Rob De Luca

You'll soon be heading out with UFO on their North American tour, standing in for the legendary Pete Way. That's some big shoes - and tight spandex - to fill. What led up to you getting this gig? My manager Peter Kalish heard about it on the internet and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal gave me a much appreciated thumbs up. I emailed Vinnie and we took it from there.

ROB de LUCAAre you a UFO fan? And what are your favourite UFO songs/albums?
Absofuckinlutely! I was lucky enough to see them as a kid in Philly. Favorites: Rock Bottom's riff, Love To Love's melodic voice leading, Only You Can Rock Me's melodic post chorus, Light Out's vibe, Doctor Doctor's feel, etc, etc.

The bandmembers have quite a reputation for playing practical jokes on each other - such as hiding frozen kippers where they won't be found until the kippers thaw out and start to rot majestically, by which time the culprits are well away from the scene of the crime. What are you looking forward to most (or dreading most!) about touring with UFO? Well, as a musician you try make something that lasts, something that's classic. UFO have done that and I'm honored to be involved and helping out. So that's what I'm looking forward to. I wasn't dreading anything, but now you're making we worry, haha!

Last year the Sebastian Bach Band toured with Guns N' Roses. How did that go, and what were the highlights? So many highlights! Sebastian is a great singer and frontman. Gn'R are a classic and Axl, Ron and gang were SO cool to us. Every night was incredible, but some of the highlight shows for me were Madison Square Garden, The Meadowlands, Baltimore, Gibson Ampitheatre, Quebeq City, Melbourne, Sydney Aus., Aukland NZ... The Canada dates where I was also playing bass in HELMET were incredible too!

In June you'll be on the road again in Scandinavia with the Sebastian Bach Band, including a set at Sweden Rock Festival. Do you get much chance to write, and if so, how easy is it to focus on writing when there is so much else going on? It's very hard. I'll write a few riffs but so far when I'm in touring mode that's my focus. It's difficult just to stay healthy and rested on a long tour. You have to learn to pace yourself. That's difficult with the loonies I'm friends with!

How did you first start out playing bass? Please take us through a timeline of the early days.
I started on guitar when I was 15. I moved to Boston and switched to bass when the band that became Spread Eagle needed a bassist. We struggled for four years travelling to N.Y.C. to showcase, but the record labels didn't love our singer. We moved to N.Y.C., got a new singer and signed To MCA/Universal within months. That band had gigged alot so I pretty much learned bass onstage. I truly love the instrument and its unique function in rock music.

ROB de LUCASpread Eagle are a band who really should have been a lot bigger than they were. Switchblade Serenade from 1990 was likened to songs by Skid Row, LA Guns, Love/Hate, a real kicking'n'biting sound. The album got a new lease of life recently when it was re-issued by Lovember Records. What is happening with Spread Eagle at the moment? Well, as I'm about to jump on the UFO tour bus and after that fly overseas with Bach, Spread Eagle is on hiatus. I'm not one to live in the past but Spread Eagle released records that should've been much, much bigger. We were critically acclaimed and many of the big bands at the time were playing our discs and talking us up. For some reason it just didn't get to that level. Sometimes in this crazy biz things slip through the cracks. Because of that we were excited to reissue the disc through Lovember Records and tour again. The reissue is remastered and slamming!

ROB de LUCATell us about 'Of Earth', which is much more laid-back, progressive and spacey. What's that all about, and how does it relate to the kind of music you make with your other bands? It's my release from the "full on" thing where I get to sing lead and play music involving atmosphere and sublety. I enjoy it because it lets me flex my range and helps to round me out as a musician.

What other projects do you have in the pipeline? Why - does it seem like I'm slacking, haha? I have an unnamed project with a guitarist in Ireland that's coming out great.

What have been the proudest moments in your career? So far, it's definitely been touring as direct support for Gn'R on the big stages.

Any embarrassing and/or Spinal Tap moments? Only the cucumber in the trousers at the airport metal detector....

Who are your top three musical heroes, and why?
Anyone who's created a lasting genre that wasn't there before them - Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, The Beatles....

ROB de LUCAOutside of music, who are your top three heroes, and why? My dad because he's a natural visionary. My mom because she was the perfect mix of cool and class. Someone who realizes their cause or message is bigger and more important than theirself - such as Martin Luther King.

What basses will you be playing on the UFO tour? Any chance of you playing a Thunderbird on at least one of the songs, as a tribute to 'absent friends'? I'll be playing Fender Precisions. Unfortunately I don't own an old T-bird, but am looking for one...

And finally, what would you like to say to the UFO fans who, for the third USA tour running, aren't getting to see Pete on stage up there with UFO? I understand your disappointment, Pete is a HUGE part of the band. Unfortunately, the U.S. isn't looking at it that way and are refusing to give him entry. I'll do the best I can to represent the bass as he would, and am honored to fill in for one of rock's legends.

Click on the logos below for Rob's MySpace pages

Get Ready To Roll - 17th March 2008


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