The Dirt

Singer re­veals “bit­ter­sweet” de­ci­sion to re­tire.

Classic Rock - - Contents -

Phil Mogg’s re­tire­ment spells the end of UFO; Izzy Stradlin on not want­ing to be part of GN’R’s re­union; Lind­sey Buck­ing­ham on his oust­ing from Mac… Say hello to The Church Of The Cos­mic Skull and Thomas Wynn & The Be­liev­ers, wel­come back Sons Of Apollo, Roger Joseph Man­ning Jr and James Wil­liamson, say good­bye to Glenn Sn­oddy, Ben Grave…

UFO look set to dis­band af­ter they fin­ish a 50th-an­niver­sary tour next year. Front­man Phil

Mogg, the band’s sole con­stant mem­ber since they formed in Lon­don in 1969 and who ap­pears on all 22 of their stu­dio records, has an­nounced his in­ten­tion to re­tire from stu­dio and live per­for­mances once the half­cen­tury cel­e­bra­tions are com­pleted.

UFO will no longer re­lease any new mu­sic, which means that A Con­spir­acy Of Stars in 2015 and last year’s cov­ers col­lec­tion The Salentino Cuts are set to be­come their swan­song re­leases.

“This de­ci­sion has been a long time com­ing,” Mogg ex­plains. “I’ve con­sid­ered step­ping down at the end of UFO’s pre­vi­ous two tours. I don’t want to call this a farewell tour as I hate that word, but next year’s gigs will rep­re­sent my fi­nal tap-danc­ing ap­pear­ances with the band. 2019 marks UFO’s fifti­eth an­niver­sary, so the tim­ing feels right.”

Mogg turned 70 in April this year, and al­though his voice re­mains strong, he ad­mits that age played its part in his de­ci­sion.

“I’m a big reader of obit­u­ar­ies, and I won­der how old they were,” he says. “The last few years have been tough. Los­ing Lemmy was aw­ful, and we also lost Chris Tsan­garides [the pro­ducer who worked on UFO’s most re­cent two al­bums]. I was also sad that Jimmy Bain [Dio and Rain­bow bassist] passed away on a cruise ship. That dis­tressed me quite a lot.”

Mostly, though, the singer has tired of life on the road. Con­se­quently, this fi­nal run of dates will fo­cus mainly on the UK but will also visit key cities that UFO re­tain a strong con­nec­tion with.

“The road isn’t al­ways tremen­dously lux­u­ri­ous, and al­though the play­ing is as great as it ever was, the stuff that sur­rounds it be­comes very tire­some,” Mogg says. “I al­ways told my­self that when I reached that stage I would step down, and that’s what I’m go­ing to do. This is the right time for me to quit.”

Al­though Mogg owns the UFO name, he stresses that he would have no prob­lem should his cur­rent band­mates – key­board player/sec­ond gui­tarist Paul Ray­mond, gui­tarist Vin­nie Moore, drum­mer Andy Parker and bassist Rob De Luca – de­cide to con­tinue us­ing the name with­out him.

“I’ve told the guys that this is how it is,” Mogg states. “They know it’s my time to go, and they know that they can do what­ever they want to do with­out me, but I don’t want to play live or make records any more. Though hav­ing said that, I might go on and do an al­bum of my own. I’ll have to see how I feel about that.”

When Clas­sic Rock con­tacted Parker, a co-founder of UFO who has en­joyed sev­eral stints with the long-stand­ing band, he voiced sym­pa­thy with Mogg.

“Per­son­ally, I still feel like I could do an­other fifty years, and of course I will re­ally miss my band­mates, the fans and UFO’s fam­ily, but if Phil’s done then I com­pletely un­der­stand,” he said. “We have lost so many close friends, that I think Phil is tak­ing stock of his own mor­tal­ity. No­body wants to die in some god­for­saken shit­hole in Bum­fuck, Idaho.”

How­ever, Parker ad­mits that while the prospect of the re­main­ing mem­bers con­tin­u­ing as UFO is un­likely, the idea re­mains on the ta­ble.

“I won’t tell you that it’s not go­ing to hap­pen, and we’ve yet to take a straw poll among the guys,” he con­fides. “Sure, there are peo­ple that would like to step up and sing with this band, but could UFO with­out Phil Mogg even work? That’s like Mick Jag­ger say­ing the Stones could tour with­out him. Who’d want to go and see them? Phil is ir­re­place­able.”

UFO have, of course, split up, re­tired or gone on hia­tus sev­eral times be­fore, so de­spite the fi­nal­ity of Mogg’s state­ment, fans can hang on to a sliver of hope.

“I still be­lieve that this band has some­thing to of­fer,” says Parker. “I’ve yet to talk to Phil about any of this. Maybe I’ve got my head in the sand, but I’m not to­tally con­vinced that things won’t go on a lit­tle bit longer [than a short run of dates]. There are places we’ve yet to play, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia and New Zealand.”

On so­cial me­dia, most fans ac­cepted Mogg’s de­ci­sion. Many of those same com­men­ta­tors be­lieve that co-found­ing bass player

Pete Way, who left 10 years ago, and Michael Schenker, their for­mer gui­tarist who played on the band’s biggest­selling re­leases dur­ing a golden era that ran from 1973 to ’78, should play a part in any fi­nal tour. “I sup­pose that’s en­tirely pos­si­ble, but I can’t see

Phil agree­ing to it,” says Parker. “The guy’s get­ting out of be­ing in a rock band be­cause he’s worn out with the stress. Maybe it might work for the very last show. Who knows? ”

One for­mer mem­ber of UFO in par­tic­u­lar who is keen to play a part in the band’s farewell tour is Paul ‘Tonka’ Chap­man, the gui­tarist in their post-Schenker era, who now lives in Florida.

“Face­book is full of fans say­ing they want to see Pete, Michael, Neil [Carter, rhythm guitar/key­boards] or my­self get up with the band,” Chap­man tells Clas­sic

Rock, “and I would love to play with Phil and Andy again one more time. I want to be there! I’ve never played with Vin­nie Moore be­fore. When­ever, wher­ever, that would be great.”

As an aside, Chap­man is set to work once more with Pete Way in a new-look ver­sion of the bassist’s band Waysted, af­ter the pair con­nected again af­ter 14 years.

“I will be in UK again in the near fu­ture to see how the ar­range­ment might pan out,” Chap­man re­veals.

“We are both ex­tremely ex­cited. It seems that Pete is in re­ally good health, and we can’t wait.”

How­ever, it’s only fit­ting that the fi­nal words go to Phil Mogg. “Prob­a­bly the best de­scrip­tion for all of this is ‘bit­ter­sweet’,” he con­cludes. “But my time has ar­rived, and all that re­mains is to make sure we have a good tour.” DL

“2019 marks UFO’s fifti­eth an­niver­sary, so the tim­ing feels right.”

Phil Mogg

This month The Dirt was compiled by Si­mon Bradley, Rich Cham­ber­lain, Lee Dor­rian, Dave Ever­ley, Ian Fort­nam, Jamie Hib­bard, Jo Ken­dall, Dave Ling, Henry Yates

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