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Non-Prog Interviews

UFO

Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Andy Parker of UFO From 2008
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

You first came back on Walk On Water and you were on the album and, I believe, you played a small German tour.
We did a tour of Germany right around Christmas called “Rocking Around Christmas” which was us and Quiet Riot.  And we did a small tour of Japan and we did one show in San Antonio.
MSJ: Was that something you were thinking was going to be a permanent situation?
Yeah, I thought about it but to be totally honest with you, the thing with Michael, I could feel that tension there still. The reason I left in 1983 was I had personal problems.  I had a divorce and I wanted custody of my child.  Life gets in the way sometimes but the Walk On Water thing was great.  We talked on and off for years about getting back together, do an album, and it finally came together.  From living in California for 20 years, I actually had to move back to England.  I actually had to go back to California to make the album.  Kind of weird.  And it was great and I did the bits and pieces but, you know, for me there was that same old tension there.  I’m at a stage in my life where I want stability. [If] it’s not fun, if I can’t rely on it, getting out there and doing it and the whole thing being fun, it’s no point to me.  So that’s what happened.  They wanted me to do the tour and I kind of declined.  I went back to England and went to work for my family.  I did that for 11 years, 1994 to 2005.  I already decided to give up my job with my family; that kind of wasn’t working for me.  My wife and I decided to move back to the states.  We decided to move to Texas because that is where her family lives.  Right at that point, I got a call out of the blue from Paul [Raymond] and he said “Jason [Bonham] was going with Foreigner, we’ve got a gig in November, are you interested?”  Phil says “he won’t be, we’ve asked him a bunch of times” and I said “you know what, yeah, I am”.  And we did that gig in Spain in November and I’ve stayed since.
MSJ: How do you compare playing with Vinnie Moore as opposed to Michael Schenker or Paul Chapman?
Well that’s difficult.  Michael, I love him to death and he’s a brilliant musician but it’s just that kind of wildness; that disappearing, the tantrums, the not playing, not finishing the show, the tour even.  That to me, I don’t want to deal with that.  Vinnie is a great player, brilliant player, and he’s a stable guy.  You know it when you step out there that you’re gonna get a good show and he’s gonna be around at the end of it.  So for me, once I knew he was in the band, I thought it was “no contest”, I love these guys.  I’ve always loved playing with this band. I’m the kind of guy that if it’s not working for me, then I’ve got to find something that does.  It’s my first love but when you become a parent, you have other responsibilities.
MSJ: Now that you’ve done The Monkey Puzzle, are you looking at this as more permanent?
Oh absolutely. I won’t be going anywhere unless things change.
MSJ: Will you do the next album?
Oh absolutely, if they want me.  I’m kind of the new guy now.  Well, the old new guy.  It’s working for me and [I’m] enjoying all the audience feedback I’m getting from the fans; especially the states because I haven’t toured the states since ’82 - quite a long time ago.  We did Making Contact but I don’t think we toured here; we toured that in Europe.  That was the last tour in England I did with the band.  I did Waysted in ’84.
MSJ: How do you like coming back and touring the US?
I love this country.  It’s always been more home to me.  I can say that I love being British and I’ll always be British but I love the states.  For me, just to get out there and have all these fans that hang out holding LPs going “we got everyone else, we don’t have you." The other night was great.  I went outside outside and there was a couple of kids out there.  He says “can you sign my stuff? I’ve been waiting for age.”  I said “How long have you been waiting?”  [He says] “we’ve been waiting here since 6 o’clock”.  I was like “you’ve waited longer than that because I haven’t toured the states since ‘82”.  He went “that was the year I was born." He said “my dad got me into it."  Isn’t that cool?  In Europe we get our audience and they bring their kids which is really cool but here it’s almost like they’ve passed it on.  It’s like a new generation.  I was so glad because we love our fans but you always need more.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
Oh God, that’s……. I can tell you. It’s The Eagles.  I bought it for my wife for Christmas. The new one The Long Road Out Of Eden.  Is that weird?
MSJ: No.
Last one I bought for myself?  I couldn’t remember.  [It] must’ve been Sting.  I listen to a lot of Sting.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
Unbelievably enough, it was The Eagles. Isn’t that strange?  I got  four tickets; my brother bought me tickets for a birthday present to see The Eagles in London.  I’m a huge Eagles fan.  I love Joe Walsh.  I think he brought something really special to them.
MSJ: What is your favorite Spinal Tap moment from your touring history?
From the movie or our touring?
MSJ: From your history.
You must know this. Are you familiar with Spinal Tap?
MSJ: Yeah.
The part where they going to go on stage but they get lost.  Well I didn’t know this until fairly recently, Mr. Way told me this, that that is actually based on UFO.  I don’t know if you know this but Derek Sutton who used to be head of Chrysalis in America.  Then he went on to manage Styx.  Derek was the creative consultant [on the film].  Apparently Derek told Pete about Spinal Tap and said “you know you guys are in there." He went “what?”  He said “yeah, you guys got lost at a concert."  It was an ice hockey place that had all these freakin’ tunnels.  We went to get on stage and we got lost.  We were wandering around for like fifteen minutes.  That’s kind of my favorite.
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