Snakechamer were formed in 2011 by guitarist Micky Moody and bassist Neil Murray, the former Whitesnake members who played on such classic ’Snake albums as Trouble, Ready An’ Willing and Live… In The Heart Of The City. The pair recruited an all-star line-up that included Thunder and Magnum drummer Harry James, ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield, Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath keyboard player Adam Wakeman and Heartland vocalist Chris Ousey.
“I’d played with Micky on and off for years,” says Neil Murray. “This was us reminding people about an era of Whitesnake that some people might not have even known about.”
Unsurprisingly, Snakecharmer began as an outlet for Moody and Murray to revisit old past ’Snake classics but they soon began incorporating their own songs into live sets. The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 2013 on Frontiers Record, found them blending the classic Whitesnake sound with a more straightforward melodic hard rock sound on the likes of My Angel and Accident Prone.
After Moody’s amicable departure in 2015, Snakecharmer recruited Northern Irish blues hotshot Simon McBride to fill his shoes.
“I remember doing a gig in London and looking out into the audience and seeing this tall character who looked like Neil Murray,” says McBride. “And I got a phone call about a week later from Laurie asking if I wanted to join the band. And I was, like, ‘Yeah, that sounds like fun, I’ll go for that.’”
With McBride on board, the band recorded their new album, Second Skin. Featuring instant classics such as That Kind Of Love and Punching Above My Weight, it finds Snakecharmer toughening up their sound.
“I think with this record the band has had time to get to know each other, bed in as players,” says vocalist Chris Ousey. “I think the whole thing has come on a little further. Snakecharmer have found our own sound.”
“The band isn’t just about playing the Whitesnake songs like it was five years ago,” says Adam Wakeman. “We’ve now got two albums, we’ve got a strong selection of songs which form the identity of the band. Obviously there’s still a tip of the hat to the Whitesnake era – we’ll always play a couple of songs, but it’s nice to have our own identity now.”
You can see for yourself when Snakecharmer play the Planet Rock Main Stage on Sunday July 30.