Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces Of Rock recently conducted an interview with UFO drummer Andy Parker. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
69 Faces Of Rock: This by far is the longest running incarnation of UFO. What is in place now in order to achieve such consistency?
Andy Parker: I think , it’s the lack of crazy people. [laughs] We have people in the band now that actually want to go out and play rather than abuse substances and throw tantrums. It’s great; the band is getting along, and let’s face it, we’re here for the music. Sometimes the other things take over, but it’s a very strong band. I’m real happy, and I think everyone else is.
69 Faces Of Rock: One band member who is still missing in action is [bassist] Pete Way. Any updates on Pete‘s whereabouts, or a possibility of him rejoining the band?
Andy Parker: He’s the substance-abuse factor. No, but he is surviving as Pete survives. I believe he’s made a solo album, but I don’t think it hit the streets yet. Pete had plenty of opportunities to straighten himself up and come back. But, he doesn’t seem to be willing to do it. And we’re not really willing, I mean, we love Pete. But he’s not really capable of playing to the level that we want to perform right now. That’s about the best thing I can say. He doesn’t seem to want to make a change, so right now I don’t see him back. I mean, the door is always open, if he wants to make some life changes. He doesn’t seem to feel that’s necessary.
69 Faces Of Rock: Since UFO regrouped with Vinnie Moore on guitar in 2004, there’s been a new album every two years. All of you live apart from each other, so how do you make it happen?
Andy Parker: So far so good. Yeah, that’s kind of difficult, and if you noticed, I didn’t have much of an input on the last album — pretty much nothing. And that’s because I’ve had a lot of stuff going in my personal life. It is difficult. What seems to happen is guys put their ideas together when we’re off the road, and then we meet and check them around. Phil [Mogg, vocals] will sort through them, and make the selections. He picks the ones he feels he can work with, and he’ll go out and do his stuff, and then we come back together and record. The last three albums I’ve recorded in Germany, and Phil‘s done his vocals in Germany, too. Vinnie tends to do all his work from his home in Delaware. It works for him. In a way, it works because it’s a lot less expensive to do it that way, and it gets done very quickly. I miss the process where you feed off each other. I’m usually in the studio on my own just playing to scratch tracks, which is OK, because there isn’t any pressure on me, but you miss that connection with the other guys. So it has its ups and downs.
69 Faces Of Rock: Each time there is a new UFO release, people tend to compare it to your ’70s records. Are such comparisons fair anymore?
Andy Parker: I don’t think so. I mean, obviously, Vinnie received a lot of hate when he joined the band. Everyone wanted Michael Schenker, and Michael is brilliant, and that was a great era, but that was 30 years ago. Others wanted Paul Chapman. But the band moved on, the band matured, and the band is still putting out viable material. I’m not knocking the fans down. We’ve got fans that had been with us for a long time, but you know, you can’t please everybody. I think the best way to go is just play from the heart, and that, to me, is why I love this band so much. It’s always been from the heart for me.
Read the entire interview at 69 Faces Of Rock.