UFO Drummer Andy Parker Misses Former Bassist Pete Way
Mark Kadzielawa of Illinois Entertainer recently conducted an interview with UFO drummer Andy Parker who talks about their new guitarist and also the bassist Pete Way. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Illinois Entertainer: Since guitarist Vinnie Moore joined UFO in 2003, there’s been a stability in the band. You’re releasing an album every two years, and are very visible on the road. How did the dynamics change within the band since he’s joined?
Andy Parker: I wasn’t in the band when he joined; I didn’t come back until 2005. The last thing I did with UFO was the “Walk On Water” album, which was in 1994, and that was a great experience. I loved the album, but I didn’t feel the band was stable enough for me to risk touring with them. I had other things going in my life. The thing about Vinnie is that he’s a great guitar player, but he’s a great stand-up guy. He’s got kids. And if he says he’s gonna go something, he goes ahead and does it. You can rely on him. If you go on tour with him, you pretty much know you’re gonna finish the tour. And so many other people rely on you to pull through. It’s not just the audience, but there’s crew, the managers, the agents. With Vinnie, it’s never been a problem, he does his thing, and he’s a great player.
Illinois Entertainer: UFO enjoys a very special relationship with Chicago audiences. What memories do you have from you very first appearance in the Windy City?
Andy Parker: I think the first time we played in Chicago was at the Aragon Ballroom. We were opening the show, and it was T.REX and KISS. T.REX in the middle and KISS headlined. That’s a crazy bill, but it was a great show. KISS were really nice, even though they scared the crap out of me. Gene Simmons is, like, 9 feet tall, and I didn’t really know much about KISS until that time. They were very nice guys, and very welcoming. There was a real nice feel backstage, and it was a great gig. It was first of many great shows in Chicago.
Illinois Entertainer: Many fans, myself included, miss bassist Pete Way in the band. His charisma was simply one of a kind. Pete left UFO back in 2008 due to illness and substance abuse. Now there are reports circulating that he’s sorted himself out. Is there a chance to see Pete again in UFO?
Andy Parker: It’s a difficult thing. Pete has been doing things. He’s actually done a solo album recently. But what we need from Pete, and what he feels he can do, are two different things. When we parted company in 2008, he was sick, he had liver problems, and had serious substance-abuse problems. I for one would like nothing better than to see Pete clean up his act and come back. And if he did, and he proved it to Phil that he’s really serious about it, there will be a place for him in the band. And I miss him. How could you not miss him? He’s like a brother to me. And I do hear good things about Pete, but there is always two sides to every coin. The band is so good right now, and it’s nice to know that we’re gonna go out and play, and there’s not gonna be any problems.