Pete Way Interview

From March 1996 edition of Aardschok (Dutch magazine)

Translated by Rene

Aardschok editorial:

When in the last months of 1995 it became clear that Michael Schenker had left UFO once again, people immediately thought that the flying saucer had made its final landing. There was an obituary in this paper and the writer of this article mentioned the departure of UFO from the rockscene as the darkest moment of the year (the band had just released a very good album Walk on water). When we heard that bass player Pete Way had tried to get in touch with us, and there were rumours that guitar player John Norum would fill the empty spot left by Schenker, we telephoned the bass player in his home in Columbus Ohio and asked him wether Schenker was in or out of the band. This was a question that Way initially tries not to answer.

Interview: W=Way A=Aardschok

(W) At this moment Phil Mogg and I are working on the new album of John Norum. And in a couple of months we will be touring with the band again. In the meantime we are concentrating on releasing Walk on water in the rest of the world.

(A) O.K., but what about Schenker?

(W) We will have to wait and see. I just do not know. After the American tour, which lasted for five months, Michael had some personal problems. It appeared that his father had a serious disease and that hit Michael pretty hard. A decision regarding his position in the band has not been taken.

(A) But Michael has said himself that he left UFO...

(W) In a couple of months we will meet again and then we will see. (A) I talked to you about two years ago, just after the reunion-tour early 1994. You said you had high hopes of a UFO album being released during 1994, but it was not until one and a half year later that Walk on water was released. Was there no interest in Europe and America or were you just asking too much money?

(W) With us just about everything takes a long time! We just waited to see what would happen. We did not want to take the first offer. But when Zero made a splendid offer we just could not say no.It was a contract for the Japanese market and we would keep the rights for the rest of the world. Very lucrative all that.

(A) The real UFO fan has bought Walk on water through Japanese import ofcourse. Why would a European recordcompany still want to release the album?

(W) Because it is a good album and there a lot of people are who do not know the older material.

(A) After the release of the CD we heard that drummer Andy Parker quit the band. Why was he replaced by Simon Wright (ex AC/DC)?

(W) Andy was not available for the American tour. You ought to know that he is involved in a family company in England. His life did not revolve around music anymore. Also his drum playing was not what it used to be. The real spirit was missing. He knew that and we parted in good understanding. He was certainly not kicked out of the band. After that we asked Simon Wright and he was an excellent choice. He is a bit younger than us and he has grown up with the music of the old UFO. He was very excited about joining the band.

(A) That should hold for John Norum as well. He is not only a big Thin Lizzy fan, but also a big fan of UFO.

(W) Haha, that is true. He would be a logical replacement. I like him personally as well. But on a range of subjects some decisions will have to be taken about UFO.

(A) Walk on water is out in Japan for about half a year now. How do you look back on the recording of the album and on the final product?

(W) With pride. The recording went very natural and very disciplined. There have been times that it was different. It is a good album that shows that a band like UFO has a right to exist in 1996. I am already looking forward to the new album that hopefully will be released this year. Whether we will be working with Ron Nevison again? I do not know. It would be a challenge to work with Mike Clink, a former assistent to Ron.

(A) I wondered why you chose to re-record Doctor doctor and Lights out.

(W) Because the Japanese record company asked us to do that. We have printed our own CDs that are for sale during live shows and on that version only Lights out appears.

(A) Isnt that a bit beneath you, selling your own CDs during live shows?

(W) I know what you mean and I guess you are right in some way. But by doing this we end up with a lot more money than if we would have a record company selling the product. Now we get all the proceeds and with a record company we would only get a small percentage.

(A) How did the five month American tour go?

(W) Very good actually, but there were some tensions towards the end of it. It lasted a bit too long and I believe we cancelled the last two weeks because of that. Michael had some problems and I believe he started to drink again.

(A) Phil Mogg was said to be starting to drink and playing the boss again...

(W) Absolutely not true! On the contrary, Phil was the man who kept us all going. I think it is a pity that the press has printed this story, it does him great unjustice. I am the last one to deny that there was not any drinking and pill taking, but it was not Phil. Such things happen during a tour, you start off as a priest and end up as the devil. Certain habits have a way of coming back during a tour. But I can say that if you compare it to the old days, we were all clean on stage.

(A) The future looks unsure...

(W) Everything will depend on the relations between us, I can not tell you beforehand what will happen.We will all have to think about what we really want, and about the business and financial side of things. It looks a bit unsure at the moment, that is true, but when the dust is settled some decisions will be taken. I would not write us off yet!

End of interview.

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