New WHITESNAKE Bassist TANYA O’CALLAGHAN Says She Didn’t Get The Gig Because She Is A Woman: ‘I’ve Proven My Worth’
Last month, Tanya officially joined David Coverdale-fronted outfit as the replacement for longtime bassist Michael Devin whose departure was revealed a few days earlier.
When asked in a new interview with For Bass Players Only what it means for her to be the first female musician to become a member of WHITESNAKE, Tanya said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): «I think luckily there’s a lot more prominent female players in general across music these days, which is great. Obviously, there’s not enough yet. For me, it’s always about normalizing. I don’t want it to be its own pedestal or male versus female or all-female this; I really just want it to be normal. It’s, like, normal — the more that there are female players in bands and these big bands and whatnot, because people do kind of tend to latch on to, ‘Oh my God! It’s a female player.’ And you’re, like, ‘It’s a bass player.’ [Laughs]
«You get the gig on your own merit; you don’t get it because you’re a woman,» she continued. «It’s, like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of cool. She also happens to be a female.’ But I have a hell of a career behind me. I’ve proven my worth.
«Immediately after the WHITESNAKE announcement, my inbox just exploded with parents being, like, ‘Oh my God. I can’t wait to bring my daughter to the gig and show her that she can do anything’ or whatever, and I think that’s amazing and sweet,» O’Callaghan added. «But I think at the end of the day for me, it all comes back down to just normalizing it — not making a big deal out of it. Because people do tend to wanna focus in on, ‘What’s it like to be a female bass player?’ It’s very much the same as a male bass player. [Laughs]»
When O’Callaghan‘s addition to WHITESNAKE was first announced on November 23, Coverdale said in a statement: «Well, well, well…ladies & gentlemen…boys & girls…we are very proud to announce & to introduce you all to our newest snake…or should I say…snakette!!! Please give a loud WHITESNAKE choir welcome to the Irish tornado!!! A whirling dervish of a performer whom we feel will bring a fresh, new, exciting musicality & welcome energy to the band, both in the studio & onstage… Here she is… Irish born & bred…the one & only… Tanya O’Callaghan!!!
«For whatever reason, WHITESNAKE has never featured a female musician in the band before… Bad boys!!!…But when we saw Tanya performing with our friend Steven Adler‘s band at the M3 festival in 2019 & we were all blown away… An electrifying performer… When WHITESNAKE & Michael Devin decided to go their separate ways, Tanya was the first person we reached out to & thankfully she accepted our invitation to become a snake…
«We are thrilled & delighted to welcome Tanya O’Callaghan to WHITESNAKE!!!
«Let the music do the talking!!!»
O’Callaghan also commented on her addition to WHITESNAKE in a social media post. She wrote: «I guess the snake’s out of the bag. What an absolute honor to be joining WHITESNAKE/David Coverdale for their worldwide farewell tour 2022/23.
«This small town gal still pinches herself over the amount of legends I’ve had the joy to work, tour and record with over the past few years since I made the terrifying solo leap across the Pacific with no clue how everything would unfold.
«It’s been a wild ride and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, who calls, only feckin’ WHITESNAKE! And the best part, to step into the snake shoes of my bass brothers Rudy Sarzo, Tony Franklin, Neil Murray and Michael Devin … are you kidding me.. .what a f#*king honor beyond belief!!! My heart is exploding.»
Coverdale, who turned 70 in September, recently confirmed that he plans to retire from touring after WHITESNAKE‘s next batch of concerts around the world.
Although Coverdale will no longer perform with WHITESNAKE, he is still planning on writing and recording fresh material once he has retired from the road.
Early last year, WHITESNAKE was forced to cancel its U.S. tour with SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE and NIGHT RANGER so that Coverdale could undergo surgery for bilateral inguinal hernia. Eventually, all of the shows were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
WHITESNAKE had been touring in support of its latest album, «Flesh & Blood», which was released in May 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.