This summer sees UFO back in business in a big way with a brand new studio album, The Visitor, and a UK headline tour spanning the nation.
As a consequence resident rushonrock columnist Self Made Man decided it was time he swung into action and caught up with legendary stixman Andy Parker. Those of you who enjoyed part one of another exclusive chat will love part two as the drummer talks Way, Mogg and all things UFO. Enjoy.
Self Made Man: Can we talk about Pete Way. He’s taken time off due to illness and won’t be with you on tour. How big a miss will the bassman be?
AP: A massive one. They are big, big shoes to fill. Pete wasn’t involved on the new album and won’t be on the road with us. It won’t be the first time we’ve played without him because, of course, he hasn’t been with us for our recent tours in the United States due to visa problems but this will be the first time our fans in the UK and Europe will have seen UFO without Pete – bar a period in the 80s.
SMM: The stage just won’t look the same without him…
AP: Pete is a huge stage presence and I’d agree that visually, we’ll probably be a little less interesting without him doing his stuff. But there comes a time when health had to come first and Pete has this liver problem which needs dealing with. The medication has side-effects which would have made it virtually impossible for him to hit the road with us. At our age, it’s important for us all to look after ourselves and he would have been asking for trouble if he hadn’t followed the advice of his doctors.Yes, Pete will be a big miss but he’ll be back, don’t worry about that!
SMM: Listening to Phil Mogg on The Visitor, I detect an almost jazz-like tinge to his voice. Agree?
AP: I know I’m biased but I happen to believe Phil is one of rock music’s finest singers and the exciting thing is that his voice is evolving all the time. Right now, I think it is better than ever. Ever since I returned to the band, I’ve noticed he’s become more bluesy as he’s got older. I wasn’t involved between Walk On Water and The Monkey Business but there’s a definite change in his voice.
SMM: Why do you think that is?
AP: He listens to Howlin’ Wolf and you can definitely detect the influence in our last two albums. In fact, it’s almost as if Phil has gone full circle with his vocal delivery because when we first started back in 1969, it was at the height of the blues boom and that stuff was our template. Now we’re very much a blues rock band again and yes, there are elements of jazz in it with songs such as Living Proof – my wife’s favourite.”
SMM: Talking of 1969, Happy 40th Anniversary.
AP: Thanks, but do you know what? Phil doesn’t want to make a big deal of it. Personally, I think it is a great achievement especially for him who has been with the band throughout. This is my third spell, it’s the same for Paul Raymond, Pete’s had his spells out of it while Vinnie Moore only arrived when Michael Schenker left for the last time. So it’s very much Phil’s band because he’s been the one constant. Yes, Pete and I were founder members and Paul’s been around since the mid-70s but it’s Phil’s shout how we celebrate 40 years of UFO. And he wants to downplay it because of the situation with Pete, which is very commendable of him.
SMM: So does life begin at 40, Andy?
AP: Well, let’s put it this way, if you listen to The Visitor, I think you’ll agree we’re still a band in fine form and as relevant today as we’ve ever been.