often these days the term "Guitar God" is used to
describe a guitar player, and it's usually tossed around like
the word "blue" when describing the sky. I am one
of those anal music nuts who thinks a title like that has to
actually be earned through skill and ability. Artists like Eric
Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Mark Knofler, Pete Townshend,
Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai have earned that
title. And while I am sure there are many more guitar slingers
that people will argue fit that bill, I think the one I saw
tonight at Northern Lights in Milwaukee has definitely etched
his name in the silver cup of the Guitar Gods.
I saw UFO. A band legendary for its earlier guitarist Michale
Schenker, his Flying V and his blazing guitar work. To many he
is without question a Guitar God. What I find amazing is that
long after he left UFO they have settled in with a new guitarist
whose technical proficiency, style and passion make UFO two for
two in the Guitar God department. I am speaking of course of Vinnie
Moore. For those of you that have never heard of Vinnie Moore,
I have two suggestions. First, crawl out from under the rock you
have been living under. And second go down to your local music
store and buy a few new CDs.
has been around professionally since the mid eighties when he
broke into the music scene, not with a high energy rock masterpiece,
nor with a soulful power ballad, but with a Pepsi commercial.
Definitely a unique way to be introduced to this powerful talent.
He parlayed that commercial into a solo career and in 1987 Shrapnel
records released his first album "Mind's Eye". It was
an instant hit and Vinnie was given accolades such as "Best
New Artist" by several guitar magazines. The album itself
drew sales in excess of 100,000 copies. From that point on his
music spoke volumes and people listened. Polygram signed him to
his first major label contract and released his second album "Time
Odyssey" (1988) and Epic Records followed that up with his
third solo effort, 1991's "Meltdown", an album whose
title track garnered national airplay across the US. His following
albums 1996's "Out of Nowhere" and 1999's "The
Maze" (both released on Mayhem records) showed Vinnie's growth
and maturity as he expanded not only his writing style, but also
his realm of influence.
the years Vinnie has been building a reputation and a resume that
most young guitarists would die for. He played with the likes
of Alice Cooper, Tony McAlpine, Bernie Worrell and Al Pitrelli.
He opened for Rush on their "Roll The Bones" tour and
that was the first time I saw and met this now legendary rocker.
Now after quite a few years between the last time I saw him and
tonight's performance I was given the chance to sit down and talk
with Vinnie after the show. It was a short interview, but one
I will be eternally grateful to him for sharing with me. So with
that I say thank you Vinnie, it really was an honor and a privilege.
Hey, nice to meet you.
Same here, good to see you again.
VM: So we've met before?
Yes, many many moons ago on the Rush tour. I did a bit of the security.
VM: Oh cool.
Let's get down to business as I know you have to leave in a little
bit. My name is Paul Kloiber, most people in the music business
call me Zombie. I am a writer for the online musical site Areuonsomthing.com.
Tonight I just wanted to ask a few casual questions to get a feel
for what's going on with UFO. You've come into the band and really
added something that was missing. A lot of people talk about all
the guitarists the band has had over the years, including Mick Bolton,
Larry Wallis, Bernie Marsden and of course Michael Schenker. Quite
frankly with what I heard tonight I gotta say Michael who?
VM: Well thank you very much.
I want to know about the chemistry coming into a group like this.
Obviously with the writing and the music and you being the new guy
how does the chemistry work?
VM: I just put together a lot
of ideas and send them to Phil. Then he sifts through them and writes
lyrics to the ones he likes the best and it kinda works like that
Now some other bands write the lyrics first and then add the music,
some write the music first and then do the lyrics.
VM: Music first.
VM: I give him lots of ideas.
The he sings over some stuff and then we get together and I hear
it and I know what he's going for. Then we kinda hone it in and
I do some more writing to tie it up.
Now the growth in your music from what you wrote when you first
came around and going all the way back to the Pepsi commercial.
VM: (laughs) You remember that?
Where do you feel that your writing has gone. Obviously from the
beginning when you were coming out as a solo artist and now into
the dynamics of the group. How do you feel that your music has grown?
VM: I think it's gotten less
technical. It's matured and I think my writing's gotten better and
has more feel it in now.
More passion to it?
VM: Yeah, more passion.
Now you're touring with these guys and obviously three of them have
been around together for a long time.
VM: A very long time.
Who's the joker of the bunch? Who's the guy who plays the practical
VM: It's actually me and Phil.
So what was the last joke you pulled?
what was the last
good one. God, it's just like constant goofing on one another. It'll
come to me.
Now for all the years that you've been doing this, from the beginning
and touring solo, to being out with these guys now. What's the best
memory you have from being on tour?
VM: Well I would have to say
playing with these guys and from my solo career when I went out
for the "Meltdown" CD. We were opening for Rush and just
Now I always hate asking this, but those were the best memories,
then what was the worst? What was the worst thing to happen when
you're out on the road?
VM: I would have to say the
times when the gear is not working properly. You're going out there
and you're trying to play really well and the gear is messed up.
That always kills me.
Yeah, I think there were some issues with your soundman tonight.
Phil's mic was cutting out a couple times.
VM: Wow I didn't even notice
Now, the fans. Back in the eighties when you came out the fans were
a whole different crowd then they are now. What's the difference
you see in how you're received from then to now?
VM: I don't know
kind of similar. It's a lot of the same kind of people, reacting
the same kind of way to the music.
What's the next direction for both you and for UFO?
VM: Well we're going to continue
to tour and do a new record soon hopefully. And also as a solo artist
I have a new record finished and that's going to be coming out sometime
in the summer.
Great! Who's doing the vocals? Or is it all instrumental?
VM: It's an all instrumental
solo record. John DeServio from Zakk Wylde's band "Black Label
Society"played bass. Van Romaine played drums and a friend
of mine Tim Leonard played keyboards.
Now if you had anybody to choose from. To join you on stage, just
to play with you for one night, one concert. Who would you pick
to play with?
VM: You know, this is probably
weird, or you'll think it's weird, but Flea and Chad from the Red
Hot Chili Peppers. Because they're so funky and full of energy.
Now that's a show I'd pay to see! (Flea, Chad
if you're reading
Vinnie you've been all over the world, touring solo and with bands.
What's your favorite place to play?
VM: Man, anywhere the people
are there and into what we're doing. It really doesn't matter what
city or country as long as the people are into it.
You've written a lot of songs over your career, some metal, some
more melodic, even some very technical songs. Are there any secret
desires to write something different? Maybe a hidden pop song in
there or a country song?
VM: There's no real plan when
I write I just pick up the guitar and start going for it and whatever
comes out comes out. So it's more of a being inspired thing, so
I don't know. A secret desire? Maybe a hit song that sells a gazillion
copies and brings in a gazillion women.
Well the gazillion women are never a bad thing.
Now I kind of took a cue from my mentor Dr. Music and he likes
to do this little word association things where he just tosses
out a word and gets your first reaction to it. So I wrote down
a few and they're a little all over the place so just shoot from
the hip and tell me what ever pops into your head.
(laughs) Great answer but I haven't started yet.
VM: Ok, go for it.
VM: I miss them.
VM: Love it.
I am totally
into American football. Soccer because my kids play.
VM: Bloody Sunday.
And the final thing, and I'm going to play devil's advocate here
US Embassy in the UK.
VM: Pete Way's at home.
All right that's it. The strangest interview has come to a close.
I really want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with
me and I have to tell you again what a great show it was tonight.
VM: Thank you I appreciate
that. It was good talking with you.
Hey, what can I say, I was nervous. This was the first time I
have ever sat down with an artist with the purpose of actually
doing a full blown interview. Vinnie was as gracious as he is
talented and I hope to see him on tour again in the future. Thank
you to Vinnie, Phil, Andy, Paul and Rob who were all so very personable
after the show. You are truly a class act.
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