UFO - 'The Visitor'
Released through SPV America/ June 2nd , 2009
Phil Mogg - vocals
Paul Raymond - keyboards/guitars
Vinnie Moore - guitar
Andy Parker - drums
Bass Player Unknown
1.) “Saving Me” –The first ten seconds of this intro Vinnie pulls off his best “‘Jimmy Page” slide-guitar blues riff. Vinnie (I hate to say copies so I won’t) however he mimics Page so well if one did not know any better they would swear that this was the new Led Zeppelin song. Especially with their resent re-union!!! After these first twelve seconds Vinnie grabs the acoustic guitar and rips off a perfect guitar riff. For me, this acoustic arrangement was special because it sounded like something a friend of mine and I wrote about six months before he passed away. So to me the riff alone means something more than just music. Vinnie switches to a picking arrangement for the musical pre-verse. There is a small musical rest connecting the pre-verse with the verse. For the musical verse it sounds like Vinnie is playing the same rhythm guitar riff as his acoustic rhythm of the pre-verse only with an electric guitar. The last lyric of the first lyric line of the chorus had an echo attached to it. The musical chorus consisted of two different rhythm guitar riffs one being an electric guitar riff the second was an acoustic one. I do not know if Vinnie played both of these or if he played one and Paul played the other. Phil overdubbed his own backing vocals on the chorus. Connecting the first chorus with the second pre-verse there are two rhythm guitar arrangements these arrangements are just like the arrangements of the chorus except the acoustic guitar is now the main guitar and the electric is the back-up. In many ways the way Vinnie wrote this riff along with the way the notes are arranged is almost a slap in the face….”POW!” take that Michael! The second pre-verse & verse musically is pretty much the same as the first. The second chorus was repeated. Vinnie starts the lead guitar solo off slow playing just a few licks. However when he kicks the solo in he kicks it in. The breakdown section connecting the solo with the third chorus was done with a Jimmy Page influenced acoustic guitar rhythm. Over the top of the rhythm there are a couple Mogg vocal accents. The outro consisted of the same acoustic rhythm guitar riff as the intro.
2.) “On The Waterfront” – This intro consisted of Andy and Vinnie playing the exact same notes for one measure. The only difference is after the second snare fill Andy adds a little eighth-note after the snare fill that is not included in the first. What happens is I believe Andy hits a different cymbal causing the bass drum to sound louder. There is a small musical rest underneath a vocal accent that connects the very short intro section with the musical verse. There are several vocal accents over the top of the musical arrangements leading into the musical verse. The production value of this song was so good that you can actually hear Phil smack his lips together right before beginning to sing the first lyric line. Vinnie kept the rhythm guitar of this verse very laid back. I don’t know who is playing bass on this track however they are doing one hell of a job! Paul Raymond kicks-in the keyboard arrangement underneath the chorus of this track. Over the top of the keyboard and rhythm guitar of the musical chorus Vin double tracked a lead guitar riff. There is a small lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse. After the second chorus there is a second solo. This solo is the major solo of the song. After the solo the song kind of speeds up until the next chorus.
3.) “Hell Driver” – The rhythm guitar Vinnie plays for this intro came right from an early UFO/Schenker guitar tab book. As soon as the riff repeats itself Andy kicks-in a cowbell. Over the top of this Phil sings a small vocal accent. Not long after the cowbell kicks-in Andy starts hitting the snare drum. Underneath that Andy plays a different bass drum pattern. I know doing this is not rocket science “Hell, I’ve been doing it for over fifteen!” However it is still very cool to listen to especially the different patterns such as these. There is a rhythm change for the musical verse. For the musical chorus Vinnie mainly just plays chords. The bass line for this musical chorus blew me away!! There is a small musical rhythm change for the breakdown section. As the lead guitar progresses it gets more and more aggressive. After a chorus there is a second minor solo this solo runs underneath the outro section.
4.) “Stop Breaking Down” – The intro to this track consisted of Vinnie, Andy, and whoever is playing bass, playing the same notes with the last note of each measure being just a little bit different than the one before it. Vinnie plays a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the musical verse entrance. At this point the band also locks into a solid sounding rhythm groove. There is a small rhythm guitar change underneath the musical verse. The pre-chorus musically builds up to that classic Mogg hook of the chorus. Vinnie kept the rhythm guitar of the musical verse very basic letting Phil’s vocals carry the song. Underneath the second chorus there are two rhythm guitar arrangements playing two different rhythms. Vin wrote one hell of a solo for this track. Like a hand in a glove it fits perfectly!!!There is a minor lead guitar solo underneath the chorus of the outro.
5.) “Rock Ready” –This intro opens with just Vinnie. The rhythm guitar riff Vinnie is playing was heavily influenced by the Mississippi Delta blues scene of the late twenties & thirties. The most notable of these musicians is the Grand-father of Rock n Roll Robert Johnson. There is a small lead guitar lick that connects the intro with the verse. There is a cymbal crash to signify the musical pre-chorus. I can’t put my finger on it however the guys do something to give the song a different sound. Vocally this is classic Phil Mogg!!! There is a small lead lick connecting the first chorus with the second verse. All in all this is a classic seventies UFO track that will drive fans crazy. The double tracked led guitar solo that Vin played blew me away. Way to go my friend!!!!
6.) “Living Proof” –This intro signifies the first ballad on the release. The intro opens with Vinnie playing a simple picking riff. Paul plays a simple chorded keyboard arrangement underneath Vinnie’s picking arrangement. There also is a small bass line. To connect the intro and music change of the musical verse Vinnie plays a small minor solo. The guitar tracks of the musical verse are stereo split with the lead guitar solo of the musical verse coming out of the right speaker and the rhythm guitar coming solely out of the left. I believe the rest of the arrangements are coming out of both speakers. The guitars are recorded that way for the whole song. Andy’s drum line gives the song a funk feel which for UFO is a little strange. But I like it!!! I’ve heard I think everything UFO has ever recorded and off the top of my head I do not believe I remember ever hearing a track like this. With the solo Vinnie does not surprise a writes a solo that fits perfectly!!!
7.) “Can’t Buy A Thrill” – Vinnie opens this track pulling back to the early eighties days when Edward Van Halen was influencing everyone. This effect leads into a minor lead guitar solo over a standard intro section. Vinnie changes the main rhythm guitar riff of the musical verse and also continues the minor solo. Including the lead solo it sounded like there were two different rhythm guitar arrangements underneath the vocal lines. For the guitars to be multi-tracked several times over this is a very basic track. I loved the main lead guitar solo!!!!
8.) “Forsaken” – The intro to this track contained two different acoustic guitar rhythm tracks. Vinnie used the same rhythm guitar arrangements for the verse as the intro. Underneath the vocal lines there was a steel guitar riff which, I was a little shocked by. The different overdubbed acoustic guitar arrangement plus the steel guitar gave this song an eighties Country Music feel. The backing harmonies was very influenced by seventies pop music. The song really doesn’t kick-in until the chorus. I have to say as a long time UFO fan through the good and band years I must say I was a little surprised by this song. However, I loved it!!!!
9.) “Villains & Thieves” –Vinnie opens this track with a classic eighties rhythm guitar riff. Vinnie used the same riff for the musical pre-verse as the intro; the only difference is he alters it just a little through the pre-verse. The band kicks-in the song during the musical verse. Paul Raymond’s keyboard arrangement really is what pulls this verse a head of the rest of the track. Vinnie doesn’t really change his guitar arrangement so much as he tweaks it here and there. All I can say is….WHAT A CLASSIC FUCKIN’ SOUND!!! If UFO pulled anymore back into their early sound I don’t think Vinnie’s hands could reach around the guitar!!!
10.) “Strangers In Town” –This solo riff that opened the intro had a few palm-muting effects within it. If I’m not mistaking I believe Andy switched drums for this song. There are a few notes in this section that Vin actually rips off Edward’s sound. Vin used the same riff of the intro for the musical verse. There are several rests within the guitar arrangement letting Andy drum line and Paul’s keyboard bleed through. The rhythm guitar does not change until the few lyric lines that open the chorus then it is right back to the same riff. There is a breakdown section after the second verse that leads into the lead guitar solo. The way the guys wrote, arranged, and produced the CD let every band shine.
How I came about to hearing of the band UFO was back in October 1987 while I and my lead guitar player were listening to MSG’s ‘Perfect Timing’ album. I was trying to convince him that what a better way to pay respect to our all-time favorite guitarist would be to name the band after one of his albums. Perfect Timing two meanings paying respect to Schenker and your band is constant perfect time. Our rhythm guitar player, who is about ten years older than me, walks in and says that the guy I was telling you about from UFO. Long story short I went to an L.P. collector and trader friend of mine and bought UFO’s ‘Phenomenon’ released in May of 1974. From that day forward I was a UFO fan.
Formed in August 1969 by Phil Mogg (vocals), Mick Bolton (guitars), Pete Way (bass), Andy Parker (drums), originally naming the band to Hocus Pocus however soon change it to in honor of the London club UFO were noel Moore signed them to Beacon Records Label. There first two albums titled, ‘UFO’ and the follow-up ‘UFO II’ sometimes known as ‘Flying’ which, I’m a huge UFO fan and ordered all their albums on CD and the first time I heard those two albums I have to say the words that came to mind was, “What the fuck!” In June of 1973 while opening for The Scorpions Phil asked Scorpions lead guitarist Michael Schenker to join the band. From this point on Schenker would come and go pretty much as he saw fit. That is until he re-united with the band in 2002 to record the album ‘Sharks’, an once again shortly after the release Schenker once again bailed on the band. To replace Schenker the band enlisted instrumentalist Vinnie Moore. ‘The Visitor’ is the third CD with Vinnie and as far as the original members Phil, Pete, Paul and Andy, I do not think Schenker could buy his way back in to the band!
This could possibly be …thinking….no this is the best album the band has released to date!!! It does not matter if you’re a fan of UFO or general Rock –n-n Roll or Heavy Metal you will fall in love with this release. Vinnie has personally told me he is a fan of Schenker and will be the first in the band to wish him well. However, once you hear Vinnie with UFO on CD or live you will forever think Vinnie was always a member of this band and it will be Schenker who!!!!