UFO’s forthcoming show at Hull City Hall will be one of the last opportunities for fans to see frontman Phil Mogg perform with the long-running hard rock band.
The 50th anniversary tour, Last Orders, will be Mogg’s final one and it seems almost certain that his departure will mark the end of UFO.
Formed in London in 1968, Mogg is their only ever-present member, performing on all of the group’s 22 studio albums.
“2018 marks UFO’s 50th anniversary, so the timing feels right,” said Mogg. “There will be a final tour of the UK and we will also play some shows in selected other cities that the band has a strong connection with.”
While many veteran bands in such a position simply cease playing live and continue to record, UFO will no longer be releasing new music. A Conspiracy Of Stars in 2015 and last year’s covers collection The Salentino Cuts are set to become a signing-off point for the band, whose current line-up is completed by keyboard player/second guitarist Paul Raymond, guitarist Vinnie Moore, drummer Andy Parker and bassist Rob Le Luca.
“I’ve told the guys that this is how it is,” said Mogg. “They know it’s my time to go and they know that they can do whatever they want to do without me but I don’t want to play live or make records anymore, though having said that I might go on and do an album of my own. I’ll have to see how I feel about that.”
UFO’s success story began when Phil Mogg, Parker, guitarist Mick Bolton and bassist Pete Way formed the group.
Even in the Seventies, the band distinguished themselves with their very own, unmistakable style, touching a nerve among their growing following with rock numbers like Prince Kajuku, Follow You Home or C’mon Everybody from their albums UFO 1, Flying and UFO Live.
The global breakthrough arrived when German guitarist, Michael Schenker, joined the fold in 1973, having left his band Scorpions. UFO released three consecutive rock classics with Schenker, featuring classics like Doctor Doctor, Shoot, Shoot, or Rock Bottom.
Following the arrival of keyboarder/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond, UFO released their two studio albums Lights Out (1977) and Obsession (1978), including the hit singles Too Hot To Handle, Lights Out and Only You Can Rock Me.
Their live cut Strangers In The Night came out in 1979 and is referred to by the press to this day as one of the best live releases of all time, while also signalling the end of the Mogg, Way, Schenker, Parker and Raymond line-up.
The reorganised band underwent 15 years marked by various eras and numerous line-up changes. To everyone’s surprise, autumn 1993 saw the return of the former UFO line-up consisting of Mogg, Way, Schenker, Parker and Raymond. This new edition of the classic team brought out Walk On Water, their first joint effort after one and a half decades, and embarked on a world tour.
However, Schenker left UFO during the Walk On Water tour again to continue working with his own group, MSG, while Mogg and Way went on to release their second album,Chocolate Box.
The UFO albums Covenant and Sharks, recorded by Mogg, Way and Schenker, arrived at the stores in 2000 and 2002. Vinnie Moore went on to follow in Schenker’s footsteps, who had returned to MSG, recording the songs on You Are Here with Jason Bonham. Later, Bonham bid his farewells and UFO’s original drummer Andy Parker returned on The Monkey Puzzle (2006) and its successors The Visitor (2009) and Seven Deadly (2012).
So, with Phil Mogg and Andy Parker, the band today consists of two original members, plus classic-era Paul Raymond and American guitar slinger Vinnie Moore – the perfect complement.
UFO are at Hull City Hall on Tuesday, 2nd April. Book at the Hull City Hall box office, call 01482 300 306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk to book online.