The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






MARCH 2015


UFO was the first band I ever saw live as a kid in Pireus, Greece – it was a bittersweet experience for a first show - te music blew me away from the off, but the show itself was a lot shorter show than I expected as Phil disappeared after a few songs and never came back. The band split shortly afterwards.

We all start somewhere - and those few songs were so memorable that I'm now here almost 700 rock gigs later finally talking to that very first band...  

I grew up listening to my mate’s brother’s collection: he had all the greats: Lizzy, Purple, Free, Sabbath, Uriah Heep and UFO and whilst some of those bands are gone and some still with us it seems only UFO is hitting the highs with new material that they did back in the day...

We got to speak to Vinnie for our first 'Quick Fire 30' interview ever: 30 questions with 30 seconds to answer each!

Mark: You’ve got a big Tour about to start running through February to May in Europe and the UK – are you planning any trips further afield later in the year? Japan was always good to the band back in the day but seems to have dropped off Tour schedules – are you likely to get out there in 2015?


Vinnie: Yes I think we will probably go to USA at least twice. I hope so anyway as well as coming back to Europe later in the year. And there are some festivals in the summer. As far as Japan, we have never played there since I have been in the band. I have no idea why but it has just never worked out unfortunately. I'd really love to go there.


Mark: What about some of the less travelled territories – is there anywhere you’d still love to play but haven’t as yet?


Vinnie: Off the top of my head I can't really think of a place. But we played in Vilnius, Lithuania for the first time last week and it was awesome. So if there are some places like this with great fans, I would love to play for them


Mark: Tell us about the road – what keeps you out there and what are the best and worst aspects of touring?


Vinnie: I am on the road because I love playing music in front of people. Also hanging with the band and our crew is always a blast. The worst is all the travel, being constantly one the move and not sleeping properly. The sleep thing is really hard to stay on top of and will really cause you to lose your focus

Mark: Opener Killing Kind is amazing it’s the sort of song that says all is right in the world and UFO is bang on form – but there are so many great tracks here how hard is it to pick that album opener?


Vinnie: it's always tricky choosing a sequence for a record. I am doing this now with my new solo record and it is a challenge. Luckily, someone else chose the sequencing for the new UFO. But one of the obvious things in my opinion is to come out rockin' from the start

Mark: Ballad of the Left Hand Gun has some wonderful guitar work and some great vocals by Phil – you seem so comfortable with that bluesy style and it has developed over the years – tell us a little about the genesis of that song?


Vinnie: Just like everything else, it pretty much came out while I was playing guitar on the couch one day. I just started playing the opening riff and don’t really know where it came from. When I recorded it for the album, I changed the part to slide guitar. But it was originally played with just hands

Mark: Precious Cargo has a great riff and some great lyrics – it sticks immediately in the mind are you surprised still with what Phil adds to your music?


Vinnie: Sometimes surprised yes. I like what he did with that one.


Mark: Tell us about your favourite tracks and what will make it into the set when you come and see us?


Vinnie: we are on the road now and have been playing Killing Kind and Run Boy Run. We also can play Real Thing, Messiah of Love and Rolling Rolling. We don’t know exactly which ones will work their way into the set yet but maybe all of them at some point


Mark: How do you approach the creation process today and has it changed over the years?


Vinnie: It hasn’t changed, as I said, I just play and eventually out pops a new idea when I am not really trying. Then from there I start to get related ideas and it builds until I have enough to put together a song. Usually I have too much and have to trim out the extra.


Mark: As a band you’ve been there through all the great decades of rock and seen bands come and go what does the future hold for Rock bands?


Vinnie: I Wish I knew the answer to that!


Mark: Things seem so much more stable since the band returned in 2005 there’s a regularity and consistency to releases and regular tours, how does that compare to the dramas of the early days?


Vinnie: well, I wasn’t there in the early days so I really don't know. But I do know that we have been more consistent with touring and doing records.

Mark: For a band that has had some well publicised Rock and Roll excess over the years and a few books written about them. Will any of you be venturing out with the pen? Is there a biography or two in the wings?


Vinnie: Not that I am aware of. I don't think anyone remembers enough about it. HA!


Mark: You’ve played with some great musicians over the years – who has been the most inspiring?


Vinnie: honestly, I couldn’t just name any one person.


Mark: Have you any unfulfilled musical ambitions?


Vinnie: Always. I am always striving to climb higher up the mountain and do more and different things that I have never done.


Mark: If you could compose with anyone living or dead who would it be?


Vinnie: Paul Rodgers


Mark: For a band of a certain vintage I see myself flipping through my collection and you are there all the way through the decades unlike a lot of bands that make the occasional appearance what’s wrong with me? How do you keep up the quality?


Vinnie: I love what I do and have passion for it. So I just keep doing what I love. It's easy. I'm just following my own truth

Mark: Absolute favourite UFO album? Before and after you joined the band? We had to ask!


Vinnie: Obsession: a great record. I grew up with it

Mark: What keeps you going and inspired as a musician?


Vinnie: Loving what I do

Mark: Is it harder and harder to pick a set list especially as the new material is so damn good?


Vinnie: Yes. This band has too many songs!

Mark: As a band you’ve never gone down that ‘plays a classic album’ route? Is that something that has not interested you? Not even Strangers in the Night set or something similar?


Vinnie: it doesn’t interest me personally and probably no one else in the band. Why would we wanna limit ourselves to one time period?


Mark: What piece of music you have created most defines you as a band?


Vinnie: Baby Blue is still one of my favorite UFO songs as a fan


Mark: Who is your most enduring influence as a guitarist?


Vinnie: Jeff Beck


Mark: Do you listen to contemporary music?


Vinnie: Yes. I like anything that is done with soul and passion


Mark: What is your most disgracefully rock and roll moment?


Vinnie: feeling that I didn’t play my best because i was not feeling well. I hate when this happens


Mark: Can music still have the power to change the world in 2015?


Vinnie: I doubt it. Small changes maybe?


Mark: Have you thought about how you would like to be remembered when you stop making music?


Vinnie: As someone who inspired many others and was great at what he did


Mark: What are your plans for the rest of the year?


Vinnie: to get my solo record out there and to continue doing shows and writing.


Mark: Thinking back to your early memories of music, what was it that first made you decide you needed to be in a Rock and Roll band?

Vinnie: Led Zep, the Beatles, Deep Purple and Queen.

Mark: From what you’ve learned so far what is the most valuable advice you’ve been given so far as a musician?
Vinnie: To follow my own path and continue doing what I truly love.

Mark: If you could have been a ‘Fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album from any period, just to see how the magic happened and it all came together, what would it have been for you any why?
Vinnie: there would be several but Deep Purple ‘Machine Head’ pops into mind.


Mark: What is the meaning of life?


Vinnie: I once knew the answer but unfortunately I forgot.







Vinnie spoke to Mark Rockpit, March 2015





Interested in an interview for your band? e-mail digg[at] prefers to interview live or via skype or phone but will consider e-mail interviews