UFObandsitting400pix Joel Reese of The Concourse writes:

Let’s try something here. Here’s a song called Hot and Ready, by the band UFO. Give it a listen.

If this doesn’t rock your ass off—if you’re thinking, “Ehhh, maybe, I’m not sure”—then go back to nursing your IPA and nodding along to the Mountain Goats or Sam Smith or whoever. I can’t help you. But if you have the correct opinion—if you wonder, “Holy shit, that is an amazing solo, and it’s just the opening riff? Who is that?”—then you have uncovered one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest secrets.

In the annals of rock history, tucked way behind your Zeppelins and Floyds, just trailing your Big Stars and Thin Lizzys, but just ahead of your Raspberries and Budgies, there resides a band that only die-hards and full-on music geeks seem to truly appreciate (or even know): UFO.

At the height of their mid-’70s heyday, this hard-living, ass-kicking, spandex-wearing quintet rocked like few have dared to rock, even if few dared to rock alongside them. They boasted a haughty, combative frontman with great pipes; a hedonistic, polka-dot-pants-wearing bass player who made Keith Richards look like Debby Boone; and simply one of the best hard-rock guitarists of all time. They should have ruled the era when the amps were loud, the Camaros fast, the mullets magnificent and unironic. UFO put out five good-to-brilliant studio records that stand toe-to-toe with any of the great albums of that era; then, in 1979, they released their masterpiece, Strangers in the Night, a powerful, punishing live album with the visceral impact of a Jack Lambert clothesline tackle.

“The album is incredible, absolutely incendiary,” says former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, now a solo artist who records as the Nightwatchman. “It captures a great band at the height of their powers…I don’t weep for UFO, They made some really great records, and their live album is one of the greatest albums of all time. No one can take those points off the board.”

Eddie Trunk, the nationally syndicated DJ and host of VH1’s That Metal Show, concurs “Strangers in the Night is pretty much my favorite album of all time. And by all accounts it really is live, making it even more amazing.”

But these cock-rockers flew too close to the sun. Right now, 35 years after their epochal live record, UFO are getting set to put out a new album (A Conspiracy of Stars, their 22nd studio release) that most likely won’t be downloaded (or even pirated) by the millions (or even the hundred-thousands) when it’s released in March. And yet they soldier on, dutifully playing smaller clubs and mid-day festival slots and the occasional ribfest, with their awesome past unjustly consigned to the dustbin. UFO are your favorite hard-rock band’s favorite hard-rock band, but they command recognition from almost no one else. Which is wrong. Because UFO in their prime were awesome, and the story of how they got there is even … awesomer.

Read entire story at The Concourse.

source: theconcourse.deadspin.com

13 Responses

  1. Great article, thanks for posting. Been a fan for over 30 years now. Schenker and Mogg jelled musically but never personally if they had who knows where they could have been. I think the chrysalis sitution has some validity but the other huge band on that label was Jethro Tull and they sold pretty well. Obviously schenker leaving was a huge reason for not continuing to rise among other reasons. Mogg’s lyrics are different and catchy, his choice of words are different the typical hard rock party band in my opinion.

  2. I’m one of the lucky ones who gets this band. Love all the line-ups. These guys just keep making great records. I’ve seen them too many times to count but every time is worth it. They didn’t make it as big as they should have in the US. That’s good for me because I get to see them in small clubs compared to the bigger acts. I think they deserve way more credit for the music they write. Phil is amazing. His voice is still great. Everybody always points to strangers in the night, yes , if you are new to them, a must have record. I just listened to obsession today on the way home from work. WALK ON WATER. Killer album. COVENANT. Another good one. VISITOR. The Vinnie Moore albums are just as good. How bout some MIDNIGHT TRAIN off covenant Eddie on your live show. Pushed to the limit off walk in water. Average fans just know rock bottom, only you can rock me rock me. Etc. The catalog is huge and amazing. If you don’t know them….. Please take the time to listen. So looking forward to another new album. Thanks UFO. will see you again and again. Eddie. Do your listeners a favor. It’s your show. Play 1 hour of ufo on the live show. Not the hits. Thanks.

    1. Exactly Todd , play something different like Electric Phase, Queen Of The Deep, Dance Your Life Away, Pushed To The Limit, Self Made Man Etc. UFO is still a great band, and still going strong with Vinnie. And Michael Schenker is still out there rockin our nights away.

    2. Todd – I agree with you 100% but look at the comments not much. It’s amazing to me how so many just don’t get it. I am just glad as I get to see them every 1-2 years.

  3. HAVE ALWAYS LOVED UFO, had the iconic Schenker poster all in black ,flying v – saw them live every chance i could- Michael Schenker is one of the greatest guitarists of all time – listen to mother mary, natural thing. and only you can rock me , and of course strangers in the night and you will hear just how amazing Schenker is – and from what i see online still is- but to me UFO with out Schenker is like an Oreo cookie without the filling ….

  4. I’ve been a fan of UFO for many years and scratch my head about the band being under the radar in the US. I turned my wife into a fan of UFO almost instantly once she heard ‘Strangers’, as she feel in love with Phil’s voice and thoroughly enjoyed Schenker’s guitar playing. I also feel that UFO is a bit like Deep Purple, who are also a great band both in past lineups as well as the current lineup, but seem to be heavily overshadowed by bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, etc. One of the greatest problems with musical influence on listeners in the US are the record companies control over radio air play by companies like Clear Channel. Potential fans are saturated with a redundant circulation of top 40 classic rock, hard rock or metal that changes very rarely. Another factor of music in America is the media push for RnB, Rap, Hip-Hop and uninspired pop music on TV, radio, movies, etc. It looks like the rest of the world has maintained a strong hard rock/metal fan base of much larger proportions than here unfortunately.

  5. Obsession is One of the best albums ever. so many great albums.no place to run, wild willing and innocent.the Paul chapman years were great .but obsession they were firing on all cylinders.which is why the live album is perfection. always loved andy parkers drum sound an style.UFO forever!!!

    1. Gus,

      Obsession will always hold a very special place in my heart because my ex boyfriend loved that album and was a Schenker fanatic. Sadly, he took his life this past March, so that album holds an even greater meaning to me now.

      Dana from ET.com

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