BRAINS IN JELLY
Phil Mogg is a full mug rock’n’roller. He behaves nonchalantly even during an interview .Anyway our conversation was carried on among his chats with his wife. Here most curious fragments of this free conversation
The Visitor is set probably even more than The Monkey Puzzle in the 60-ties early 70-ties climate. Is this kind of music your main inspiration still?
Probably yes.I grew up listening to this kind of music, but I did not come to think of it. Its nothing too deep. We are a rock band and this album is in UFO style
Who took the leading role in creating the album? Vinnie Moore?
Yes he was the source of inspiration. To dignify his excellent guitar sound I bought him suspensory in the shop with articles for homosexuals (laughing). I was impressed with the guitars on this album -it sounds as if Vinnie would like to tell: Listen to me playing in a rock band (laughing). This is an excellent guitarist and he surpassed himself on this album
Is it different to work with Vinnie than with Michael Schenker?
Two different worlds; one is an American the other is German, Both play excellently but they are completely different musicians. I adore them both. Its like when you enter the sweetshop and you say:
this candy is wonderful but that one is superb too!
Is Vinnie easier to work with than Michael?
(laughing_) Are you taking the piss? Vinnie is very concentrated, calm. Michael is - When your TV-set starts to failing and goes sssszzzzzzzzzzsssssssss or the electricity gets mad…such is Michael. But they are both excellent musicians.
Your bass player Pete Way did not participate in the recording process due to his liver problems. Has this made your work more difficult?
No, he was replaced by a guy named Pete too whom our manager knows. It was excellent to work with him.
And who is going to play live with you ?
How do you interpret the title The Visitor ?
Its somebody who enters your house through the backdoor. Its like some horror movie title. Imagine the announcement for a movie ( Phil imitates a horror trailer with a low gloomy voice) : Ladies and Gentleman we have the visitor. But the album is not dark of course.
Were you all ispired by the movies during the work on the album?
I watch too many movies. I need help.
What kind of movies do you like the best?
Let me think. I liked Taken with Liam Neeson. The latest Bond was good for nothing. When you watch too many movies you become fastidious. I have not watched a good horror recently. Though not – hang on a second! ( Phil asks the wife for an actress who played in the movie about Vampires ). My wife tells me its Kate Beckinsale in the Van Helsing movie .She looked excellent in this outfit.
Lets go back to The Visitor. The album just as the former ones was recorded in various places .
Has the recording place anything to do with the music you play?
It all depends on the mood you are in, if you are sad, depressed…….Everything depends on it.
However The Visitor album is probably an optimistic one ……..
Life is full of optimism – thats what I have been told anyway. I was a pesimist and my psychologist told me I should look at the world in a more optimistic way.
Is the place able to effect mood ?
Not quite, because you have yourself your own small place independently on it where you be placed.
When your brain is locked somewhere you would not be able to achieve things you used to do before.
You are looking for inspirations and sometimes you find something good.
If its about a Rock music I am an optimist. I rely on the basic instincts which caused my interests in Rock music. Such was our attitude with this album: to return an atmosphere of the first band you have ever heard or the very first gig you have ever been to.
Have you been trying to keep these emotions alive?
Otherwise we would be dead (laughing). Give me a break! What did you expect? If you go into the pub to watch the band and its boring you walk out If its good you think: OK. And if its excellent you think: Oh My! There is it ! This is what is Rock’n’Roll all about - a passion !
You managed to maintain this passion 40 years already.
25 years.(laughing). Oh no I am sorry : 2 years.
You worked with many excellent musicians like Aynsley Dunbar and Jason Bohnam.
How do you recall them?
Both are drummers and they live on another planet. They are other than guitarists. They are both extremely funny and they take no bullshit. I rank Jason as one of the funniest person I have ever worked with. He made me laugh many times……….
The No Place To Run album of yours is produced by the famous George Martin. How was this cooperation established?
Through Chrysalis. It was not a good idea. Sometimes you let things take their course. But the album was allright. And George himself was wonderful. He is a very charming man.
And how do you recall working with Nick Tauber on the Misdemeanor album?
That was interesting. Nick is a bit wild. We are moving from the level of being charming to a level of being a nutter. Nick almost made the band look sane. I am joking. Nick was excellent. He did a great job. He appeared just in time when everything started to fall into pieces and he managed to put us together.He was great.
Music of UFO was an inspiration for many metal bands of the 80-ties . Your admirers are the members of Metallica Megadeth Iron Maiden . Are you proud from it?
(long moment of silence) I have no idea. Whats the name of this guy who used to sing in Soundgarden?
I go to the gym and I meet a guy there named Steven who is a big fan of Cornell. He went to see his concert in London recently. And when I met him the next time he was furious. He asked me : Have you seen what he has done? He has sold himself! I said: To whom?(laughing) And he goes: He has this shitty songs (Phil starts to hum parts of Part Of Me off the latest Cornell album only slightly altering the lyrics). And I answer him : Yes,but he still has a fine voice. He is an excellent singer.
Most fine memory from the history of UFO?
Oakland Stadium ( Oakland Alameda County Coliseum – r.f.) It was on a very sunny day.What was the name of the promotor who died in helicopter crash?
Yes that was Bill Graham - he invited us. There was a special storage place there where they stored all the booze and drugs confiscated from the people at the entrance. They brought us there and told us we could take whatever we wanted. We were impressed. We just flew in from England where we played the Marquee club and this all was too beautiful to be true for us. ( laughing)
What year was it ?
I do not know it was before the electricity ( laughing)The star of the evening was Peter Frampton who was on Top at the time ( I believe Phil means a Day On The Green – May 1976 – r.f.)
And what are your memories of the shows in Poland?
Katowice .Long time ago. There was nothing to eat. We were starving and brains in jelly was all they had in the restaurant.
Do you always give your best at the concerts?
We do our bit. If I am to play at your wedding I play the best concert I can on the day
Such is this band. If its your marriage and you want UFO to play at the wedding we play the best we can.
I hold you for word but before you play at my wedding you are about to come to Poland again this November. What can we expect?
It will be bloody good concert. We will drip with blood whole
The Visitor Review