I never could have dreamed that years later I’d be in San Francisco photographing some of these same musicians.
Last week I photographed UFO in my studio on South Park. This was the third time they have come through. The other times were for Mike Varney’s ultra cool label, Shrapnel. This time they had original members Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond on guitar and keyboeard ,Andy Parker on drums and monster guitar player Vinnie Moore on Lead. Their original Bass player Pete Way has been ill and the band doesnt hire a full time player, seems like to honor their fallen pal.
I then went to see them at the Avalon in Santa Clara, a place I had never been. Needless to say this British blues based hard rock band UFO rocked like always. Looked like to a sold out crowd from all over Northen California. Phil thin as a rail with white suspenders bent almost to the floor, Vinnie leading the charge with his cool blue guitar, Paul smiling the whole show with his left handed Vintage guitar, but driving the train was Andy on drums with his construction worker, John Bonham esque drumming.
Their second song “Mother Mary” got the crowd jumping, but the little things they did really made me see how good this band really is. In the middle of ” Saving Me” Vinnie adds an incredible slide solo, then a few songs later Paul gets this incredible cool B3 organ sound on Helldriver. I also dug the not too subtle rip on their old label on “Baby aint No”, aboutreplacing them with “The Babys”.
When they hit into their hits “Too Hot too Handle”, Lights Out”, “Rock Bottom” and their final song “Doctor Doctor” I looked around and saw the packed house jumping to the beat. If you are into metal check out the Avalons schedule. It seems like a metal heads perfect place.
Damn, I love my job!
Pat Johnson Studios
140 South Park
San Francisco, CA 94107