EDDIETRUNK.COM EXCLUSIVE: PRODUCER MIKE CLINK ON UFO BASSIST PETE WAY, “HE WAS SPECIAL”
Legendary producer Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses) has sent an exclusive statement to EddieTrunk.com, regarding the passing of UFO bassist Pete Way.
“Years ago, after the loss of a loved one, my wife suggested that I write down some memories of that person to help me cope, it always helps.
Pete’s body of work has influenced musicians across the world, and I’ve spoken to many over the years including Nikki Sixx and Todd Kerns from Slash’s band. It’s no coincidence that both of them played a Gibson Thunderbird.
As I was writing this e-mail, I had to take a step back as I realized it was turning into a book. I tried to whittle it down to a few thoughts and while everyone is weighing in on his past accomplishments, and that’s certainly important, I know that Pete would like everyone to know what he had been up to lately.
I didn’t know much about UFO, but as an assistant engineer I heard Lights Out being mixed from outside the door of Studio C at the Record Plant on 3rd Street. The melody and energy were undeniable, it Rocked!
I met Pete and UFO on the album, Obsession. Before we started, Ron Nevison, the producer of the album gave me a heads up on everyone’s personality, so I would be aware of the band dynamics. Pete and Phil were constantly getting under the skin of Andy and Paul when they had the chance, but they kept their distance and jokes from Michael who didn’t seem to care much for their antics. Occasionally, I did see him crack a smile when the pranks were undeniably funny.
Pete had an amazing sense of humor. He was constantly “winding you up,” and I was the recipient of his mischief on an ongoing basis.
In those days I was working non-stop and before I knew it, Ron and I were in Chicago recording what would be the start of the Strangers in the Night album. That project has often been linked [with] me being chosen as the producer for the first Guns N’ Roses album. Megadeth, as well.
Through the years Pete stayed in touch. I would be getting ready for dinner and the phone would ring with him on the other line telling me about a new song he’d written and how he wanted to start recording something with me. He never followed up, so I didn’t give it much thought. In 2013 the phone calls became more frequent and more focused, so I had him send some of the demos he’d written and recorded.
From the start, he wanted to mix them, but I didn’t feel they were ready or good enough. After the decision was made to work together, we’ve been re-recording almost everything. During that time, he wrote a few more great songs to boot. The record is comprised of songs that tell Pete’s story, warts and all. His humor and sarcasm is evident throughout and he doesn’t hold back on telling you how difficult it is to be a Rock Star. It’s HIS story, a story of excess and love. The lyrics are extremely personal, and he asked me many times if he should change them. He didn’t want his fans to perceive him as an addict or as a degenerate. On the song Narcotics, he talks about how hard it was to be in rehab, while his friends are enticing him with cocaine. I told him that it was important to let people understand who he was.
You may ask, what’s taking so long to record this record? Well, just as we started, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The treatments took a lot out of him and he was weak for a long time. I flew over to the UK to record the vocals and did as much as he was able to do. A few more trips to Europe and a few weeks after a stint recording in Germany, another setback, a heart attack. Lately, we’d been recording remotely with his writing partner Jason.
I’m not sure what will happen with the recordings. The record will not be what you would expect from Pete, but I love it. He’s not a singer by trade but it’s Pete, and we did our best to make it great.
I want to recognize Pete’s wife Jenny. She’s been by his side through it all, the good, and the bad, since we started the project. When the time is right, we’ll figure out how best to honor Pete’s legacy with integrity and release the recordings.
While the focus is usually on Pete’s excesses, he was a true gentleman, English proper as I would explain it. He was smart and well read. We would have many conversations about world history, politics and English football. Pete could have a conversation about almost anything. If you were in the same room with Pete, he would make sure you were comfortable and had everything you needed. He was special!
I want you to know that Pete and I spoke several times about doing your show [Dana’s note: meaning Eddie’s] when the new album was completed, and we were looking forward to sharing stories about the project and the UFO sessions.
Pete Way was mortal after all. As bad as his recent injuries were, I held on to hope that he would pull through like he always did, but it wasn’t to be. I miss him with all my being, not as the amazing musician and performer he was, but as one of my best friends.
Love you Pete!”