us about the new Paul Raymond Project album. Who's
on it, how long has it been in the making, and
how similar/different is it to UFO's current output?
has taken us two years. Andy Simmons and I did
all of it. My son Alex was invited to play drums,
but he listened to a couple of songs (neither
of which made the cut in the end) and opted out!
I think he was hoping it would be more thrash
metal so he could play a drum solo through everything.
He’s now aspiring to be a lead guitarist,
but I’ve already got one of those! It’s
not the kind of material I would put forward as
demos for a UFO album. These solo projects give
me the opportunity to branch out and experiment
with different sounds and styles, but it’s
still very much a rock album.
Insanity has Andy Simmons on guitar. What's
special about Andy, and how do you go about
writing the songs between you - who comes up
is a great talent. He’s not only a terrific
lead guitarist, but he also plays keyboards,
he’s a commercial artist and an electronics
engineer. In his spare time he’s a really
great golfer. As far as writing is concerned,
we mainly work independently. Andy will create
a track and give it to me to dream up a vocal
or I’ll write a song and he’ll come
in and put a guitar solo on it – sometimes
in one take as in “Bad Hair Day”
and “Too Late For Love” or, with
the Andy Fraser song and Shangri-La, he’ll
take it away and work on it.
I have to say, I’m always impressed with
what he comes up with, like with “Edge
of Sanity (Reprise) it gave me chills. I thought
“how the hell did he think of that?”
Talk us through some of the songs. Titles such
as "Michael Caine" and "Where's
My Bike?" Please explain!
think I’d been watching the movie “California
Suite” Michael Caine plays the character
of Sidney, Maggie Smith’s long-suffering
husband. They are flying first class to LA as
Maggie’s character is up for an Oscar. I
wrote down one line, “We’re on the
way to Hollywood, we’re going in style”
and the rest comes from recollections of when
I was a kid, going to the movies. By the time
I got to the chorus, I was on a roll. I listed
all the Michael Caine films I could think of and
then tried to fit as many as I could into the
Andy had come over to my place to play a couple
of solos. He parked his motor bike at the back
of my apartment. After about an hour, we looked
out of the window and it was gone! He exclaimed
“Oi! Where’s my bike?!” He went
home and in anger wrote a really great guitar
have recently had three hugely successful trips
to the USA touring The Monkey Puzzle album, with
lots of sold-out shows and great reviews from
the club gigs and the festivals. What were the
best moments from that tour? And the worst?
our gigs with Rob de Luca were great, some were
outstanding – Dallas - House of Blues, Vegas
- Boulder Station Casino and the Key Club in LA
stand out in my memory. Later in the year Aurora,
Illinois with Jeff Kollman was another highlight.
The only gig I can think of that wasn’t
quite up to scratch was of all places Chicago,
which is normally a city we really enjoy playing.
Unfortunately, Phil was not feeling well and was
on medication – he was really exhausted
and Chicago was our 10th gig in a row with only
one day off – it proved to be a bridge too
Any chance you'll be going to the USA again in
the near future, to visit some of the cities you
missed the first three times round?
know a lot of fans write in to our website and
ask if we can play Florida, a whole host of other
States that we haven’t visited recently
and Canada. Personally, I’d like to play
in all of them, but the logistics of tours are
completely out of the band’s hands. It’s
all down to managers, promoters and booking agents
to make the tour come together.
been in the business a mighty long time. You must
be at least errr... 44 years old by now. How do
you keep up with the pace of these grueling touring
as James Hetfield from Metallica said in a recent
documentary, I get more sleep on the road than
I do at home! When you are traveling from city
to city on a tourbus, there’s not much else
to do except talk, eat, drink and sleep! However,
when we don’t have a bus and have to travel
by air or train, the itinerary is truly exhausting.
I slept for a week after our Russian tour! That
travel schedule for that tour should have put
us off touring ever again, but in April and May
this year we played 25 cities across America in
just 30 days. Then in July we played five shows
in five days, travelling from city to city by
plane - sometimes even by two planes! Then we
had a couple of weeks off and went back again
for just one show, which was the festival in Aurora.
That was a nine hour flight each way, for a 90-minute
gig! But they gave us a fantastic welcome, as
you can see in the above photo - which made the
long journey seem less of a chore!
plans do UFO have for the band's 40th anniversary
just had confirmation that we’ve got another
album deal with our record company SPV and are
currently making plans to record it this year
and tour with it next year. More than that I can’t
say as the details have yet to be thrashed out!
are your favourite songs to play live - and for
each one, why?
a Loser” has always been a favourite of
mine. It’s got a nice little acoustic bit
at the beginning, then it gets really heavy and
keeps building all the way to the end.
I’m really enjoying playing “Ain’t
No Baby” in the live set again. It’s
one I co-wrote with Phil in 1978, with very much
of a “Free” vibe which Andy Parker
totally embraces and plays perfectly! “Love
to Love” has to be up there too, because
of the keyboard intro and again, the song builds
up to a fantastic crescendo.
from UFO, your career has included stints with
bands as diverse as Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack,
Waysted (Waysted!), MSG, and very early on, Plastic
Penny. What have been the most fulfilling times
for you, and why?
Shack and Savoy Brown was my Blues era and I have
to say that headlining Carnegie Hall in 1971 with
Savoy Brown was a real thrill. We also supported
Deep Purple in Madison Square Garden with a “Rookie”
David Coverdale on vocals! Waysted seemed like
a good idea at the time and MSG was a calculated
career move. Both Michael and Cozy were at the
top of their career and it was a terrific band
to play in. The concert at Budokan was a memorable
occasion. Plastic Penny was a pop group I founded
with Brian Keith, the singer. We discovered Nigel
Olsen (who has been drumming with Elton John for
the last 30 years) in a club in Sunderland. We
had released a single which had entered the charts
and we were looking to get a band together for
a tour. Jeff Docherty, a promoter in the North
East recommended both Nigel and Mick Grabham (who
went on to Procul Harum) The highlight for that
band was having a top 5 hit in the charts. Looking
back though, it has all been fantastic in its
own way – I’ve enjoyed all of it.
Tap moments.... tell us some of your funniest.
the most Spinal Tap moment has to be actually
almost being in it (literally). They showed me
a 20 minute pilot, with John Sinclair from Uriah
Heep playing the keyboard part – but he’d
declined to be in it. I auditioned for the part,
met Rob Reiner the director and the three main
characters. They played a live gig at Gazzari’s
(now the Key Club) on Sunset Boulevard and I was
invited along. I cornered Rob Reiner and he said
“It’s between you and Dave Caffinetti”
and then Dave got it because he had more of a
hippy look, and I was sporting a Rod Stewart-style
spiky blond hair cut. Looking back I’m very
glad I didn’t get the part as it lampoons
the music we loved (although I did need the money
at the time!)
isn't the only string to your bow... your recent
solo jazz album showcased another side of you. Why
was it important for you to put out the Secret Life
album and how was it received by UFO fans?
didn’t consciously set out to say “Hey,
look at me, I can do this too, aren’t I clever?”
I did it for my own entertainment and I’ve
been told one of my strengths is making new arrangements
of old songs. I found it really interesting turning
pop songs like the Kinks' “Sunny Afternoon”
into a jazz genre. Being a jazz fan, my late Mother
has never played a single record I have made in
all these years. When I finished it, I gave her
a copy. About a week later, she called me and said
“Do CD records wear out?” So I presumed
she loved it!
I made it quite clear on my website that Secret
Life was not a rock album, but still a lot of UFO
fans bought it (perhaps out of curiosity –
but I’d like to think they enjoyed a couple
of tracks here and there).
As a member of UFO you've worked with Michael
Schenker, Paul Chapman, Atomik Tommy, and Vinnie
Moore. What did each of them bring to the table?
Schenker was obviously a genius, he created
his own unique guitar style – he was an
innovator whereas most people nowadays only
emulate others. However he was and possibly
still is a poor tortured soul. Paul Chapman
was a very brave man stepping into Michael’s
shoes at short notice. He did it in his own
style and is still loved by many UFO fans. Atomik
Tommy’s contribution was not significant
– he was in UFO for a very short period
of time in the 1980s when keyboards almost overshadowed
guitars. The Misdemeanour album was not a highlight
of UFO’s back catalogue. Vinnie is a very
talented guitarist who has the ability to take
on any song from UFO’s history and make
it his own without losing the essential substance
of the original. His almost schoolboy sense
of humour has blended perfectly with UFO’s
cynical bantering and added another dimension
to our off-stage antics.
would you like to say to the fans?
buy my new album. I’ve got a wife and
five keyboards to support!
on the link below to go to Paul's website where
you can hear soundclips from the new album
© Get Ready To Roll - 5th September 2008