.19]

Previously self-published by Bernie as a limited release via a Pledge campaign in early 2017 under the title ‘Where’s My Guitar?: On the Tour Bus with the Snakeman’, the book now gets a full publication and update.

It is not a sensationalist expose, so those after lurid rock ‘n’ roll debauchery look elsewhere, but what you do get is an honest and fascinating insight into his days in Whitesnake, the blues rock years and the classic Coverdale, Moody, Marsden, Murray, Lord, Paice line-up. Bernie still holds a lot of respect from David Coverdale (and indeed Coverdale provides an introduction to the book), and he has joined Whitesnake onstage a few times in recent years.

The Whitesnake story is an interesting one as they found plenty of success in the UK and Europe but never really broke into the US. That would only happen when the hair version of Whitesnake hit pay dirt with the ‘Whitesnake (1987)’ album, although it was an older song, ‘Here I Go Again’, co-written by Marsden and Coverdale, that gained the band a US number 1 hit single. The book provides insight to how the band wrote and recorded so quickly back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, juggling this with a heavy touring schedule.

Bernie seems a very affable chap and one you could happily spend an evening with chatting away about music. He doesn’t really have a bad word to say about any bands or artists, bar a few that acted up when he appeared on the same bill. You’ll have to read the book to find out who…

The post-Whitesnake years are covered amply and I was glad to see Alaska mentioned. A band that deserved more success than they got and their two albums would be ideal for a re-issue. In fact Bernie alludes to various unreleased and limited release material/albums that he wonders if he should release and the answer is yes please! It would be great to have anything from the MGM (Marsden with Mel Galley and Neil Murray) see the light of day and the live and studio albums he did with Company Of Snakes and M3 given a wider release.

The end of the book includes a chapter about the passion involved in collecting guitars and he does some excellent accounts of early gigs and festivals he attended. The ones featuring Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac featuring Peter Green, would go onto have a big impact on his guitar playing.

Above all the book highlights first and foremost that Bernie is a music fan, be it being awestruck at meeting various Beatles or his love of the blues players, many of whom he has been lucky enough to meet and in many cases play with.

One of the most enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll memoirs I have read in a long time.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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