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Hard-rock icon Doug Aldrich on his guitar chemistry with David Lowy, Glenn Hughes… and Lady Luck

Doug Aldrich
(Image credit: Fiaz Farrelly)

Ask Doug Aldrich what accounts for his longevity, and the guitarist will answer with some refreshing candor and modesty. 

“It’s totally luck! I’ve been super-lucky to work with Dio and Whitesnake. And, of course, you have to work hard and practice and work on your soloing and your chops. But you gotta have a bit of luck because I know a lot of guys that would blow me in the weeds who haven’t been as lucky.” 

Of course, the fact that he’s a killer player has contributed to his ongoing success, almost 40 years after bursting onto the scene in '80s metal group Lion. Since then, he’s been recruited by some of the world’s best-known hard rock acts – Dio, Whitesnake and, most recently, the supergroup known as the Dead Daisies. 

The group’s new album, Holy Ground, is anchored around the simple, crunchy riffs of David Lowy, the band’s rhythm guitarist and sole constant member. If Lowy provides the meat and potatoes, Aldrich brings the garnish, adding flashy lead flourishes and single-note lines that are the hallmark of any great band.

“[David] has this very honest, simple, aggressive approach, and I don’t play that way,” Aldrich says. “He’s got a big hand in the sound of the guitars.”

While many rock fans would be familiar with the Dead Daisies members’ other bands (the constantly evolving cast has included current and former members of Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and the Cult, among others) the group is Lowy’s brainchild.

In a way, he’s a sort of an Australian Gene Simmons in reverse. While the Kiss bassist famously used rock stardom to launch a second career as a tycoon, Lowy went the opposite way, making a fortune in the business world before realizing he prefers rehearsal spaces to boardrooms.

While you wouldn’t be hard pressed to find other middle-aged bros replacing their suits and briefcases with Iron Maiden T-shirts and beater Strats on the weekend, the rich get to bring their rock fantasies to life with a bit more flair.

For its latest iteration, they brought onboard Glenn Hughes, the iconic singer and bassist perhaps best known for his work in Deep Purple, after previous lead singer John Corabi decided to leave. It was a welcome reunion for Aldrich, who had recently done a stint in Hughes’ solo project.

“I didn’t suggest Glenn! Glenn was doing his Deep Purple shows, so I thought he was busy. But they told me they were talking to Glenn, and I thought, ‘That’s really cool!’ That’s a major shift in the sound. When you change the singer it’s always a shift.

“Jamming with Glenn, when I was on tour with him, [those were] some of my favorite times on stage, as far as musically having a blast. It’s amazing to play Holy Diver or Rainbow in the Dark or Heaven and Hell with Dio or some of the stuff I wrote with Whitesnake. But with Glenn, it was improvisational live.”

Whether that jammy vibe will carry over to a tour for the new lineup remains to be seen. As we spoke, the pandemic was still ongoing. But Aldrich, at least, has always had luck on his side.

  • The Dead Daisies new album, Holy Ground, is out now via Spv.
Adam Kovac

Adam is a freelance writer whose work has appeared, aside from Guitar World, in Rolling Stone, Playboy, Esquire and VICE. He spent many years in bands you've never heard of before deciding to leave behind the financial uncertainty of rock'n roll for the lucrative life of journalism. He still finds time to recreate his dreams of stardom in his pop-punk tribute band, Finding Emo.