Tag Archives: ufo

British Rock Legends UFO To Release First Ever Covers Album “The Salentino Cuts”

British rock legends UFO offer up their first ever covers album paying homage to a dozen of their personal favorites! “The Salentino Cuts” includes several unexpected choices such as Mad Seasons’sRiver Of Deceit,” John Mellencamp’s “Paper In Fire,” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” alongside more traditional but thrilling versions such as The Yardbirds’ “Heartful Of Soul,” ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” and lots more!

UFO’s current line-up features original members Phil Mogg on vocals and Andy Parker on drums. Keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond joined the band in 1976. Lead guitarist Vinnie Moore has been a permanent member of the group since 2003, and American bassist Rob De Luca joined the fold in 2012.

Vinnie says, “Making this covers record was a blast for me. I thoroughly enjoyed putting a little of my spin on these tunes that I grew up with. I played ZZ Top and Robin Trower songs about gazillion times onstage over the years. It was great actually to get to record some of my old faves.”

UFO’sThe Salentino Cuts” will be released on September 29th and will be available on both CD & 2 limited vinyl pressings, one splatter vinyl, and one white vinyl!

Track List:
1. Heartful Of Soul
2. Break On Through (To The Other Side)
3. River Of Deceit
4. The Pusher
5. Paper In Fire
6. Rock Candy
7. Mississippi Queen
8. Ain’t No Sunshine
9. Honey-Bee
10. Too Rolling Stoned
11. Just Got Paid
12. It’s My Life

In September & October, the band will be embarking on a monster tour of North America with fellow classic rockers Saxon!

UFO European tour dates:

August 11 – Leyendas del Rock Festival XII – Villena – Spain
August 13 – Alcatraz Open Air- Kortrijk – Belgium
September 7 – Germany – Dortmund – Musiktheater Piano
September 8 – Holland – Eindhoven – Cityrock Festival
September 9 – Holland – Leeuwarden – Cityrock Festival
September 10 – France – Raismes – Raismes Fest
September 12 – England – Southampton – The Brook
September 14 – England – Dorking – Dorking Halls
September 15 – England – Holmfirth – Picturedrome
September 16 – England – Northampton – Roadmender

UFO & SAXON US Tour Dates – Round 2:

September 22 – Newton, NJ – Newton Theater
September 23 – Huntington, NY – Paramount Theater
September 24 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
September 26 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater Of The Living Arts
September 28 – Plymouth, NH – Flying Monkey
September 29 – Worcester, MA – Palladium
September 30 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
October 1 – Portland, ME – Aura
October 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
October 4 – Montreal, QU – Corona Theatre
October 6 – Flint, MI – Machine Shop
October 7 – Traverse City, MI – Ground Zero
October 8 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall
October 9 – Akron, OH – Tangier Cabaret Room
October 11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Jergels
October 12 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
October 13 – Merrillville, IN – Star Plaza
October 14 – Indianapolis, IN – The Egyptian

UFO was formed in London in 1969. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. Over a career spanning 48 years, UFO has released 22 studio albums, 14 live recordings and 16 compilation albums. They achieved success with several albums and singles in the UK and US Top 40 charts, and have sold over 10 million records worldwide. UFO is considered one of the classic hard rock acts, and have influenced many notable rock bands. The band was ranked number 84 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”

For more information:
http://www.ufo-music.info/
http://www.ufo.band

Uli Jon Roth: Master of the Sky Guitar

By Andrew Catania

Master guitarist, and an excellent keyboardist, a refined vocalist, and a virtuosic composer: Ulrich Roth aka Uli Jon Roth is an acclaimed German musician, whose name emerged and gained prominence in the early 1970s. Having tested his mettle on a variety of instruments, Roth finally landed on playing the guitar, which turned out to be just the right decision on his part. After that, it didn’t take him much to reach the stature of global fame and repute.

Uli Roth was brought up by his father, who instilled in him a love for aesthetic arts since a very young age. Uli grew up reading classic literature, writing poetry, painting, and learning about visual arts. It wasn’t until 1968 that he realized, his true potential lay in music. Electric guitars, in particular, caught his attention, and having realized what he was going to do in his life, he embarked in pursuit of his passion. Uli staged his first concert later that same year, with Blue Infinity, his first band. Progressing with his high school studies, and after-school music lessons in tandem, Uli partnered with a number of bands during that time, and also cofounded Dawn Road in the early 1970s.

While Dawn Road was still in its incubation phase, Michael Schenker of the famous ‘Scorpions’, was offered a permanent position in UFO. This might have been the end of the Scorpions, but, before leaving for England, Michael invited Uli to join the Scorpions in his place. The end of the year marked the merger of the Scorpions, and Dawn Road, and naming the joint feat after the Scorpions since they held a sounder name in the music sphere.

Uli Roth continued to play as the lead guitarist for the Scorpions. Along with the other members including Achim Kirsching, Jurgen Rosenthal, Francis Buchholz, Klaus Meine, and Rudolf Schenker. The Scorpions released four studio albums until 1977, and a live record titled ‘Tokyo Tapes’, which was recorded during their Taken by Force Tour to Japan. Tokyo Tapes was an ultimate hit and bagged an overwhelming response from across the globe. However, Uli decided to take the high road, and bid farewell to the Scorpions in 1978, before the Tokyo Tapes release.

Electric Sun turned out to be the next milestone in Uli’s career. Cofounded by Uli Roth, Ule Rigen and Clive Edwards, the band’s original lineup was changed after the departure of Clive Edwards. The band released 3 full albums titled ‘Earthquake’ in 1979 which was dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, ‘Fire Wind’ (dedicated to Anwar Sadat) in 1981, ‘Beyond the Astral Skies’ in 1985 and a tribute number titled ‘Enola Gay’ dedicated to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents.

Aside from his band associations, Uli has also established an impressive solo profile over time, in multiple genres including the hard rock, neoclassical, progressive rock, heavy metal, and psychedelic. Some of his highly acclaimed solo feats include two Volumes of Transcendental Sky Guitar (2000), Sky of Avalon in 2008, A Metamorphosis of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (2003), Scorpions Revisited in 2015, and Aquilla Suite – 12 Arpeggio Concert Etudes for Solo Piano (1991).

 

Vinnie Moore – The Man Behind The Strings

By Andrew Catania

Eight solo albums, five collaborations, 6 UFO albums, 2 Hot Licks’ guitar video clinics, one virtuoso… Of course, we are referring to Vinnie Moore, the “Vin Man” as we the fans know him! He has accomplished quite a lot during his 30+ years of performance, but one wonders: who’s the man behind the strings? Well, to give you a proper answer in a few words is not fair to his career, so let’s take a look at those 30+ years of speed, accuracy, articulation and advanced lead guitar techniques!

He was only 12 when he got his first guitar; a teenage boy who looked up to the great guitar legends of that moment. Records by the Beatles like their eponymous double album from 1968 (from which he has covered While My Guitar Gently Weeps many times), Jeff Beck’s ‘Wired‘, Led Zeppelin’s ‘IV Zoso’, Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head and ‘Burn, Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera, Van Halen’s self-titled album and many other bands; all of them were among his early influences. His first guitar was a Teisco and made him, in the Vin Man’s words, a “guitar freak,” always improving and crafting his unique voice through his youth.

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After taking guitar lessons with a private instructor when he was 13, he started to put his skills to work by joining his first band, doing jam sessions and covers of their favorite songs in a typical setup of drums, bass, vocals and two guitars. From there on, he started to work on his ideas buying a 4-track tape recorder and experimented with many fragments, which later evolved into songs, showing his proficiency on the six strings.

By 1985 Vinnie Moore already was a prolific composer. He decided to pursue an opportunity and sent some of his recorded music, in the form of a seven song demo tape, to Guitar Player Magazine, and it caught the attention of Mike Varney and his Spotlight column in said magazine. It turns out that Varney was also owner and producer of Shrapnel Records, and Vinnie’s talent didn’t go unnoticed to him. This event allowed him to get into a Pepsi commercial (see video below) thanks to a Los Angeles agency that saw Vinnie’s picture and submission to Guitar Player; and even when it showed his hands only, it made his sound reach a national audience, getting recognition as a new emerging talent from Delaware!

In this commercial, we can hear an accomplished 23 years old guitar player showing his alternate picking technique: clean, accurate and fast. We can hear every note during the scalar passages, the arpeggios, and the pentatonic licks being perfectly well played along the video. Also remarkable was his sense of climax during the finishing sequence opening the last Pepsi bottle where he pulled off a scalar running which ended up at a high E vibrato, a very neo classical musical approach that he would go deeper into in his first album, but we are just about to get there!

Following the repercussion of the Pepsi commercial, Vinnie Moore and Mike Varney started to work together in Shrapnel Records to conceive the Vin Man’s first album: ‘Mind’s Eye.’ The album was released in January 1987 and represented a milestone for virtuoso guitar playing of the moment for various reasons. With all the neoclassical hype at the moment, it is hard to stand out among a great number of imitators since it became so popular back then, and yet the Vin Man managed to pull out one single record that earned a deserved recognition by the specialized press, the critics, and other guitar personalities. Although there are some obvious references to the neo-classical style regarding harmony, chord progressions, harmonic minor scale and phrasing, we can hear progressive rock riffs (In Control’s opening, Saved by a Miracle for example), preference for modal harmony and a tendency to put melodic phrasing above non-sense runs all over the neck that were so popular back then (Daydream, Hero Without Honor).

All these innovative elements were combined to bring a new, different and unique sound approach to the guitar world. Vinnie just did the alchemy and made an album that is real modern guitar history for all generations that came after. Shrapnel Records opened a new world to this 23-year-old guitar virtuoso. By 1988, with the release of Time Odyssey, he took his game another level up by emulating and surpassing the success of his previous album, also parting from Shrapnel Records. The Vin Man’s experiments on the progressive, futuristic and melodic approach of virtuoso playing went even further to craft this masterpiece!

The opening Morning Star fusion of classical and passionate melodic main theme’s phrasing, progressive cuts like Prelude/Into The Future or Message In a Dream (in collaboration with Jordan Rudess!), George Harrison’s tribute to While My Guitar Gently Weeps, beautiful rock ballads like As Time Slips By that showed Vinnie’s musical sensibility…the whole album was the refined version of himself as a musician, an accomplished composer that also has the technical ability. This time Vinnie would go for a total reinvention of himself.

By 1991 Vinnie Moore was a worldwide recognized musician and guitar artist, and his career would take a major turn with the Meltdown album. Vin decided to experiment with a groove-infused rock and roll style that became his signature for the following years, combining powerful riffs, virtuosic playing and an even more melodic tendency over the quick runs than his previous albums. The transition from metal to slow, mellow songs were smooth and remarkable (Meltdown, Earthshaker, When Angels Sing, Check It Out, Coming Home). And by 1996, when the grunge and alternative rock reign was at its best, Vinnie, once again proving himself a musician over a guitar virtuoso decided to go for an elegant instrumental approach for his next album, Out of Nowhere, which brought us memorable cuts that reflected Moore’s maturity as an artist: With the Flow, Echoes, Thunderball, Time Traveler, Move that Thang or this writer’s personal favorite VinMan’s Brew.

The Maze in 1999 marked the Vin Man’s return to Shrapnel Records and what a comeback I have to say! It was considered by many critics an epic return to his first two albums, with a modern and progressive approach that doesn’t leave out his accomplished musicianship. Memorable tracks? The whole album! However, special honorable mentions go to The Maze, Cryptic Dreams, Rain and Fear, and Trepidation.

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Excellence and perfection are in Vinnie’s blood.  More albums came with an excellent backup personnel behind: his first live recorded album Live! in 2000 with Barry Sparks on bass (Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, UFO), Shane Gaalaas on drums (Glenn Hughes, Jeff Kollman, $ign of 4) and Wayne Findlay doing keyboards (MSG also). In 2001 he followed The Maze’s trail and released Defying Gravity which had Dave LaRue on bass. Remarkable tracks from these periods: Check It Out (Live), She’s Only Sleeping (Live), Daydream (Live), Cryptic Dreams (Live), Defying Gravity, If I Could, Emotion Overload, Last Road Home.

Taking a little break from the Vin Man’s great solo career we got a question to ask you: how cool would it be to play with one of the bands you loved as a kid? It would be incredible, right?

That’s exactly what happened to Vinnie Moore in 2003 when he was recruited to play with one of the world’s most recognized rock acts: UFO, the legendary band that gave us such classics like Doctor Doctor, Rock Bottom, Lights Out (which is Vinnie’s favorite according to an interview), Love to Love and many others. Guitarist Michael Schenker left the band in 2002, and the Vin Man’s talent was required to enrich UFO’s sound. The idea was to relaunch the band career, and to do so they signed with SPV Records and producer Tommy Newton to work on the forthcoming album, You Are Here, for which Vinnie did major songwriting work in 11 of 12 songs the album has.

This collaboration proved successful, and it meant to him the most logical step in his career musically speaking, as he was joining the band he grew up listening to and crafting more solo material, he viewed this as a great opportunity that he took as soon as it knocked on his door. In addition to You Are Here, there are four more albums in which he has been playing and songwriting The Monkey Puzzle (2006), The Visitor (2009), Seven Deadly (2012) and A Conspiracy to Stars (2015). Remarkable tracks from the UFO new recordings, written by the Vin Man himself are: When Daylight Comes to Town, Mr. Freeze, Who’s Fooling Who, Stop Breaking Down, Year of the Gun, Devil’s in the Detail.

Vinnie Moore, the excellent musician, is also a wonderful person. A very down-to-earth guy he likes to keep in touch with his fans via his Facebook account (which he manages) where he comments on his daily life and his projects, and he’s also supportive of new guitar material that many of his fans submit. Firsthand talking with them during his clinic time and shows is also important to him to see how they experience the music he creates; maintaining this contact enables him to connect with their energy, to create emotions in people doing what he loves most, all thanks to the art he considers as a gift.

His creative process is the one of the inspiration. Vinnie likes to sit and explore many melodies, riffs, rhythms and guitar sounds and let the inspiration do the job while he is working, he follows it and lets himself drown into wherever it takes him. He is not the planning type of songwriter; he likes to give each song the proper meaning once the melody has arrived. To him, the melody and the feeling are the keystones of his music and trademark sound

Regarding the technical aspect, Vinnie Moore has always been a guy ahead of his time. Impeccable alternate picking technique which seems clean in every passage of his discography; he gladly explains how to achieve this level of mastery via daily workouts in his 2 Hot Lick’s video clinics: Speed, Accuracy and Articulation and Advanced Lead Guitar Techniques. Vinny is also one of the precursors of sweep picking technique, being a constant musical resource during his early and most virtuosic repertoire. He shows a preference for the modal approach to music, in which he explores the many possibilities of the eight Gregorian modes of pre-tonal music and combines it with his rock and roll influences, as we can hear in many of his most popular ballads for example.

When it comes to his gear, he has been working it out through the years and changing it constantly – as the search for the right sound never ends. Ibanez made for him a special Roadstar model in 1987 called VM1, which was his trademark axe until he started to work with Music Man, which made first Axis and Silhouette models for him. In 2007 he is endorsed by Dean Guitars and developed a very productive relationship with them, crafting the instruments with his very own specifications, here’s a list of the models used by him: USA VINMAN 2000 which comes in Gloss Natural/Trans Amber/Trans Black/Trans Red and the unique Vinnie Moore Signature – Mind’s Eye design. Regarding amplification he relies on the good old Marshall JMP 2000 DSL, the always delightful Marshall JMP 100w head and ENGL amps to get his particular tone.

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As for today, Vinnie released his latest production Aerial Visions last year under his label, Mind’s Eye Music, and in the VinMan Studios. In this album, he takes his music even further by exploring his most melodic side in songs like Faith or Looking Back. It was created during part of his development of UFO’s new material for their most recent album, and as a matter of fact, two songs made for this album were heard by Phil Mogg, who wrote lyrics to it and were also included them in A Conspiracy of Stars. Aerial Visions represents another point of inflection in his career due to the wide variety of styles explored in this record in cuts like Mustang Shuffle, Aerial Vision and his tribute to ZZ Top’s La Grange.

As you can see, there’s just so much more than meets the eye in the career and style of the Vin Man, a creative musician who reinvents himself in each new production and is always in the search for real, emotional and memorable guitar music.  Vinnie Moore is one of the best guitarists and a real inspiration for all of us guitar players!