The 2012 studio release from UFO,
which includes the track WONDERLAND
which is released as a single
on 22nd February 2013
Update - 17th May 2013 - The tornado in Granbury
would like to thank everyone for their concern after an
EF4 tornado hit my hometown of Granbury, Texas on May
15th. We were personally very lucky – the tornado
hit a mile and half away from our house, and my wife,
dogs and home are all fine. As you may know, I am currently
on tour in Brazil, but I will be returning home soon.
hearts and prayers go out to our neighbors who lost their
loved ones and their homes in this terrible occurrence.
But we live in a great community, and we know that together
we can help rebuild the Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood
and the lives that have been so badly affected.
thanks for your concern. If you would like to help in
the rebuilding process, here are several links:
for Humanity, Hood County - Mission
Granbury - Red
Update - 18th February 2013
All! Once again I am starting with an apology. I am sorry
that it has been so long since my last news, but once
again Chez Parker took over my home life to the point
of distraction. Between trying to evict angry squirrels
from the attic, keeping the possums from infesting the
back yard with fleas, and collecting this year’s
bounteous pecan harvest, I have been kept buzzing around
like the proverbial blue ar**d fly.
a brighter note, the massive bathroom renovation is finally
finished, and it came out rather well if I do say so myself
(see pics, below, along with a photo of our three bathing-belles...
or should I say a bathing-Belle, a bathing-Bonnie, and
a bathing Poppy!) I am hoping to move on to the exterior
this summer, weather and budget permitting! I will keep
you posted on my progress.
got my excuses out of the way, I would like to thank all
the die-hards who came out to the USA shows last year.
It was great to see so many familiar faces, and I thank
you all for your continued support. It was a fairly short
run, four shows in the mid-west, and a couple of weeks
on the west coast, but you really made it a big success.
I hope we will be stateside again later this year.
nothing like leaving things to the last minute, and I
am writing this between doing laundry and packing my bag.
I will be on a plane tomorrow heading for the UK. I'm
going from one bath to another, as our next tour begins
on the 21st February - this Thursday - in Bath, England.
I will be leaving wife, dogs and the Texas sunshine for
five weeks in Europe, although, according to the missus,
not until I have put up the curtain rods in the bedroom.
No rest for the wicked! Bye for now and all the best.
Update - 11th June 2012
having completed the UK tour in fine style (see below
for the UK diary update) I headed home for a few days
R&R. It seemed like I just had enough time to walk
the dogs - I now have three - do my laundry, and kiss
the missus - before I was back on a plane again heading
for Hannover. The journey was pretty uneventful,
the usual four-hour layover at Frankfurt Airport
prompting bemused stares from passing travellers as I
read my latest copy of Guns & Ammo magazine
to pass the time. I arrived at our home-from-home hotel
in Hannover around 4pm, only to discover that it was fully
booked, and that I would have to check out of my room
by 5.30pm. This is not the most welcome news when you
have been travelling for the best part of twenty hours,
plus I found out that my usual room was already occupied
and they'd put me in the annex. Six flights up, no elevator,
and the world's heaviest bag... man, I thought I was going
to bust a gusset! In hindsight I probably should have
seen it as an omen, but I took a quick shower, set my
alarm and lay down for a nap.
After what seemed like a few minutes I was woken from
a deep sleep by the sound of the maid out in the hallway.
6pm, shit! I had slept right through my alarm - another
portent of the future, as that was to happen at least
four more times during the tour. In a daze I dressed,
packed and dragged my bag back down the stairs, stumbling
out into the street like a zombie. Fortunately our manager
Peter had the foresight to send our tourbus to
the hotel, so I climbed aboard, found my bunk, stowed
my gear and grabbed a cold beer from the fridge. Things
were looking up.
Our first show was in Prague, and I had chosen
to ride in the bus rather than fly. I was soon joined
by Rob, Kate, Eric, Hille
(drum'n'keys tech) and Mark (FOH). After an excellent
meal with more beer at our favourite restaurant, Salentino,
we set off for an overnight drive to the Czech Republic.
The first gig went very well, a great crowd and a few
familiar faces. Rodruigo (Chico) our Brazilian
promoter made a surprise appearance, along with Lea
(a facebook friend of Vinnie's) and her brother, both
of whom live in Prague. With the sun shining and full
of the joys of spring, we left the next morning, heading
back to Germany for our second show. This too went without
a hitch and everything seemed to be going just fine...
until we got to Malchin...
The venue was a Biker Festival, and we were scheduled
to play at 11.45 pm, after the fireworks. As we had another
overnighter to Warsaw after the show, the bus dropped
the bandmembers at the hotel so we could catch up on some
sleep, and the crew headed for the gig. When we arrived
at the festival site during the evening our tour bus was
nowhere to be seen. Tonio explained why. It seems
that the so called 'stage manager' at Malchin had directed
our driver to the backstage area via a field. Unfortunately
it had been raining earlier, and as nobody bothered to
check the condition of the ground, the bus sunk up to
its axles in the mud. The situation was so bad that at
one point it looked as if the bus might tip right over,
so the East German Fire Service ordered everyone out,
and cordoned off the area.
story short, try as they might, they couldn't free the
bus from the mud so we ended up waiting until 5am for
a replacement to arrive from Hannover. By this time the
bus had sunk even deeper into the mud, about half as much
again as in the above photo. With the area out-of-bounds
for safety reasons, we were forbidden from collecting
our belongings. But... We are the boys, we've got nothing
to lose. Well, we had a lot to lose actually - essentials
such as passports, suitcases, computers etc. So a volunteer
amongst us climbed in under cover of darkness and searched
through every bunk to rescue all our stuff. This un-named
hero (thanks Rob!) managed to open one of the doors and
pass everything out to the crew, who formed a human chain
to deliver it all - even our dirty laundry and the Haribo
mix - safely to our new bus.
we had a day off before the next show in Warsaw, so the
delay didn't affect us too badly. The Warsaw show went
well, along with the added fun of Eric's birthday and
things seemed to be back on track. Because the next show
in Metzingen was more than 1200 kilometres away
we broke the journey in Erfurt. While checking
into the hotel we ran into Michael Voss and his
band Mad Max who were playing there that evening
- what are the chances of that! We had just enough time
to exchange a couple of Pete Way stories before
they headed off to their show. Priceless!
The next few days went without incident, although the
long overnight drives were beginning to take their toll.
The longest single drive of the tour was fast approaching,
a 1050 kilometre overnight trek from Detmold in
Germany to Mantova in Italy, where we were supporting
Judas Priest. Because our stage time in Italy was
to be quite early, it was *very* important that we made
a prompt departure after the Detmold show. A huge thunderstorm
kicked in, with thunder on top of lightning on top of
more thunder. We waited and waited and waited until we
were way past our departure time. It turned out that the
automatic gates at the venue had stopped working and the
bus was stuck in the parking lot. We were trapped! Unbelievable
- you couldn't make this stuff up.
locksmith eventually showed up and sprung the bus, but
it was touch and go as to whether we would reach the Priest
show in time to play. Fortunately, luck was on our side
for once and we made the gig by the skin of our teeth.
Bravo to Ilja, the replacement bus-driver who'd
joined us at Hannover (Ilja, you were magnificent
from start to finish!) for getting us there safely, and
to our hardworking crew for putting the gear up in record
time. It was great to see the guys from Priest again -
we go way back as you know, and I probably haven't seen
them in thirty years or more, Scary!
I think it's time for me to wrap this up so I will finish
by giving a mention to our friend and colleague Martin
Leissner who we saw in Pratteln along with
his wife Melanie, and to Greg T. Walker
who was at the Paris show (another blast from the
past). Also to Tom "what's he building in there?"
Waits and Withnail, who seemed to invade our
every waking moment on the bus, (thanks Phil!) and of
course as always my fellow band members - Phil,
Paul, Vinnie and Rob - and our fabulous crew, Tonio,
Eric, Hille, Mark and last but by
no means least, Kate. You really are the best.
A big thanks to all of you who came out to the shows and
dug deep in your pockets to make the whole thing happen.
Take care and I will see you all again very soon. Cheers!
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Update - 8th June 2012
I must begin with an apology. It's been almost five months
since my last update and I'm very sorry for the delay.
It seems like there is never enough time to fit in all
the things that need to be done, but on the plus side
my bathroom re-model project is coming along very nicely!
I am finally, to bring you up to speed on all things UFO.
So much has happened during the last two tours, but I
will do my best to recall some of the highlights (no,
not the ones in Paul's hair).
I want to thank all of our UK fans for making the last
run such a success. You guys never cease to amaze. The
whole tour was pretty much sold out and the reception
better than ever. I was particularly pleased at your reaction
to the new songs from Seven Deadly. It
can sometimes be difficult introducing new material, but
not so this time. We added Fight Night,
Wonderland, Mojo Town
and Burn Your House Down to the set list,
and not only did they receive a warm welcome but a great
many of you seemed to already know the words. I will avoid
the temptation of adding "better than Phil"
to that last statement as I'm sure you'll all agree that
the man did one hell of a job once again, as did Paul,
Vinnie and Rob. You
can probably tell by my face onstage that it is a pure
pleasure to play with these guys, and in my opinion the
band is sounding better than ever.
kicked off at The Junction in Cambridge,
which being close to my old stomping ground had more than
its fair share of friends and family. Good to see both
of my brothers and their wives, my good friends Colin
and Val Poppleton, plus a couple of my
buddies from 'Jack of Herts' and my old
pal Mike Lodge (bass player in
Aurora Borealis) who I hadn't seen in at least
ten years. It was an excellent show, especially for a
first night and we were in great spirits as we headed
north to the wilds of Edinburgh. Saint
Paddy's day was spent in Newcastle, I
swear I have never seen so many drunk girls in short skirts
in my life! On to Leeds (good to see
Nom and Liz again), Dublin
and then Belfast, where yours truly spent
his birthday at the Spring & Airbrake.
I'm not saying which birthday it was but it was a biggie,
complete with birthday cake on stage and a decorated lounge
on the tour bus. As I mentioned before, all the shows
were really well attended, including Phil's adopted home
town of Brighton where he was treated
to some monkey-related antics during Wonderland. Strangely,
no footage of this has surfaced yet, so if any of you
have pics of me in the monkey mask or better still Eric
(our guitar tech) in the gorilla suit, please let
morning started just like any other as we headed for London
and our last UK show at The Forum. Unfortunately
our German bus driver decided to ignore the large sign
saying LONDON ROAD, and trust his dodgy satnav instead.
The result of this gross error of judgment was a sixty
foot bus and trailer stuck up a narrow one way street
in 'The Lanes' in Brighton - a mainly pedestrianised walkway,
lined with bistro tables and chairs. The next fifty minutes
were acutely embarassing... Luckily the others were all
asleep and spared the fiasco, as Tonio
worked valiantly to extricate us from our predicament.
Judging by the amount of curtains moving, windows opening,
people pointing and laughing and scratching their heads,
the locals enjoyed the show. Anyway, we finally made it
out and back to the highway, and with Phil taking over
for the satnav we not only took the correct road to London
but made it across the city in record time. Our London
hotel (hostel?) left a lot to be desired. The wall in
my room looked like it had witnessed a Mafia-style execution,
but we were only there for one night and I was going home
the next day, YEA!! Needless to say, the Forum show was
a blast, with all the usual suspects in attendance. Nice
to see Dave Ling and Neil Jeffries,
also the infamous Denny Godber, Leon
Lawson and a host of others including Tristan
Greatrex who works so diligently and tirelessly
on the UFO artwork etc. Thanks to all of you, and of course
our wonderful crew, Tonio, Eric,
Danny, Jerry, and the lovely
Kate, for making it such a success, and
I look forward to seeing you all again very soon.
p.s. A round-up of
highlights from our European tour will follow soon, including
news of the deep impression we made in East Germany,
and how we nearly didn't reach Italy
in time to play the Judas Priest gig.
Update - 24th January 2012
Ok, I know
that it has been eons since I last penned an update and
those of you who read them probably thought that I had
fallen off the planet or something similar, but not so.
The truth is that Andy has been seriously involved in
the ongoing renovation of the money sponge which is 'Casa
Parker'. Latest project on the never-ending list is bathroom
#2, and as nothing I do with this house is ever easy,
it has had me totally occupied since mid October when
we finished the last U.S. tour.
Now I'm sure
that some of you D.I.Y. types are saying "fix up
a bathroom, big deal" and normally I would agree
with you, but when it involves removing the entire floor
and digging out crumbling water pipes and root infested
sewer lines buried a foot below the ground, it gets a
little more complicated. Add, just for good measure, the
impending arrival of Christmas guests, and the fact that
ol' Andy does all the work himself, you start to understand
why I have been silent for so long. Fact is that three
days before my daughter and her husband were due to arrive
for the holidays, entering that room would have resulted
in a three foot fall onto dirt. Fortunately I managed
to get the floor put back and the toilet and bathtub installed,
albeit temporarily, before they showed up, so a good time
was had by all.
I trust that
everyone had a most enjoyable holiday season and that
the new year is proving to be all you had hoped for. I
would like to thank each of you for your support on the
last tour and say how much I enjoyed seeing you all. I
was going to give my usual run down of the shows, but
having read Paul's
excellent account of the last run on his website
it seems a bit redundant. So I will finish up by saying
that the new album, Seven Deadly will be released
very soon. It's getting some great reviews so give
it a listen. I look forward to seeing you all
in the very near future, until then, stay safe and 'Keep
on Rocking'. All the best.
Update - 4th June 2011
Just a brief update on what's been happening before I
head off again. As most of you know, we spent the last
few weeks on the road and I want to thank all of you who
came out to the shows for your continued support. It was
great to see so many familiar faces and you really made
us feel at home. To say that this particular tour got
off to a rocky start would be a huge understatement. Due
to unforseen circumstances we lost our tour manager and
our sound engineer before the first show, but after a
few well-placed phone calls we were able to find two excellent
replacements. I would like to take this opportunity to
thank Charlie Lewis and Jerry Carillo for
stepping in at the last minute and doing such a great
job. Well done, gentlemen!
problem was our tourbus. Not only was it not the bus we
had been promised, looking like its older dirtier cousin,
but it also arrived without functional air conditioning.
Luckily we had a day of rehearsals before the first show
and our driver found a mobile mechanic who managed to
fix the problem - or so we thought - and we headed off
to Farmingdale NY full of the joys of spring. Of course
it wasn't long before things started to go awry once again,
beginning with a wheel falling off of the trailer. Thank
heavens this event happened in a parking lot rather than
on the highway, or the outcome could have been disastrous!
When asked the reason why there were now only three wheels
on our wagon, our illustrious driver (who sounded uncannily
like Mr. Taggart from 'Blazing Saddles') informed us that
he'd told his boss back in January that the wheel was
no good, and that he had, and I quote, "chucked some
grease at it, but there ain't no bearing in there".
believe it was just after this revelation that the a/c
finally gave up its struggle and quit for good! Now some
of you might think this is no big deal, and that real
men (or women for that matter) shouldn't need air conditioning,
but I am here to tell you different. Anyone who has spent
the night sleeping on a tourbus with ten people, all in
cramped compartments with no a/c, will tell you that it's
no picnic. Your bunk is instantly turned into a self-contained
bacterial breeding ground, which may explain why I spent
the last week being pumped full of steroids and antibiotics
in order to rid me of a nasty case of bronchitis. And
just in case you think I'm being a big baby, let me tell
you that this bug also got to Paul, Charlie and Vinnie
before we were done. There were also some issues regarding
the bus toilet which are best left only to the imagination.
Another problem was that the main door of the bus (the
only door!) had a dodgy locking mechanism, so it often
couldn't be opened from the inside, nor sometimes from
the outside. And when the generator finally gave out altogether,
we spent a whole journey without any electricity at all.
The upside of this sorry tale is that we ended up transferring
all our belongings, gear, mattresses and bedding - in
the middle of the night and in the pouring rain - onto
a much better bus with a much better driver. Thanks Dan!
It was pretty much smooth sailing from then on with some
great shows, all well attended and even a few which were
sold out. As I mentioned earlier there were a lot of familiar
faces, which is always a bonus. I will do my best to thank
you all, but if I miss anybody, don't take it personally.
Steve Lobmeier, thanks for the goodies, Eddie
Trunk, always a pleasure, Hilary and Jeff,
excellent cookies, Lisa, Dominic (hi Jeff!)
and Alex, you guys rock! Pete Karys, get
well soon; Jim Beier, love the new snare (coming
soon to my gear page) but put on some weight will ya!
Steve Byland and son, thanks for the great bottle
of wine, Big Dan and Lisa, thanks for the
bottles of wine, I will try and keep them until March;
Susan Kinne and partner, thanks for the brandy
- it was delicious! Byrd, it wouldn't be Chicago
without you... and Liz Wiel, you know the lyrics
better than Phil! Jon Freeman, Mark Hyman,
Todd Smith and Louis, and Freddy Salem
- where are the naked girls at? To all of you who congratulated
me on my daughter's wedding (check
out her new blog), the very sweet lady who gave
me the Aussie pendants, our backline crew Andre
and Eric alias 'The Bong Brothers', the amazing
Sumo Baby, Mini Michael, and last but not
least our Magnificent Merch Maiden.... I thank
you all for making my life so much fun and I look forward
to seeing you all again very soon.
now to Germany to battle Volcanic ash clouds and e-coli,
a-a-a-h the glamorous life of a rock musician. Stay safe
P.S. Apologies to any of you who were hoping to see me
at the Chicago Drum Show. Bronchitis got the better
of me. Maybe next year.
few fun moments from the May 2011 roadtrip
Update - 19th April 2011
As most of you know, we will be heading out on the road
again in a couple of weeks, but before I go I thought
I would give you a quick update on events. First off I
would like to thank all of you who sent me birthday wishes,
they were much appreciated. A special thanks to Brian
from Aberdeen for setting the record straight on my age.
No, John W. from MD, I am not quite in my sixties yet!
Close, but not quite. It was an excellent birthday, starting
out with breakfast in bed, then off to the target range
for a couple of hours (one of my new favorite pastimes)
and ending up at our local Hibachi restaurant for dinner.
big deal for me recently was my daughter Lindsay's wedding,
which turned out to be absolutely perfect. The ceremony
took place at the Justin
Winery in Paso Robles California, and for any
of you planning a destination wedding, I couldn't recommend
a better location. Many thanks to Laura Zolnoski and all
the Justin staff for doing such a great job. I must thank
for the beautiful flower arrangements, Jonah
for the wonderful music, Gavin
the DJ who managed to slip a couple of UFO tunes
into the evening's entertainment, Nicolas, who did such
a great job on the ceremony, Cherry
for the photos, Leah from Luna
Bella for the hair and makeup (not mine!), Sasha
on the Park and Trumpet
Vine Catering, for the fabulous rehearsal dinner,
and last but by no means least, Cori
Lassahn the wedding co-ordinator, who worked her
magic from start to finish and made the whole event such
a pleasure for all of us. Also, a special mention to Jody
in Ft. Worth whose expertise in the Men's Department had
me looking and feeling like a million bucks. This proud
dad thanks you all for your hard work!
you can probably tell that I've been totally preoccupied
with all things wedding for the last few months, but now
I am really looking forward to getting out there and rocking
again! We will be starting on the East coast on the 5th
of May, along with Mr. Barry Sparks on bass so
please do come out and see us, and as always I promise
that you won't be disappointed.
I will leave you with some pics
of the wedding. Hope to see you all very soon.
Diary Update - 30th March 2011
- just want to share
some wonderful family news with you.
My daughter Lindsay is getting married on
Saturday 2nd April
to her fiancé Michael.
A full diary update will follow
when this proud old dad gets back
from the celebrations!
Diary Update - 17th
I'm currently home in Texas for a couple of weeks before heading
back to the UK for some pre-Christmas shows, so I thought that
I would take this opportunity to catch you up with recent events.
This has been kind of a tough year for me both professionally
and personally. In my last update I told you about the ash cloud
debacle and the sad situation with Barry and his mother. One
would have thought that this was enough bad stuff for one year
but it appears that the gods had other ideas. Case in point,
our appearance at the High Voltage Festival. What should
have been a perfect day was spoiled by equipment failure. Those
of you who saw the performance will understand just how frustrating
the whole affair was - poor Vinnie is still having nightmares!
On the up side however, I have to thank the press, and all of
you, for the positive reviews that we received. You guys rock!
Just when you think things can't get any worse is usually when
they do, as I was soon to find out. I lost my beloved dog Daisy
just after Labor Day. She died from a very aggresive form of
canine cancer which took her so quickly that my wife and I were
in complete shock for weeks. She was such a special creature
and the love of my life, I miss her terribly. For those of you
who haven't seen her on the SITN website's No
Heavy Petting page, there are pictures of her in the
Anyway, back to the music stuff. Last month saw us touring in
Europe again and wouldn't you know it, more bad crap! We started
off losing a show in Melle in Germany because the promoter had
gone bankrupt, and this was quickly followed by me coming down
with some kind of bug. Wheezing and coughing my way across Germany,
I soon managed to infect the rest of the band. First Vinnie,
then Paul and Barry and finally Phil. This
thing seemed to mutate into some kind of 'super sickness' that
just wouldn't go away. By the time we made it to Kiel for the
Classic Rock Cruise we were all well and truly ailing,
and Phil had almost completely lost his voice. Knowing that
you can't exactly cancel the show and send people home when
you are miles out at sea, Mr. Mogg rose to the occasion and
went on with the show. To say that it was one of the bravest
things that I have ever seen is an understatement. Where he
found what voice he did I will never know, but he managed to
struggle through the set. Those in attendance were very kind,
and we did the best that we could under the circumstances. Our
apologies to the folks in Helsinki for cancelling our
show there, which was due to Phil being under doctor's orders
to rest his voice for a few days. We'll make it up to you in
Fortunately, that concludes my tale of woe for the time being.
As I said earlier, we are heading to the UK soon for some shows,
and fingers crossed, all the bad luck is over. I Iook forward
to seeing you at the concerts, and to all who have supported
us this year have a safe and joyous holiday season and a peaceful
and prosperous New Year.
One more thing before I go. They say every cloud has a silver
lining, but in my case it is blue (merle). Check out the pictures
of our new babies Belle and Bonnie, below.
Belle and Bonnie at 11 weeks
Belle and Bonnie - Double Trouble
Tug o' War
Belle and Bonnie at 13 weeks with Poppy
An interview with Andy
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R.I.P. 10th September 2010
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5th August 2010
Andy took part in an interview with Michael Pursche on the Adelaide
Listen to it HERE
Diary Update - 25th
Just a quick update on what's been going on since I last put
finger to keyboard. I say quick because I have been so overwhelmed
on the home front lately that now I am finally getting down
to writing about our exploits I am having difficulty remembering
a lot of what happened! Still I will do my best to fill you
in on recent events and I apologise in advance for anything
that I might leave out.
The last run of
European dates started out normally enough. We all met in Hannover,
mid April, for a day of rehearsal before the start of the tour.
Barry (Sparks) joined us on bass once again, and along
with his lovely wife Allessandra we also had the pleasure
of meeting his beautiful new baby daughter Serena. Apart
from that it was pretty much the usual suspects - Tonio,
Martin, Andre, Kate and Dave. Eric
was absent this time, having also just become a new dad. Congratulations
to him and Trish on the birth of their son Logan!
The guitar tech position was masterfully filled by Niclas
Mellander, alias 'The Swede', a colleague of Andre's and
now a fully fledged member of the UFO family.
The first show
at the Blues Garage in Hannover went without a hitch,
then it was an overnight drive to Berlin airport to catch a
plane to Greece. As we were only playing Athens and Thessaloniki,
the plan was for us to use rented gear for those shows, then
fly back to Frankfurt where we would meet up with our bus, the
suitcases with all our clothes etc for the rest of the roadtrip,
and the trailer full of our backline gear, and continue the
tour. Unfortunately this was not what happened. While we were
busy entertaining the good citizens of the aforementioned cities,
a volcanic ash cloud from the Icelandic eruption was spreading
across Europe like the plague. First thing you know, Frankfurt
airport is closed down. But no matter, Tonio leaps into action.
He books us tickets to Belgrade and instructs the bus driver
to meet us there. Problem solved - or so we thought. That was
until they closed Belgrade airport too. At this point our options
were rapidly decreasing so it was decided that we should stay
put and have the bus come to us. Long story short, after several
relief drivers, thousands of litres of diesel, and a thirty
five hour journey through half the countries of Eastern Europe,
we finally made it back to Germany. Our apologies to the folks
in Nurenburg for missing the show, we will see you on
July 21st and do our best to make it up to you.
Anyway, after the
show in Oberhausen we set off by bus again for the journey
to jolly old England. I must say that this was one of the most
enjoyable UK tours that we have done in a while. The shows were
pretty well all sold out and the audiences just fantastic. A
big thanks to the guys from Voodoo Six for doing such
a great job in supporting us. To anyone who hasn't caught them,
they are well worth seeing! After a whirlwind week, taking in
England, Scotland and Wales, it was back on the boat to Belgium,
then Holland, France and finally Germany again where we finished
off the tour in Dresden. One sad note however. Three
days before the end of the tour Barry received word from his
family that his mother was very ill. He immediately flew back
to Arizona to be with her and we sincerely thank Peter Pichl
for stepping in at the last minute and helping us out with the
remaining shows. I have since learnt that Barry's mum passed
away and I'm sure you all join me in sending condolences to
Barry and his family.
After all that you would think it was time for a bit of a rest,
but as they say, "there's no rest for the wicked"
so a little more than a week later I found myself on a plane
once again this time heading for Brazil. This was UFO's first
time in South America and as such we weren't sure what
to expect. Turns out that it was a blast. We played four shows,
this time with Rob DeLuca on bass. Sao Paulo,
Goiania, Belo Horizonte and Recife. The
reception was brilliant, those people really know how to party!
Much thanks to Rodrigo (Chico) and Milton from
A.W.O. for all their hard work, and I hope we can do
it again very soon. Some of Milton's photos can be found HERE.
As always, thanks
to all our fans everywhere for their continued support and for
making us feel so welcome wherever we go. I look forward to
seeing you all very soon. Cheers!
Diary Update - 25th December 2009
Hey y'all! Seasons
Greetings from Texas!
It's Christmas day and the house is filled with the smell of
cooking turkey. In typical Texas fashion, mother nature provided
us with a blizzard yesterday to make this only the ninth 'White
Christmas' in recorded Texas history. Oddly enough it was seventy
five degrees and sunny the day before, but as they told me when
I moved here, "If you don't like the weather in Texas,
just wait half an hour". Never a truer word spoken and
the one thing that you can say about the weather here is that
it is never boring!
Anyway, enough about the weather, time for me to update you
all on the happenings in UFO land. It's been some time since
my last entry (September, I believe) and needless to say a lot
has transpired in the last three months. We took to the road
at the beginning of October for the 2009 U.S. tour and I had
fully intended to fill you in on our exploits when I returned
home in early November. Unfortunately, the usual asortment of
domestic disasters, burst water pipes, malfunctioning tumble
driers and the like just seemed to eat up the short amount of
time between tours, and before I knew it I was heading off to
Germany to start the European run. It is hard now for me to
separate the two, they seem to have blended into ten weeks of
continuous touring. Because of this, I won't be going into great
detail about each show, but instead will just try and give you
more of an overview and a few highlights.
Before the tour started, we (the band) were very much aware
of the current economic crisis. With all the job losses, home
foreclosures etc., we weren't too sure what to expect with regards
to ticket sales. 'Do people still have the money to go to concerts?'
Well, as always, you guys came through with flying colours,
the shows were well attended both in the U.S. and Europe. In
reading some of the recent guest book postings, I know that
it wasn't easy. Entries like, "I spent my rent money"
and "I overdrew my bank account to buy tickets" make
it very clear that times are tough for a lot of you. On behalf
of the whole band I want to personally thank you all for your
continued support and encouragement. You guys rock!!
As usual we started with a couple of days rehearsal in Wilmington,
DE, being joined once again by the excellent Mr Rob DeLuca on
bass guitar. Many thanks to Don and co. at Sabion Rehearsal
Studio and to the manageress at Chili's for returning
my mislaid credit card. We then spent the next two weeks criss-crossing
the eastern part of the country, Springfield, Akron, and then
Milwaukee. Here I hooked up with friend and drum maker extraordinaire
Jim Beier, and took posession of my new snare drum (see
the gear page). Then on to Pittsburgh,
where after a well-deserved night off in a local restaurant,
Vinnie, Rob, Batttttty and myself waited *three* hours for a
cab to take us back to the hotel. Zzzzzzzzzzz!! If there are
any out-of-work cabbies reading this, Pittsburgh's the place
to be! Next stop Poughkeepsie, Sayreville, then B.B. Kings in
NYC. Nice to see Steve Lobmeier from D'Addario and
our good pal Mr. Eddie Trunk at the show. Then Sellersville,
where Rob entertained his entire family and I got to meet Vinnie's
close friends and neighbours, the lovely Hillary and
her husband Jeff, and eat one of the best steaks I've
ever had into the bargain. Many thanks to Dan and Alyson
at the Sellersville Theatre for their hospitality.
It was at this point that we headed west, and temporarily parted
company with our opening act, The Travis Larson Band.
Jennifer, Dale and Travis are not only
exceptional musicians but as we say in these parts,"real
nice folks" also, and it was a pleasure having them along.
October 15th saw us in St. Charles, MO, at the Ameristar Casino.
It was here that I was re-united with the Morris brothers, Jerry
and Don. I hadn't seen them since 1986 when we worked
together at Hollywood Centre Studios and we had a lot of fun
catching up. It was also here that Batttttty single-handedly
took on the buffet - and won. In all my years I've never seen
such a performance, the way the plates of grub and glasses of
White Zinfandel disappeared. It was like watching David Copperfield
in Vegas! Onward then to Chicago and The House of Blues. Over
the years the windy city has always been a special place for
UFO and I'm pleased to say that it still is. The place was rockin'
to the rafters thanks in part I'm sure to our good friend 'The
Byrd' at 97.9 The Loop. Vinnie and I got to visit
him at the studio on the morning of the show and we had a blast.
He joined us later backstage after the show along with Kirk
Hammett of Metallica, our hard working agent Mark Hyman
and Sergeant Mark Evans who runs Pizza for Patriots,
an organisation that provides pizzas to American troops serving
in Iraq and Afganistan. A worthy cause gentlemen, keep up the
After Chicago we worked our way through Hamel, Minnesota (thanks
to Steve and Becky Byland for the great pics) and Des
Moines, Iowa to the west coast. First up The Catalyst in Santa
Cruz where we were supported by Zen Vendetta, a great
band and a great bunch of guys. My sincere thanks to their drummer
Anthony Bettencourt for his most generous gift (see gear
page) Then on to Redondo Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Las Vegas,
Ventura, Los Angeles, Modesto, Portland - where we had a suprise
visit from our long time producer Ron Nevison - Seattle,
Medford, and finally San Francisco. Many thanks to Rick Reed,
his mum Glenda and friends, for once again providing
us with a magnificent array of food and drinks both in Portland
and Seattle. We look forward to seeing you again next year.
That concludes the
U.S. dates, now on to Europe. As I mentioned earlier the brief
gap between the U.S. and Europe seemed non-existent and November
16th saw us conducting 'business as usual' in Germany. Thanks
to the fact that we had just finished the U.S. run, and we could
now play the set in our sleep, no rehearsals were needed and
we went straight into the tour. Not wishing to subject you all
to Parker's version of 'War and Peace' I will try and be brief.
In the space of twenty-three days, we played nineteen shows
in seven different countries. Germany, Poland, Czech Republic,
Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. They were all very well
attended and the crowds really enthusiastic, especially the
Spanish shows where the venues sounded more akin to soccer stadiums
than rock clubs. We were backed on these shows by a couple of
outstanding bands, The Bulletmonks and Pump. Nice
job guys! All in all the European travelling was fairly uneventful.
Other than getting stuck in a snowdrift on our way to Milan
and getting locked out of our hotel in Switzerland on the last
night of the tour, things went reasonably well. Thanks to some
first rate driving by Armand our bus driver, and some
nifty work with a butter knife by Vinnie, these problems were
quickly solved. We did seem to see an awful lot of Berlin this
time round, however. I'm not sure if this had any thing to do
with the fact that our tour manager Tonio lives there.... If
it did, he's not saying!
Thanks to all of
you who came to the shows both in Europe and the U.S. You really
made us feel welcome once again and I hope to see you all again
very soon. In the meantime, check out some photos from the roadtrip
HERE. I wish you all
a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year. Cheers!
Tea and biscuits
just up the road from Shakespeare's birthplace
Verily, we rocketh!
Wiki Hori (Vic)
Diary Update - 9th September 2009
Andy here once again with a quick couple of lines just to keep
you up to date on recent events.
As you know it's been festival season in Europe and this year
UFO were fortunate enough to land a couple of blinders. July
31st saw us at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany.
This is probably the biggest outdoor festival in Europe and
this year marked their 20th anniversary, so as you can imagine
it was very well attended. We were scheduled to perform on the
'True Metal Stage' at 11:45am, and to be honest when
I saw the itinery I was more than a little concerned. Firstly,
I have never really considered UFO as a 'True Metal" band,
secondly, were any true metal fans likely to be awake at 11:45
in the morning? There was also the question of whether or not
yours truly would still be in his jammies clutching his toothbrush
at stage time! No need to worry, the audience was massive, wide
awake and totally awesome. A huge thanks to all who turned out
to see us, and made us so welcome. Danke!
The next day we hopped on a plane and headed for Italy. First
stop, the Baloma Bikers Fest. To say that this was one
of the noisiest shows ever would be an understatement. It had
nothing to do with the music however, more to do with a bunch
of Italian bikers pouring hi octane fuel into stationary bike
engines and revving them up until they backfire. This procedure
being followed by much hugging, cheering and backslapping. Mmmmm,
interesting! Our stage time being sometime after midnight, I
was once again left thinking about pyjamas and toothbrush, but
all went well and the small but appreciative crowd seemed to
enjoy themselves. The next couple of days saw us in L'Aquila
and Massingnano. The shows were fine, but unfortunately
the promoter had chosen to place us in a 'Holiday' hotel for
five days. The extremely late show times coupled with the 9am
poolside disco, extra hot weather and lack of air conditioning
started to take its toll. I think I speak for all (band and
crew) when I say we were more than a bit relieved when we finally
boarded the plane and headed back to England. Nice to run into
Uli Jon Roth and Mike Terrano though - good seeing
Friday August 7th, Stratford on Avon, Bulldog Bash Festival.
What can I say? We had an absolute blast. This event is now
in its 23rd year and although there has been a lot of talk in
the press about shutting it down, I for one hope it continues
for another 23. The crowd were great and the organisation flawless.
Lovely to see so many old friends. My nephew Luke all
the way from New Zealand, Nom and Liz, Leah (a
pleasure as always - say hi to Spike), Martin Nicholas
and Dave 'Lights' Beazley... excellent job sweetie! Last
but by no means least, a special thanks to 'Big Chris"
for sorting me out with a t shirt. Thanks mate!!
As always my thanks to Phil, Paul, Vinnie
and Rob for making it so much fun. To our crew, Tonio,
Martin, Eric and Hille for all their hard
work. To Matthias for getting the gear there safe and
sound with no missing toms. To our manager Peter Knorn,
our agent Nick Peel and of course the fabulous and indispensible
Next stop U.S.A. Check the tourdates
page for details. All the best.
Diary Update - 17th July 2009
Hey all, Andy here.
It's that time once
again when I attempt to bring you all up to speed on the latest
happenings in the UFO camp. I apologise in advance for all the
references here to tracks from The Visitor but
I promised the webmistress that I would name-check as many of
the songs as possible, so here goes.
As most of you probably
already know we have just finished a five week run of shows
in Europe including twelve in the U.K. To say that I had an
absolute blast would be a total understatement and judging by
the comments in the guestbook it would appear that most of you
did too. For those of you who don't know, we had a Stranger
In Town, the amazing blonde haired bass player who's
been filling in for Pete - Mr. Barry Sparks. This was
my first time getting to play with Barry and from the day we
started rehearsals I could tell that it was going to be a real
pleasure. Not only is he an awesome musician and a great guy
but he is also a huge UFO fan - in fact I challenge anyone to
come up with a UFO song that he doesn't know. Believe me I've
tried and failed - the man is a walking UFO juke box! I'm sure
you will all agree that he was undeniably Rock Ready
and did a magnificent job. Along with my thanks I would also
like to extend my congratulations to Barry and his lovely wife
Alex on the upcoming birth of 'Baby Sparks', later this year.
It's their first, a girl, and we wish them all the best.
The next run of
shows will feature Mr Rob De Luca on bass. Those of you
who caught any shows on the last U.S. tour will already know
that Rob is an outstanding musician and we are very pleased
to welcome him back. He already hit the ground running playing
the Mossingen show on July 4th and he will be with us at Wacken
and the Bulldog Bash in a couple of weeks.
Back to the recent
tour.... The first few shows went very well, even the Rock
Hard festival in Gelsenkirchen where I thought we might
seem rather out of place among bands like Sacred Reich and
Children of Bodom. There was no need to worry however,
the audience were very appreciative, Saving Me from
any trepidations, and we had a mammoth signing session after
the show. Good to see our old mates Saxon too, who were
topping the bill.
On then to Solvesborg
and Sweden Rock Festival, another great show although
Vinnie reckons it was the coldest gig he's ever played. Cheers
to our tour manager Tonio who kept the boys' fingers
from freezing by supplying them with bottles of hot water throughout
the show. Me, I was having too much fun to feel the cold but
I do have some words of advice. If you are heading to Scandinavia
you had better take plenty of money, it has to be one of the
most expensive places I've ever been. You certainly Can't
Buy A Thrill at those prices - at least not on our expenses!
As you can imagine we were all very happy to reach the U.K.
where you can still buy a Full English Breakfast without having
to take out a mortgage. I was particularly happy that the ferry
crossings went smoothly, being the world's worst sailor. Hell
I can get seasick just standing On The Waterfront.
The U.K. shows were
fantastic, you guys really did us proud. The venues were all
well sold and the crowds were really enthusiastic. It was great
to see so many old friends show up. Special thanks to Dave
'Lights' Beazley and Tris Geatrex for all their hard
work. Also a special Stop Breaking Down mention
to our bus driver Costa who got us out of trouble when
our bus decided to shed all its fan belts and we were Forsaken
by roadside assistance. Thanks to his ingenuity we
made it to the Cambridge show on time and intact. Thanks buddy,
we owe you one. While I am on the subject of drivers some of
you at the Belfast show may have noticed a character with an
uncanny resemblance to a certain German guitar player. If you
did, don't worry it wasn't Michael moonlighting, just our relief
bus driver Robert or Hell Driver as he became
known. While I think of it, a big THANK YOU to the chaps in
Belfast who gave us the commemorative glass plaque, we really
appreciate it fellas - and also a big thank you to Paul Chug,
who saved our bacon by topping us up with milk and tea-bags.
Also many thanks
to the crew from the A1 Bus Company who, unlike the many
Villains & Thieves out there, did a great job repairing
our bus. Well done lads! The rest of the tour went pretty smoothly
after that. All in all we had some fantastic shows with some
great supports. Dirty Shoes in Brighton (hope your drummer
is doing ok!), Raven Vandelle on several shows, great
to see you guys again, Toxic Federation in Wolverhampton,
Rolling Thunder in Manchester, Axxis in Speyer
and anyone else I have missed.... great job, all of you!
I guess that just
about wraps things up, except for me to thank all of you who
came to the shows and made them so successful - we really couldn't
do it without you - and to thank our management and crew, Peter
Knorn, Tonio Neuhaus, the recently married Mr.
Martin Leissner (congratulations!), Eric Holzhauser,
Hille, Daniel, Rob, Andre and of
course Kate - we definitely couldn't do it without you
guys. And last but by no means least the rest of the band Phil,
Paul, Vinnie and Barry, thanks guys for
one of the most enjoyable tours ever, and if you want to see
a drummer having way too much fun just look for me, I'm the
Catch you on the
next leg, till then, keep on rockin!
p.s. Here are some
from our recent roadtrip.
Update - 17th February 2009
Hi all, Andy
Thought it was about time that I brought you up to date
with what's been happening on the UFO front recently.
As most of you know, we finished touring at the end of
August '08 and after some well deserved rest we began
collecting material for a new album. Everyone pitched
in ideas so there was plenty of stuff to chose from.
We all met
up in Hannover towards the end of January and after a
few days in a rehearsal room we came up with a short list
of thirteen songs. At this point Phil and Vinnie headed
home to work on their parts while myself, Paul, our surrogate
bassist (oddly enough also called Peter) and drum tech
extraordinaire Andre headed to Area
51 studios in Celle to record drum tracks with our
old pal Tommy Newton. This was my first time at Tommy's
studio and I have to say I am extremely happy with the
results. I had already decided that for this album I wanted
to try and "get back to my roots" a bit, as
far as the drum sound was concerned and I was not disappointed.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Andre and Tommy the
kit sounded amazing and the whole experience was thoroughly
enjoyable. Interspersed with cups of Andre's special tea
and large doses of Rab C. Nesbitt ( one of Tommy's favourites
) our work days were fun and productive - as you can see
from the photos! I for one can't wait to hear the finished
tracks. Special mention must also go to my 'home from
Hof. The owner is Peter (yet another one) and the
two young ladies are Sarah and Steffie.
the one downer in all of this was the absence of Mr.
Way. Those of you who have read the news release will
already know the reason so I won't go into it again.
Suffice to say that we all wish him a speedy recovery
and hope to see him back on top very soon.
about all for now, Phil is heading to Germany once again
to begin recording vocals. We are hoping that the album
will be released some time in May/June to coincide with
the start of our touring schedule. It only remains for
me to thank you all for your continued support and to
say that I am looking forward to seeing you all in the
near future. Oh and BTW, I still haven't found a replacement
for my missing 18" tom (details below) so please
keep your eyes open. Thanks to all who contacted the
website with info, even the guy who thought that he
had seen Mick Fleetwood using it. Seems doubtful but
we will leave no stone unturned!
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Tom... Tom... where are you
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