In a new interview with Chris Akin Presents, Croatian singer/multi-instrumentalist Dino Jelusick, who was enlisted by WHITESNAKE for its last European tour, was asked if there was any truth to the rumor that he was brought in to assist David Coverdale with the lead vocals on the trek. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Well, since there’s no official statement on what everybody was guessing… And I was actually hearing a lot of stories from behind that I’m actually brought in to replace [David]. He never really officially asked me, but I heard from a very close person that he kind of was thinking about that. So I don’t wanna say that it is like that ’cause I heard it from a close person, so I don’t wanna state that.
“But, to me, WHITESNAKEisDavid Coverdale, and I would never wanna take that spot, to be honest with you,” Dino continued. “I don’t wanna be a little, young guy that sounds great singing David Coverdale songs. I am myself and I wanna do stuff myself. I wanna do it with my own songs.
“David CoverdaleisWHITESNAKE, and if the band should end because he wants to retire, the band should end because he wants to retire,” Jelusick explained. “‘Cause this way you can find somebody to replace Steven Tyler, somebody to replace Robert Plant, and the bands can just go on and on and on. I don’t think that’s the point.
“I sang a lot, obviously, live. If you came to see WHITESNAKE, you noticed — you could notice that. I sang ‘Slide It In’ half-half with him, and I covered a lot of ground, along with Michele [Luppi], the keyboard player. So there was a lot of work; it was a lot of work. And I enjoyed the tour. We had a great time with [European tourmates] FOREIGNER and EUROPE, both bands that I love. And, yeah, it was really cool.”
Jelusick is a member of multi-platinum selling band TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and was previously part of DIRTY SHIRLEY (with George Lynch),ANIMAL DRIVE and recorded with many others. Dino has been singing, touring and recording since the age of five. Other than being a frontman, his main instrument are keyboards but he also plays bass, guitar and drums. He finished music academy and did theater work.
When Jelusick‘s addition to WHITESNAKE was first announced in July 2021, David said in a statement: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome the extremely gifted Dino Jelusick to WHITESNAKE. We’ve had our eyes and ears on him since we played Zagreb together two years ago. You’re going to love him!”
In October 2021, Coverdale spoke about Dino‘s addition to WHITESNAKE, telling Antihero Magazine: “He’s going to be the way I have two guitar players.
“I’ve always seen WHITESNAKE as an orchestra,” he explained. “I don’t see it as a band-band. I don’t want two guitarists playing exactly the same song, or just harmony guitars, I want two opposing… you’ve got the incendiary Joel Hoekstra, entirely different to the electrifying Reb Beach. And this is not to overwhelm Michele. Michele‘s totally secure. I adore him and what he brings to WHITESNAKE.
“In 2019, Dino‘s band opened for us in Zagreb, and this is very rare for me, and I went, ‘Who the fuck is that?’ And I was going, ‘Wow, that kid’s great.’ And Joel said, ‘Yeah, I worked with him in the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. He’s a great guy.’ And I said, ‘That guy’s a ‘Snake’, dude.’ And I said, ‘Don’t say anything yet. I’m going to keep my eyes and ears on him.’
“So, I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Coverdale added. “I’m going to have an orchestra of keyboards for a lot of songs on WHITESNAKE which are big epics, that make them even more musically orchestrated without having an orchestra on stage with us.
“I mean, the guy’s great, I can’t wait to sing with him. I already have [two] singers who are good enough to be frontman singers, with Michele Luppi and Reb Beach; they are really great singers. What’s wrong with having another one? And I think he’s a super guy… It’s got to be exciting to me and adding another spice to an already good cocktail.”
WHITESNAKE canceled several European shows in the summer of 2022 and pulled out of a North American tour with the SCORPIONS due to David‘s “continued treatment for a persistent upper respiratory infection.”
This past May, Coverdale told Ultimate Classic Rock that the illness that forced him off the road in 2022 was “the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had in my life. And as a singer, I know them like fucking relatives of mine,” Coverdale said. “This was one of the ugliest illnesses I think I’ve [ever] had. For seven months, I was taking ever-increasingly strong antibiotics and horrifying prednisone steroids.”
WHITESNAKE launched its farewell tour on May 10, 2022 at Dublin, Ireland’s 3Arena. The band’s 14-song set, which was part of a European tour with special guests EUROPE and co-headliners FOREIGNER, marked WHITESNAKE‘s inaugural performance with the group’s two latest two additions, Jelusick and bassist Tanya O’Callaghan.
Coverdale had both his knees replaced with titanium in 2017 after suffering from degenerative arthritis. He later explained that he was in so much pain with arthritis in his knees that it hampered his ability to perform live.
Prior to the pandemic, WHITESNAKE had been touring in support of its latest album, “Flesh & Blood”, which was released in May 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Image credit: Fred concerts