Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
One benefit that working for an International Website like Myglobalmind can bring is that doors are opened that other smaller media outlets cannot obtain. So it was when legendary British rock band UFO rolled into Belfast on their Conspiracy of Stars tour. We were fortunate enough to be granted the only after show interview that the band did in the city. I sat down with guitarist Vinnie Moore to discuss a variety of topics from music to cooking…
MGM”Okay then Vinnie as a young rock fan from growing up in America what was your first introduction to the music of UFO was the band big in America?
Vinnie “Yes they were pretty big in America had a few of their records when I was a kid. The Lights Out record,”Obsession and “Force It” and I grew up on those records. “Strangers in the night” had a couple of friends and we were all into rock and guitar orientated stuff. That was one of the bands that we were definitely in to.
Mgm” How did you feel when you actually had the opportunity to go and actually join the band?
Vinnie “It was kind of surreal when I was a kid in my bedroom playing along with the records and stuff I would never have imagined that there would have been a chance that I would play be playing with them someday. When it happened it was kind of surreal for me”
Mgm”Looking back at your musical career what would you say what was your proudest moment
Vinnie” I don’t know that I would have one proudest moment. I guess the fact that I still I am able to do what I love doing after all these years it’s a gift to me and I am proud that I have been able to do what I love after all these years ”
Mgm”Any low points then?
Vinnie” There is always low points all the time but I guess the most lowest of the low was like back in the nineties. The whole music business changed. The grunge and alternative music got big. The guitar wasn’t cool anymore. I had recorded this record and I got dropped from a label. I sat around for a couple of years just trying to get the rights to the record back. It just sucked really badly. Business was not good at that point.”
Mgm “If you were not a guitar player what would you be?
Vinnie” An entrepreneur millionaire. Something making big money. Attracting hot girls everywhere I go. (Laughs) it’s really hard to say what direction I would have or could have followed. I just hope that it would be something that I had a passion for and loved doing, which is what I have for guitar.
Mgm”You he started playing live gigs from a very young age the licensing laws must have been very flexible in the States….
Vinnie” I play in a band at high school when I was maybe 16 or 17 and you could go in if your parent was there or if you had a certain permit. You could get away with it as long as you didn’t drink. Or go anywhere near the bar or the alcohol”
Mgm” That is different from over here as the venues sell alcohol they do not allow young people in the venue so they cannot attend shows. Have you ever felt intimidated by other guitarists perhaps on a festival bill that you have shared?
Vinnie “No but I have felt intimidated by beautiful women looking at me
Mgm”And yes they are quite scary at times” Vinnie you have been playing music for a long time do you have any unfulfilled ambitions”?
VinnieI”I still have ambitions and goals it’s kind of a work in progress actually. ”
Mgm”Does music encompass everything in your life or do you have any interests or hobbies outside music?
Vinnie” I am a big sports fan American football hockey and baseball. I have a wife and two kids so it is not only music there are other things…yeah it is hard when you are on the road. When I first started there were not even cell phones.you had to use the phone in the hotel and call home at a particular time and it was crazy.
Mgm”How have you changed as a person since you first started playing music?
Vinnie”UFO with Phil Mogg has aged me(laughs) 100 years no I am just joking. Everybody matures as they go along and musically I think that I have grown, spiritually emotionally I have grown. That probably reflects me in my playing. Maybe I’m just dreaming I don’t know”
Mgm”What advice would you give a young kid starting out and wants to be a guitarist?
Vinnie” I would just say do it because you love doing it. Find a teacher, and a group of friends that you can play with because you can all learn from each other. Find a band and just jam with people. Take lessons to learn and just love what you are doing.”
Mgm”You seem a generally laid-back and easy-going kind of guy but what really annoys you what angers you?”
Vinnie”Traffic, I hate driving and being stuck in traffic. I just don’t understand it. I have no patience”
Mgm”What about on those long tour bus journeys?
Vinnie “On the tour bus? We actually get along pretty well. We have fun together and that makes it easier. I have been on the road a lot by myself doing guitar clinics and stuff that is way harder, when you are by yourself. It’s a pleasure to be with friends on tour.”
Mgm”Well you have had a long relationship with Rob. Where you responsible for introducing him to the band?
Vinnie “Actually I met him after I joined Ufo. I didn’t know him. We grew up probably 10 miles away from each other. I didn’t know him, I heard about him actually from Bumblefoot, Ron Thal from Guns n Roses. When we were looking for a bass player Bumble foot recommended him. It turned out that Rob was from Delaware where I am from. It was just kind of a coincidence.”
Mgm”Has the music business adversely affected your health? Obviously you were involved in music and touring in the eighties years of excess. Were you ever in danger of becoming another rock and roll casualty?
Vinnie “No I mean I went through years of when I didn’t even drink. I have never been into drugs, I don’t smoke weed. I am probably the most boring guy that you could ever meet. I mean there was some party years when I was in high school actually. I got it out of my system early. I got serious about playing guitar and music and I didn’t even drink for nearly eight years. It was pretty crazy so yeah never drugs with me or snorting anything.”
Mgm”What was it then like working with Alice Cooper? Obviously you played on the “Hey Stupid “album.
Vinnie” It was a lot of fun I went in for one day to do 2 songs. The rhythm and the lead for these two songs. It went really well and they asked me to do the tour also which was a blast. I went out for like 3 months with Alice in the summer of 91 I think it was in America. I enjoyed it a lot and we had a great time.
Mgm”Was he one of your musical heroes growing up?
Vinnie” I had” Welcome to my nightmare “so yes I was definitely a fan of Alice”
Mgm”Did he give you any career advice?
Vinnie” I didn’t really talk to him deeply about anything like that but he was a nice guy and a pleasure to be around. We played a lot of poker together.”
Mgm”Not golf then?
Vinnie” I grew up playing sports but that was one thing that I never actually did play. We would travel on the bus and he would actually fly every morning to the next city and golf all day even on gig days. Every day he would golf.”
Mgm”We have mentioned both Ufo, and Alice Cooper as being musical heroes when you were growing up that you later played with. Any other bands that you listened to as a young rock fan growing up? Have you remained a fan or indeed do you listen to what’s current and new?
Vinnie” I find that a lot of my heroes are still the people that I listen to but I just like music. Anything that’s good is good. I know that there are people that I am forgetting. I always get asked that and I just draw a blank. ”
Mgm”Just a couple of questions to finish on then. Do you think that you have ever made a bad album?
Vinnie “No there are some songs that I listen to that I think “that’s weaker than other songs “but Man I would think that I would need to have been really out of it to have that much of a major failure.”
Mgm”Do you look back on your career? Or do you prefer to focus on what lies ahead?
Vinnie” I do everything actually. You shouldn’t look back and just kind of live in the moment. I think that everybody looks ahead and that is the worry part of your life. Looking into the past is like the regret part. I should be in the future but I tend to worry and always be looking ahead thinking “What should I do next”
Mgm”If Vinnie Moore was to sit down and be the interviewer who would you like to talk to. What would you ask them?
Vinnie”Ahhh Jimi Hendrix”
Mgm”It would all be about guitars then?
Vinnie “Yes definitely”
Mgm”What can you do apart from playing guitar? Any hidden talents, perhaps cooking for example?
Vinnie “Well the guys are making fun of me, I made two pumpkin pies before I left home a few weeks ago. It was my wife’s birthday and she likes pumpkin pie. I took a lot of laughs, a lot of heat from the guys about that. I used to make beer, I haven’t done that in a while. That was a fun hobby.”
Mgm”What is your greatest fear?
Vinnie “Not being able to play anymore I guess.”
Mgm”When you initially got the call to join UFO (you are not the new boy anymore) what was your initial thoughts? Did you think “God those are pretty big shoes to fill”?
Vinnie” For some reason I was asked to send a CD of songs to Phil. I thought “ahh I would probably not get the gig “Then about ten days later I got a call saying he likes your stuff and he wants you to do it. There was never really any worry about it. It wasn’t a real stretch for me I think to fit into the band. I grew up with their music and I am a rock guy and it’s a rock band. Whereas maybe if I got a gig with somebody like a real progressive band or somebody like Sting or something… that would be really worrisome. I would have to get really in to it and work harder to fit in.With Ufo I just felt that I would fit in, it was more natural.
Mgm “Appreciate you taking the time after the show tonight to talk to Myglobalmind webzine. Thanks very much.
Vinnie “No problem, glad you enjoyed the show.