2nd October 2016
Recently we said goodbye to a beloved member of the UFO family.
Our tour manager and colleague Tonio Neuhaus died last Wednesday, after a brief battle with lung cancer. Tonio was a true Renaissance man - an entrepreneur, an artist, a musician, a chef, a tour manager par excellence, and most of all a good friend.
I will miss his kindness, his efficiency, his impeccable accounting and his wry sense of humor. I will miss him asking me "what's seventeen times thirty-two" first thing in the morning, just to see if I was awake before he paid me, or his devilish chuckle as he worked on his laptop blending pictures of Phil and Vladimir Putin together until you couldn't tell one from the other. But most of all I will miss seeing him sitting in the front seat of the bus with his cup of coffee and his cellphone and knowing that we were in the best of hands.
His passing has left a huge hole, not just in my life but I'm sure with everybody who knew and loved him. Rest in peace Tonio, see you on the other side.
16th August 2016
I recently heard the news that my longtime friend and colleague Pete Way has suffered a heart attack. I am sure that you will all want to join me in wishing him a full and speedy recovery. Get well soon Pete!
Diary Update - 4th July 2016
In case anybody was wondering where I have been these last few months, it was just another case of home life taking over my every waking moment. Since our March USA run I have kept meaning to update my diary page, "honest guvner", but stuff just kept getting in the way.
It didn't help that the latest phase of renovation on the Parker homestead involved completely gutting our home office, which incidentally, is where I pen these chats. Quite an undertaking, it involved moving everything out, which included our computer, tearing back to the studwork, replacing windows, wiring, insulation, siding, and just about everything else before re-decorating and putting it all back again!
Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it. But at last it is all finished, and I am finally able to put finger to keyboard once again. The fact that Saturday 2nd July was national UFO day, no not us, something to do with the 1947 Roswell crash, spurred me to write a few words before I head off to Europe next week.
To all of you who supported us on our March USA shows, we wish to thank you. The three week stint, which started in Akron Ohio and ended in San Francisco was truly amazing. Most of the shows were sold out and those that weren't were near as dammit. Anyone who is familiar with our crew may have noticed a few new faces this time around. Eric, who has been tending to Vinnie's guitars for the last eight years or so, took over the FOH (that's Front Of House) sound duties, and did a magnificent job. His good buddy Patrick Whitwam took care of Vinnie's guitars, while the merch desk was manned by Freddie (Merchury) Michael, and the tour manager duties by Eddie (Dr. Evil) Oertell. You may also have noticed our old friend and colleague Andre Bargmann, who took a hiatus from Foreigner to cover drums and keyboards. My thanks to all of them for doing such a great job and to our bus driver Cary Thomkins for bringing us home safe and sound.
There were also some new additions to our list of venues, namely The Gas Monkey in Dallas, Vamp'd in Las Vegas, and the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, Pop's in Sauget IL, the Voodoo Lounge in Kansas City and the Alamo City Music Hall in San Antonio. We had a great time at all of them and hope to be back again very soon. Once again, thank you to all who came out and supported us, you really made the tour a great success.
As I mentioned earlier, I am heading to Europe next week. The band is booked to play at a couple of festivals in Germany, and we will also be working on an album of cover tunes. I can't tell you what they are yet, but watch this space for updates - until then, stay safe and keep the faith.
All the best,
Diary Update from Andy - 7th February 2016
Hey all, just a quick update before we head out on the road again. I trust you all had a wonderful holiday season and that Santa brought you plenty of goodies. Mine was perfect, just me, the wife, daughter, and dogs - couldn't have been better. UFO were working right up to Christmas, and after a very hectic year some rest and relaxation was just what the doctor ordered.
As you may know, we spent the first part of December as special guests on the Judas Priest tour. Here are some photos from the roadtrip, including one of myself with our bus-driver. Twins separated at birth! (Thanks to Mike Collins for the picture of the Christmas ornament!)
I would like to thank all the Priest band and crew for making us feel so welcome, and a special thanks to Priest's production manager Martin Walker for taking such good care of us. Hope we can do it again very soon. For all of you who came to the shows, thanks so much for your support and I look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.
At this point I must give a mention to Warrant Officer Norman Trigg, who I met after a show in Paderborn last year, and who is a big UFO fan. He is currently serving his country in the British Army and stationed in Germany. He said that I would forget, and he was almost right, thank you for your service sir and keep up the good work.
While I think of it, there is a new box set released by Cleopatra Records called 'Live Sightings'. It features some vintage performances from the Chapman days and also some very early stuff with Mr. Larry Wallis on guitar. Well worth a listen!
Lastly, for all of you who have expressed concern about our good friend Pete Way, I am pleased to tell you that I had a very nice chat with him a few days ago. He is doing well, and is in good spirits, although he admits that it is taking him quite some time to recover from the effects of his prostate cancer treatment. That being said, he is endeavoring to finish his long awaited solo album and he also told me that there is a biography in the works. I'm sure it will make interesting reading! Anyway, must finish now as it is time to feed the girls (Bonnie & Belle). The band will be starting a U.S. tour in a couple of weeks, so please come and say hi. See you then.
p.s. Saw this and thought of UFO!
p.p.s. In a sad addition to my Diary update,
our thoughts and prayers go out to longtime UFO fan Andy Gomez, who recently lost his beloved Karen to cancer. Deepest condolences from us all my friend.