UFO - Vinnie Moore (Guitar) (19 May 2009)
(Interviewer: Mr. Globetrotter, Breda, The Netherlands)
After hearing UFO's latest release "The Visitor" and a glimpse of Vinnie Moore's new solo album "To The Core", it was time to catch up with UFO's songwriter and guitarhero extraordinaire Vinnie Moore, just before the start of their European tour. Mr. Globetrotter talked to him on the phone.
GLOBETROTTER: Hi Vinnie, just an easy question to start off: what would you have become if you hadn't been such a terrific guitarplayer? What are your interests?
VINNIE: Man, that's a tough one to start with…..I don't really have other interests that come even close to my desire to play guitar, so…if I didn't have a guitar, I would be in big trouble!
GLOBETROTTER: Vicious Rumours sort of launched your career on Shrapnel Records with the 'Mind's Eye' cd. How did you join Vicious Rumours?
VINNIE: Mike Varney from Shrapnel really wanted to work with me, and release an album with me on a short term basis. Vicious Rumors were looking for a guitarplayer so Mike proposed to let me handle the guitarparts. The band could have easily found another guy, but Mike insisted that I would do it, in order to put me on a record as soon as possible. A year after, I recorded 'Mind's Eye'…
GLOBETROTTER: 'Minds Eye' set off your career and it went hard. You and Tony MacAlpine were the new American pioneers of guitarplaying. How did you experience that era? It seemed instrumentals were getting into fashion…
VINNIE: Yeah, these were great times. There were a LOT of great guitarplayers back then, and Mike Varney's label was a real guitar oriented label, so logically a lot of these guys were able to release an album. Tony is a great musician, he also worked with me doing keyboards.
GLOBETROTTER: Your live album was released in 1999 and MSG-keyboardist/guitarist Wayne Findlay did the keyboards. Are you and Wayne still in touch? You would think it's a small world, him being in MSG now….
VINNIE: I met Wayne again at the NAMM convention last January and we exchanged some emails, but we are both very busy so we didn't really have much time to discuss things, but we keep in touch. Yes, actually Wayne did keyboards with me on the tour where we opened for MSG…………
GLOBETROTTER: You eventually joined UFO as major composer and guitarplayer. In what sense do you think your solo material varies from the songs you write for UFO? The new album sounds bluesier than ever…
VINNIE: Oh., I'm into a lot of music styles; blues, techno, even R&B, so my solomaterial goes into different directions. Writing songs for UFO is quite different. I sit down to record riffs and other ideas which I give to Phil, and eventually he would write the lyrics to fit the song.
GLOBETROTTER: Is there a big difference between writing your solo stuff and writing songs for a band with a vocalist?
VINNIE: Not really, as I said, Phil writes lyrics for the songs, and since we are both very much into blues, the new album went that way, stylistically. I think we managed to make another great album.
GLOBETROTTER: How do you feel UFO has evolved since you came on board?
VINNIE: We have become better in these 6 years; we got to know each other better, both personally and musically, and we are now like a tight team. No surprises, and on stage and in the studio, we know exactly what to expect and what to do.
GLOBETROTTER: If fans ask you which album is best to compare with 'The Visitor', which one would you choose?
VINNIE: Hm, hard to say, I agree that the new album is bluesier than ever, it seems the blues is getting a bigger role each album. I don't think they really can be compared, or I would have to say they resemble both other albums that I recorded with UFO.
GLOBETROTTER: I know that you really like to play "Rock Bottom" live because it is a real showcase for yourself and your play. Are there any songs that you don't particularly like playing live?
VINNIE: Yeah, I love Rock Bottom, and Mother Mary. I'm really not very much into Doctor Doctor; it's not my kind of song, not my kind of melody so I'm not that fond of playing it, but it has to be played, so…
GLOBETROTTER: Pete Way is recuperating form his liver problems and Barry Sparks is replacing him for the European tour. Are you happy to play with Barry again?
VINNIE: Yeah, Barry is a great guy and one of the best bassplayers I know so it should be great fun to be on stage together again.
GLOBETROTTER: Most of the older songs that UFO plays live are songs that were recorded with Michael Schenker. Are there any songs, recorded with other guitarists (like Paul Chapman) that you like very much?
VINNIE: Hm, that era is not my favourite, I'm more into the Schenker era. But I like "Long Gone" a lot.
GLOBETROTTER: I like "Mystery Train" a lot……
VINNIE: Oh yeah I asked Phil if we could do that one live but it has never happened (yet). Who knows, we might do it sometime…it's a great song!
GLOBETROTTER: You were part of the jury for the Dean shredder contest last year. Before that, you met one of the contestants, Laki Ragazas from Greece, who opened for UFO with his band Killer Sixgun in Thessaloniki. Do you put any interest in bands that open for you on tour?
VINNIE: I think I remember him, yes. Great guy, but I didn't get to see them or hear their music because before the show, everybody wants to relax and focus on the show we have to do that night. Sometimes we get into the venue an hour before we have to play, so…I'm afraid we don't get to see or hear a lot. We sometimes don't even know who will open for us….
GLOBETROTTER: In July, you will do some shows in Italy with Kee Marcello. What will these shows be like?
VINNIE: An Italian promoter that I worked with in the past asked me to do something with Kee; the plan is that I play for 40 minutes doing my solo stuff, and then Kee will join me on stage; we will probably do some coversongs together. Seems like a fun thing to do, really.
GLOBETROTTER: You were endorsed by Dean Guitars 2 years ago, and now you have your signature model.. Do you play more Dean now than MusicMan, whether recording or live?
VINNIE: I am using the Dean all the time now. I started playing it about a year ago, and it was built and designed exactly like I wanted it to be, so…yeah, it's a guitar that fits my needs exactly.
GLOBETROTTER: Do you see a future for yourself beyond UFO?
VINNIE: Sure, I would like to do a project with another band and go on tour with them at one time, and of course I will continue to do my solo stuff, but yes, the future is open to all ideas….
GLOBETROTTER: OK Vinman, thanks for your time and have a good one on the road!
VINNIE: Thank yóu, see you there!
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