Interview with UFO vocalist Phil Mogg - UFO
Written by Michael

On a beautiful sunny afternoon I got a call from legendary Phil Mogg. Apparently Phil was also enjoying the nice weather because he phoned me a bit late, so Phil Mogg was very apologizing and humble. I was just glad that he called and had taken time out to talk to Revelationz. After complimenting Phil on UFO's latest effort "Sharks" (read review here) the interview was about to begin.

Going back to the last UFO Tour, which ended quite suddenly after a gig in Manchester. I have read a lot of different explanations why the rest of the tour was cancelled, what was the real reason?
My voice was screwed by the time I got to Manchester. On top of that there was a drama going on - there was an incident in Newcastle with Michael in our dressing room and I think that also heightened that. I have actually never been "booed" on stage before - No, that's not true I have before in Germany, Regensburg 25 years ago. I think Michael's behavior was somewhat unfortunate for the gig. I had a bit of a problem but I think that the other drama overshadowed that. I don't really .......I am not very keen on fighting in the dressing room. I don't mind in the ring or outside (laughs). We had done the 3 weeks in Germany and we just had this little bit to finish off. It was very unfortunate. Very unfortunate.

It seems like there has always been some kind of tension in the UFO camp.
Well, I don't think that there is any tension in between the people. The only tension there is - is the tension between the persons. You know it has to do with the individuals. A lot of people said there is tension within the band. I don't think it's the band I think it's the individuals that bring about the thing.

Okay. Do feel that the "thing" between the individuals only makes you stronger and makes you write better songs or perform better?
Yeah, Well - we seem to be able to go back into the studio once the dust has settled.

The new album sounds fresh and inspired so let us talk a little bit about that. How would you describe "Sharks" in contrast to other UFO albums?
Hmm. I think its more Rocky. More kind of how we used to go in and ...you know, we picked songs that really worked rather than working for ages on material that comes out maybe not sounding that great. We have gone for the ones that kinda grab you. YEAH! Much more Rocky. (ha ha)

So what are your favorite tracks off "Sharks"
My favorite track is "Fighting Man". I like all the ones with men in. Motorcycle Man (laughs) (note: Phil must be referring to "Outlaw Man"). There are very few tracks that I don't actually like. I am very happy. I am happy to listen to it all through and go "Ohh YES" I like that.

How has the songwriting process been for this album? I know that you are based in different parts of the world.
Yeah. It's much the same as how we generally have worked. We worked with Mike Varney again at the same place.
Pete has got material he has been doing and Michael has got stuff and I have got some ideas, so we generally get up there for about 12 days in advance. 10 - 12 days to run through material and Jam some - sort out what's good and what's not.

So you come with your individual ideas and then try and put it together or what?
Yeah - it's like making a cake.

There has been a lot of replacement in UFO. On last you had Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Is he a steady member of the band now?
The last one was Aynsley - this one is Aynsley. I don't know! It works very well. We actually never played on the road together. In the studio it is great, cause every time we have gone out on the road he has been working with someone else.

I noticed that you also did the vocals on Paul Raymond's solo album.
Just on one song.

Okay - So you still keep in touch with the original members?
Yeah, occasionally - but I haven't heard from Paul for a good year.

How about Andy Parker?
No, not Andy. Funny enough I speak to Simon Wright more often. Andy has kind of disappeared/retired he runs a big company now.

But he played on "Walk on Water" right?
Yeah, just shortly after that. (impolitely I interrupted Phil)

But he did not go on the Tour?
No, he went on tour.

Speaking of Tour. Are there any plans of a Tour to support "Sharks"?
Not at the moment. What we are actually hoping for, I think, is next year to do some festivals throughout Europe hopefully, which will be something that we haven't done and I think that it would be good for the band to do it.

I was also thinking about the package Tours in the United States like the one with Deep Purple/Scorpions/Dio. Maybe UFO could fit in?
Hmmmmm. I think that we should try the festivals in Europe first.

Okay, but there is not anything settled right now?
No.

In the future will you be a 100 percent committed to UFO or will you still be doing all your side-projects like Mogg/Way and M.S.G. ?
M.S.G is Michael Schenker's band and I am sure that he will be doing that. I've got a band, which hopefully will be touring before Christmas, called "Sign of 4", which is actually the guitarist of the Mogg/Way album.

Jeff Kollmann?
Yeah, so I am sure that we will be doing that.

So UFO is still your main band?
Yeah, UFO is like the mother ship. (Great selection of words) I think that if you are doing something else too, then when you come back to UFO you have a certain amount of freshness to it.

So there are things that you cannot do in UFO, which you have to save for your side-projects?
Yes - plus the fact that maybe if UFO were working all the time, but it is so sporadic and uncertain that you could be sitting around for a year waiting for UFO to do anything and then all of a sudden it is "ouh, Let's start....." I mean, You have to do something else.


UFO have been an inspiration for many bands and it seems like a popular thing right now to do some tribute albums. Do you know of any tributes to UFO?
No, I don't.

But I noticed that there is quite a lot of cover bands playing UFO songs
Oh yeah, someone told me of one but I haven't heard any.

There is one in Germany and one in England
Ahhh, maybe they could do it (laughs)

Since UFO have been together for 4 decades I would you to shortly describe the main events in UFO career in the 70's, 80's, 90's and the new millenium.

70' s first. I guess the main events would be (thinking pause) getting a gig at the Marquee, Michael Schenker joining, Chrysalis deal and "Light's out" and "Strangers in the Night". That was about, you know, the highest point. Although when Paul came back in the band, Paul Chapman, we went on to do a real big arena Tour after that, cause we were still coming off the "No Place To Run" album that did very well. I would say, generally, that was the main events.

What about the main events in the 80's?
Hmmmm. The 80' s are a bit hazy for some reason (laughs). I remember bits off the seventies but the eighties!!!!!!!!.
I think we were on the road non-stop continuously with Paul for a couple of years till you got to the point where you could not go on. I just remember the eighties as being on the road all the time.

The 90's?
We started by making an album in 91 with Larry Wallis - No, not Larry Wallis, Laurence Archer and Clive and Pete and we did "High Stakes and Dangerous Men", which actually I played the other day and it's very good. I was surprised myself. And then we eventually got back with Michael in the Christmas of 95 and then we did "Walk on Water". So it kind of came full circle in a strange way.

So what about now and the future?
This album is out. We are doing the "Sign of 4" album so I do some dates with that in Europe. On the Tour I will obviously be playing a couple of tracks off "Sharks" and some other stuff. Hopefully that will come together.

The "Sign of 4" album is gonna be out in a month or what?
Yeah.

I know this is a hard question, but looking back upon your career, which UFO album are you most proud of?
You can pick more than one.

They are all like different events. I really like, What was it called? "The Wild, The Willing" album and I really like "Lights Out", which is a cool album. But then again I like tracks off different ones like from "Force it" to "No heavy Petting" and "No Place to Run". I like tracks off different albums. The main albums are "The Wild, The willing" and "Lights Out".

Any particular reason?
Mainly because of what was going on around with the band and everything at the time. It's like if you can remember going to a good event and you get a good feeling.

Some of our readers are probably not familiar with UFO. If you were about to describe the music of UFO how would you do that?
Well, it was always called Hard Rock, but it changes. It could be called something else now.

How would place UFO in today's Rock scene?
I think that there is so many possible breakdowns of bands in different brackets, different places. I guess we got one foot in the past and one foot in the present.

With these words I ended the interview. The foot that UFO got in the present must be the foot of David Beckham, because "Sharks" sounds really good. Phil told me that he had to ring another journalist, which he also forgot and his interview was actually scheduled before mine. I wished Phil good luck with the new album and cranked up "Sharks" on the stereo.

Telephone interview conducted 14 august 2002 by Michael.




Written by Michael - 8/25/2002



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RevelationZ Comments


Comment by ED MCcARTHY (Anonymous) - Wednesday, August 28, 2002
GREAT INTERVIEW, JUST ONE PERIOD ALWAYS GETS FORGOTTON. THE 70 TO 72 ERA WITH MICK BOLTON. THEY HAD A VERY BLUESY SOUND THEN & I EVEN LIKED THAT ERA A LOT. UFO 1 (1970) IS A GREAT LP.WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT YOUR INTERVIEW WAS IT WAS NOT ALL ABOUT SCHENKER THATS GREAT BECOUSE UFO WAS AROUND FOR 4 YEARS BEFORE SCHENKER SO PHIL & PETE AND ANDY PARKER ARE THE MAIN MEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANX AGAIN FOR LETTIN ME COMMENT


Comment by ED MCcARTHY AGAIN (Anonymous) - Wednesday, August 28, 2002
OH I FORGOT THE CHAPMAN ERA WAS AMAZING (79 TO 83) MECHANIX (1982) WAS THE BEST DISC FROM THEN. SOUNDS LIKE PHIL HAS A BAD MEMORY BUT I CANT WAIT TO SEE THEM TOUR AGAIN. RUMORS HAAD IT THEY WHERE GOING TO TOUR WITH MALMSTEEN IN AUTUM BUT I HOPE THAT DONT HAPPEN BECOUSE WITH SCHENKERS EGO & YNGWIES EGO I GIVE THE TOUR THE FIRST SOUNDCHECK BEFORE ONE OF EM WALKS...............


Comment by Rock Madanoff (Anonymous) - Thursday, August 29, 2002
It's always great to hear from one of the true rock legends! Thanx for the great music and memories and get UFO or Sign of Four to the states for a tour!


Comment by TOM LANCASTER (Anonymous) - Friday, August 30, 2002
MECHANIX WAS GOOD BUT, COMPARED TO ANY OF THE SCHENKER UFO ALBUMS,IT WAS A JOKE. I WISH EVERYONE WOULD QUIT BAD MOUTHING SCHENKER. EITHER YOU LIKE HIM OR DON'T. I SAW CHAPMAN ON THE NO PLACE TO RUN TOUR AND HE COULDN'T PLAY ONE NOTE OF SCHENKER'S SOLOS CORRECTLY. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I LIKE CHAPMAN TOO BUT, HE'S NO SCHENKER.


Comment by JJJB (Anonymous) - Friday, August 30, 2002
If your gonna put out an album and not tour to support
it what's the point?Don't bitch when it sells 5,000 copies!


Comment by bob dobson (Anonymous) - Wednesday, January 9, 2002
schenker is great i never got to see him in the 70s but when i got to see ufo with cheap trick in 1980 chapman held up real well.i guess tom saw them on a bad night (schenker has had many as well)i saw ufo again in 82 & they where great i agree chapman is no schenker but he dont get the credit he deserves and as for the 90s i wish schenker would improve his attitude they could still be so great!!! also from what i remember chapman at least shows up for the gig schenker cant say the same thing


Comment by GOOFBALL (Anonymous) - Saturday, March 9, 2002
FIRST OFF, MECHANIX IS THE BEST UFO ALBUM BY FAR. SCHENKER MAYBE A BETTER GUITARIST BUT THAT DOESNT TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM CHAPMAN. IF U THINK WALK ON WATER(OR EVEN PHENOMANON) IS BETTER THAN MECHANIX U NEED TO CLEAN THE WAX OUT OF YOUR EARS.
THE POINT OF PUTTING OUT AN CD AND NOT TOURING IS TO PUT OUT THE CD END OF STORY. BETTER TO HAVE ANOTHER UFO CD THAN NOT TO. GREAT QUOTE IN THE INTERVIEW 'I don't think that there is any tension in between the people. The only tension there is is the tension between the persons.' I THINK MAYBE PHIL AND ACE FREELEY SHOULD FORM A BAND CALLED MEETING OF THE MINDS.


Comment by RITCHIE B (Anonymous) - Monday, September 9, 2002
NEVER MIND THE GUITARISTS !!! PHIL MOGG IS A LIVING LEGEND. UFO DONT MAKE BAD ALBUMS AND SHARKS FOLLOWS NEATLY IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF COVENANT. UFO ARE STILL RELEVANT TODAY AS ROCK LEGENDS - I WAS AT MANCHESTER IN 2000 AND MOGGY SOUNDED FINE TO ME - PITY I CANT SAY THE SAME ABOUT THE INEBRIATED GUITARIST 9GET A GRIP NEXT TIME MICHAEL - YOU CAN BE THE WORLDS FINEST !).


Comment by randy steinberg (Anonymous) - Monday, December 9, 2002
i hope ufo does tour again as
I thought sharks is outstanding


Comment by John Budden - buurd7@hotmail.com (Anonymous) - Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Intersting, I was at the Manchester gig mentioned in the interview. Looked like Michael was drinking back stage and had a black eye. Indicated that this had originated from Phil. Listening to Schenker try to play Rock Bottom in that state was unfortunate to say the least. Im suprised they are still working together. All credit to Pete Way for holding the show together with the drummer and rythm guitarist. A reduced price concert for Manchester on a subsequent tour would be nice as an apology. If you can pass these thoughts on to messrs Mogg and Schenker it would be appreciated.
Thanks


Comment by Chris Walton (Anonymous) - Sunday, August 11, 2002
It's always very interesting to read what Phil Mogg has to say about the past and the future - although why he didn't list the "Obsession" album as a high point I don't know.
I'm looking forward to seeing Sign of Four on the UK dates, I wish I could say the same for Schenker on the "legends of Rock" package. Having listened to his recent out-put and seen the fat hill-billy he seems to have morphed into I think the glory days of the Mad Axe Man are well in the past, by about 20 years...I hope Michael proves me wrong on Nov 22nd at Newcastle City Hall.


Comment by SIRI-US TRIGGER (Anonymous) - Tuesday, November 12, 2002
WHO DOES'T LOVE TO LOVE UFO.THEY ARE THE MECHANIX OF ROCK. WITH A SOUND OF MISTY GREEN AND BLUEIN THE AIR IT SHOWS THE NEW BANDS THAT THE ARE NO STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT. WITH THE WILD WILLING AND INNOSENT BEHIND THEM, THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO WALK ON WATER.


Comment by Doyle Land (Anonymous) - Monday, January 20, 2003
As a UFO fan, (for so many years now)... I ask for all of you to please pass the music to the next generation... Last week I gave this kid I work with a cd of Light's Out... This week he went and purchased Sharks...He's now a UFO-ite... I guess it's up to the older generation (like us).. To show the kids what 'REAL MUSIC' is all about...


Comment by Liz (Anonymous) - Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Phil, please don't ever stop - YOU are the BEST!!!!
I LOVE PHIL MOGG!!!!
UFO RULES with or without the crazy German.






Comment by cheaponlinephentermine (Anonymous) - Saturday, March 26, 2005
Wow,coolsite!Pleasevisitmy:cheaponlinephentermine!Welcome!


Comment by ultimatebet (Anonymous) - Tuesday, December 20, 2005
That's a good one :)
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Comment by partypoker (Anonymous) - Monday, January 9, 2006
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