After forming in 1969, the British band UFO ruled the music charts in the ’70s with hits like “Lights Out” and “Too Hot To Handle.”
More than 40 years later, the band continues to make new music and tour. UFO will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Tickets are available at www.oshows.com.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf interviewed founding member and drummer Andy Parker about UFO’s latest activities.
Eric Schelkopf: You guys released a new album this year, “Seven Deadly.” Are you going to be playing from a lot of it during the shows?
Andy Parker: Yeah, at least a couple of tracks. We’re still trying to pin singer Phil Mogg down on the set list, which is always fun. He usually drags his feet to the last second.
ES: “Seven Deadly” is your first album since 2009. What did you try to do with this album?
AP: We didn’t have a preconceived concept. It’s not like we are going to try to make an album to appeal to a certain demographic.
Basically, it is the same way it’s always been – we decide it’s time to make an album, and everybody pitches their ideas. That way, I think we always stay true to how the guys are feeling at the time. It’s from the heart. It’s what we are feeling at the time.
We do get a bit of grief from old fans, from ’70s fans, who say that maybe we’re not as hard edged or rockin’ as we were, but to me, I don’t think you can really try to stay the same.
It’s not the ’70s, and we’re not in our 30s any more. What the fans get is the music made at the time.
I just like the way the new materials is going almost back to our roots, like the bluesy kind of roots that we came from. Which is fine by me, because I’m very comfortable with that. It seems like since I rejoined the band in 2005, that’s kind of the way the band’s been going, especially on the last two albums.
ES: And the album charted better than your previous album. Are you proud of that?
AP: Oh, absolutely. Considering that this band has been together more than 40 years, it’s a major step that we even have a record company interested in backing us still.
And I’d like to think that the increase in sales is because we are starting to appeal to a new fan base. I am seeing younger people in the audience. It used to be that if you saw anybody young, that they were there with their parents.
I’m hoping that we may be making that transition and starting to be discovered by a new set of fans.
ES: It seems like hard rock is here to stay. Why do you think that people still want to hear that type of music?
AP: Man, it just makes you feel good, doesn’t it? It makes you want to get up and jump around. Music is one of the forces of life.
ES: How does the current lineup compare to previous lineups?
AP: When I first came back, Pete Way was actually in the lineup, which was really cool, three of the original four members, plus Paul Raymond and Vinnie Moore.
ES: What do you think Vinnie adds to the band?
AP: He’s just an exemplary player. He’s just got a lot of energy.
And he’s got a great sense of humor. He really fits in. He got a lot of influences in his playing, so I guess he just pulls out the stuff that works for us.
ES: Did you ever think that UFO would still be going after 40 years?
AP: This is my third time back in the band. It wasn’t what I planned to do with the rest of my life, but it just worked for me.
And it’s been fantastic. It’s really like coming back into your family again.
There’s still a lot of energy in this band, and I think that a lot of people are discovering that.
ES: What kind of advice would you give to a band that’s trying to make it?
AP: It’s so different now, isn’t it? Almost anybody can make an album in their living room and make a video to go on YouTube.
Back in the day, the only way to do it was to get in a van and go and play places, and hope you were good enough that people took notice.
My advice would be to learn how to play your instruments. There’s no substitute for mastering your instrument. Obviously, the more you play, the better you get.
It’s doesn’t matter how many hits you get on YouTube. Eventually, you are going to have to play for people.